There is a lot of work going on at my house in the last couple of weeks. I have given my friend Nina the job of finishing the work of furnishing the apartment. She has been out of work for about 6 months, so was thrilled at the opportunity—especially since it means that we see each other every day until the work finishes, and weekly after that. There are many handyman jobs to be done here as well. Nina’s brother, Manuel, is a handyman who is also currently without work, due to the seasonal nature of his work (which is usually outdoor handyman work).
It is really nice to be able to bless these 2 friends, and ministry always moves ahead because the apartment is more and more ready to host missionary guests. Every day the apartment looks better and better. I can even begin to look forward to the day when I can have a grand opening party.
So, with all this work going on, I have also been emptying those remaining boxes, and finding all sorts of treasure. Here’s one from a Women of the Harvest retreat that I attended (By the way, Bethany hates the term retreat. She says that we’re Christians, and we should always be advancing. We should call them Advances, not Retreats):
15 Ideas to Encourage and Empower Missionary Women
5 Needs of Missionary Women
- To be spiritually mentored
- Feel connected
- To be known, understood, and prayed for
- To have a close friend
- Time away from ministry/life responsibilities
5 Simple Ways to Meet Their Needs
- Take 60 seconds to reply to their newsletter so they know you read it! Better yet, ask for more information regarding one of their prayer requests.
- Take 5-10 minutes to ask an intentional question about their personal/spiritual lives.
- Surprise them with a cash gift for a night out (or a weekend away)!
- Send cards via postal mail—a rare treasure in the day of electronic communication!
- Introduce them to the free resources of Women of the Harvest.
5 Ways to Advocate for Missionary Women
- Share with your church and friends what you’ve learned about the needs of missionary women.
- Ask your Missions Committee how they keep in touch with your missionaries. Do they Skype regularly?
- Ask if each of your missionary women have a spiritual mentor in their lives.
- Encourage your Missions Committee to take the Member Care quiz.
- Contact the parents or extended family of you missionaries to understand their needs.
These are all really good suggestions, and I have done most of them in my ministry of encouraging missionaries. In fact, I would add that for missionaries serving in Europe: educate people that Europe is a mission field. Whenever I return to the US, I bang that drum long and loud. I am tired of having my ministry minimized just because I live in Italy. It happens every time I return to the States. I hate to think of the missionaries who desperately need support, and their Christian brothers and sisters put their ministry down just because they’ve got indoor plumbing.
(Sorry, can you tell that it gets under my skin?!)
Speaking of encouraging missionaries, this came in my inbox this morning from Guideposts online: Be Enthusiastic! Be Full of God. The Greek root of the word enthusiastic means full of God. The mark of the Gift of Encouragement is enthusiasm. I can’t help it! It just comes bubbling up out of me. And my genuine enthusiasm often helps people see their ministry in a whole new light. I love having the Gift of Encouragement!
And finally, as most of you know, this is day 9 of my fast for understanding of these times—End Times, to know what’s ahead and how to prepare for it. So with that in mind, here’s an excerpt from a prophecy newsletter that I received this morning:
Follow Me, and I will lead you to the wells of life. I will give the living water to you abundantly. And, I will also feed you with the hidden manna. Not only will I feed you with that which has not been revealed, for it shall indeed become revelation to you, but I shall also walk with you in fellowship. You will know Me even more intimately than you know Me today and understand by way of revelation My purposes for this season. I am about to bring you higher than ever you have been before. Come to Me, walk with Me, be one with Me, and drink the waters that I give to you and eat the manna that I feed you. In the days ahead, you will realize what a great treasure is given to you at this time. Follow Me now. Come on, let’s go on a journey, you and I together; a journey of joy in which you will experience the power of the kingdom of God; a journey in which your righteousness will be elevated and thus the power of it shall flow out before you; a journey in which you will have victory over all the works of the enemy, says the Lord Almighty. (Emphasis mine.)
Well, who can help but be enthusiastic with encouragement like that straight from my Father? God is good!