If your son, daughter, grandchild, cousin or friend will be serving on a team, consider how you can walk alongside him or her in the coming weeks. As a short-term missionary, they will experience new cultures, close relationships with others, and amazing opportunities to see the Lord at work in new environments.
Here are a few ways you can walk with them in the journey…
- Lift him daily as he prepares his heart and mind for the mission.
- Pray regularly for each team member before, during and after the mission.
- Pray that the Lord will break the hearts of the team members for the needs of the people they will be serving.
- Pray for the missionaries who are hosting the team. Pray that the Lord abundantly blesses the ministry follow-up upon the team’s departure.
- During the mission, use the team’s daily schedule to pray specifically for each area of ministry.
- Pray for travel safety en route as well as in the on-site transportation.
- Form a prayer group during the mission project to pray daily for the team. Keep a journal and be amazed later how God worked through this ministry of prayer.
- Pray through the same scripture verses the team will be focusing on during the project. If possible, acquire a copy of the team devotional and pray through it as well.
- Hear your students’ concerns about the mission project. Common concerns include team dynamics and friendships, sleeping arrangements, food, bugs, even fear of flying. Don’t try to fix things but do encourage her to talk with the mission team organizer.
- Encourage her to listen and to read emails from the mission team organizer. The details become overwhelming — packing lists, children’s ministry preparations, departure and arrival times, etc etc etc.
- When she returns, allow her space to process her mission. As she begins to share, prompt with questions such as: How did you see God in that situation? How will that impact your decisions here at home? But above all … listen and hear more about what she learned than what she did.
- Talk with your student about his mission destination. What are the needs of the people? What is the ministry focus of the full-time missionaries? Do they minister to orphans, give medical care, plant churches, build water wells? Get to know how they grow the Kingdom.
- Share info about family plans while he will be out-of-town but spare the guilt about missing Great Aunt Edna’s 95th birthday celebration in the nursing home.
- Talk with family members and resist the temptation to depart for the family vacation the evening of the morning when your student returns from the mission project. A gentle re-entry will help him better process lessons learned.
- Speak your blessing over him, confident that the Lord is ever-present in his life and throughout the upcoming mission.
- Help your student gather the packing list items. Allow her then to pack for herself. You will not be around to find things in the suitcase during the mission!
- Encourage her to keep a journal before, during and after the mission. The stories of God’s work will then testify to His Presence for many years to come.
- Slip a note in her suitcase. What a fun surprise to find an encouraging word from home in the middle of the week!
- Offer to help the mission team organizer with last minute phone calls, collecting forms, etc. This allows the leader to focus more on the students than on the admin demands.
- Surprise the mission team leader and other adult leaders with a dinner-to-go when they pull into the church parking lot upon their return. What a wonderful way to bless them for their ministry by sending them home to their family with a lasagna, salad and garlic bread!
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?
And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?
As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”