The Suitcase: How Ministry Partners Can Impact the Field
“It was one of those head-down, gritted-teeth, just-think-good-thoughts kind of weeks.”
Alex, a missionary in Kandern, Germany, received a massive suitcase— you know, the clunky kind you only use for moving or storage— as a care package from his home church in Canada. It was filled with notes of encouragement, snacks, peanut butter, knick-knacks from home, and a bulletin from the church service that week. From the combined effort of many to fill the suitcase and a very gracious friend who lugged it all the way from Canada, Alex was strengthened in his call to ministry and encouraged to press on.
But little did they all know, there were more hearts to be reached by this act of kindness.
The mother of the German family Alex lives with saw the care package and was inspired to send one to her son. For many years he was far from the family and as far as they knew, far from God. In the package she put items from home as well as a Christian book and sent it off to her son. About two months later, she received a message from her son— he had been reading the book, on the beach in Malta, and decided to recommit his life to Christ. When she heard his voice on a phone call a few days later, she knew in her heart the decision was real.
In Philippians 1:3-6 Paul says to the church in Philippi, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
When a church, family, or individual decides to support a missionary, it is not just an exchange of money, but an opportunity to participate in the gospel going forth. Just as the members of Alex’s church reached with open arms across the ocean to embrace him and just as a mother outstretched her arms to her beloved son, so too can we act, give, and pray boldly for those in ministry and have ripple effects into eternity.
During this global pandemic, we can be tempted into living in fear of scarcity. Scarcity of resources, community, and yes, apparently even toilet paper. As the economy suffers and people’s lives are greatly affected, now, maybe more than ever, missionaries need their supporters— not just to help make ends meet, but to remind them that they are not alone, their ministry does not rest solely on their isolated shoulders, and that the body of Christ is still living, active, and at work.
No one from this church in Canada may have thought that sending a package full of Christmas baking and sports memorabilia would lead to someone they didn’t know giving their life to Christ. But shouldn’t we expect nothing different from our great God?
During this pressing season, how might God be calling you to partner with Him and His people, in generous and unique ways, to continue reaching the world with the hope of Christ?
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About the authors:
Grant and Naomi are storytellers with Greater Europe Mission and will also be serving in Birmingham, England. Check out grantandnaomi.com to learn more.