Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Word to Senders

We’re super fortunate and grateful to have really awesome senders who support us.  Not all of my friends living cross-culturally have this so I thought I’d put a word out there to help those who maybe haven’t thought much about those they’ve sent.  I've got 4 tips for you.

 1. Tell them when you’re praying.
While we love getting an email back from our newsletters letting us know you are reading it and praying for us, but it’s even more encouraging when we know you’re praying for us at other times.  If the Spirit has brought sent ones to your mind one day send them a text/email/viber/twitter/skype etc that you are praying for them.  We’ve experienced that when the Father is bringing us to the minds of our friends it’s because we are under an unusual spiritual attack or experiencing some difficulty.  During our first few months overseas a friend told me that she was waking up every morning at 3am thinking of us and was continually lifting us up in the middle of the night.  What she didn’t know was that at 3am her time was when our family was out walking far in crazy traffic trying to catch taxis to get our kids to school and get us to language.  It was by far the most stressful time of our day and the Spirit was leading her to pray for us when we needed it most.  There are many examples of this and while it’s not necessary that senders tell us when they are praying it sure is encouraging!  I think it also blesses them to know that they are in this battle with us and then get to hear how the Father answered their prayers with healing, a practical solution, or a national friend.  

2.  Encourage them in the Word.
One of the most difficult things about being in an unreached place is the isolation from community.  Not only are workers more than likely facing the most difficult challenges in their marriages, families, walk with the Lord, emotionally, and physically in their first year on the field they are facing it without the fellowship and encouragement of the local body.  One of the most encouraging ways our pastors have blessed us is by doing a devotional for us on Skype.  Being fed in the Word by people we love has brought a lot of healing.  You can also simply send them an email about what the Father is teaching you or text them some verses from the Word.  Even if it’s a verse that I have memorized, reading it in a text from a friend is reminding me of truth and a blessing.

3.  When Skyping…
We LOVE Skype calls with friends and family!  Sometimes we get the impression people back home aren’t sure what to say.  So here are some tips…  *Ask specific questions.  Sometimes when people ask, “So how are things going?” I get so overwhelmed I say, “We are good.” When I’m thinking, “Well, our kids are screaming every morning when we leave them at school, the mold in our house is really bothering me, someone has been sick for 3 weeks, we have been really hurt by our teammates, learning language is so exhausting I have nothing left for my kids and husband.…”  So if you really want to know how your workers are doing ask specific questions like, “How are the kids doing in school?”  or “How is your relationship with your teammates?”  This allows workers to give complete answers with honesty without being overwhelmed with all their struggles.  Pray for them on Skype.  Tell them how you are doing and how things are going in your city.  Oddly enough we don’t want to talk the whole time!  We love hearing how you are doing so we can stay connected to the body there.

4.  Send a team the first year for the purpose of care and encouragement.
This was one of the biggest blessings for us this year.  A small team from our sending body came for a week with the main purpose of feeding us the Word and encouraging us.  Every night one of the men lead us in a study and we had worship together.  At the end of the week we took the Lord’s Supper together.  They loved on our kids and allowed us opportunities to share our heart and our struggles.  Nothing can replace this face to face opportunity.  They also had a chance to share truth, meet national believers under persecution and see our life firsthand.  They then took all this and shared with the body back home so they can be praying more specifically.  If you are a sending body I would get on my knees and beg you to do this for your sent ones.  

We are legitimately in an active battle.  Knowing our partners are fighting along side is crucial.  This is my humble rookie opinion on how to so effectively.

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