Beyond Christmas: Remembering Supporters
The Christmas season is a unique time. It combines intense busyness and stress with instances of reflection and sentiment. Searching for Christmas gifts creates a conflict of emotion that mixes the tension of finding the perfect gift with the joy of giving the perfect gift. For Christians though, it is a time to love God by loving others through service and sacrifice.
Christmas is now several months behind us and for many, this means it has receded into something less than a memory. At the time it was a time of excitement and of finding ways to encourage and love one another. However, that need goes beyond just Christmas and extends into the rest of the year as well.
The same can be said of the relationship between missionaries and their supporters. Previously, I shared how supporters, especially churches, can look beyond Christmas to reach out to their missionaries (you can read that article here). However, that relationship works in both directions, and while I would urge supporters not to forget their missionaries throughout the year, neither should missionaries forget their supporters.
Limited by the resources of time and money, expressing thankfulness from afar can have limitations. However, this does not make it impossible nor does it minimize its importance. There are several options that a missionary can utilize, including the following:
- Send a thank you: First, always send a thank you when you receive a special gift from someone, especially around Christmas.
- Send a thank you: Send a thank you sometime during the year expressing your sincere appreciation for someone’s support.
- Send a card: Keep a list of your supporters’ birthdays and send birthday cards.
- Send a note: Many churches will let you utilize their bulletin to give an update or say thank you, so contact the church with a note of thanks to share.
- Send a note: Send a note of an encouragement at various times, especially if you know of a specific trial in a supporter’s life.
- Send a request: Send out a request to ask your supporters how you can pray for them.
These are not spectacular options, but they are significant in expressing appreciation.
While certainly a missionary’s primary ministry is on the field, sometimes it is necessary and helpful to remember those back home supporting you as well. However, it does require intentionality and organization. We keep several lists, including one of birthdays of supporters (or at least those who would share their birthdates) and at the beginning of every month schedule a card to go out. Another list includes dates of death of family members of supporters and friends and then either at the one-year mark or the first Christmas we send a card of encouragement. With the internet these days, it’s not as hard as it seems, as there are many services that will send out cards for you either by mail or email.
Life is hectic and ministry is active. However, that is the status of being for everyone. Your supporters recognize that, which makes your gesture of kindness more appreciated and noticed. It’s a small act of service that is significant in encouraging believers throughout the world