by Missions Team on August 25, 2022
Adventuring alone can be tough
Serving as a missionary in Japan was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Living overseas and making connections with people in my community was an absolute blessing. I experienced a new culture, tried different foods, and learned another language. It was truly the adventure of a lifetime.
However, even though I knew I was serving God by sharing His love with people who had never heard of Him, there were days where the excitement of what I was doing dimmed. I would return to my apartment, doubting what I was doing and missing home.
And then there were other days where my students had learned a new phrase in English, and we celebrated their progress. There were times students told me the message I had shared at chapel gave them hope when they were going through a difficult time. In those moments, I longed to share the victories with someone.
During my time as a “goer” (a missionary on the field), my “sending” team kept the fire of motivation going when I had both good days and bad days. When I needed someone to celebrate with, I would email my friends and family back home, and they would respond with messages sharing in my joy. On days where I felt weak or alone, my support back home helped me rally my spirits. I might have been the one on the field, but my friends and family back home kept me there by sending their love, thoughts, and prayers.
Importance of “sending”
In missions, sending means to support missionaries through time, prayer, and finances. A sending team can have many roles. They can read the blog or newsletter that a missionary updates about what is happening on the field. They can pray for the missionary and the people that he or she is trying to reach. They can also support the missionary financially through giving.
Sending is so important because without the support of others, missionaries can eventually get burnt out. They may experience loneliness and homesickness, and spiritual warfare can begin to wear them down. By having people that they know are cheering them on back home, missionaries can maintain their fire of hope, getting back on the field with a new vigor.
When missionaries write newsletters and blogs about their time on the field, people supporting them can read the good news and celebrate with the missionary. When the missionary is struggling and experiencing challenges, people can lift up prayers for them and send them messages of encouragement. Writing the blog reminds the missionary of why they are serving, and the encouraging messages from friends and family back home can also revitalize the missionary’s motivation.
Also, missionaries will return home every couple of years or so to rest and recharge. During this time, they will visit family and friends, and they will debrief with their church and mission organization about their time on the field. During this time, friends who are supporting the missionary can take the time to listen to the missionary’s story. Oftentimes the missionary will want to share their experience, but people are unavailable to listen. Making time for the missionary and assuring them that you want to hear about what is going on in their life will help them feel loved and appreciated.
Another important component of sending is prayer. The significance of this part of sending cannot be emphasized enough. Without prayer, a missionary will really struggle while on the field. Most missionaries experience some kind of spiritual warfare, as they are attempting to bring the light of Christ into an area of darkness. Sometimes missionaries can experience illness, depression, and open hostility from the people they are trying to share the Gospel with. Prayers help to protect missionaries, making this a vital component of sending. In addition, the sending team can help pray for the people that the missionary is serving. People can pray that God directs the missionary towards people who are waiting to hear the Gospel, and they can pray that people’s hearts are softened so that they are open to hearing what the missionary has to say. Prayer is really the backbone supporting missionaries, and it is something that anyone can do to help the Gospel be shared around the world.
A final way that people support missionaries is through financial giving. Most missionaries go and participate in full-time missions, meaning that they are serving and volunteering in the area they are sent to. Since they are serving full-time, they need financial support in order to continue sharing the Gospel in that area. Missionaries usually partner with a mission organization or with their home church, so people can easily support missionaries by donating to the mission organization and their church.
Ways to get involved
At Timberline, we believe that everyone has a role to play in missions. For many of us, we can help participate in missions by supporting a missionary with our time, prayers, and finances.
Missionaries truly appreciate it when friends and family back home take the time to hear their story. People can support missionaries by reading their blogs and newsletters and responding in turn, sending encouraging and thoughtful messages back to the missionary.
In addition, churches will often host missionaries they support when they are back home to debrief about their time serving. You can learn more about our Timberline missionaries during our Missions Focus Weekend, Nov. 5/6 2022. This is a great opportunity to listen to how people across the world are coming to experience the love of God. When people take the time to listen to the missionary’s experience, they remember that they are not alone when they are serving; they have a team back home that is cheering them on.
You can help support missionaries by praying for them and for the people they are trying to reach. Timberline helps support several missionaries. If you would like to pray for them, reach out to the Missions team at Timberline, or check out the Global Missions page on the Timberline website to find out where our supported missionaries are serving.
Also, you can pray for unreached people groups. A great way to incorporate this into your daily prayer is through the Joshua Project, a Christian organization that shares information about which people groups around the world have not yet heard about Jesus. Every day they have a different people group that people can pray for.
Another way you can help support missionaries is through giving. If you know a missionary and the mission organization they partnered with, you can donate that way. In addition, Timberline supports and sends 124 missionaries. An easy way for members of Timberline to partner with missionaries is through giving.
Send so they can go
Many people have a calling to go and share the Gospel with those who have not yet heard of the amazing love of Christ. In order for these people to follow that calling though, they need the support of others. So that the good news of Christ can continue to be shared around the world, consider ways that you can be involved. By choosing to “send”, you are helping someone to “go”.
About the Author: Madison is a volunteer writer with the Timberline Storytellers team. After serving as a missionary teacher in Japan, she has a passion for sharing the joy of missions with others.