Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Communicating with missionaries

Email, the internet and mobile phones have changed many things in missions. Whether I am in South Africa, Swaziland or Russia, I can, at the click of a few buttons send out a message on a mobile phone requesting prayer for a certain issue. Email is just as convenient and can reach even more people in a short time. I can think of many times when I was faced with a crisis that I could ask a few hundred people to pray with me. Sending newsletters to a group of people, informing them of the work that you are involved in, is also easy, and thanks to the internet, very cheap to send out. Sending a newsletter with two or three colour photographs has also now become easy. But there is also a disadvantage in this advantage – and this is the ease with which a newsletter can be deleted! With the press of a single button a newsletter from a missionary can be deleted forever (and I know that mine is also deleted from many computers without being read). To be honest, I also receive quite a number of missionary newsletters every month and some of them I also delete without even reading them! But I make it a point to read specific newsletters: One from Japan, another from Thailand, one from Russia, one from Cambodia and one or two others. These are the people in whose lives I want to get involved in. I want to know what they are doing, what successes they have and what we can pray for. And then I make a point of responding to their newsletters, even if it just a short note to say that I have read their newsletter and am praying for them or for some specific issue.
We have a special friend that make it a point always to respond to our newsletter. I know her circumstances and realise that this is a sacrifice to her in terms of her available time – but every month when I send out my newsletter, she writes a short note. Sometimes she asks for more information about something. When I have a special prayer request I will get a message from her: I am praying about this issue right now. This means that she will not forget to pray about it.
My advice to churches is that they prayerfully consider where God wants them to get involved in. It is not practical to get involved with hundreds of missions (at least, not initially). Make a choice. And then really get involved. Read and re-read the newsletters. Organise groups to pray for these issues. And make sure that someone communicates with the missionary. There is little that means so much to a missionary than to realise that others are bearing the burden with them.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007 - Posted by | Mission, Partnership, Prayer, Support teams

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