1. Pray with us.
During these stressful, uncertain days we need each other’s prayers more than ever. Set up a weekly time for a video chat to pray with your missionaries. Keep it to a small group and pray specifically for each other’s needs. Use the time to encourage each other with stories of how you have seen God at work around you and in you.
Video conferencing tools can work well, but keep in mind that national security limitations will prevent some missionaries from using these tools. Whenever possible try to use video as it’s the closest we can get to face-to-face conversations right now. Video helps to make the connection more personal.
2. Be with us.
For missionaries living far from home countries and families, feelings of isolation and loneliness are not uncommon. Now, we are not even able to go outside our homes to do the work we were called to do. We crave the fellowship of familiar, friendly faces—namely you, our stateside church family. You might not be able to travel to visit us anymore, but you can still “be here.” The internet is an amazing resource to help make this happen. Around the world people are getting together “virtually” to share conversations and activities in real time.
Schedule a specific time each week when you can join with your missionary families to share activities together. Think creatively. See what others are doing. IMB missionaries around the world are already getting together online to worship and pray together; exercise together; cook together; study together; share homeschool activities; and have virtual playdates and book clubs.
Keep in mind the challenge of meeting up together across different time zones. Your morning may be our evening, so please be willing to be flexible so we and all our family members can join in.
3. Share in our work.
Thanks to the incredible support we receive from each of you, and the thousands of other supporting Southern Baptist churches, missionary families do not have the day-to-day financial stresses faced by most of our local ministry partners.
However, many of the projects we share with national partners rely on special gifts to keep operating. Many are run by local pastors who have fulltime weekday jobs that support their unpaid church ministry. Like other families around the world, they are now faced with a devastating loss of their livelihood and income.
Would you consider making a special gift to support one of these projects around the world? If you were planning a mission trip that has now been canceled due to travel restrictions, would you be willing to use those funds to support one of the overseas projects?
You can also help our national partners provide essential medical supplies for local communities affected by coronavirus. Your gifts to this project will help combat the pandemic and enable IMB personnel and ministry partners to spread God’s Word to those who are sick, afraid and hurting. Give to the Coronavirus Response project.
4. Help us find a home.
Due to the recent sudden global travel restrictions, many missionary families find themselves unexpectedly stuck in the U.S. Some had to accelerate their existing plans for their stateside assignment “furloughs,” while others were already in the U.S. on vacation, or for a variety of other family, medical, educational and work-related reasons.
As the lockdowns continue many are uncertain when they will be able to return to their countries of service. Meantime they need housing and transportation and a welcoming local church family to embrace them and make them feel at home, albeit temporarily.
Can your church family help? You might not have a mission home to offer, but church members might have some space to offer, or a spare loaner vehicle that would bless a family in this time of unanticipated need. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you or your church can help provide for these needs.
5. Keep giving faithfully.
Recent job losses and economic turmoil are causing many people to fear for their financial security. But in Philippians we read God’s promise that He is able to meet all our needs and will use our circumstances to lead us to a deeper trust in Him. “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Phil 4:11-12).
For 175 years—through famine, war, global pandemics and civil unrest—Southern Baptist missionaries have maintained an uninterrupted witness among the nations. This could not have happened apart from the grace of God and the prayers and sacrificial financial support of His people. Can we allow this work to stop or slow down now?
Currently the need is even greater for missionary families who are challenged to meet unforeseen costs to stay safe and healthy. Needs include: medical supplies; emergency transportation to distant medical facilities; temporary accommodation in safe locations; additional telecommunications costs during lockdown periods; purchasing costly food items when local markets are no longer operating; and practical assistance for neighbors and fellow believers.
Please keep supporting your missionaries through the Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering®. Every dollar of your gift goes to our work on the field, and you don’t have to wait until Christmas to give. You can give right now.