If the pastors and leaders of a local church would like to pour out a special blessing on their members that God has called to serve as missionaries in other countries, an on-field, care-focused visit from one or two of them is one of the most powerful ways they can do so.
A FEW OF THE REASONS WHY THIS TYPE OF VISIT SHOULD TAKE PLACE
When the missionary’s home church leaders settle on which of them will be the bearer of their love and care, and then expend the funds to make the visit a reality, these are just a few of the God-glorifying and missionary-honoring benefits that the special visit will produce:
1–It will reinforce to the missionary in a tangible and powerful way that they are loved and cared about and still regarded as an integral member of their church family.
2–Although there’s no question that their home church’s ongoing prayer, financial support, and efforts at keeping the congregation informed about them are encouraging, a personal visit from a church leader binds all those things together in a life-changing way.
3–The level of relationship between the visiting leader and the missionary will be deepened significantly and meaningfully.
4–The visit enables the leader to experience certain aspects of the missionary’s life, along with the opportunity to observe them in the context they live in day to day, including some of their interaction with some of the people they live among.
5–All of which makes it possible for the leader to now pray more knowledgeably and specifically for them, and to be a much more effective advocate for the missionary to the other leaders and members of the church back home.
SEVEN TIPS FOR ENSURING THE SUCCESS OF THE VISIT
In order for the visit to be the blessing the church leaders intend it to be, here are seven tips that should be given serious consideration:
1–A missionary is worth having a church leader make the trip just to care for them, so DO NOT include the care-visit as part of a short-term team ministry trip.
2–Tell the missionary the purpose of the trip and how many days the visitor will be there, with the ideal being at least two, but not more than five days.
3–Ask them to recommend a local hotel that will make transportation to them or by them, as convenient as possible.
4–But be prepared for the missionary to invite the visitor to stay with them–and if the offer is made, it should be accepted.
5–The visit shouldn’t cost the missionary anything except their time–so make sure the one who visits carries sufficient funds to cover all transportation costs–and never permit the missionary to pay for coffee, eating at restaurants, sight-seeing/tourist type things, and so forth.
6–Ask them if there is anything the visitor can bring for them, including snacks or food items that they really miss–and then be sure to actually deliver the goods.
7–The visitor’s posture during the trip should be as a listener and a learner. They should not try to relate to the missionary by chiming in with their own travel stories or cross-cultural experiences.
For churches that truly desire to Send Well, an on-field, care-focused visit can be the icing-on-the-cake of their love and care for their missionaries.