On a rainy afternoon last week I met my long-time friend for tea. She has been a missionary overseas in a Muslim context for several years. She and her family are in Houston, transitioning between assignments and preparing for an impressive PhD program. I had not seen her in years, but Will and I have been financially supporting them, so we get their newsletters, we follow how things are going with x or y potential Christ follower, we comment on their precious kid pictures, we are proud of their lives. We feel a part of their work because we have invested in it. In the short time we had, we asked each other many questions about the places we lived, the cultures we experienced, and the people we loved. My interest in her stories was sincere and I knew that she knew I cared because we had helped support them financially for a long time.
Tonight I went to a book club meeting where the reverse happened. There were several people there who financially support us. By their questions and comments, I could see that they are keeping up with this blog. They were excited to talk with me about Africa, they seemed enthusiastic and knowledgeable about our time in Peru. They are, after all, on our team. There is a wonderful bond between us and I wanted to sit down and talk for hours, to learn something profound about their lives and to be able to express my gratitude.
It is a blessing to support missionaries. I remember as a girl when the Willits came to our church from their post in Italy or Africa. They were “our” missionaries and I felt an intense interest and involvement in their stories. My parents supported a ministry for refugees, and I still want to know about what they are doing in Dallas.
If, for example your daughter were to become a pescatarian, and you did some research on what that means and what you could cook, you would suddenly start to notice everything that has to do with the benefits of eating fish, you would begin to ask people about their diets. In the same way, when you support a missionary, their family, their particular living conditions, their people group or geography become relevant and fascinating to you and you perk up when someone mentions their country.
Maybe you have an area of ministry or a part of the world that interests you. Do you have a soft spot for Young Life? Their staff are supported. You could support the staff member who works at your local high school or even someone starting a Young Life group overseas. Asia? We have some marvelous friends in China who are changing their neighborhood and so much more. Southeast Asia and/or education? Our friends the Penningtons are the directors of a Christian school in Thailand that is doing amazing things. Want some bang for your missionary buck? David and Ari Rafael are some of the most sacrificial, hard-working people out there. Ari is a family doctor and David is a full-time elementary school teacher and nearly every day of the week they are also mentoring Peruvians through Bible study, Ultimate Frisbee clubs, women’s groups, church youth group, and probably more that I don’t even know about. Like Mexico or Honduras or Nicaragua? I’ve got someone to introduce you to. I can also recommend googling a mission organization, like Africa Inland Mission, Serge, Christian Health Service Corps or Sending in Mission, to find inspiration. Do you want to be on our team? We’ve got room for you! Expand your world by supporting a missionary today.