This is the third and final part to this series, The MISSION in Missionaries. It is also available in a condensed form at Mission Network News, who published it on their website. Don’t miss out on reading the footnotes at the bottom of this post, some of which provided some great thoughts, insights, and ideas that I could not squeeze into this article.
Volunteering with missionaries is another great way to support them and boost their morale. God may provide you with the opportunity to intern for a missions board overseas. But even if you have never gone on an international missions trip, opportunities to share the Gospel abound here in the States. The need for domestic missions is just as urgent as the need for foreign missions, because no matter their income or cultural differences, all people everywhere are in need of the saving Gospel. Domestic missionaries, just like their foreign counterparts, are in need of our prayer and support. There are missionaries and missions boards based right here in the US who are dedicated to preaching the Gospel in this increasingly diverse country of ours. One such organization is Open Air Campaigners, a street preaching group which makes it its mission to preach the Gospel in the public square, wherever people gather. Another is Child Evangelism Fellowship, which ministers to children via summer camps, neighborhood clubs, and afterschool clubs. See the need in your own backyard and try volunteering for organizations like these on the home front so you can bless missionaries by helping them to reach the lost.
There are also other organizations, like Siloam Missionary Homes, that build temporary housing for missionaries and provide an outlet to bless them by allowing folks to donate food, clothing, and other items to furloughed workers on site. Siloam welcomes individuals and church groups to come and volunteer by giving them opportunities to build homes and assist with projects around the property. You may also have a chance to get to know and fellowship with the missionaries on hiatus while you are working. Organizations like this may exist near you.
In our haste to get to the “mission field,” we must not bypass the clear and present opportunities God gives us to serve locally. Serving missionaries right where we are is in and of itself a mission field. The Bible records the faithful who ministered to prophets and apostles-sometimes at great risk to themselves- so God’s Word could continue to go forth.3 One of many examples is Onesiphorus, who, after Paul was arrested, encouraged him and refused to shy away from him because of his prison bonds. When Paul was transferred to Rome, Onesiphorus did not stop searching until he found him (2 Tim. 1:16-18). This is an example of ministry towards those who do the work of an evangelist…as well as a display of the “greater love” Christ spoke of to His disciples before He was taken away to ultimately be crucified (see John 15:13).
Every Paul needs an Onesiphorus, a Luke, an Epaphroditus. Every Moses needs an Aaron and Hur to hold up his arms (Ex. 17:8-13). Every Jeremiah needs a Baruch (Jer. 36). Why can’t you be the one to stand in the gap, right here, right now?
1. What missionaries don’t tell you. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.themissionsociety.org/mag-templ/what-missionaries-dont-tell-you
2. Chambers, Oswald. (1993) So Send I You/Workmen of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House.
3. Some references of this nature include Obadiah in 1 Kings 18:1-16; Priscilla and Aquila in Romans 15:3-4; Timothy and Epaphroditus in Ephesians 2:19-30; Luke and Mark in 2 Timothy 4:11.
Brauer, Janice. (2014, November 7). What is Member Care? [Web log post] Retrieved from http://team.org/blog/member-care/
Charity. (2014, February 27). The Naked Truth about Deputation: Can You See Through My Eyes? [Web log post] Retrieved from http://baptistmissionarywomen.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-naked-truth-about-deputation-can.html#.VO_WGvnF_jK
McVay, John (Ed.) (2010) Ask a Missionary: Time-Tested Answers from Those Who’ve Been There. Colorado Springs, CO: Biblica.
Rogers, Mark. (2010, January 6). 10 Ways to Encourage a Missionary. [Web log post] Retrieved from http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/10-ways-to-encourage-a-missionary/
S., Heather. (2014, July 24). Thank you, supporters. [Web log post] Retrieved from http://missionalcall.com/thank-you-supporters/
Links to Organizations
Child Evangelism Fellowship www.cefonline.com
Open Air Campaigners www.oacusa.org
Siloam Missionary Homes www.siloamhomes.org
Much thanks to Jimmy Coates for helping me edit and to Tom Fox and Chris Reick of OAC for providing additional photos.