Thanksgiving is an excellent time every year to share a meal with loved ones and reflect on God's blessings. But let's not forget that all around the world there are people who have left their country of origin to fulfill the Great Commission.
For missionaries in the field, Thanksgiving can be particularly difficult. It's a reminder that they're far away from loved ones—and that loneliness often runs through the entire Christmas season.
If your church supports missionaries (or you know someone who is serving abroad), why not take some time to let them know that you’re thinking about them. Here are a handful of suggestions for doing so.
1. Send a care package
On the mission field, there's nothing like receiving those special items from home that you miss. Even though it will ruin the surprise, it's probably a good idea to touch base with them before you send something off. This way, you can send what they truly need or want, and you can find out whether they have to pay any fees or taxes in order to pick up particular items. Also, remember it might take a while to get to them. So finding out you were thinking of them might be the Thanksgiving treat, and receiving the package will be an entirely new surprise.
Make sure to include things that are personal like notes of encouragement, devotions, and prayers.
2. Set up an internet call
For missionaries in other countries, a Skype call with friends and family can be a Godsend. The only trouble is that they're usually in a different time zone, so it can make it challenging to pull off. But if your family is together overnight, why not make a plan to wake up together and touch base with your friend abroad.
Or why not reach out to others at church and arrange a time when you can all jump on a Skype call or Google hangout? This will mean a lot to those in the field.
3. Send a friend or family member
One of the kindest things your church can do is raise money and send a missionary's loved one to visit them. A personal visit is something that a missionary might pine for, but couldn't imagine actually happening. But if you get an early enough start, it's something your church could do to make their holiday truly special.
Remember, this person will need a passport and might even need some vaccinations before they’re cleared to travel to the country in question. So make sure you do your homework to ensure that everything is in order.
Remembering those who serve
The adage "out of sight, out of mind" shouldn't apply to those who have taken the gospel to another culture. And even if we don't have the opportunity to physically go to another country to share the gospel ourselves, we are still partners with those who do. It's important to remember that the holidays can be a rough time for them, and we should let them know that we're thinking of them and praying for them!
Learn how to prepare your testimony here.