"You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God" (3 John 1:6).
In this passage a senior elder of the church commends Gaius for the way that he took great care of people who “went out in the Name” of Jesus. He asks him to continue doing so “in a manner that will bring honour to God.” As we, John and Anne Span, reflect on almost 20 years of being sent out as ambassadors for Jesus, we would like to reflect on the ways that churches and individuals have done the same.
- A person half-way across Canada (who taught Anne by distance education) consistently writes an encouraging note when we send out a newsletter.
- A pastor of one of our supporting churches drives over one hour to pay a pastoral visit and to take genuine interest in our lives, our souls, our hopes, and dreams and our family.
- A missionary family from a country much poorer than Canada, who struggle to raise their own support, press two bills of one-hundred Euros each into our hands in order to be a blessing.
- Someone phones our house and asks, “And how is your son, David? And how are his headaches?” Then they say, “I pray for him every day.”
- A person jots down a two-line note after a presentation at a church and says that they could sense the Holy Spirit speaking through our words.
- A leader at a mission organization takes us out for lunch and asks pointed questions about the challenges that we face.
- A person responds to a need to make our house a home when coming back from North Africa, and says, “Hey, I can help paint your place.”
- A senior pastor says, “Why should you have to walk around with your hat in hand to beg for funding?” “Let me take some of the pressure off of you.”
- A group of people from partner churches mobilize a fund-raiser, BBQ, auction, and send-off. We see the power of a supportive community.
- A person calls and asks, “Can you please explain why your studies are so important?” I respond and tell them that they will likely influence how missions to the 1.8 billion Muslims in this world is done. He asks, “Has this kind of study, which looks at what is not working too well in this area ever been done before?” I respond, “No, this is ground-breaking work.” He responds, “I get it, how can I help promote your work in our church?”
- A church wanting to do ESL outreach calls Anne and says, “We want to tap into your experience.” “Can you come and train us?” This makes Anne’s day as she loves to train other teachers.
- A family invites us over for coffee. They want to know about the challenges that missionaries face. They ask probing questions, as they have a close family member who is considering missions.
- A family and also a group visit us while we were living overseas. They blessed us with listening ears, were willing to undergo a lot of discomfort, they brought comfort food, clothing for the poor of that country, and even supersized fluffy towels.
- A missions’ representative at one of our supporting churches consistently brings news of the mission enterprise to the congregation and the pastor consistently prays for missionaries and their families.
- A kind family with a cottage suggests that a family who is somewhat tired from making cross-cultural adjustments, enjoy the loons at their lake, and then some.
- A group of deacons decide that some good Dutch cheese, Dutch licorice, and other Dutch treats will be a joy to our family. Indeed! Next year we hope that another group of deacons will favor Anne with some French toast, French coffee, and French croissants.
- A church that we have never visited sends us a Christmas card every year
- A missions’ organization sends us signed birthday cards and produce our prayer cards, and
- A church hosts a mini-conference on reaching out to neighbors of another religion. Their teachable spirit, and passion to reach the lost, encourage us greatly.
- A church hears that due to power outages we have to manually wash our clothes, or wait until the power comes. They have a fund-raiser to buy a large inverter which can run from our solar panels. Sleep is much sweeter when you are not doing the wash at 2 in the morning.
What do you see in this list that you could adopt or adapt for your church?
John and Anne Span
Serving in a partnership with Resonate Global Mission and another agency.