When Jonathan and I decided to move to Georgia and become part of Vision Baptist, I was excited! I love meeting new people and making new friends. I had no idea how dear so many of these friends would become over the years.
It’s so important for a missionary family to have a great sending church…one that is passionate about missions, one that believes in the missionary family, and one that is excited to see what God will do. The sending church and also supporting churches play a vital role in the life and ministry of a missionary. They hold the ropes. They sacrifice, give and pray. They work together in what our church refers to as the Goer-Sender Coalition. I am so thankful for my sending church!
But, I’d like to look deeper into my sending church and look at my sending friends. They too, are deeply committed and involved in the Great Commission and in the lives of the missionaries they send. These are the people that collectively make up the church but individually, they are my friends. These ladies take their sender roles seriously. They have invested in me and others like me in so many ways.
I’d like to give some examples of ways that these sending friends have made an impact in my life. I could really go on forever about all the kindness and love these friends have shown me and my family, but here are a few examples.
- Hospitality- These ladies have opened their homes to the church and to my family on many occasions. They’ve let me see their messy floors, dirty kitchens, and energetic kiddos. They’ve shared their time and energy when I’m sure they could’ve probably been doing other things. They have listened to my problems and prayed for answers. They’ve included us in their family gatherings for birthdays and holidays while we’ve been away from our own family…in fact, they’ve become our family.
- Generosity- I’ve never been around a more giving church. These ladies have given to so many over the few years that I have known them. They have brought meals to my family, they have given us countless gifts for our children, they have been there for the big moments in our lives. They aren’t afraid of the work that comes with generosity. Giving is in their nature.
- Teaching- The Bible talks a lot about the older women teaching the younger. I think this might be hard for a missionary wife to admit…we feel like we’re supposed to have it all together. But if the goers will be humble enough to admit it, we could really learn a LOT from our sending friends. Some of my friends have taught me things like sewing, cooking, planning events, teaching children, how to keep a good attitude when my kids are driving me crazy, and so much more.
So, maybe you’re reading this today and thinking how amazing these women sound. The truth is, they are amazing!
But also, the truth is that they have simply shared their lives with me. They didn’t overlook an opportunity for friendship, ministry and blessings just because our time together will be short. The things that stand out in my mind are so simple, so common and everyday. But that’s part of what makes them so wonderful.
Every missionary needs a sending church. But more than that, every missionary needs sending friends.