Ministry Highlight: GEMS Missionary Encouragement

Carrie Givens Ministry Highlights, Outreach

From time to time we will be hearing from individuals in our congregation who serve in different areas of the ministry of Church at Charlotte as they share the stories of what God is doing in and through His body. Today’s post is from Nancy Little, who serves regularly with Outreach and serves Missionary Care in our GEMS ministry.

“Out of sight/out of mind.”

How many times have you used or heard this phrase?

Many years ago when we first moved to Charlotte, our son had a friend. They did everything together. He was in and out of our home on a regular basis and Mark was in and out of his home. We also became friends with this family over the years as we lived a few houses away from each other. Then his father got a transfer. They were going to move to Portland, Oregon.  It was hard on both the boys but it was the nature of his father’s job. This was in the mid-seventies when there were no cell phones and no computers. So Mark’s friend moved and you know what? Mark made other friends and soon his old friend was “Out of sight/out of mind.”

Think about when you move, the moving van arrives, the furniture is put in place, the boxes are unpacked and you begin to settle into your new routine. But you know there are still those few boxes in the garage that need to be unpacked. Well, you’ll get to them later. I had lunch with a friend the other day and she told me that she still had a box in her garage from her move to Charlotte in 1969!! Does this shock you? It shouldn’t. We are a society that is great on putting off what we do not want to do. Or we succumb to the tyranny of the urgent. I asked her if she knew what was in the box. She had no idea. You get the idea, “Out of sight/out of mind.”

Well, let’s think for a minute about the young couple in your church that has been called to the foreign mission field. God gave them a vision. They are so excited. The church, their family, and their friends get on board. Everyone is ready to help in any way. Before long they are buying airline tickets, getting rid of “stuff,” and closing up their life in the states for the place where God has called them. So, what happens next? They are no longer visible.  We can no longer call them on the phone. Gone is the fun time at the pizza shop with the children. Gone are the afternoons at the playground or the activities at church. Are they “Out of sight/out of mind”?

Our missionaries that are “out of sight” should never be “out of mind.” We now have technology available to us that allows us to connect with friends far away. Have you considered helping to support those you know that have left familiar surroundings to answer the call God has placed on their hearts through relationship? We find time for our friends while they live in our neighborhood, and now we have the chance to find time for them while they are “out of sight.” There are many different ways to keep in touch and let them know we are keeping them in our minds. We can email them, Skype or FaceTime with them, or even text them. If you don’t get missionaries’ newsletters, ask to get on their mailing list or email list and then reply to their letters or make comments on their blog. We can specifically comment on what they are doing, ask questions, and make sure they know you are praying for them. We can read between the lines of their letters and Facebook posts and listen to what they say with your heart. Try to determine if they are hurting, lonely, stressed, or overworked. Then see if there is a way you can ease their difficulty. Perhaps you can send them a package with some favorite candy bars or other items that they cannot get where they are living. We can keep the lines of communication open and tell them what is happening in our lives. Let’s not let these missionaries feel that just because they are “out of sight,” they are also “out of mind.”

If you are looking for a way to engage with the missionaries that Church at Charlotte supports, a great place to start is with our GEMS ministry. On the first Saturday of each month, a group of women gather in the kitchen of the Administration building on the SouthPark campus at 9:30 a.m. This group encourages missionaries supported by CAC through prayer, celebrating their birthdays, and inviting them to come and share about their ministry. All women are invited to participate as they are able.