by Steve Heidenreich
The holiday seasons are upon us and are exciting days for everyone. It’s a time when many families get together and share many special times together. It’s a time to see family members whom you haven’t seen for a long period of time and get caught up with each other.
However, we must remember that this time of the year is very difficult for many of the missionaries around the world. They long to be with their families during this time of year and participate in many of the family get-togethers.
Our family is a missionary family, and we have spent many years on the mission field ourselves. We also have children and grandchildren living on the mission field today. The holiday season can become quite a chore for us because we also have children spread out across America. Because of this, we have to work at making the holidays a cheerful time for all of us.
Let me share with you some things that we have done in the past that may help you and your church with your missionary families during the holidays.
1. Technology has come a long way, and if we use it the right way it can be a big blessing in sharing the holidays with your missionaries.
First, the internet makes it possible for you to be in contact with your missionary families. Second, you have an opportunity to text, Facebook, or use some other method to keep up with your missionaries. Third, you have an opportunity to Skype them. We love to Skype with our children and grandchildren as often as we can.
2. Send packages for the holidays.
Everybody enjoys opening packages from someone. I can remember when we were serving in the Philippines and would get packages from back home. It was like Christmas, and everyone was so excited to open it. It also reminded us that we were not forgotten on the mission field during the holidays. We need to remember that during the holidays it is a difficult time for missionaries around the world. Many are separated from their loved ones and family during a time when we all have the opportunity get together with everyone.
When sending the package, make sure there’s something for everyone in the family. Be careful how you pack everything. Remember that this package may be traveling a long distance. It may have to go through extreme cold weather or very, very hot weather. It could be tossed to and fro and could be damaged someway. Be careful when packing individual items that they are packed securely and will not be able to mix with other things in the package.
I can remember one time when we were in the Philippines we received a package from the States. At that time, we had three children living on the field with us, and they were very excited about the ingredients of the package. Of course, most children like anything that is chocolate after being in the country for a long period of time. When we opened the package, the children discovered there were some snickers candy bars in the box. Without any hesitation my son Sam grabbed one of the snicker bars and started eating. We all were amazed after he took a couple bites that he started blowing bubbles. When we checked the box we found that they also had sent some liquid soap that had leaked out into the box. Although the children were a little disappointed, we all began to laugh and said, “We’ve got to eat the snickers bar so we all can blow bubbles at the same time.”
Also, make sure that you seal the box correctly. There are often many little creatures that like to crawl into the box while they are being shipped. After receiving another box that was shipped from the States, my son Steve was excited that he got his favorite cereal, Rice Crispies. He ran to the counter and grabbed a bowl, went to the refrigerator and got the milk out and sat at the table. As he poured the cereal in the bowl, he reached for the milk, but noticed that the cereal that was to snap, crackle and pop began to move. He was disappointed when he found out that there were some ants that had gotten into the box. Being the great missionary father that I am, I said, “No problem, I can take care of that.” I took the milk poured it into the bowl and of course the ants being so light floated to the top. I told Steve, “Go head, scoop them off and eat your Rice Crispies.”
3. Your church could help during the Christmas season by sending double support.
Most of the missionaries spend most of their finances to get the Gospel out and help many people in their area. It would be a great blessing to be able to spend a little on themselves for the holidays.
4. Please do something for those missionaries who are stateside or traveling on deputation.
You could invite them to your home to have a meal with your family. Most of your missionaries travel, and many of their meals are from fast food places. This will not only encourage them, but they would be a great encouragement to your family. You could help by sending them gift cards for gas to help them provide for themselves while on the road during the holidays.
5. Most of all, pray for them during the holidays.
Remember they are taking the Gospel to places where we cannot go, and where many people are so thankful for an opportunity to hear a clear presentation for the first time.
Christmas can be an exciting time of the year for your family, but don’t forget about your missionaries overseas. Help make your missionaries’ Christmas special by remembering them when they are far away from family and friends by following the suggestions above.
by Steve Heidenreich
Original article can be found at http://www.oldpathsjournal.com/articles/missions-minutes/1857-remembering-your-missionaries-during-the-holidays.html?showall=1