I find myself often praying portions of Philippians 2:5-11 with folks during this Christmas season.
Where would we be if the Son of God had not counted equality with God a thing to be grasped and had abhorred the virgin’s womb? Lost – eternally, horribly, hellishly lost.
But the news is good! He humbled himself, took on the form of a bondservant, became obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. None of which He could have accomplished if He hadn’t come. None of which He could have accomplished if the Father hadn’t sent Him.
No gospel-motivated missionary on the planet fails to get the significance of this. They have gone to the ends of the earth because the Father sent the Son to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). That means, for me and for my house, among other things, that we must remember missions and missionaries during the Advent season.
One way we have sought to do that practically, along with the partnership of our OGC growth group, is to collaborate together to send a Christmas care package to the Valiquette family serving in Salerno, Italy with the Acts 29 Network in church planting.
Last Tuesday evening our group gathered around a bunch of gifts we had purchased and wrote Christmas cards to Jutty, Abbey, and the children in an effort to remind them they have a sending church at home that loves them and supports them in their gospel endeavors.
Whether you do something on your own or in cooperation with a group, before the season completely escapes you, might you also take some initiative as a sender to bless a goer on some field, whether an OGC missionary or not?
If you choose to go the care package route, here is some helpful counsel I found online for your consideration:
Ask the missionary before sending your care package. This is important for a few different reasons. First, there are some things for which the missionary may end up having to pay a duty or other tax. Second, if the missionary is in a sensitive location, they may prefer certain things to be delivered to a different address (to be hand-carried in). And finally, you may be sending the missionary something which they can already get in country. We were once sent toothpaste and a large box of tissues – both of which are in abundance where we were. Try to find out from the missionary what items they really can’t get where they are. Trust me, most will not be shy about telling someone what they really want if they are asked!
One other thought. These days finances seem to constrain a great deal. You may not find yourself in a position to do anything that costs you money. But don’t let that rule you out in terms of making some gesture to encourage someone on the mission field. Send a note, write an email, but connect in some way.
Let them know you care about their/your cause and that this Christmas you praise God they have gone to where they have gone in the name of the Sent One who came for the lost.