What I Want For All Missionaries

I have often been asked, "How can our church, small group or family better serve missionaries?” I get lots of churches that ask similar questions. They start with great intentions and have poor follow through.

Missionaries…obviously…are human…we miss home, we sin, feel neglected, raise our kids poorly, have bad prayer lives, etc. Just like we did when we weren’t missionaries. The hard-to-swallow truth is…out of site, out of mind. Our friends, family and brothers in Christ don’t see us every day, their lives move on without us, and we become forgotten by those who used to care for us and love us.

Most missionaries knew this would happen when we left for the mission field. People don’t sign up to be missionaries for the fame, glory and additional friends. It is no surprise, but I am shocked at how much it hurts me. I am surprised how much it hurts to be forgotten.

If I could ask for one thing of a church or small group or a family it would be for them to show some interest in my family and me. Send a small care package of stuff we miss twice a year. Give me a call once every other month. Send my kid an electronic iTunes certificate on her birthday and Christmas so I can be reminded someone other than me cares a little about her. Ask me about my marriage and my spiritual life…because, both are probably suffering. Send me an occasional e-mail and tell me you prayed for my family today.

That being said, my family and I would continue to do missions work if we never heard from another person in the U.S. And, I know that is the same for all eight missionaries on my mission team. But, we are sinners, we want to be loved and we want to know people are thinking and praying for us. If my team members were reminded that others care and pray for them, they would have the strength to go on, on the hard days.

As a Team Leader of a mission team and an ex-Elder in my home church I would love to see each missionary on my mission team have at least one church that loves them and shows interest in them. In my four years on the field half a dozen churches have told me that their church has a new plan to better care for their missionaries, and, "…I have been assigned to care for your family." And, few have followed through. I pray that each missionary serving on the field has one church, or small group, or pastor that shows interest in them…their lives…their faith…their struggles.

When William Carey volunteered to be a missionary, he implored those who sent him, "but remember that you must hold the rope." Missionaries must go and senders of missionaries must remember to hold the rope.

About Mike

Mike, 49, grew up in California and spent 38 years of his life there. He received an undergraduate degree in Political Science, graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary and is pursuing a doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary. Before accepting God’s call to fulltime missions, Mike worked in the California State Senate for 12 years. He became a Christian at the age of 20. Mike was a Ruling Elder at Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church(PCA) for seven years. While at Soaring Oaks, Mike served as the Director of the High School Youth Group, Sunday school teacher, and instructor of evangelism. His cross-cultural missions experience includes five short term trips to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Peru (Lima and Cusco) through Mission to the World (MTW). He has volunteered with World Relief by teaching and counseling international refugees. Mike has also attended cross-cultural church planting conferences in New York and Orlando and completed the Perspectives course on the World Christian Movement. He attended Bible Study Fellowship for two years. He is a certified instructor through Evangelism Explosion and is a certified trainer of the Darkness to Light child sexual abuse prevention program. He completed MTW‘s Disaster Response Training. Mike is an experienced speaker and author. Over 70 of Mike's articles on missions have been published and he has written three books. He is a trained and experienced mentor, discipler, leader and a passionate teacher of small groups and Bible studies. Mike received an undergraduate degree in Political Science, graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing a doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary. Before accepting God’s call to fulltime missions, Mike was a Ruling Elder, Youth Group Leader, adult Sunday school teacher and evangelism instructor at Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church in Elk Grove, CA. Mike is an experienced speaker and author. Over 70 of Mike's articles on missions have been published and he has written three books. He is a trained and experienced mentor, discipler, leader and a passionate teacher of small groups and Bible studies. From 2007 to 2017 Mike served as a fulltime missionary for MTW. Mike served as Team Leader, Church Planter, and Seminary Professor. Mike and his wife Erin served in Honduras in Central America and Equatorial Guinea in Central Africa. Mike currently serves as the Director of the MTW West Coast Hub where he trains and mentors new missionaries from CA, AZ, & NV. Mike is also busy writing his next book.

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