Homeland Missionaries

There are a few things I am passionate about, and missions is one of those areas. It mostly has to do with my background: growing up on the mission field, seeing firsthand what amazing things God is doing in other coutnries, and how much more still needs to be done.

One of my desires is to raise my kids to be missions-focused. I have been thinking about the best ways to do that, while Paul and I don't necessarily feel that God is leading us to the mission field right now. However, that doesn't mean we have to be silent! Here are some ways I've thought about:

Support missionaries regularly and actively. We have several friends who are missionaries, both in the United States and to other countries. Not only do we send a check, but we actively pray for them and we write to them, showing interest in their work and trying to encourage them whenever possible.

Put a world map up in the dining room. Hang missionary's prayer cards around the map, using yarn or string to draw a line from their picture to the place on the map where they are serving. Use this as a reminder to pray for missionaries and God's people around the world before dinner each night. (And throughout the day!)

Send care packages to those on the mission field, especially those abroad. Not only are they much appreciated, it's always good to get a little taste of home! Besides, it tells the missionaries that you care about them and that encourages them so much.

Go on a short term missions trip to a third world country. I think this is an incredible way to get out of your comfort zone and widen your horizons. The Mormons require all of their members to spend a couple of years as a missionary and I wish we did that too! Imagine what a difference that would make in our heats, being open to where God would have us serve.

Open your home to visiting missionaries. Most missionaries return to their home country on furlough every 4 years or so. They use this time to raise support and funds, further schooling, reconnect with family and friends, etc. They usually spend large amounts of time on the road, visiting and speaking in churches. I want to regularly have missionaries over for dinner and staying with us as necessary, to get a chance to fellowship with them.

Get involved with local missions and charity outreaches. While third world countries may struggle more with poverty and lack of education, first world countries are not exempt from these issues! There are many organizations that seek to minister to the physical and spiritual needs right in our hometown! Committing your time to help in these areas is a great way to be a missionary yourself.

Join the missions board or missions committee at church. This can be a great opportunity to help the entire church body be more active in missions.

Pray, pray, pray! There are so many countries around the world that need Christ, and so many hurting people. A GREAT resource that I highly recommend is the book "Operation World" by Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk.

Jesus prays for all believers: "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me." John 17:20-21
There are many different types of great missions and organizations, but for me personally I am partial to Bible translation. Therefore, I am going to do a little plug for Wycliffe Bible Translators. They have some great ways of how you can get involved in missions on their website, as well as some specific areas of prayer. I am excited to be able to take the ways God has blessed me and reciprocate them to others who need it. Isn't God amazing how He uses us to fulfill the needs of those around us? I am constantly blown away by it... But I've mentioned this before. :-)

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7 Comments:

  1. Susan said...
    Yay for mission awareness! And a world map is an excellent way to make your kids globally aware. We had a large world map on our wall through my whole childhood, and it really is a wonderful way to become acquainted with the globe on which we live, and it makes those far away places easier to envision.
    Beth said...
    I'm so glad you still have a heart for missions! I wish I had been made more aware of missions when I was younger--but I know my short term trips did wonders to help me understand the calling. Thanks for your great post!
    Ashley said...
    Susan - I wrote this post thinking of you and Hannah, because I think it's great how your family has focused on missions.

    Beth - I remember seeing how your mindset started to change when you came down to Peru - that was neat! I hope you and Stuart are able to raise your kids to be missions-minded as well. :-)
    Nichole said...
    Those are great ideas! I don't remember when or why (maybe one of my parents' friends that they knew from the Navigators?) but I started to get interested in missionaries and other cultures when I was little, too. I've never really focused on what I would do. All I knew is that I could not be in the medical field! But I feel pretty strongly about worship in the culture you're trying to reach being in the style of that culture. To me, it's almost as important has having the Bible in one's own language.
    TulipGirl said...
    I've got to endorse the book "You Can Change The World" for kids. Lame name, but great book. It's an Operation World type book for kids. Really had an impact for our boys. (And it helped explain some things, too. . . like when we lived in Ukraine and had a street child friend. . . Reading about street children on other places made it "easier" to explain about their friend Zhenya. . .)
    Becky Miller said...
    Nichole - another cool thing about Wycliffe is their ethnomusicology emphasis. Some of the missionaries in the organization have PhDs in ethnomusicology and take the translated scriptures in a tribe or group's language, learn the music forms of that culture, and then write scripture-based worship songs for them. Isn't that incredible? Matthew would love to do that at some point. (We actually plan to join Wycliffe as support staff next year.)
    une_fille_d'Ève said...
    Hooray, good post! :-) I like all your plans and ideas. I would say that I want to steal some of them, but then I'm never getting married or raising kids, so...
    However, if I ever teach French and/or Spanish at a Christian school, it would be really cool to have a missions emphasis, like hang a world prayer map on the wall, send encouraging cards and care packages to french and spanish missionaries as a class, have french or spanish missionaries come visit and talk to my class when they're on furlough, organize mission trips to french or spanish speaking countries for spring break or the summer, maybe even have my classes support a missionary in a french speaking or spanish speaking country and pray for them, etc. Oooo! I'm getting excited now! That could be really cool! :-)

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