05 December 2007

Missionary Care - IDEA #3

Christine and I aren’t your normal missionaries…

Since we’ve been here we have had over 150 different friends, family, and strangers stay in our home in the last 2 years…

A few times we should have said “no” and had them stay in a hotel or a guest house due to our busy schedule or need for family time… but for the most part the majority of those visits are what got us through some rough times…

Whether it was a weekend in Jinja with some friends… playing half a hole of golf with some Cornerstone pastors… visits from parents and siblings… or crying my eyes out as a friend from home offered a listening ear… our visitors have been a huge encouragement just because they came…

Many of our missionary friends have been here for years and are still waiting for their first visitor… whether it be a family member or friends…

This causes a separation because family and friends cannot possible understand their “new world”… leading to distance, separation, and misunderstanding of their overseas calling…

For both sets of parents a visit to Uganda gave them a new understanding that we weren’t crazy for bringing the grandkids to Africa… for friends and supporters it opened their eyes to new ways of encouraging us and praying for us… and for everyone it gave them understanding of our calling to stay here another day…

Our week-long visitors… whether we knew them before or not have become some of our greatest supporters… they “get it!”

So here is missionary care – IDEA #3

SEND A FRIEND or FAMILY MEMBER

Don’t send them to paint an orphanage, facilitate a VBS, distribute food to the starving, preach to thousands or evangelize the village… send them to hang out and attempt to understand the missionaries “new world”… and have the church sponsor them just as they would any other short-term trip…

Send a friend… for those who need to market this idea… will produce the following results… 1) The lonely missionary will be encouraged… 2) The visitor understand how to encourage, pray for and support the missionary 3) The visitor can be an ambassador to help others learn to encourage, pray for and support the missionary 4) The missionary will be able to stay connected to family, friends and supporters…

Seriously what is better… spend $40,000 to send 10 people over to paint… or send 2 friends over for $7000-8000 to encourage a missionary which could increase their longevity on the field and the visitors could teach others to support, encourage and pray for that missionary…

I personally am of the opinion that the greatest thing a short-term visitor can do is encourage the full-timer to stay…

And while you’re at it send a trained counselor… the missionary community over here could keep them busy for a decade and beyond…

1 comment:

marcie said...

I think I might have just enough time to take a quickie counseling course before my next visit! I'll keep you posted for available appointment times...

Love you guys!!