Missionaries write letters. It really isn’t anything new. The Apostle Paul wrote letters. He was raising supporters in Romans, rebuking in Galatians, and then Corinthians…well, there was a lot going on Corinthians.
These communications go by different names – Missionary letters, Prayer letters, Ministry Updates, etc. Some missionaries have written hundreds of these update letters. (On a side note, someone should think about collecting a missionary’s letters and having them bound as a memory book for a retiring missionary.)
Here are some recommendations to the reader – from my perspective as a missionary, and some recommendations to the writer – from my perspective as a reader. And in neither, reader nor writer, am I an expert!
1. Please don’t sign up for all missionary updates. If you are not interested in the ministry at all, don’t feel obligated to write down your address. You don’t get bonus points with God for having 100 missionary emails a day filtered into spam.
2. Please don’t ignore the ones you do sign up for. You don’t have to memorize it. Just read it.
3. Please don’t discredit the thoughts. Give us grace in the gramer and speling. Our thoughts will be scrambled and our words will be englishized from some other language.
4. Please don’t read it and move on. Pray for one thing. Maybe a person, maybe a need, maybe an opportunity, but pray right then.
5. Please don’t assume that someone else will respond. A one sentence reply can be a huge encouragement!
6. Please don’t miss Jesus. If you are stunned at how awesome we are, you missed it…we missed it.
Now, as a reader of many missionaries’ letters, Dear Missionary:
1. Please show us what God is doing in your life and those around you. Is he changing you? Is he softening hearts? Is he totally disrupting your plans? Please tell me.
2. Please encourage us in seeing God’s greatness. Tell us what you know he is capable of. Tell us what you are burdened to pray for right now. Remind us that he has greater plans than we can fathom.
3. Please challenge us to be proclaiming the same God where we are at. I need to start thinking that God can work in my neighbor’s life like he is in your’s. You have some great ideas, encourage me to think outside my little box.
Some missionary updates I wait for in anticipation. I get excited when I get them, and when I finish reading them I am refreshed, thankful, prayerful, and challenged. I thank God for them.