I adore the holiday season in the United States. In October, I love drinking hot cider and taking the kids trick-or-treating. In November, I look forward to eating my sister’s sausage and cornbread dressing and my mother-in-law’s pie on Thanksgiving Day. In December, I love curling up inside with a cup of cocoa, watching snow fall; attending candlelit Christmas Eve services; and joyfully spending Christmas morning surrounded by loved ones. I’m guessing you enjoy many of these things, too!
But for many missionaries across the globe, the holiday season can be one of the hardest times of year. There is likely no trick-or-treating, turkey can be prohibitively expensive (if it can be found) and hot drinks sound terrible when you’re still sweating in the year-round tropical heat! Not to mention the heartache that comes with knowing that you won’t be able to celebrate with family.
Often, missionaries find new and special ways to celebrate the holidays (our family, for example, just spent Thanksgiving in the Haitian countryside, eating traditionally prepared pork and barbecued chicken – and we plan to wake up Christmas morning on the beach!). These new traditions are good and we embrace them, but the distance that separates us from loved ones is never far from our minds.
Can I encourage you to take a moment this holiday season to encourage a missionary? Not sure how to do that? Here are a few ideas!
● Include them on your Christmas card lists
● Send a care package (if they can receive them) or an online giftcard
● Write an email letting them know you are thinking of them
● Send a special contribution to their ministry and tell them you appreciate their service
● Have your child draw a special picture to send to a missionary kid
● Let them know that you are praying for them
Your missionary will thank you for showing your love for them during this oft-difficult time of year!
A list of all the missionaries serving with MAF, can be found at www.maf.org/about/missionaries. To email MAF missionaries, follow this format: first letter of first name + last name + @maf.org. Use all lower case letters without any spaces—for example, John Doe’s email address would be firstname.lastname@example.org. Email Elizabeth (nickname: Liz) at email@example.com.