Monday, December 29, 2008

Be Involved in Missions!

Okay, here's a confession: I was very frustrated in Sunday School the other day. The church we attend has been participating in the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (for missions) throughout the month of December, which is wonderful, and our Sunday School lessons have had a missions emphasis. As you know, missions is a passion of mine, especially foreign missions. But that lesson made me want to take over the class (which is extremely unusual!) I felt they were completely missing the point, and me, being a genuine know-it-all, wanted to tell them so. But, thanks be to God, I kept my mouth quiet because there wasn't room to get a word in edgewise--and I tried. So, I decided to use Patterings as a soap box. Sorry, but you'll get both barrels of my rant now—also something very unusual for me. But this is missions and I'm Patty...

Missions is so important and we need to support missions and missionaries in every way we can. Not all of us are called to leave our home countries and go, but all of us are to be involved.

Involved in giving so that those who go are able to focus on the ministry and not worry about money to feed their family and pay their bills—even missionaries have electric bills they need to pay! That's part of our responsibility—not just corporately, through the missions budget of our local church, but individually as well! Those who can help support a missionary on a monthly basis should! Those that can't might be able to find a way.

How? I've seen people receive a cash birthday gift and be thrilled because they found they had the money to send to a missionary they felt burdened to give to. Another time someone found money they had stashed away for something they were saving up for, but had long since forgotten what the item was. The amount found was the amount they felt burdened to give to a missions project, but didn't have. God had provided long before the burden was felt. Want another example? Someone I know saves the quarters out of the change she receives while grocery shopping. The quarters go into a special jar and find their way to missionaries. She's not able to give regularly, and her family is currently on a tight budget, but she's been amazed at how many quarters find their way into her jar.

If you just cannot give, you can still be involved through prayer. Missionaries need a network of prayer support. Even if you don't know how to pray for them, you still need to pray. Do they have children? Then pray for their children just like you pray for your own and for your nieces and nephews. That's an obvious one, but what about time for them to spend at the feet of Jesus? Pray that they wouldn't be so caught up in the good work that they forget the best—being in the presence of Jesus. Burdens are heavy no matter where you live and what you do. Pray for refreshment and joy as they carry their loads. How about those that are teaching and preaching? We can pray that they would be sensitive to the message God has for them. There are so many ways to pray without knowing the missionaries themselves.

When I was little, before we went to Ecuador, we were members of a small church on the coast of Maine. In that church there were prayer warriors named Mr. And Mrs. Arrington. They were ancient when I was little and even more ancient when I was in college, but they exuded peace and joy like few others I've known. They had a prayer calendar and they faithfully prayed together. While in college, I learned that my day (not just my parents, but me individually!) was Tuesday, and one time, when I was looking back over events in my life, I noticed that all the big things that 'came together' all happened on Tuesdays. Coincidence? No way. Prayer warriors faithfully praying for me. That's something you can do when you don't have two nickels to rub together and when you're playing taxi driver or washing dishes. Prayer warriors, like any warriors, are not poufed into being, they are grown and trained.

So that leaves us with 'But I don't know any missionaries!' Start praying that God would lead you to them. Search on-line for mission agencies—there's lots of them. Ask your friends and your pastor and church secretary (those ladies are fountains of knowledge!). Many missionaries even have blogs or are on Facebook, now. (There's a few in my sidebar and there's more under my missions tab at the top of this page.) Many have e-newsletters now, and it's a great tool—get on their list and use those newsletters as prayer sheets for them. Mission agencies have prayer calendars and email lists. In today's society, and with our technology, we can easily find missionaries to pray for.

For this coming year, consider finding and becoming involved with missions (if you aren't already). Make it personal and commit to pray regularly. Your prayer has far reaching effects—effects of eternal value!

Here are a few links that I've had some contact with over the years. There are others, but these are the ones that came immediately to mind because of my friends.

HeartCry Mission Society (they support national missionaries)

CrossWorld Missions

Child Evangelism Fellowship

Heart of God International

One Challenge International

International Mission Board

9 comments:

  1. AMEN. I am definitely taking up your challenge, Patty! Thank you for sharing your heart for missions.

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  2. The Lord has been so gracious to us bloggers, because in some ways He has made us missionaries too! Think about how many places in the world He allows us to touch with this amazing medium called "The Internet." This simple housewife could never go to all the places in the world that my blog's readers come from, and I know each blogger out there could say the same thing.

    What a privilege! And maybe that privilege will make us feel more of a kinship with the missionaries that actually physically "go." May we keep your wise reminder in mind!

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  3. Patty,
    You are very right, and also very right in encouraging us to "go" whether we can in a literal way, or through prayer and financial support. I believe God even hears our broadscope prayers for "all His servants, whatever country they are in - for protection, for provision, for all they need to keep serving Him" and that is how I pray when I don't currently have a specific missionary team to focus prayer on. And Betsy is right, too - we have a daily mission to "go" and how great that God has enabled us to go all over the world through the internet!

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  4. You go girl!!

    (I'm still wondering what happened Sunday School........)

    :-)

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  5. So important for us not to forget those who delve into unfamiliar worlds and peoples for the sake of the Gospel, Peej! Good reminder.

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  6. Thanks for showing how many ways there are to be involved in missions - the missionaries count on us all to lift them up. I pray that someone will be moved to take up the mantle and do something!

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  7. It is very good to read your so-called soap box. I feel the same way about giving to missionaries and mission projects. I am the Director of Missions at our church in Texas and really feel it is my job to get the entire congregation involved. Each family to welcome missionaries into their homes, support them in prayer and financially. It is a huge blessing so many are missing out on.

    Thank you for sharing your heart!

    www.princeofpeace.org/missionsblog
    beth.daugherty.blogspot.org

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  8. You know what Beth Moore says: "Sometimes you just need to have a holy fit!" And I think this is a good subject to have one on.

    So thankful for a church that emphasizes missions...they call it GLOCAL missions, because it is both global and local. For awhile, we emphasized foreign missions so much that we forgot about many who were struggling right around us, but it is in balance now.

    Here's another idea for leaders who can influence the church. When we did our building expansion, our church took 10 percent of every dollar to put toward overseas missions. So while we were building here, we were building there too. The testimonies we have received of thankfulness and blessing from this far outweigh the joy we are receiving from our own new building.

    A missionary that came to speak at our missions conference last month said that he was amazed that many of our garages in america are bigger than their churches! Wow. That was humbling.

    With you on this, Patty.

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  9. Wow! My sentiments exactly!
    I just left my daughter's house in the DC metro area. They are home missionaries in the area to 5.8 million people. They are living on total blind faith~ trusting God for every meal and the roof over their heads.
    Foreign Missions is so important~ it is the heartbeat of God.
    Thanks for your insightful blog on Missions.

    dorinda

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