For many missionaries, the Christmas season is full of opportunities to share the gospel with people in their community. While the holidays bring many joyful activities, they can also magnify feelings of homesickness for some missionaries. We’ve put together a list of 10 unique ways to give your missionaries support this Christmas.
1. Add them to your Christmas card list.
As you address your Christmas cards, be sure to include the missionary families you know. This keeps them connected with your family and lets them know you are thinking about them this holiday season!
TIP: Ask your missionary or their contact the best way to get cards and packages to them. While many countries can receive mail from the U.S., mail service isn’t reliable in some countries. Always be mindful of security concerns (such as words you can and can’t say in a letter or email) for countries that aren’t friendly to Christian workers.
2. Learn about their culture’s holiday traditions.
Send an email with “Merry Christmas” in the missionary’s new language, or bake a holiday goody from the missionary’s field. Let them know that, even with the distance, they are still an important part of your holidays.
3. Involve your kids.
Scott Andrews, a TEAM Missionary in Prague, writes, “Some of our friends, supporters and churches have had their kids make drawings for us and send them. They are proudly plastered to our walls and continually give us joy.”
You can involve your church’s children’s ministry in the holiday cheer, too. Last Christmas, missionaries in Japan were surprised to receive a virtual concert from children at their church who sang Silent Night in English and Japanese.
4. Send a taste of home.
Some familiar baking essentials aren’t easily available in other countries. Care packages with holiday goodies can help a missionary family carry on Christmas traditions in their new home. To find out the top nine things your missionary wants in a care package, check out this post.
5. Pray for new opportunities to evangelize.
More people will hear about Jesus during the Advent season than any other time of the year. Many people in other countries are curious about Christmas traditions and the meaning behind the holiday. This opens the door for many evangelistic conversations. Pray for the missionaries engaging in these conversations and the people hearing them.
Click here to download a short guide with more ways to pray for missionaries at Christmas. Make copies for you church bulletin or use it as a bookmark in your Bible as a reminder to pray.
6. Include them in your party.
Christmas brings parties and events with family and friends. While you celebrate, film a simple video on your phone telling a missionary “Merry Christmas.” For those in places where the internet isn’t easily accessible, have your party-goers sign a card or a picture. Letting missionaries know they are still included in your group and not forgotten is a special way to give a missionary support at Christmas.
7. Record and share your Christmas Eve service.
It can be hard for missionaries to miss beloved Christmas traditions at their home churches, too. Consider asking your church to record special Christmas concerts, plays or services. If your church livestreams their services, send your missionary a link so he or she can worship with you.
8. Consider the missionary kids in your community.
Many missionary children come back to North America for college and find themselves without a place to go for the holidays. Consider inviting them to join your celebrations this Christmas. The holidays can be difficult when your family is a continent away, but your invitation could help missionary kids feel more at home.
9. Share encouraging books and blogs.
On the mission field, it can be hard to find ways to grow spiritually, especially in areas without a Christian community. If you find a great blog or book your missionary might enjoy, send it their way and pray the Lord uses it to encourage them.
10. Make their Christmas wish come true!
Missionaries’ needs often stretch beyond their regular support — they need money for discipleship materials, supplies for the Lord’s Supper, transportation for volunteers and much more. Ask your missionary friends what needs you can give toward. Most likely, they’ll have an idea on the tip of their tongue. And your gift might be one of the most meaningful they receive this year!
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Do you have any ways you send your missionary support and extra love around the holidays? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2015, but has been updated with new information.