As fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, we all have different ministries and different calling and different lives. Sometimes our lives and callings are vastly different and sometimes they only vary slightly. But I believe the Lord gets glory when we all love on each other and do our best to appreciate each other. As missionaries, we travel across the world taking the gospel to the lost. Simultaneously faithful church members in the states, prayerfully and faithfully support these efforts. Through this team work so much is done for the work of Christ!
God commands us to reach the world for Christ and through Biblical missions we can do that. However so many wonderful Christians and churches don't stop at the offering basket. So many gracious people love on us missionaries with such an open heart. Many times more than we deserve. Many times when we as missionaries return from the field we are going through so much reverse culture shock, it's hard to understand. It's hard for many at home to see this fellow American who doesn't talk or act like an American and grasp what has happened to them. It is hard for many missionaries who have poured their heart and life into another culture to fulfill their calling for Christ to remember all the customs and social graces that make up the country of their birth.
This time of transition can be a bumpy one. One filled with social blunders and possible mis-intended offenses. Social blunders we use to make on our mission field in their culture we now finding ourselves tripping over in our own native country. It's confusing for all. But something that helps more than anything is kind gracious people who take the time to care on us. You will never know what small acts do for someone who is limping through culture shock in their own country.
I recently asked some missionary ladies to share with me some such blessing, so that I could brag on y'all and on the Lord. The response was large and wonderful to hear. So for all you Churches and Christians out there this is a round of applause to you!
Dear Pastors, Churches, Friends & Family
~Thank you supporting church who we recently received an email from. You said that you knew a lot of churches did things for their missionaries at Christmas but you wanted to remind us you were thinking of us all year. You took up a love offering and split it amongst your missionaries for a "Christmas in July" and instructed us to use it for something fun. It was a huge and very unexpected blessing! Thank You!
~Thank you sending church for cleaning the apartment we are staying in and stocked the kitchen essentials. In the table was a gift basket with snacks and grocery store gift cards.
~Thank you church we were just at recently who surprised us by wanting to buy all our kids an outfit. Actually at this church, the hugs and smiles were enough because they actually remembered us and were interested in us being there. Thank You.
~Thank you Mom for coming all the way to AR to visit your grand baby with more than a 16 hr drive. You threw me a "surprise baby shower" even though it is our 2nd girl. So many needs were met! (We sold all before moving.)
~Thank you Mother In Law for throwing My daughter a very late birthday party with family after we got Stateside so she could celebrate with you. (She didn't have big one in China.)
~Thank You Home Church for providing housing & a vehicle for us temporarily as we travel while on furlough. Huge financial blessing. Thank you!
~ Thank you friends who have tried to involve our daughter in activities and such so she can have fun. Thank you for giving her a box of toys to borrow while we're home.
~Thank You Friends who stay in contact when we are on the field by simple messages. This speaks volumes and makes me feel like I'm not forgotten.
~Thank you Supporting church who adopted us for Christmas and sent us presents this year. You didn't know we were not doing any gifts the year of 2015 because we came home on furlough and couldn't afford much. Our daughter was very, very happy!
~Thank you home church who sends "themed" packages: one was filled with everything blue (pens, winter fresh gum, mentos, etc.); another was "orange" (Reese's, Cheezits, dishcloths, jello, sticky notes, etc). Also included were color-coordinated notes including a few from the kids. This was both a blessing and an encouragement.
~Thank you church who sent a huge box of school supplies for our Christian school. This was a huge blessing!
~Thank you Wed. Evening kids class at our home church that sent a package to our little boys with handmade notes from everyone in the class.
~ We recently stayed in a missions apartement while my husband went to Mexico for two weeks. It was just me and the kids in a small room, and the church had a parsonage where the pastor's family lived. Sometimes the most encouraging things come from simple times with people. Thank You pastor & family for spending time with me and my kids. You were so sweet and humble. Thank you pastors wife for taking a lot of time out of your busy schedule to just talk with me, and for asking insightful questions that showed you cared. You may never know how much your spirit encourages missionary wives. I love spending time with people who really love the Lord, and it shows.
~ Thank you church for giving us handmade quilts for each person in the family!! We know you love and pray for us.
~Thank you assistant pastor for grilled a variety of meat for us for our family to eat on upon our arrival in the States. Thank you church family for being so understanding and sending sweet messages eagerly showing your desire to see us but allowing us to get needed rest.
~Thank you church for encouraging me to share all sides of mission work - the good and the bad. So many places I go, I feel like I'm only allowed to share the blessings. But one church in particular wanted to hear the whole story - which actually allowed me to praise God more for what He had done since it's in the hard times that He works the most.
~Thank you Senior Citizens class from our home church who sent a special just thank you card 'just because'--signed by seniors (yes we are seniors) in the group that meets once a month!
~Thank you sweet family in our church who babysat our toddler so we could have a date night!
~ Thank you brand new supporting church that sends an extra $20 along with our support cheque for any family member that has a birthday in that particular month. It's so nice that you remember our birthdays, and even though $20 doesn't sound like much, it can buy something really nice here. We know your church is new and just a few our there, we sure appreciate your love and care. Thank you also pastor for contacting us asking for some more photos because you wanted to do a PowerPoint presentation of our ministry in your church!
~ Thank you supporting church whose pastor asks us for prayer requests (between prayer letters) because the church is having a prayer and fasting day, and they want to pray for our needs.
~Thank you supporting pastor who sends us (all his missionaries) a prayer update from the church every month. It's a blessing.
~Thank you supporting churches send care packages to me, or to us as a family, at least once a year. We just got another one with a music CD that is so beautiful and encouraging. Good Music is such a solace on the mission field.
~Thank you ladies in our home church who bought rib eye steaks and all the sides to have a picnic at our house! It was so nice to put the kids to bed on time and then to keep on fellowshipping.
~Thank you supporting church who has taken such an interest in me as the missionary wife. You have been sooo involved in praying specifically for ME. Knowing you all want to know my needs as a person, not as "the wife of the missionary they support" has been a huge blessing.
~Thank you kind friends who shortly after we landed, took me shopping to help guide me through the current styles. Helped beat the straight-from-the-field-frump!
~Thank you supporting church who gave us their VBS curriculum.
~Thank you supporting church who reached out to see if we needed anything --and we found you had done the same theme the year before in your children's ministry. You sent us a box with your leftover games and hundreds of stickers, pencils, etc. for gift bags. Such a blessing!
~Thank you sweet friends who pick up right where we left off and care and love on me like I've never been away. Even when family doesn't understand me, you have all been such blessings and godly friends.