Jake Hines is a student at North Greenville University who is serving currently at Rocky Creek Baptist as the children’s intern. Jake served this summer with the IMB as an international missionary in France and is seeking God’s direction for his future plans as a missionary. Here is an article Jake wrote to help us bless our missionaries.
I had the blessing of spending last summer in Southern Europe alongside some incredible missionaries. I learned an important lesson throughout my couple of months: missionaries are real people. Contrary to our common belief, missionaries are not spiritual superheroes. Moving overseas does not shield them from the everyday struggles of life. In fact, they deal with the same problems we do like loneliness, inadequacy, and depression. Because these missionaries are our brothers and sisters in Christ, we should desire to help and support them. But how can we bless these missionaries when most live so far away? Here are some suggestions.
- The most obvious and important way we can bless our missionaries is by praying for them. Prayer is not limited by distance or location. The Father hears us when we pray, and He loves when we intercede on behalf of others. The psalmist says, “the righteous cry out, and the Lord hears” (Ps. 34:17). In light of this truth, let’s pray for our missionaries who serve in different parts of the world. Specifically, pray that God would comfort the missionaries in a world that is completely different than the one they’re used to. For our brothers and sisters who serve in hostile environments, pray that the Lord would give them boldness and faithfulness to endure in places that are hostile to the gospel. Finally, follow Jesus’ command to “pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (Lk. 10:2). We need more workers to go into the fields to harvest, so pray that the Lord would send (even if that means sending you!).
- Encouragement is such a joy to missionaries on the field. Even though I was only in France for two months, it was such a blessing to receive letters, emails, and text messages from people back home. I know that missionaries who serve full-time will be even more blessed by our encouragement, so let’s follow the command Paul’s command to “encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Th. 5:11). Whenever you pray for a missionary serving on the field, try writing them a note or sending them a quick text letting them know they are being prayed over. This small act will end up making a big difference as they try to fight culture shock, discomfort, and loneliness.
- Jesus’ command to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to the entire creation” (Mk. 16:15) is my favorite Great Commission text. It shows the scope of missions and how our aim is to reach every tongue, tribe, and nation on earth. If missionaries are going to take this verse seriously as they go to unreached people groups all across the globe, we have to help them get there. Remember that the resources we have are not ours; they belong to God! Giving toward the Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon offerings are easy ways to start the practice of giving toward God’s mission for the nations.
- The Lord loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7), and a true giver will live a lifestyle of generosity. Cheerful givers know that giving is not limited to the church offering. Want to do give in a more personal way? Try gifting along with giving. Think small and meaningful; you don’t have to do anything extraordinary. For example, buy a missionary’s favorite snack or candy from the dollar store and send it to him/her. It might seem trivial to us, but one tiny act like this could be just what a missionary needs to get through the day.
- May we never think that going is limited to those who live on the mission field. Did you know that you don’t even have to pray about whether you should go? It’s already been commanded in the Great Commission! Going to visit and help missionaries in their ministry is an incredible way to experience their lifestyles and be thankful for what they do in God’s harvest. A common theme in Paul’s letters is his desire to be with his brothers and sisters in Christ. Our prayers, letters, and gifts are important to missionaries, but nothing replaces our presence. Going on a short-term trip will not just be a blessing to the missionary, but it will be an eye-opening experience that shows you how much of an impact these workers make on the world. We all play a part in God’s plan in the world, so let’s support these cross-cultural with our gratitude, love, and encouragement.