2018 was a BUSY year of travel for us. We presented in over 70 churches! It was a huge learning curve as I managed young children, pregnancy and then a newborn along with the challenge of full time travel. As we traveled, there were so many churches that took such good care of us! And in particular, there were many ladies that were a special blessing to me. I want to share with you some ideas that I got along the way of how you can be a blessing to missionary wives that visit your church.
Often when missionaries would bring their wives I would try to talk with them and show an interest and sometimes have them in my home for a meal, but I wasn’t really sure what else I could do for them.
First, some things to understand.
- The missionary wives are just like you. God has called their husbands to a different field, most likely foreign, but as women, they are normal people!
- Most of these women have been traveling quite a bit. If they seem a little tired or distracted, that’s why. 🙂
- If they have young children, they are extra tired! (big smiles)
- The missionary wife is coming looking for a way to be a blessing to YOU!
- Many missionaries have health issues that are not visible on the outside.
- The missionary wife is probably passionate about the field where they are headed or have been serving. It’s always a safe topic to ask her questions about the field.
1.Make them something homemade.
You would be surprised at how little the missionaries get home cooked meals. It’s not always necessary (or possible) to serve a whole meal. One of my fondest memories is when a sweet lady (also a mom of young kids!) dropped off some homemade muffins one morning. It was the start of a lovely friendship that has continued on ever since we met. We now joke about the power of blueberry muffins. What really spoke to me about the whole thing was her thoughtfulness!
What’s your specialty? Is it soup? Make a batch for them to have when they need lunch. Is it cookies? A small plate of fresh cookies is almost always welcome. Whatever it is that you’re good at, most likely the missionary will enjoy it. Always check for dietary needs though.
2. Ask good questions.
As I mentioned before, the missionaries love to speak about their field. I can also tell you, most missionaries won’t go on and on about it unless asked. In the past, I’ve often wondered what to ask. I didn’t want to seem too nosy or, on the other hand, ignorant. Ask them what it’s like to live there. What’s something unique to their culture? What’s the language like? Are the people there friendly? What do the houses look like? What is it like cooking over there? How are the foods different? Just give them any opportunity to talk about the field and you’ll be surprised at what you can learn!
Avoid asking questions that are too generic. “What’s it like to live in Africa?” May be a little difficult to answer. You can also ask questions about their travels. Where have they traveled to recently? Have they seen any interesting sites or had any interesting experiences?
And of course, one of the best questions you can ask is what you can specifically pray for. Sometimes there are needs that may not go out on a monthly prayer letter. And don’t expect the missionary wife to bare her soul to you with everything on her heart. But maybe there is a specific need that needs prayer that week. Be genuine in your commitment to pray for her. Ask her for contact information so you can check up on that request you prayed for.
3. Be attentive to needs.
It can be rather tiring to stand at a table and talk for a while, although it’s also a wonderful time of fellowship! Here are some things you can look for to help meet her needs:
- Does she have young kids that have energy to burn? Offer to supervise their play so she can focus on conversation. Or maybe offer some paper and crayons to give them something to do. Or even just offering to be her eyes on the kids for a few minutes can be a relief. If you see that she is distracted by her children, offer to walk with her or acknowledge her need to look after her children. It’s often a lot of pressure for moms to look after their children and still be available for conversation.
- Offer her some water or coffee/tea as she talks. The gesture alone means so much!
- Avoid the question “Do you need anything?”. She will almost definitely say “no”. Better questions to ask are, “Do you like chocolate?” And “here’s some chocolate”. HAHA! Just kidding. But really…Chocolate is almost always a good idea. 😉 Instead, just offer. “I would like to bring you some food. When would be a good time?” Or ask something like, “What kind of drinks do you like? What’s your favorite treat? What do your kids like for snacks?” There’s a chance it will not work for them, but most likely they will welcome the offer. Healthier options are usually best as many missionaries try to maintain their health on the road.
I hope that this will be a help to you as you interact with missionary wives. The honest truth is that every lady is different, but each one will appreciate your effort to make them feel welcome. Take interest in them as a person and it will speak volumes! So next time you have a missionary in your church and he brings his wife, think of things that would make you feel special, and most likely it will also make her feel special.
Alyssa, along with her husband Benjamin and her two children, are preparing to go to Northern Thailand as missionaries. Other than cuddling up with her toddlers and their favorite books, Alyssa enjoys music (playing and listening), baking, reading, and sharing what God is doing in her life. Read Alyssa’s salvation testimony here and read more about Alyssa’s every day life in Thailand here.