A couple weeks back I wrote a blog about how mission agencies, couples and ministry partners can help singles on the field. I had a good discussion with my sister about that blog and because of that I thought more about singles also having their own responsibility (which I will get to in a bit). I highlighted singles in my blog because I am one and I have seen some things that are lacking in the community where I live, but after thinking about the topic some more I came to the rather obvious conclusion, that every individual person on the mission field needs help. While there is no single solution to help every group of people I thought I would list some ideas as to how a single on the mission field might help the couples that are with them on the field.
I was thinking about this some and I realized that I have no idea what a couples needs are, really. I will do my best, though, to provide some ideas that have been shared with me and that I have observed on my own. I will now present you with 5 ways that singles can help couples (with or without kids) on the mission field.
- Invite them, as a couple or as an individual to join you. It’s no secret that singles, typically have more time to do things they want to do, whether it is a day trip to a city, dinner out or playing games with friends. That doesn’t mean, though, that couples wouldn’t have time to join them. They might not….but they might.
- Love on their kids. Couples with kids are missing family and friends just like singles miss their family and friends. Their kids not having grandma, grandpa, aunt or uncle there can be even harder than us adults not having our family. So bring a smile to the parents and kids faces by becoming their family. This may include babysitting, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. I’m Uncle Jacob to a few kids around here and I love it!
- Listen. Even though we might not fully understand the issues of a married couple or parent, we can still listen and be there for them when they are having a bad day. So put your feelings aside, for a bit, about wanting to be married and how you would gladly trade your troubles for their marriage troubles, and just listen. Be there for your friend, it’s that simple.
- Be flexible. A single’s schedule is typically more open, so sometimes you might need to be flexible in order to spend time with your married friends. This might mean that your plans will change suddenly or not be set until just before it happens (this is hard for me since I like my plans to be set well in advance). But really, that’s ok. Be flexible and don’t take it personal if they can’t hang out with you as often as you would like.
- Invite them to your home or bring dinner to them. It is way more common, in my experience, for singles to be invited over for dinner and not the opposite. To some degree it makes sense, I mean it’s cheaper to feed one than two (or more) but if you can cook, then why not host some people and give them a bit of a break. You might need to offer to bring dinner over if they have young kids who need to go to bed early, so again, be flexible.
I say this is for missionaries on the field, but honestly most of these can be applied, in general, no matter where you are and what you are doing. Every couple and every single is different, so what works for some might not work for others, but if you want to be a blessing to someone in your life, find out what they want/need and help provide that if you can. Everyone could use something, we just need to find out what that is and be willing to help them where they are.