Even if missionaries regularly communicate in written or verbal form with one or more of the key leaders of their home church, a short but well-written letter of thanks sent to them within a few days of Thanksgiving can be a source of great encouragement–even for the missionary!
FIRST, THANKING THE LEADERS AND MEMBERS OF THEIR HOME CHURCH
Here are a few things they could include in the note or letter of thanks:
1–List the blessings they experienced as a member of their home church prior to being called to the mission field–like some of the things about the church that contributed to making them the person and the missionary that they are.
2–If they are supported from the church missions budget, they should thank them for their ongoing financial investment–regardless of the amount.
3–Even if they’re not supported from the church’s missions budget, they should thank them for the privilege of having their name and ministry promoted within the church in whatever manner it’s done.
4–They should thank them for the global vision they impart to the congregation, which is evidenced by the fact that a significant portion of their financial support comes from individuals that are members of the church.
The key is to limit this correspondence to only sharing thankfulness–resisting the temptation to inform or share their needs.
SECOND, THANK THEIR CURRENT SUPPORTERS TOO… on that same day
They should also send a special “thank you” to every person who supported them financially this year, including those who only gave one time.
Like the “thank you” note they send to their home church, they should limit what they write to thanking them for making it possible for them to live in the midst of the beautiful people that He has called them to love and serve for His glory and their good. They shouldn’t express anything but thanks to them.
THIRD, SEND AN UPDATE TO THEIR WHOLE LIST…..no later than the first week of December
They should put together an end of the year update that includes the following:
1–A brief story of something God did or is doing in the life of one of the nationals that they have developed a relationship with.
2–A short description of an aspect of God’s character that they’ve grown to understand more fully and appreciate more deeply this past year.
3–Two or three ministry-related goals they would love to see the Lord permit them to accomplish in 2018.
4–If they’re married and have children, they should be sure to inform everyone of the current ages of their children and what grade they are in.
5–If they believe that an increase in the amount of monthly support they receive is essential for them to continue living and serving where they do, they should be sure to include that in the update. For example, if they need an additional 100 dollars per month, then share that need in your update.
And as difficult as it may be for you to relate to, the reality is that many of the people who receive their updates are already thinking about reducing their 2017 tax liability through end of the year charitable giving. The missionary’s invitation to financial partnership in their life and ministry may actually be God’s answer to the prayers the reader of the update has been lifting up to Him.
If you know a missionary that struggles with the different aspects of communicating about their ministry and specifically about raising support, Shepherd’s Staff has a number of helpful resources. Click here
And don’t forget to write a quick note to the missionaries you know, telling them how thankful you are for their obedience to God’s calling–it can be a huge encouragement to them as they experience separation from those they love at this time of year.