What You Can Do For Your Missionary on Giving Tuesday

Since 2012, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday is the kick off to the charitable season called Giving Tuesday. It was originally begun as a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy. As the world begins its mad dash to gear up for Christmas, Giving Tuesday encourages us to enter the holiday season with the right focus – a reminder and an opportunity to give where giving is needed most.

If you are reading this, you likely give to and support me or another missionary, either financially or prayerfully. And while your missionaries would definitely appreciate a financial contribution this Giving Tuesday, we wanted you to know that there are some other ways to give and show your support this Tuesday.

First off, let me speak to some non-financial ways of showing your support:

Send an email/letter to a missionary/ministry you know and let them know you are thinking of them, ask for prayer requests, etc.
Thanksgiving is over, Christmas is close at hand and trust me, your missionary misses people, so send them a note reminding them you are on their mind.

Volunteer to stuff and address envelopes for newsletters.
No one really enjoys stuffing envelopes, do they? I know I don’t, and you probably don’t either, but instead of paying someone to do this service for them, ask if you could take care of this for your missionary.

Introduce them to your friends/churches who might be interested in partnering in the ministry.
We love to talk about our ministry, ok maybe I just love to talk in general, but we want people to know what we are doing and we hope they will partner with us. The problem is, we don’t know everyone you know, so introduce us to your friends who you think might be interested in at least hearing more. No pressure included!

Go on a short-term team with your missionary partner (this won’t always be available, but if it is!)
Not every missionary has a short-term mission’s trip happening, but if they do, they could probably use help, so if you aren’t sure if they have one… ask! It will help your missionary and, I can guarantee, your life will not be the same after!

Offer places to stay or a car to borrow when they are visiting your area.
Most of us don’t have a house waiting for us when we come back to visit. If you have an extra room in your house or a car just sitting around, ask if we can use one while we are back.

Donate your airline miles, hotel points or rental car points.
Flights, hotels and car rentals are expensive. When your missionary is back visiting, travel is a guarantee.

Record a video of their family and friends and send it to them.
I just watched a video that was shared with me and while it made me sad that I missed a specific event, I was so happy to see my family!

In addition to those options, there are some financial options that would also show your support:

Send an extra gift to their ministry account.
This should be self-explanatory, but if it isn’t, well, sometimes we need extra money to cover taxes, unexpected expenses, etc.

Ask them for a wish list they have on Amazon, another site, or buy them a gift card for iTunes or Google Play (ask them which one).
Amazon is in a bunch of countries and you can easily purchase something for a lot of missionaries and they may already have some things in mind. A little gift to say thank you goes a long way. Whether it is a book, a subscription to an app/site or even more extravagant purchases like a tablet, whatever you give will be appreciated.

Send a care package of stuff your missionary misses (I’d ask what they miss before guessing.)
No matter where in the world your missionary is, they probably miss something from wherever you are. Shipping isn’t cheap, so ask them what you can send before you spend the money.

 

The bottom line is, if you feel so inclined, use Giving Tuesday as a reminder or excuse to show the missionary in your life that you care for them and appreciate the work they are doing. These are but a few of all the possible ways you could show your support. I hope this post can provide a jumping off point for you to go out there and give!

A little different kind of love chapter

Most people have heard at least part of 1 Corinthians 13 at some point in their life and most likely it was at a wedding. Today during our training we were introduced to a slightly different version of the love chapter: from a missionaries point of view. I liked it so I thought I would share it with you.

If I speak with the tongue of a national, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or clanging cymbal.

If I wear the national dress and understand the culture and all forms of etiquette, and if I copy all mannerisms so that I could pass for a national, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor,and if I spend my energy without reserve, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love ensures long hours of language study, is kind to those who mock his accent; love does not envy those who stayed home; love does not exalt his home culture, is not proud of his national reputation,

Does not boast about the way we do it back home, does not seek his own ways, is not easily provoked into telling about the beauty of his home country, does not think evil about this culture.

Love bares all criticism about his home culture, believes all good things about this new culture, confidently anticipates being at home in this new place, endures all inconveniences.

Love never fails; but where there is cultural anthropology, it will fail, where there is contextualization, it will cease; where there is linguistics, it will vanish.

For we know only part of the culture and we minister to only part.

But when Christ is reproduced in this culture, then our inadequacies will be insignificant.

When I was in America, I spoke as an American, I understood as an American, I thought as an American; but when I left America, I became a learner of a new culture!

Now we adapt to this culture awkwardly, but He will live in it intimately. Now I speak with a strange accent, but He will speak to the heart.

And now these three remain: cultural adaptation, language learning and love.

But the greatest of these is love.

5 Things I’ve learned as a Missionary So Far

I have technically been a missionary with Greater Europe Mission for almost exactly 2 years now. I’m still in the US, raising financial support to get to Germany, but I have learned several things about being a missionary and I felt like sharing them with you all today.

1. Prayer is huge – I don’t mean to start out with such a “duh” statement, but there have been countless times when I have asked for prayer and then saw it answered sooner rather than later. Also, when I started praying more consistently myself things started happening.

2. Explain yourself – When I first started I don’t think I did a good job of explaining myself and my ministry to potential partners, that probably explains why I have to keep explaining what I will be doing to some people. Part of the reason is I wasn’t quite clear on what I was doing and the other part was a communication break down on my part.

3. Get over your fears – I still struggle with this, but I’m trying to do better. There are plenty of things to be scared of during the whole process of becoming a missionary including phone calls, meetings and the ever dreaded asking for contributions part (Do a missionary a favor and tell them your decision before they ask you.)

4. This stuff is hard work! – When I tell people that I work full-time raising support and spend a decent amount of time at a coffee shop doing that work, I get the “Oh, so you put in a few hours a week…..that’s nice” look. While I may not be teaching anymore, this work isn’t easy. I’m not complaining at all because I know this is where I need to be. I just never realized how much goes into raising support, but now I know and knowing is half the battle. (Sorry for the GI Joe reference, I just had to)

5. God has got this – This is a bit of a cliche and I know you have heard the line, “It’s in God’s timing,” before, but you have heard it because it is true. If it was up to me, I would have been in Germany already. So why didn’t it work out that way? No idea. Will I ever know? No idea. Why don’t I have an idea? Mostly because it doesn’t matter if I know. All that matters is that I am seeking His will and relying on Him, not me, to provide and have the utmost confidence that He will.