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. December is a common time for missionaries to send a physical newsletter, so now would be an awesome time to offer help.

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! I can’t emphasize how huge this can be. For me, personally, I have been overseas for 5 years, so I haven’t been able to make connections that you have. When missionaries are back for a visit, it may be great to set up a dessert and coffee night where you friends can all meet.

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, so offer them some help that doesn’t even technically cost you money.

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!

If you are a missionary and have been blessed in a different way, please share a comment. If you have blessed a missionary in a unique way, I’d love to hear those too!

*This blog was originally posted in 2017, but has been updated for 2018.*

I’m a Missionary, You’re a Missionary, Everyone is a Missionary

A radio station in Toledo, YES FM, has pastors, missionaries and representatives from missions organizations on every morning to do a devotional of some sort. I have been honored to be on the station multiple times over the years. This post is a combination and summary of those five devotionals where the theme was “Being a Missionary in Your Everyday.”

My job title may officially be a missionary, but really all of us are missionaries. I want to talk to you about what it means to be a missionary in the everyday. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t being called to do short-term mission’s trips or even full-time mission’s work, but in the mean time, how can you live the missionary life in your every day?

After all, we are called to this in Matthew 28:19-20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

So what does that mean for the person who isn’t called to full-time overseas or local mission’s work? It means the exact same for the full-time missionaries.

David Platt, president of the International Mission Board and author of Radical, recently exhorted new missionaries, but, in my opinion it can be applied to all Christians. He said:
1. May your only offense be obedience to God.
2. May your deepest joy be found & your greatest work done in daily prayer.
3. May your constant protection be the presence of God.
4. May your life cause nations to give glory to God.

Missionary in Your Home

Proverbs 22:6 – Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.

Ephesians 6:4 – Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

It goes beyond parenting though. Whomever is in our home, whether they live with us or are guests, we need to be showing Christ to them.

How? Well:
– Model your relationship with Christ.
– Be real and honest, nothing works better than letting others see your struggles, but also your fight to overcome.
– Be a Safe place – allow people to share their struggles, judgment free. Let it be known you and your house is a place they can go when they need someone.

Missionary to Your Neighbors

Acts 9:36 – In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor.

I love how it says Tabitha was always doing good. I mean think about it; always doing good. On her way to get water at the well, Tabitha was doing good. When she was cleaning house, she was doing good. When she was watching the kids, she was doing good. No matter what she was doing, or was on her way to do, she was doing good. Maybe the always is a bit of hyperbole, but if she was known as always doing good, she was probably caught doing good way more often than not. She saw needs, and she met them.

I don’t know where I heard it, but someone said your neighbor is anyone that you run across on a regular basis. This means the people who live near you, your postman, the cashiers at the stores you go to, and anyone else whom you give that slight head nod to because it’s a bit awkward if you don’t, they are your neighbors.

How do we practically become missionaries to our neighbors?

3 Simple things can kickstart us to serving our neighbors.
1. Ask questions and listen – I know this will sound crazy, but if you ask them the normal greeting of “How are you?” actually ask them how they are and then listen to their response. Help people feel loved by investing in them and getting to know the real them.
2. Observe – If you look around you can probably notice things where people need help. It could be the homeless person you see on your way to work, the neighbor whose lawn is never mowed because their lawnmower broke and they don’t have money to replace it, the single parent who works two jobs and is scrambling to help their child with their schoolwork. Look around and observe and then ask how you can help, don’t assume.
3. Acknowledge – Words of encouragement are huge for most people. Look for people who are doing something well and point it out to them, or thank them for a job well done.

Now let’s go a bit further into Tabitha’s story.

Acts 9:36‭-‬39 ESV
Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them.

It doesn’t say for sure, but seeing as these are widows wearing clothes Tabitha made, the thought is that that was part of her “always doing good.” Making clothes could have been her job or a hobby, but either way, she took what she was good at and served her neighbors with that very thing.

A lot of people think serving others has to be doing something you don’t enjoy, because it isn’t service otherwise. Some service needs to be uncomfortable, but not everything does. So, if you like to bake, bake a cake for a neighbor. If you enjoy gardening have extra vegetables in your garden, give them away. If you are skilled at a specific subject, offer to help students near you who are struggling. I don’t care what your passion is or where your skills lie, find someone and bless them with it. Whatever you are skilled at or enjoy doing, look and listen for the opportunities to serve those who need and are in your life.

That being said, I also want to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and serve your neighbors in ways that stretch you. There are many organizations in the area that need people to come volunteer, be they homeless shelters, after-school programs, or what have you. If you can’t think of a place to volunteer, I’m sure someone at your church or your neighbors that you’ve been getting to know would have some suggestions.

The one thing I want to leave you with, if nothing else, is to get up, get out and serve. Remember we serve because of the Gospel and God’s love for us. We need to share that love to others.

Missionary at Your Church

1 Corinthians 12:27-30
Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body. 28 First, God chose some people to be apostles and prophets and teachers for the church. But he also chose some to work miracles or heal the sick or help others or be leaders or speak different kinds of languages. 29 Not everyone is an apostle. Not everyone is a prophet. Not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone can work miracles. 30 Not everyone can heal the sick. Not everyone can speak different kinds of languages. Not everyone can tell what these languages mean.

1 Peter 4:1-10-11
10 Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well. 11 If you have the gift of speaking, preach God’s message. If you have the gift of helping others, do it with the strength that God

Let me tell you a story about one of the best examples of being a missionary to the church that I’ve been able to witness myself. My step-dad has been retired for a few years and almost as soon as he retired he dedicated more and more time to the church, serving on committees, helping with landscaping, setting up for events, etc. He gives more of himself to the church than I’ve seen anyone else do who wasn’t employed full-time by the church.

That’s not to say that we all need to retire and give a lot of our time to the church, but we were given specific skills to help the body of Christ grow closer to Him. I can’t speak for every church, but I’m sure if you contacted your church and asked if they needed help they could probably rattle off a good half dozen or so ways in which you can help. Most churches need nursery workers, Bible study leaders, landscaping, ushers, musicians, greeters, etc. Ask your church this week how you can serve the body of Christ.

Missionary to the World

How can you make international missions a part of your every day without living internationally?

  • Pray the Luke 10:2 prayer for more workers
  • Go on a short-term trip your church is organizing. Don’t know of one? Go to gemeuroteam.org and look at what my organization has coming up and sign up!
  • Send someone else to go on a missions trip. Partner with them financially or prayerfully to impact the world.
  • Go – gap year, internship, ten2 (10 weeks), or longer
  • Send – Most missionaries live on financial support from individuals and churches. Partner with them financially or prayerfully to impact the world.
  • I wrote a blog about how you can support missionaries in other ways and it will be posted next week, so come back and check it out!

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.