This column provides information and encouragement to help pastors and church mission committees promote mission within our churches.
Overseas workers sometimes talk about the separation they feel from their homeland. Here are six things you can do to reach out and keep in touch with your overseas workers.
- Take the first step.
No need to wait for those newsletters; be proactive. Send your overseas workers some news from home and ask how you can pray for them. And it doesn’t have to always be by email. Set up times to video chat. Maybe even get a group from church over and have a group video-call.
- Answer newsletters.
Overseas workers often spend hours writing and emailing their ministry update, and hear nothing back. Answer those newsletters. It doesn’t have to be a long reply. Just a few words saying, “Great to hear from you. You’re doing an awesome work,” is an encouraging reminder that people care and are praying.
- Pray intentionally.
An all-encompassing prayer for ‘the missionaries’ is good, but specific prayers are better. Let your overseas workers know what you’ve been praying for and ask for updates. Just be careful about the way you mention prayer in emails—we must be security conscious when contacting workers in sensitive nations.
- Provide financial support.
Most overseas workers raise their own support. Knowing someone cares enough about you and believes in your work to the extent that they will actually support you financially makes a huge difference. It doesn’t need to be a huge amount either. Every dollar makes a difference.
- Pay your overseas workers a visit.
Having family or home church visitors can be an incredible encouragement. Just be sure to coordinate your visit to fit in with their schedule. And remember to give them a financial contribution for your stay—most workers are on limited budgets. Also, check to find out if there are specific projects the worker needs help with and that you might have the time and ability to help out with.
- Engage with the children.
There are many positives for children on the field but they have still left behind their friends and culture. Children from families serving overseas love to receive a letter or care package sent especially to them. Gifts during holiday seasons, like Christmas or Easter, are real treats.
For other articles about church mission committees, read: