When you think about supporting Christians serving cross-culturally overseas, there are some obvious things they need, like finances and some prayer support. Yet there are many more unusual and creative ways to support your missionary.
So we asked some OMF workers how their churches and friends have helped them in ministry over the years:
1. Send a voice message
‘There’s nothing more precious than hearing the voice of friends. With time differences and busy schedules, it can be hard to arrange a full call. But we’ve been blessed by friends recording a simple voice recording on WhatsApp, maybe just while they walk to work, then sending it over to us. It’s so easily done, yet so personal. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – we’ve loved hearing ordinary chat about life, a little news about a friend, or maybe an encouragement from the Bible. Like a friend writing a note and passing it along the classroom to you, it can bring a smile to your face.’
– Phil, serving in East Asia
2. Meet a special need
‘I have a coeliac disease, so have to live gluten-free. Knowing how expensive gluten-free pasta is in Japan, one of our supporting churches put the money together for us to buy a pasta maker here in Japan, which we are now using frequently. The same church is now organising a virtual baby shower for us having our second child here.’
– Manuela Pawson, Japan
3. Pray regularly
‘I have been encouraged by the way God has blessed the group of people back home who prayed for me whilst I was serving; the way they also supported each other, and the huge difference they made to my life and work. My local colleagues knew all about my wonderful prayer support group – and were very touched that people so far away would be so committed to praying for them. Some of my local colleagues even developed the habit of asking me to ask the group to pray for this or that significant need! After each [of their meetings], my team facilitator from home faithfully let me know how it went and how they had prayed. This email was always a special joy to receive and a highlight of my week! Between each meeting, I wrote urgent emails requesting the team’s prayer support. And I am totally confident they prayed! They wrote to me, asking the tough questions and checking up on how I was going. We’ve shared so much together – and work so well together as partners in the work that God has given us to do. It wasn’t only ‘my’ work – it was ‘our’ work.’
– Beth, recently retired from serving in East Asia
4. Offer a car
‘We have had a reliable car waiting for us at the start of each of our home assignments. Twice, one of our supporters bought a car for us and then resold it when we returned [to Cambodia]. On home assignment we usually visit up to 60 churches and prayer groups as well as catching up with friends, family and supporters who are scattered throughout the UK. So, having a reliable car is invaluable in helping us reengage with our supporters as well as build up relationships with new ones.’
– Alex McCann, Cambodia
5. Keep the support going
‘Our home church was so supportive of us while we were in Japan. But [their support] didn’t stop when we came back to the UK. On our first Sunday back in the UK, our church made a lovely “Welcome Home” cake and had a bring-and-share lunch to celebrate us returning – we really felt loved! Even after that it didn’t stop! They have continued to support our UK-based OMF ministry in prayer, continuing to give generously.’
– Nathanael Ayling, serving in the UK
- If you support a missionary, have a think about how you or your church could creatively support them. If you don’t already partner with a Christian serving overseas, chat to your church leaders to see if your church has mission partners you can support. If you’d like to start supporting an OMF worker, please get in touch with us.
- As well as supporting individual workers, have you considered how you might be able to inspire others to get involved in God’s global plan? Find out more about our volunteer ministry in the UK, Bridge Asia, in this article.