We all have people who have invested in our lives. Most of us have experienced the joy of those relationships as well as the sadness that comes when they end. Over time people move, change jobs, change churches, or end up in different seasons of life that bring new friendships more fitting for the time and we are left with our pictures and memories.
One of the joys of being a missionary, sustained by the prayer and finances of ministry partners, is having a reason to connect or re-connect with friends and family. I have LOVED getting to re-establish relationships and deepen existing friendships with the people on my support team.
I have coached in 3 states, lived in 7 cities, worked for 6 organizations, spent 2 summers in 2 countries, and attended numerous churches and small groups. I have family, co-workers, friends, and former students all over the world. I have shared a lot of life with a lot of people and knowing it’s not possible to sustain all these relationships that has always bothered me.
It’s unfortunate that we are limited in our daily capacity for how many meaningful relationships we can maintain. However, for me, the number and depth of significant relationships have increased tremendously by being a missionary who has a support team.
The first step to creating your team is making a list of all the people who have been a part of your life over the years. Many of us reminisce about the past but my reminiscing included reconnecting and getting to share what God had been doing in my life and what He is doing through Emmaus Ministries. I loved getting to connect with the friends I have made over the last 36 years and sharing about the things going on in our lives.
When someone joins your support team, you have a new connection and reason to stay in touch. Even when you live in different cities, you are linked together by a mission and you are connected to each other. My life was richer after I spent time with so many people this summer.
During the first half of my visit alone I spent time with:
- My former employers at Franklin Christian Academy
- My Resident Director from college
- Dear family friends in Milan
- Two girls I started coaching in 2010
- The parents of two players I coached
- 3 kids I fell in love with when I worked at a day care in college (who are now in college themselves)
- Two friends from two small groups
- Three siblings I taught at FCA
- A young lady I met when I worked at Mercy Multiplied and later mentored for 1.5 years
- A former student and another student’s mom
- My mom’s Bible study leader
Connecting and re-connecting with people who have been a part of my life has been a huge blessing and I’m so thankful.
Reminiscing and catching up are always fun, but my favorite part is the depth of conversation that comes when people are joining your ministry and you instinctively talk about God. It’s common for relationships to revolve around small talk rather than the deeper things in life such as our relationship with God. That is not the case with my supporters. All our dinners, coffee meetings, phone calls, and texts revolved around the things that really matter in life. Our conversations were encouraging, inspiring and some were full of tears due to earthly struggles but all of them made my life richer and led me to prayer when I left.
I am now deeply connected to a group of people that are pouring into my life in so many unexpected ways. My goal is to invest in them as well. I pray regularly that God will bless them spiritually, relationally, and financially as they are a blessing to me.
2 Cor 9:11-13- “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
Deut 15:10- “You shall generously give and without a grudging heart; God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.
- Having a meaningful relationship between missionaries and supporters.
- Answering honest questions people have about supporting missionaries.
- How my generosity has increased since becoming a missionary.
- Ask a Missionary- What questions do you have for missionaries?
- Interviews with some of my friends who are missionaries.