"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