Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Supporting a missionary

I’m safely back at my home with my family. The last few days in Russia I spent with a South African missionary who has been working in St Petersburg in Russia since shortly after Communism came to a fall. One of the issues we discussed in depth was the necessity of having a support team when involved in missions. Today I also read an interesting article written by Rebekah, a young women planning to go to India to do missionary work there. She asked people to share tips with her and the results can be read here. Number 7 on her list is to have a support team. While discussing this topic with my friend in Russia, we realised once again how difficult it is for people to adapt to a new culture with all the challenges involved, while being worried about material things and not having anyone to speak to about specific needs.

What would a support team consist of? An interesting question. Personally I don’t think a support team only gives money, although this is also important. I’ve heard from so many missionaries who take leave once a year from the place where they are working as missionaries, but instead of having time to rest, they travel back and forth in their home countries in an attempt to raise money so that they can buy a ticket to return to the mission field and hopefully have enough to eat for the next year. Isn’t this what a support team should be doing? Why should it be necessary for a missionary to beg for money? I am pretty sure that this is not what God intended.

But I think support is much more than this. Very often the missionary just needs a sympathetic ear when things are not going quite as expected. When visiting the missionary in St Petersburg, we went solely for the purpose to encourage the family and get to know their situation a bit better. We enjoyed being there, but I think we also meant something for them.

Having said all this, I wonder whether someone could really become an efficient missionary without a support team.

Any ideas about this?

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Thursday, May 3, 2007 - Posted by | Mission, Support teams

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