3 Ways a Home Church Supports Missionaries

Our home church in WI, Elmbrook Church – Brookfield, has been a source of great support since they sent us out as part of their first Target Area Project to the Borana people of northern Kenya in 1984 (we were not with UWM at the time). Through these 30+ years we have hosted short-term teams, come home for mission conferences, and kept up a vibrant communication with many individuals and staff of the church. Elmbrook has loved us, more than we deserve. When we were hurting they welcomed us. When our daughter got a life-threatening illness, the elders gathered around her hospital bed and prayed for us. When we were on Home Assignment, they put us to work and made us feel part of the team. But let me share three very practical ways that our home church supports and encourages those of us who are serving overseas – besides praying for us and faithfully sending financial support.

Our Liason, Colleen and granddaughter

1. Liaisons – the Missionary Care committee of our home church has selected someone on the committee to represent each of us, relay messages on our behalf, and communicate regularly with us. Colleen is our Liaison and our advocate – sharing our prayer requests with the committee and serving as our link with the overall church. About once a month we get a long newsletter from Colleen about what’s happening at church, the ministries she and her husband are involved in, news of their jobs, their kids, and of course photos of their grandkids. It helps us feel so connected.

2. Internships – the church sends interns (six months to 2 years) to help in places where long-term workers are serving. Currently Elmbrook has two Interns in Kenya. JoAnn serves as a “fellow” with International Justice Mission. She has been here for six months, serving in their communications office. In January Laura arrived to help in the Full Circle Trust – which is an outreach and rehabilitation program to help women find freedom from a life of prostitution, where I am currently serving. Laura is also part of our local church’s internship program, so the local Kenyan church is providing formal training (classes, reading assignments and monthly reports) along with a team of other Kenya and German interns. Currently Full Circle has four interns: 1 American, 1 German, 1 Congolese, and 1 Kenyan. Laura is also with UWM.

Intern, Laura, helping to sell products for Full Circle Trust.

3. Visits – From time to time someone from our home church will come to visit. Recently Shantani, the chairman of the Missionary Care Committee came for a visit along with her husband, Vinod. They shared with us about some of the changes happening at our home church, they visited our work here, met our friends, and asked about our family. Shantani jumped right into Full Circle and shared a devotional with the women on “Peer Pressure” and choosing God’s best. They also met with other missionaries supported by the church and several local pastors. It was their 25th wedding anniversary, so they also took three days for a great safari in one of Kenya’s amazing game reserves. There is nothing like a visit to help people connect. When they come, they can really see your work, meet your colleagues, students and those you minister to, and know how to partner in prayer. It means so much to us.

Missionary Care, Intern and family all for a visit from our church in WI.

By: Jan Ryder, Serving in Kenya