二○二○年九月十二／十三日 Click here for English version
Giving Support with More Than an Emoji
Rev Arnold Chow
I once had a meeting with Missionary Couple A who were on furlough in Hong Kong and we discussed accommodation. "I stay in Brother C's place," they said. "So good that he can spare a room for you!" I said. "Not really. He lets us have the whole flat! He stays with his family in the meantime."
On another occasion when I bumped into Missionary B, the question of where he stayed was also brought up." "Right there," he said, "the building next to the MTR station." "Isn't that Brother C's place? Does he spare a room for you?" I asked. The missionary said, "Not only that. He lets me have the whole flat!" I have heard more stories about Brother C's hospitality towards missionaries since then.
I know some may respond with a smile and say, "Look, I also wish I could receive missionaries like Brother C does but I just don't have a flat to begin with. So I can only convey some support from my end by giving them an Emoji praying hand." There really is much more that we can do to support missionaries. For example, we can help take care of their parents, take them on scheduled visits to the doctor, attend to other routines that would normally have been done by the missionaries, etc. These are what we can do in support from the rear.
In 3 John 6, John praised Gaius for receiving visiting missionaries, "They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God." The original language indicates that the sending had not happened yet. It was John's polite request to Gaius not just to receive missionaries, but also to provide money and food to enable them to go to their mission fields.
We may want to ask why John asked Gaius to give money and use other means to support the missionaries besides receiving them. The reason is in the next verse, that they were "…receiving no help from the pagans." How can missionaries live in the foreign land among unreached peoples without any support? They cannot accept money from non-believing local people. They go “for the sake of the Name.” If they raise funds from the local people, they can easily invite suspicion that they are trying to make money through evangelism.
In the original language of 3 John 6, the word "send" refers to more than just financial support. It also includes accompanying or escorting. "Sending them on their way" has the meaning of accompanying or helping on the journey. This shows there are more ways for believers to support mission work. A brother in our church not only often cares for missionaries, but has also taken leave from work to travel with a missionary to the mission field to help him settle down in the foreign environment.
We can give more than an Emoji! We can help missionaries with translation work, IT support and collection of resources for their ministries. Let us exercise our creativity, deploy our resources and spiritual gifts to work hand in hand with our missionaries in serving on mission.
(This is an excerpt from Rev Chow's article in this year's Mission Journal.)