Personal involvement with Missionaries

Comment: Sent to me by beKah flaMing:

My former pastor sent this out recently:

MISSIONARY MEMORIES AND CHALLENGES
By Dr. Glen O. Foster, over 34 years as a Missionary

“PERSONAL INVOLVEMENT WITH THE MISSIONARIES YOU SUPPORT”

You believed it was God’s will to financially support and pray for their ministry. You promised to be faithful to them as they departed the shores of the United States for a strange and different place and culture. I ask you the question: Is out of site, out of mind true in your life?

What are you doing for your missionaries? Do you know their needs and ministry? A lot of people never send a letter of encouragement to them. Many never call them. Few know what their work even is. Most don’t pray daily for them. Many don’t give financially to help meet their needs as a result of not knowing the work.

In over 34 years of missionary work, the above has been our general observation and experience. We thank God for the exceptions and a few faithful “fellow helpers” (II John 7-8). who have prayed, encouraged, given, and been involved with the ministry. Many thanks and may God richly reward you. The missionary works for God but also to bring fruit to your account in the day of judgment (Philippians 4:16-17).

Many missionaries don’t know what is happening in their supporting churches because of lack of communication on the church’s part. There are pastoral changes, special services, Mission Conferences, building programs, financial needs, great victories, growth, etc. for which the missionary would like to be able to pray for, encourage and rejoice with the local church.

Be involved personally with your missionaries. Pray for them specifically, give and communicate faithfully. Most churches want a communication quarterly from the missionary. Perhaps missionaries should require all churches to communicate with them also. The great missionary Paul said in Philippians 4:14-15, “…ye have done well, that ye do communicate (share) with my afflictions…no church communicated (shared) with me, as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.” We are co-laborers together.

On furlough I visited a church that supported us for many years and on their mission display board they had us as missionaries in Africa. I have never been to Africa. We have served in Puerto Rico for over 34 years. Some churches after years in Puerto Rico still had us in Costa Rica where we studied Spanish for one year only in 1973. Recently I received a letter from a pastor saying that he hadn’t heard from us in over 3 years. He asked about the work that we left over six and a half years before. The pastor even had us in the wrong country. These illustrations speak of a larger problem.

My wife had three major strokes in January of 2000. Most churches never contacted us or sent a get well card. When the Mission told us that we should return to the United States for health reasons for my wife, we had great expenses such as airline tickets, transportation, appliances, house rent, etc. After so many years on the field it was like starting over. Most churches didn’t encourage or give a penny to help in the move. It was a hard time seeing my wife so ill, but God was our stay.

Our observation is that the missionary letters, pictures and information is not available to the people in the church. Thank God for exceptions to the above. Some churches do read parts of the letters and some put items in their Sunday church bulletin. There is not a mission display board or prayer letter board found visible in many churches as a reminder to the congregation. Few persons in a Mission Conference setting will even take a missionary prayer card from a missionary unless the missionary is aggressive about handing them out.

My conclusion is that the local church generally could improve in their contact with the missionaries and many missionaries could also improve in their communication. It is a two-way street. Get involved in the battle for souls around the world. What is God doing through your faithful support and prayers by your missionaries? Your missionaries depend on you for prayer in the battle and for support to get the job done.

Comment: A worthwhile read.

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