Teams and interns on the mission field can be a breath of fresh air for the missionary. Not only has my family been encouraged by the fellowship, the people we serve have been touched as well.
In a country where there may not be a special revival preacher or a conference in a sister church, having someone come through and lovingly teach the same truths that we have been laboring to instill in the people can have a great impact. Our people have been challenged by the teachings, testimonies and examples of so many of our visitors. It’s a new face on the same story, and, sometimes, the message seems to sink in hearts in a way it never has before.
Even with language barriers, it is possible to let them walk away and feel like they were not just tourists but were able to be used on the field. Here are a few of the many ways groups have blessed our ministry:
- Visiting ladies have spoken to our church ladies. One commented that despite taking many missions trips, she’d never been given that opportunity before, and she and our ladies were blessed.
- Young ladies have brought crafts and done them with our women and teen girls and followed with Bible study. It’s hard to know if the visitors or the church people had the most fun.
- A young woman gave her testimony to our young ladies about waiting on God to bring her the right man and getting out of a relationship that wasn’t His will. The young ladies continued to ask about her and rejoiced with me when she got married last year.
- Since many of our people walk to church a young man went from house to house bringing children to church. This walking route continued after he left.
- Visitors of all ages have participated in handing out hundreds of tracts in our church vicinity. A group of foreigners attracts people, and that works to our advantage.
- Groups have conducted vacation Bible schools in different parts of the country. VBS is hard for the missionary to carry out alone in a country where it’s not been done much before. Countless children and even adults have been exposed to the gospel and our church people have had a wonderful example of how to teach youngsters!
- Some young people have offered free summer English courses using the Bible in their lessons. We have seen salvation decisions through these programs.
- A medical team has given free medical services and our pastors followed up by giving the gospel.
- Teams have painted buildings, benches, and more as a testimony that they love the Lord, his work, and the people of this country.
Visitors to our country have been involved in so many aspects of the ministry, but their biggest influence has come from how they have loved us and our people.
They have hugged on and played with children, tried to learn little bits of the language, and done their best to meet people where they are. They have eaten termites and caterpillars. They have sat on the ground in the village when there weren’t enough benches. They have crammed into our hot car like sardines, cleaned up after my sick children, kept our children so we could have a date night and done the dishes when I was too tired.
They have helped me see the country through new eyes and encouraged me in ways they will never know. Many of them have left a lasting testimony that our people and our family will never forget, and some are even coming back as permanent missionaries.
Pray for those taking missions trip and support their efforts to go. Ask God how He could use you in His mission around the world to encourage those who have gone and consider if He might send you, too. You won’t regret seeing what He is doing in the lives of those He loves in all corners of the globe. You won’t be unchanged.
Pray. Send. Go.