Ways to Care for Missionaries
- Consolidate support – (support fewer missionaries for a larger amount) – this will reduce travel during home assignment and allow closer ties to be established with church.
- Set up a consortium agreement between area churches to take on a large percentage of missionary support.
- Provide extra funding to send missionaries to conferences, retreats, family camps, etc.
- Communicate! Make sure they know how much you are supporting them, when it will be sent in, etc.
- Read their letters; respond to them so they know someone actually reads their letters.
- Send care packages. Ask the missionary what he/she would especially appreciate – don’t make assumptions.
- Send tapes of your church’s Sunday service, other teaching tapes, or good worship CD’s.
- Write to them – email or regular mail. Don’t send attachments, unless you check with missionaries. Many do not have systems that can handle receiving long attachments. If you are writing to a missionary in a Creative Access Country, be sure that you know the security guidelines. Talk to the missionary about how he/she wants that handled.
When they're home
- Offer to meet them at the airport.
- Arrange for a food shower; include fun items that they probably wouldn’t buy for themselves.
- They will probably need a time of rest and an opportunity to “regroup” before jumping into speaking engagements. Can you offer them a vacation spot?
- Invite missionaries to debrief with missions committee. Give them plenty of time to share their experiences and needs with you.
- Arrange for “mission night” when returning missionary can share the whole story.
- Listen – lots and lots of listening.
- See to physical needs of returning missionaries – home, car, furniture, clothes, food.
- Buy them a phone card.
- Provide your missionaries with a pictorial directory of the church.
- Assign someone to help them through especially the first few days of being back, and as needed for home assignment. Take them around town, ask if they need help in finding doctors, babysitters, etc.
- Invite them to your home for a meal. Ask them about their ministry and lives on the field. Show interest.
- Be patient. Their way of thinking may have become more like that of their host culture. It may take time for them to get used to American thinking and ways again.
- Be sensitive to how they may be feeling. Statements like “I know you are glad you’re home” may only cause a feeling of confusion, especially for the MK. He/she may feel like they have just left home. Adults may be struggling with feelings of loneliness and a sense of displacement.