Is There a Place for Adoption in Missions?
Have you ever found yourself in one of these circumstances?
1. A missionary has just visited your church and they passionately gave their testimonies. You sat in the pew and watched their video presentation, maybe even wiped a tear away now and then. You were heart-broken for the need of that country. Having seen the faces of people without Christ you thought to yourself, “I want to do more than just write a check to the mission fund every month.”
2. The summer mission trip was spectacular! God used you to encourage the missionaries and their church. You walked away from their home feeling a deep connection to that ministry. You may have wondered, “How can I keep my heart soft with compassion for that mission field?”
3. Your parents often volunteered to have the missionaries over for Sunday dinner and you will never forget the stories they shared around the kitchen table! You look at your children and think, “I want my kids to be familiar with world evangelism and be sensitive to lost souls, around the world or across the street.”
Maybe you can relate, maybe not. Often missions can be something we schedule in our lives by taking a trip or attending a special service. Perhaps it’s something we enable others to do through financial support or attending the missions prayer circle at church. But have you ever longed for a deeper connection? This post is for you. Adopting a missionary is not a new idea, but it’s a GREAT idea! I’m not writing this post for personal benefit, although our family would be happy to be adopted. I’m here to throw the idea out to you and let you think about it, pray about it.
Adopting a missionary is not just a one way relationship. Your family will benefit so much from the mutual friendship. Here are just a few ways YOU will benefit!
What you can gain from adopting a missionary:
1. You will be used by God to encourage a family serving God.
2. You will learn more about missions work.
3. You will develop a sweet friendship.
4. You will have joy knowing you have help a missionary family with their needs.
5. You will expose your family to world evangelism.
6. Your children will learn about the needs around the world, even world geography!
Thoughts before you seek a missionary family to adopt:
1. Pray and see what God shows you!
2. Do they have children around your children’s ages?
3. Are they serving in a field that you are interested in?
4. Do you share similar interest?
Ideas to care for an adopted missionary:
1. Pray for them on a consistent basis.
2. Read their blogs and newsletter as a family.
3. Send special occasion cards (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays).
4. Write letters, emails, or text messages often.
5. Involve your children in making a care packages to send.
6. Research the country the missionary is serving.
7. Learn a few phrases in the missionaries’ new language.
8. Frame their family picture in your home.
9. Take a mission trip to visit them!
10. Set up a time to Skype.
11. When they visit a church nearby – go!
12. Keep up with the news in their part of the world.
The possibilities are endless! Once you connect with a family you will discover more ways to help. Maybe they need you to print, fold, stamp, and send their prayer letters. Perhaps they need a place to have their US mail sent. For me, my mom and neighbor have been a huge help during deputation. My neighbor, Beth Shumaker, checks our mail, takes out our trash, and keeps an eye on our yard. Every time we return home my mom has groceries in my fridge complete with a home cooked meal! It sure helps to lift the burden having people come along side of you to help. Have you thought about all the details missionaries must cover before furlough? Details such as a temporary home and a car can be difficult to arrange from the field. Whatever your talent, you can use it! Take Lois Snyder for example. She is an excellent photographer and she uses that skill to help missionaries by taking prayer card pictures. All of us can find our place and get plugged in!
Let’s go deeper with our missions emphasis and involve every member of our family. God can use YOU in a great way to enable and encourage a missionary family. Maybe tonight you should take a look at all those prayer cards plastered on your fridge, have a family meeting, and choose a missionary family to adopt!