Home assignment can be busy and stressful. Invite them round for a home-cooked meal and a good chat. Have you read any good books recently that may benefit their personal growth or ministry work? Why not share these with them. If they have children, include them in Sunday School and youth group events.
Our missionaries in Africa often don’t have access to the same resources that we have back in the UK. You could send out books, ideas or creative suggestions to help them in their ministry.
Ask good questions and listen well. Ask about significant joys or discouragements. Ask not only how they are doing, but about their work, and try to learn all you can about the people and ministry where they are serving.
Consider putting up a missions notice board filled with pictures, newsletters and updates from your missionaries. You could involve your Sunday School classes or home groups by ‘adopting’ a missionary to pray and care for.
Receiving a thoughtful letter or parcel is a real blessing and can help with homesickness when out in the field. Consider sending cards and small gifts at Christmas and birthdays. Small reminders of home can really help missionaries to feel cared for.
Commit to supporting the work of God through giving. Regular support shows missionaries that you are committed to their ministry. Giving financially is an easy, practical way for a church to partner with missionaries and to show that you are sharing in their mission.
This may not be possible for everyone, but a short term team or pastoral visit is a great way to care for and be involved in their ministry, and to show that your church is committed to supporting them. Sending visitors to pray, watch, and learn can both encourage your missionaries and help your church develop a deeper understanding of their work
Send them church newsletters and bulletins - keep them up to date with what’s happening. Do you record sermons and worship services? Consider sending them a CD with copies of the recordings. If you are able, try and involve them in church life remotely. Ask them to send you a video, or schedule to have them skype chat or phone call during your home group or Bible studies.
Modern communication tools have made keeping in touch with your missionaries easy. Most have reasonable phone signal and internet connection. A thoughtful text or email can really help encourage and lift them up. Flood their inbox with love and support. It doesn’t all need to be ‘spiritual’ - a quick update about family, school and work can help keep missionaries feeling connected to life back home.
As well as praying for them on your own, you can bring your missionary’s prayer needs before your church. Distribute their prayer letters to members of your church and small groups. Don’t forget to help your church kids to pray! Ask for specific prayer requests and let them know that your are praying for these things. You could organise a prayer group for your missionary and let them know so they can be encouraged. You could even Skype them during one of the prayer meetings so you can share with them in support.