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This is such a hard time of year for those who have family scattered around the globe. Whether they are in harms way doing battle, or serving our Lord in a foreign land, or working for a company or a NPO - just being apart from family and friends can be hard on both sides of this global scene.
Recently I got a letter from our friends and partners in ministry, B. and S. O. who serve with a missions group in the capacity that assists families whose children are serving abroad. They wrote about a recent seminar that they attended on Mental Health and Missionary Care for those serving abroad, but I believe that their lesson learned applies to all of us who have friends or family working abroad. They wrote:
"We were attending the Mental Health and Missions Conference in IN, which was excellent. One of the workshops we attended was on "Attachments", the speaker is a psychologist and spent several years on the field working with missionaries. From his experience, he told us that those missionaries who knew they (the missionary) was on the mind of someone at home on a daily basis were the missionaries that had the least amount of stress. He went on the say that the missionary knew if they were on the mind of someone, that someone was probably also praying for them. If you have not told your children and grandchildren that you are praying for them and you really are praying for them, please let them know. What an encouragement this can be to your missionary family plus it can decrease their stress!! God is good."
So as friends, family members, church workers, prayer warriors, member care people, missions agencies, (ok, I'm finding it hard to NOT find a person who would not bless someone by doing this!), let's all please PRAY for our workers abroad, and be sure to tell them (in a safe way, if needed), that we ARE praying for them!
For those of you that know someone who is grieving the holidays here in the U.S. while their "worker/loved one" is away, let us remember to also PRAY for THEM, and tell them that we are praying! It wasn't mentioned, but I believe that the benefits will work both ways.
I think that ultimately, WE will be blessed to be used by God in such an instrumental way...