Thursday, October 23, 2014

Birthday cards and internationally mailed homecooked meals

We got our first card from someone we don't know.

It's kind of a weird thing about being a missionary. Lots of people know you, pray for you, see your picture, and share your stories but you have never met them. We don't know the names of all the people who lift us up in prayer or who think of us on our birthday or who give an update about us to their missions committee.

We trust that they are there, though, because without them we wouldn't be missionaries.

Grace's brithday is coming up later this month and she got a card from Bob & Pat Smith (their names were not changed because their names are Bob & Pat Smith). A 7 year old's birthday is kind of a big deal.

Just in case you forgot.

So, even if you get a card from people you've never met, it's awesome.

There was much excitement when Grace opened the birthday card from from the aforementioned not-high-risk-of-identity-disclosure-so-I-didn't-change-their-names Bob & Pat and their congregation, which we'll be visiting in December. It was really special to sit at the kitchen table and listen to her read in halted 6.99 year old reading all about the weather, Bob & Pat's grandchildren in between peppered questions about being a missionary kid and hopes for a happy year. They described how our picture is on their Missionary Letter bulletin board.

What a gift for our children to be folded into the families of those who love and care for us as missionaries.

Supporting a missionary is more than the money. The money is necessary, let's be frank. The biggest thing I've read, however, in my internet trolling of missionary blogs is that missionaries are lonely. Sometimes they are literally lonely because they serve in an isolated location. Often, it seems, that missionaries are lonely because they're L.O.N.E.L.Y. Alone in a crowd. What makes you feel better when you feel alone in a crowd (because we've all felt that, missionary or not)? What makes you feel remembered?

A birthday card from a congregation that's never met you but is praying for you and celebrating with you?

How do you take care of your missionaries? This has really shaken up how we try to care for missionaries we support both locally and far flung. Cards, emails, home-cooked meals (not ideal for international mailing), and care packages (better for international mailing) are part of our routine now. And now that we've been on the receiving end, I realize that our commitment to missions is more than the monthly donation.

Grace's card -- embellished with some of her handiwork ;-)

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