Caught up? Good! Here's the rest of the story...
When God changed my heart, he didn't just make me a missionary. He made me a missionary to missionaries.
Imagine for a moment that you have become a missionary. You have given up a steady income and most of your possessions. You have moved to a country far from family and friends. Few people speak your language, and though you're trying to learn the local dialect, it's slow. Making friends is difficult. You're lonely. You have a full plate of paperwork, along with hours upon hours of service to a people who may or may not care that you're trying to serve them. Probably, they don't. You try to stay positive. You write updates home. People respond, "Where are you, again?" Few of them send checks.
Now, I look for opportunities to prevent burnout in others. When we moved to Kosovo, Sam and I immediately felt called to one of the smaller churches (a dozen people on a good day) in Prishtina. We met Mark and Celeste—the couple who run the church—and just knew that we were supposed to serve them. One day after church, I noticed that Celeste looked tired, and I asked if I could pray for her. She told me later that she couldn't remember the last time someone had asked to pray over her. This broke my heart.
Mark and Celeste are amazingly solid, consistent leaders. I know that without Sam and I here, they would find all the strength they need in Jesus. Yet, I see how nice it is for them to have extra people around, to help and be friends to them. It allows them to do more and stretch themselves just a little bit further into new ministries and opportunities. It gives them someone to talk to, which is a huge thing in a country where making friends isn't the easiest task. Best of all, it reminds them that God cares enough for them to send someone to help them.
As Sam and I dream about the future, he often says to me, "I just want to be a serial encourager. Is that a real job?" The more I feel God's heart for missionaries, the more I think that it should be. In fact, it might be just the job for us one day. We would love nothing more than to spend a few weeks or months with different missionaries, encouraging them and doing some of the the not-so-fun work for them. And perhaps someday we will. For now, we'll just be the best friends-of-missionaries we can be, right here in Kosovo.
If all this has got you wondering what you can do—great! I hope this doesn't come across as self-serving (seeing as we, too, are missionaries), but the best thing you can do for the missionaries in your life is be their friend. Money is great, and prayers are powerful, but friendship is vital. Without people who care, this kind of work can get discouraging, monotonous, and downright lonely. And it's impossible to be your best in that kind of a state.
This week, I challenge you to write an encouraging note, pray/prophesy over, or just say hi to someone working in the field. I guarantee you it will make their day, if not their week/month/year. Although Jesus is our great sufficiency, He said himself that that's not enough. We need one another. We need you.
Liz and Sam
As always, support can be sent to
Sam & Elizabeth Steere
3601 Ginger Creek Dr.
Springfield, IL 62711