It was 1992, after only two years on the field, and we were heading “home”. At least in the minds of our fellow Americans. So our assertion of, “This isn’t home for us; we’re going back,” brought looks that clearly asked, “Haven’t you had enough?”
We’d left full. Full of big dreams and great plans. But finance trickled in, and we struggled to put food on the table. An unsettled debt hanging over our heads didn’t help, taking a good chunk of that already small pie.
So we decided to temporarily move back to the USA, where everyone greeted us with, “Welcome home!” And though we were happy to see friends and family once more, it wasn’t home, and we knew it never again could be. For God had transplanted our hearts.
During that trying time, which stretched into a year a half, due to Mario’s nearly fatal chainsaw accident, someone from a Barnabas Ministries spoke at our church. I don’t remember his name, or where he was from, and my online search unearthed many works with that appellation.
But their purpose of lifting up the weary hands immediately struck a chord with us. So many missionaries face discouragement, feeling they have nowhere to go. No one to turn to. This is more true than most of us begin to imagine, and we thank God for the Barnabas ministries that are out there.
But one statement, in particular, made during that meeting stuck in our minds.
We expect to see great works on nickel and dime offerings.
This is so true. How many missionaries get asked, “Is that all you’ve done in all this time?” And even when unspoken, the question often hangs in the air. Leaving the missionary even more discouraged than before.
Most missionaries we know personally struggled to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table, and the bills paid with nickel and dime offerings. Yet others expect them to do great things, and build up great works.
It’s a sad, but often true, missionary reality. And so this post is a call for help! And a call to ministry!
Start your own personal Barnabas Ministry!
And encourage the missionaries you know, or that your church supports. Or, if your church doesn’t support any, talk to your pastor about getting involved in this needy area.
What you can do:
Prayer is at the top of the list, because it is the absolute greatest need, both for the missionary, and for those they are trying to reach or serve. Pray for their needs. Pray for the people they ask you to pray for. And pray for the doors that they need to see opened.
STAY IN TOUCH!
Between mail, email, social media, and Skype—that should be easier than ever, right?? And how can you pray effectively, it you don’t know what’s going on?
BE OUR LIFELINE OF FELLOWSHIP!
Many missionaries, like us, live and work in isolated areas. We have little or no fellowship. And notes or even verses of Scripture that show you’re thinking and praying for us help a lot!
SPOIL THEIR KIDS!
Missionary kids give up a lot for their parents’ choice. Far from friends and family, and it’s harder to make friends across language and culture barriers. Dollar store goodies stuffed in a padded envelope are great little gifts!
SHOW REAL INTEREST IN THEIR WORK!
Find out what’s going on. What they’d like to do, and see happen. Learn of their struggles, their fears, their burdens.
DON’T TALK ABOUT YOUR LATEST FABULOUS VACATION!
We’re happy for you. We really are. But sometimes it’s a little hard to swallow when our children go without needed clothing, or we see villagers around us struggling to put food on the table.
AND LET US KNOW ABOUT YOUR LIFE!
We care about all the folks back home, and wish we could be more connected. We want to know how you are and what’s going on. And we want to know how we can pray for you, or what ways we can better encourage you!