By Travis Gravley
We have seen in the COVID-19 crisis how our frontline missionary workers need you more than ever. After all, you are their family, their support network, and their safety net. You are God’s agents responsible for sending and sustaining His soldiers taking the gospel around the world. Let me offer five practical ways you can care for missionaries during a global crisis.
An encouraging e-mail or card to your missionary is always a good idea but especially in times of crisis. Be willing to use apps built for easy communication, like WhatsApp, Skype, or others. Ask them what works best for them and learn how to use it. Once you connect, tell them what you’re up to, ask them questions about what they are experiencing, and let them know how you are praying for them. Share with them pictures or videos of you and your family. If you don’t favor electronic means, sending cards and packages in the mail will provide a personal touch that won’t soon be forgotten.
When you share communication with your missionaries, be prepared to share a verse or passage with them that has been encouraging you lately. Maybe your church is producing online messages that you could share with them. Using biblically based music can also be a real source of strength and hope.
When partners acknowledge the difficulties that missionaries face, it lifts their spirits and reminds them that they are not alone. The COVID-19 crisis has affected missionaries in ongoing ways, as it has you. Many have had to change furlough or deputation plans. Those on the field already struggle at times with feeling isolated. During the mandated quarantines, many have felt even more alone. Also, missionaries struggle with fear, and they are subject to discouragement and anxiety like all of us.
The work of the gospel has not stopped. Your missionaries are certainly limited right now, but God is able to use them in the midst of a global crisis. They need your prayers. For such a time as this, God has placed them where He has. Their ability to continue serving is vital for the cause of the gospel. Pray for their hearts, their families, their safety, and the effectiveness of their ministry. If you don’t know what to pray for, here’s an article that can help: https://www.bmm.org/learn/articles/three-ways-to-pray-for-missionaries.
Many have had unexpected travel expenses for emergency flights home. Others have had to upgrade their church’s equipment to minister online. Many others are finding new opportunities that require unforeseen costs. While you are careful to remember your home church’s needs, also consider a generous gift to your missionaries.
Isaiah and Rosanna Peterson (Bibles International missionaries in Cusco, Peru) recently stated, “Now, more than ever, it is essential that the body of Christ rallies around each other, praying and encouraging each other to look to the God who never changes!”
May our unchanging God continue to use us together to advance the gospel worldwide, especially during crisis times.
Travis and Becky Gravley and their two children served in Romania before Travis became BMM’s Administrator for Church Relations and Enlistment in 2017.