When I first traveled to Guatemala in 2015, I was struck with the joy among the poverty. Knowing how my brain and God work, I knew there would be something new I’d take away from our most recent trip. This time I brought home a new appreciation for what our missionary friends do. I mean, I’ve always respected what missionaries do, but this time I felt like God built upon the support – financial and prayerful – we’ve given Bethel Ministries International the past three years to open my eyes to other aspects of this ministry.
In addition to our friends with Bethel, we have other missionary friends serving international students in New York City and the art community in Perth, Australia who we support regularly. There are so many locations and ministries that benefit directly from people committing their lives to missionary work.
Likewise, there are so many of us who may not be “full-time missionaries” in terms of that being our livelihood, but we can come alongside them and serve the same God wherever we are. With that, I asked my friend Hannah Mooney Chopen from Bethel to share ways people can support this particular mission work as well missionaries in general. (And, yes, that’s her in the picture above during one of the home visits we made during our mission trip!)
Welcome to my virtual porch, Hannah! I’m so glad you’re here!
I have been a missionary for most of my life. My parents raised me in the mission field and I always considered myself a missionary – not just a daughter of missionary parents. Now I have an amazing husband, Saul, and two wonderful children, Joshua and Havilah.
I can say my faith has grown. And I am surer than ever that I am where I am meant to be.
Let me share a little bit about my life.
During the first part of my life, I grew up in Mexico, where my parents were running an orphanage with 50 children. It was a lot of fun! Then we became missionaries in Guatemala, which was the best decision of my life!
We work with people with disabilities who need wheelchairs, which we provide for them. The government here cannot give them one. Can you imagine being stuck in your bed for years and years? Many of these people suffer through this.
We also build houses. Many of the houses will go to a widow or a single mother. We feed the hungry and we look for sponsors for children who need education. Most importantly we show the people how much Jesus loves them and what He did for them! We laugh with them and we cry with them, we build lifelong relationships to encourage and learn to live for Christ together.
Here are seven ways for you to help missionaries.
1. Ask missionaries how they are.
We have been in Guatemala going on 21 years, and the work has grown each year. The field is ripe for harvest! We do not have set hours to work; we work weekends and all different kinds of crazy hours.
2. Pray for missionaries regularly.
Even tell the missionary you’re praying for specific prayer requests. If the Lord lays on your heart a Bible verse or something, please share it with us. It really lifts our spirits up, and we need that prayer help too!
3. Go with a short-term mission team.
Obviously, these opportunities depend on specific ministries, but with our ministry that is one major way that you can help us. We have done it this way for years and have found the way to be able to reach the really needy and desperate people is travel out to them. We could not do it without you! What joy we feel when you come through the airport!
4. Send treats from the United States.
Even though I have been in Guatemala for a long time, I do like some things from the States like a nice smelling lotion, Tootsie Rolls, or a good book. Those may seem like silly things but that sort of thing brings us joy, especially because of the love behind it that reminds us how you care and think of us!
5. Open a home for missionary family to rest.
It gets hard on the mission field, as I am sure life is for folk everywhere, but we are out every week teaching people about Jesus and it gets exhausting even though it’s very rewarding.
6. Be patient & understanding with them.
We are just humans trying our best, but sometimes we are forgetful or make a mistake.
7. Commit to regular financial support.
One-time donations are welcome, but regular support shows missionaries you are committed to their ministry for the long haul. It also provides missionaries with a more consistent source of income, so they do not have to be overly concerned about whether they will be able to maintain their support level year to year. Most missionaries dread the prospect of being sent home to raise funds if their supporting churches or individual supporters drop them or forget to give.
Missionaries have a lot to worry about already – such as cultural and linguistic adaptation, running ministries with limited resources, resistance, persecution, and harsh living environments. Though support-raising might be a necessary reality, you can make the process easier for overseas Christian laborers with consistent support. It’s a shame many people avoid going to the missions field, as the Great Commission mandates, because they fear support raising.
Personally, I know it’s very hard for me to ask for support for my family when there so much need around me. I love how the body of Christ comes together to serve and love!
#PorchStories friends, I’d love to hear about missionaries you support and love. Let’s pray for them here together. Also, I shared Stories from the Porch (in June) on Friday before the month was over. I’d love to catch up with you there too.