“Missionary time and emotional energy should be spent 30% on their support teams, 30% on their families, and 30% on actual field work”. This is how I counsel new missionaries. In real life, I have no idea how our time and energy actually gets distributed, but if we lose any one of these three areas of responsibility, our impact is seriously weakened.
Each Missionary is Part of a Big Support Team
Over 18 years ago Danny Meyer brought a team from Columbus, OH, for a short-term outreach. They stayed in our home that first time, and the Lord really drew us together. We lived on the edge of a swamp, in the middle of the city. The rats would sometimes scurry across the living room even as we visited. As Danny, and his wife Penny, continued to come to Altamira every year with teams, they introduced us to Craig and Linda Heselton. The Heselton’s started bringing teams. I think they came for over ten years in a row. Phil and Judy Niemie also came on these teams, and we ended up staying in each of these homes, just now, for two or three nights each. These friends became like Aunts and Uncles to our children. Every year they would come stay in our home, and they were there to see our children grow up from babies to adults. They brought gifts, and stories, and goodwill. Because a Christian outreach team is focused on ministry, there is always as special sense of Jesus’ presence all around the time they are there. Now all of these friends have grandchildren!
The People Who Come Full-time as Missionaries Become Like Family
Very close to our family are all the people who came to live and serve with us full-time, to help Train Leaders and Plant Churches in Brazil. Kevin and Angie came for five years. Ron and Tiffany came for two years. (They had no children then). Tim and Betsy Kubacki came for five years. (They are now serving in Angola). Our girls were best friends with the Kubacki children. Now, as teen-agers, even though they have not seen each other for four years, they could pick up right where they left off in their friendships. Keith and Marsha have been in Brazil about nine years, and are still there. We were able to see all these people, and even several more with similar stories, to encourage them in their journeys, however they are now serving God, and to receive even more encouragement than we gave.