Friday, December 2, 2011

Good News From a Far Country ~ Devotional Friday

Proverbs 25:25
"As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country."

Growing up in a missions-minded church, I often heard this verse quoted as it pertained to encouraging missionaries. “Write your missionaries an uplifting letter. This will help the missionary like cold water quenches the thirst of a man in a desert.”

As a teenager, I remember having contests in our youth group, and for each letter we sent to a missionary during that contest, we received points to win a prize. I wrote letters until my hands ached, trying to write as many of our 300+ missionaries as possible! I never accomplished the goal of writing every single one, but I can guarantee you that I showed up to church with a stack of letters to proudly turn in that I had painstakingly spent many hours writing.

I am grateful for the church that I grew up in, that taught the importance of encouraging missionaries with “good news from a far country.” But, now that I am a missionary, I have turned the tables. This verse does not say that the “far country” is America and the “thirsty soul” is the missionary. So, I would like to mention the possibility that quite the opposite could be true here. That “far country” could be your mission field, and the “thirsty soul” could be a church member in America!

Sadly, of the scores of letters I wrote to missionaries as a teenager, I only received two or three responses. I have remembered that and determined that I want to be in that small group of responders. I never want to receive a letter from America that I do not respond to! People in America are keeping me here on the field, financially and prayerfully, and I want to show my gratitude by at least responding to their communication.

People in America need to hear our “good news.” Ladies, we are living where the real action is, and our dear supporters need to know and hear that their giving is not in vain! Just this morning I opened a letter sent through e-mail as a PDF-file by the teacher of a boy (about 10 years old) living in a single-parent home. This was my second letter from this young man, and he and his teacher wrote to tell me how thrilled he was that I had taken the time to respond to his first letter! Is it possible that I can influence this child for his own future ministry? Absolutely!

How about the birthday cards we receive from churches? Yes, many times they are very general, just filled with signatures of ladies who meet once a month in prayer groups. However, I look at those cards as a personal effort on someone’s part to encourage my family and I. So, what do my family and I do when we receive one? We write back! We thank those ladies for their prayers and we thank them for taking the time to think of us! We are so unworthy of their time and efforts, and we want to send good news back to their “thirsty souls,” letting them know that we are doing well and that we are grateful for their thoughtfulness. I have four children, and this project can become overwhelming at times; however, I have prioritized the need to do this and make sure it gets done!

How about you, missionary wife? Is there someone that you can send good news to from your far country? I encourage you to sit down and do that today!

Written by Jolene Sloan


Jen said...

I think this is a great idea! I've been thinking of sending a post card to people who write to us. Thanks for the extra "push"!

Rachel said...

I do try to respond to people in the states when they write us, but sometimes it just doesn't happen. I agree that they should hear back from us with a grateful heart for their part in encouraging us on the field.
This post has challenged me to reply to EVERY note and email our family receives.

Ken and Vicki in Japan said...

thank you so much for this reminder...I 'sometimes' make it a priority but most likely send an 'email'...I need to work harder at doing the 'work' that our supporters so faithfully do! Well said!

I Am Not Superwoman said...

God Bless you all for what you do spreading the love of Christ in a foreign land. I admire you.

Daniel and Jaynee Lockwood and Family said...

Such a good reminder! Last year, as part of our "school" each day, I had the children write a letter to someone...a supporter, family member, least 3 times a week. I'd have the little ones who couldn't write color a picture for that person. I would always try to include a letter myself as well, so each letter we sent out was filled with sometimes 13 individual letters. :) It was worth every bit of the postage because we so often were told what a blessing it was to the person who received our notes. And we loved doing it!
Since we've been back from furlough, I haven't started letter writing yet...but I think I'll start today!!! :)
Thank you, Jolene!

Jessica Curtis said...

With each child I've had, I've gotten worse at this. Thanks for the reminder, friend.

Chris, Carole, and Clan said...

Great Post Jolene! We're very careful to respond to every letter and email, but I have to admit that we usually don't respond to every card other than a quick "thank you" to the church. Thanks for the reminder!

Jen, we buy post-cards by the dozens. They are cheaper to send and it also gives peole a glimpse into the life and culture here. :-)