Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Go. Send. Pray. Give.
Those are the options that have been given for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. (I have actually seen more options recently; welcome and learn.) Regardless, there is a missing option that I don’t believe should be optional. What we have forgotten about is the need to encourage missionaries. It costs nothing but means the world. For some missionaries, it is more difficult to live with insufficient communication than insufficient funds (neither or which should happen).
Living overseas is hard. You miss holidays, family and so many other things.
You get on Facebook and see new babies, marriages and graduations that you had to miss because you live around the world. Then when you do get home, you realize that life has passed you by. Your old friends are doing new things and have moved in completely different directions. While you were in a foreign land laboring away to learn language and build relationships the world kept moving. You haven’t advanced in your career or gotten engaged; you’ve simply been living in a different country trying to follow Jesus.
This is something that many missionaries struggle with.
Regardless of age, these difficulties manifest in different ways. They come home and ask themselves, “What am I doing with my life?” It stems from being left out of someone’s life for several years (however long you’ve been on the field.) It seems that when a missionary leaves for the field, people think differently of them. They think, “Oh they are doing great, they are doing so much awesome stuff and making so many local friends.” This may be the case, but the effectiveness of our ministry does not mean that we don’t need communication with people back home. Encouragement and communication are necessary. Without them missionaries will slowly shrivel until they eventually die.
I know everyone is busy, but commit to it, build it into your life.
Encourage missionaries. Send them random emails. They are normal people living abnormal lives. Technology affords us an amazing opportunity. On a cell phone, it is possible to include people who live around the world in our everyday lives. They can “be at” graduations and “meet” new babies. I know this isn’t a substitute for the real thing, but it is certainly better than nothing.
If you’ve never lived overseas, put yourself in their shoes.
Imagine that overnight your entire world changes. People who you used to talk with regularly never call anymore. No one texts to say happy birthday or Merry Christmas. You check your phone and never have notifications. This happens everyday as missionaries move overseas. Don’t let it continue. Encourage a missionary today.