A Journey to Connect

Reflections on Making Connections with Missionaries

by Ray Withers October 4, 2018

For a long time, I have wanted to connect with a Tenth missionary in a personal, ongoing way. I envisioned knowing about their country and neighborhood, purpose of their mission, needs that I could help meet, and concerns that I could pray for. I’ve been following missionary news by praying through the monthly Outreach Prayer Calendar, attending some of the Sunday morning breakfasts with global partners, and listening to the messages of the missions’ conference speakers. All these resources continued to be informative, but I wanted to be personally connected with a missionary.

I was given the opportunity to express my desire to connect with a missionary by filling out a Missions Conference Response Card during the May Global Outreach Conference. The Global Outreach Commission contacted me and suggested fulfilling my request through Global Ties, the program for small groups to be connected to and look after interests of a specific global partner. My recent work with English language learners may have determined their further suggestion that we be assigned a missionary couple teaching ESL for a more intentional relationship.

Providence! Within two weeks, a member of the commission informed me that this couple would be coming to Philadelphia at the end of July and invited us to join them for lunch. We prayed, introduced ourselves, and learned about the couple’s long-term work in Asia. They gave us a description of their school's campus and what they do to be effective in the classroom and hospitable to the students they invite into their home. There was an easy exchange among us and that made me feel free to ask many questions.

The couple also shared some of their immediate concerns. There were family concerns and pressure the husband felt as he prepared to teach at a conference before they returned to Asia. We appreciated learning so much in a short but meaningful time. I hope it was likewise encouraging to the couple when my wife and I joined their team of supporters. 

We are learning what we can do to be connected to our global outreach family. The Global Outreach Commission provided us with a document that gives advice on how to write to missionaries in ways that will not compromise their safety. Their countries of service are represented by areas like Asia and the Middle East, and this is a reasonable standard to shield them and their work. In the couple’s newsletter, which keeps us connected and updated, they wrote freely about their country’s technology, the state of the family, dress styles, and transportation. However, when they spoke of their mission with the students, their personal requests were carefully crafted and embedded in very general statements about their hearts’ concerns for their students.

I also plan on staying connected with them by learning about their sponsoring organization on the web. It is wise to remember that the Lord promises sufficient provision in this life and in the life to come for those called to his service. One of the provisions in this life is family, so perhaps we can be a family to them as we stay in touch and pray for them.

This year, the fall Global Outreach Conference takes place at Tenth on November 2-4. During this conference, you can connect with global and local Tenth partners easily, just as we did at the lunch.