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We have been on the mission field since 1986. I know, that seems like a long time. But over the past 38 years, we have experienced first-hand the blessing that local churches and pastors can be to a missionary. This is our top 10 list. If you want to be a blessing to the missionaries you support, may we suggest some of these . . . or all these ideas.  

  1. Faithful, Consistent Support, both Prayer and Financial. These partnerships allow us to pursue our ministry goals without the stress of financial burdens AND know that our support team “has our backs” before God’s throne! 
  1. Communication. One supporting church sent a personal letter each week from a different member of the church who shared their family news as well as church news. Other churches sent a monthly newsletter so we know how God is at work and how we can pray for them. We were sent birthday and anniversary cards (for the whole family), notes from Awana kids . . . lots of personal touches. 
  1. Pastors and Church Secretaries. Pastors who find time in their schedule to communicate personally with their missionaries are so encouraging! Some of our pastors have provided wise counsel. Some have simply called or written to express interest and reassure us that they AND the church are praying for us! And . . . church secretaries! Some of our sweetest connections have been through these ladies who love their missionaries, know their pastor’s schedule, and where to channel information.  
  1. Yearly Missionary Conferences. We have been “doing” missions for over 38 years now. Though they are less frequent today, missionary conferences are the best! This extended time with the church family allows everyone to build stronger relationships . . . and they last! 
  1. Missionary Closets/Cupboards. Don’t laugh! Some of you younger folks don’t have any idea what we’re talking about. “Back in the day” many missions committees organized a place in the church building where members could bring donations that were then made available to visiting missionaries. The list would be too long, but everything from tools to towels, toys, and Tupperware. Today that same kind of generosity can be expressed through gift cards, but the idea remains that folks back home care! 
  1. Visits from Pastors and Mission-Trip Groups. When a church sends its pastor to visit the missionaries, that speaks volumes! When a church organizes a mission trip to help with a project or simply to gain a better knowledge of what their missionaries do, that also communicates genuine interest. 
  1. Missions Project Offerings. Our first PC (home computer) was purchased with a special offering. Two churches covered the cost of translating and printing books that continue to be used in the French-speaking world. One church purchased the dishes and silverware to equip our church plant’s kitchen. Books, curriculum, evangelism materials . . . and more! 
  1. Missions Teams. This group of people is often the most attuned to missions and missionaries. We love meeting with missions teams. We can share needs/requests with them that might not be voiced before the entire church, and we know that they will pray!  
  1. Work Teams. Some ministry locations need assistance from supporting churches to help advance or complete building projects. During our years of ministry, we had 3 projects (church building, church renovation, construction of our home) where work teams made a huge difference in the completion and cost of the projects. We believe the blessings flowed in both directions, on the field and back home at their church.  
  1. Emergency Funds. We understand that not every church can set aside money that can be used to help meet specific and unplanned financial needs. However, we were blessed on a few occasions when a pressing need arose, and a church was able to provide substantial gifts that helped us in crises. 

There are many other things churches can do to serve their missionaries. All these ideas were meaningful to us because they are tangible examples that they want a relationship with us, which is what every missionary desires as well.  

What are you doing as a church to show your missionaries you care for them?  

Tim and Barb Vermilyea have served in Quebec, Canada since 1986. In 2010 they were appointed as Regional Directors for the Great Lakes region. When EveryEthne was created, they became the Regional Directors for the USA-Northeast and Central Canada regions. Tim and Barb have been involved in church planting and theological education during their years in Quebec. They led two church-planting ministries. They both were faculty members at a Quebec City Bible college for over 20 years. Tim continues as an adjunct professor at the French Word of Life Bible Institute in Sherbrooke, Quebec. They have helped facilitate the French translations of several evangelism and discipleship tools that have been developed by ABWE and EveryEthne. Tim and Barb have been married for 49 years. God has blessed them with three children and 6 grandchildren. Their daughter, Mandi, serves in Montreal, Quebec, and is part of their Central Canada regional team.

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