Missionary home assignment is a time when missionaries return to their sending country to rest, refocus and connect with their support base. While a big goal of missionary home assignment is time to recharge before heading back to the mission field, many missionaries will tell you home assignment is not always relaxing.
Traveling around their home country to see family, friends, supporters and sending churches can be wonderful, but it can also be tiring. Here are a few ways to serve missionaries on home assignment.
1. Arrange for Their Transportation
Since many missionaries won’t have a car in North America, it can be a huge stress to figure out how to get from place to place while on home assignment. From picking them up from the airport to lending your car for a period of time, the gift of transportation can greatly reduce the stress of preparing for home assignment.
2. Coordinate Their Housing
Missionaries spend the majority of home assignment traveling to connect with all of their family, friends and supporters across the country. If you have extra space or you know of connections in cities they will be visiting, send an email to let your missionary know. It could be a huge answer to prayer as they prepare to return.
3. Help Them Schedule Fun
Whether it’s a day away with a friend, a week-long getaway or a family outing, the gift of fun can help missionaries rest and recharge before heading back to the field. This could mean anything from ball game or amusement park tickets to the use of a timeshare or summer house. Your gift, no matter how big or small, could be a huge blessing of memories made.
4. Set Up Time to Share
Stories from the field can range from heartbreaking to inspiring, but they all point to the work God is doing through an ordinary person who said “yes” to his call. Many congregants first hear the call to support overseas work or to go themselves while hearing from other missionaries. Giving missionaries time to share helps the whole congregation connect with the work your church is supporting.
5. Give Them A Night Out
Being far away from home can be an added stressor to a marriage, so if you know a missionary family on home assignment, offer to babysit the kids, and encourage the parents to enjoy a date together.
6. Invite Them to Join Your Group
Even if missionaries will only be in town a short time, invite them to be a part of your small group or Bible study. They may not be able to make it every week, but the invitation lets them know they are a welcome and important part of your church family.
7. Keep Praying for Their Overseas Ministry
Just because the missionary is not on the field doesn’t mean the work stops! Many times, other missionaries or local leaders must step up to do the work of the missionary on home assignment. Keep praying for the ministry to grow and for the local leaders to thrive in their work.
8. Ask Intentional Questions
Many workers have said they feel like people back home don’t always want to hear about their life on the field. Let them know you care by asking questions about their day-to-day experiences. Some of my favorites are:
- What does your day look like on the field?
- What’s something you’ve been excited about lately?
- What’s grocery shopping like in your country?
By showing an interest in the details of their ministry, you are letting missionaries know you care about their life and work.
This is just a short list of ideas for serving your missionaries while they’re on home assignment. For more, check out 7 Critical Points When You Can Serve Your Missionary.