Here's a few quick ideas you can use to help support your favorite missionary as he or she serves around the globe.
1. Everybody travels. And a lot of folks travel to visit, or serve with missionaries in other countries. Open a frequent flyer account, accrue your miles, and then transfer them to your missionary. It will cost you nothing, but this can really be a Godsend to a missionary.
2. Give 'em a job. That's right, give your missionary a job when they are in the US. I was traveling with a friend last year and he shared that when his brother is home on leave, a Christian school hires him to help out around the campus and share about his missionary journeys.
Recently, a friend of mine hired me to work part-time at his factory. Now I suck at factory work, but I am getting better, so it is working out. And it is a win win situation. He gets trusted part-time help when he needs it, and I get a little extra income, just like my friends brother.
3. Make a missionary your missionary in residence at your church when they are home. Maybe this is for only 1 or 2 months but believe me, everyone will be blessed. Have them preach and teach, and then pay them. A good salary for their time. Yes, I know you'll have to budget this in, but imagine if you are a pastor and you know a trusted friend will be in the pulpit for you. This could be the break in your annual schedule that will keep you fresh and allow you more time to connect personally with your congregation.
Plus you congregation gets a chance to hear in more detail about the mission they are supporting, rather than the usual 10 minutes we are accorded in most churches.
You want your church to support and love missions? Show them how important missionaries are when they come home.
4. Arrange a vacation for your missionary. It does not have to be something extravagant and with time shares abound, maybe you can do this where your missionary is serving.
We get tired serving on the field and usually our time in the states is filled up looking for more support, so it is not very relaxing. A chance to take a week on the beach, in the mountains, or just sitting by a pool with no responsibilities is a luxury few missionaries will ever have unless someone steps up to the plate.
5. Send a gift card. Maybe there is a book we have needed or some music we could use, either personally or for our ministries. A gift card from Apple or Amazon is something that could really benefit your missionary and their ministry.
I know some of you have heard me mention a few of these ideas before, but I do not want you to forget them. And I don't want you to forget your missionaries. While we are all on the front lines of ministry, oftentimes when you serve "over there" it is just a little bit more lonely and difficult.
Sometimes the personal support from home can be the biggest encouragement for us.