The other day we visited with some dear missionary friends with whom we worked in Papua New Guinea. The Palmer’s are now doing member care for Australian missionaries. It was a blessing to mutually share how God is using member care to encourage our missionaries. Peter shared a story with us to help illustrate the roll of member care missionaries.
On a table there are two vases containing two bunches of flowers. In one vase the flowers are beautifully vibrant. All of the buds and flowers are standing upright and at their peak function. (These represent thriving missionaries.) In the other vase the flower heads are drooping and petals are beginning to fall. The flowers are no longer functioning properly.(These represent struggling missionaries.) Which vase of flowers needs more member care?
The vibrant flowers are the ones that need the member care. (Are you surprised?) In order for these flowers to maintain their vibrancy they need to have their water changed, they need plant food, they need to be kept cool etc. In order for missionaries to maintain their vibrancy they need other members from the body of Christ to come alongside them by encouraging them, listening to them, praying for them, providing for physical needs etc. This type of care should be done through their sending church, ministry partners and through fellow missionaries. This type of member care is our primary ministry.
The wilting flowers need critical care! Missionaries who are so depleted and no longer functioning need specialized care through their pastor, biblical counselor, medical doctor etc. The member care person can come alongside these hurting ones and point them to those who can help them.
We praise God that He is using us to care for our missionaries. We received an email the other day from one of our missionaries. It said, “It is important to know that we are not forgotten. Feeling connected is very important.” They also stressed the need to know that people are specifically praying for them.