During the pandemic, our mission partners are still serving God around the world, facing the same fears and anxieties that we are. They need our prayer, support and encouragement now more than ever. Yet as travel restrictions tighten and the world shrinks further, it can feel hard to find ways to support missionaries overseas. Be encouraged, though, there are still plenty of ways and resources, if we know where to look.
1. Burst the bubble
During stressful times, without even realising it, our efforts and our prayers can become focussed on our immediate circle or local area or even just our nation. John chapter 17 reminds us to look outside of our circles, through the outgoing and other–person–centred nature of our God. At a time when Jesus was facing his own death, he prayed for us! It’s so difficult for us to lift our eyes away from our immediate situations when trouble comes, but praise God, we know one who is able to look outwards lovingly to others even during trouble. So, let’s look to Jesus; may he be the reason we want to look beyond our bubbles and support our missionaries during these difficult times.
2. Invite them in
We’re all using technology more creatively than ever before and this has opened up new opportunities for supporting missionaries. Perhaps you could invite a missionary to your small group Zoom meeting to pray for them or maybe you could invite them to join your family dinner over Skype to hear first–hand about what life is like in their country.
3. Cultivate a two–way relationship
Reading a newsletter and praying for a missionary is a great thing to do, but have you ever thought about sending a missionary friend your news and prayer requests? Perhaps you could send your mission partner a note (email/postcard/WhatsApp) about what you’re enjoying from your personal Bible reading and how they could be praying for your spiritual growth. Communicating with our mission partners helps to remind them that we love them, care for them and are excited to partner with them, growing more like Jesus together even while apart.
4. Play the long game
It’s brilliant to pray or contact a missionary occasionally but it’s even more of an encouragement and support to partner with them long–term. Could your family adopt a mission partner and commit to praying and keeping in touch regularly? You don’t have to be in touch every day or send a care package every week but maybe you could commit to support that’s sustainable for your family long–term. A message a month could be a good place to start!
5. Explore the world… from home
Not many of us are able to travel abroad at the moment, but we can still learn about other nations and peoples through an abundance of great resources that are readily available. Using some of these resources can help us to remember God’s heart for the whole world at a time when most of us feel our worlds are shrinking. Invite the whole family to join in: you could read a missionary biography like A London Sparrow, pick up this short read on how to create a culture that celebrates mission in your family, or do a ‘praying for the world’ Bible devotional together, like this excellent family devotional exploring Asia. You could sign up for prayer emails, and then download an app like PrayerMate to help keep you informed and pray. Or you could explore a website like Joshua Project or Open Doors to learn more about countries and people groups. There are endless resources out there to inform and inspire your prayers.