My husband and I are going on a mission trip to Guatemala this summer. We’re a little nervous and excited. We’ve never been on a foreign mission trip before. Aside from taking an expensive field trip, how can your class support missionaries who work all over the world?
1. Pray for them.
It seems too easy, doesn’t it? Maybe, but we can’t discount the power of prayer. I have printed out missionary prayer calendars like this one and used them in my classroom. You can pray together as a class and ask them to remember the missionaries on weekends and when they’re home.
2. Become pen pals.
Do a little preparation as the teacher, and contact some missionaries. Once you’re sure they’re on board for the project, you can let your class write to the missionaries. Compose a class note or have them write individual notes and include them in a care package. I encourage you to let the missionary know that you’ll be doing this for one time or one whole school year, so they know what to expect. Also, ask them what they like to receive. Many have access to email, but would love physical cards and letters. They may also miss some things from back home that are easy to send, such as hot chocolate mix or jelly beans.
3. Host them.
When the missionary has a furlough or is finished with her mission, ask her if your school can host her for a few days. You will need to coordinate housing, food, transportation, etc. She can visit your classrooms and talk to your church about the missionary experience.
4. Raise money.
Most missionaries have to raise all the money they need to get to their mission, support themselves, and buy resources. Consider raising money through chapel offerings, special fundraisers, and ongoing collections. Be creative! Sometimes you can raise money, then buy resources and send them yourselves.
Not sure where to start? I have had a few very rewarding interactions with Mission Central in Iowa. I encourage you to go to that page and just look around. They have lots of free resources and can provide you with great experiences supporting missionaries (in a variety of ways.)