If you have at all been following my preparations for heading out to the mission field, you might have heard me toss around the phrase “care team” at some point. I wanted to take this post to share with you what a Care Team is and, should you feel led, how you can be a part of it.
~Being a Spear~
First, imagine a spearhead. In places such as Africa, this spear can be a matter of life and death. When hunting, the tip of the spear is what will ultimately kill your prey. But, without the long stick and guiding tail that it is connected to, the head of the spear is nothing but a spear-shaped object held in the palm of your hand. You don’t just need the spearhead, you need the entire spear.
This is the same for a missionary. A person heading out onto the mission field is nothing without the support of those back at home. In so many ways, the “senders” (you!) are just as important as the missionary on the front-lines of overseas ministry. You are the body that connects the spearhead to the tail end that will guide the spear right to its target.
~Being a Team~
A Care Team is a group of people that commit to coming up alongside the ministry of a missionary as he/she/they are sent out to their mission field. Their commitments can come in the form of so many things: whether it is simply committing to pray, send an email, donate financially, or help with logistics, each part of the team is equally important-and equally necessary.
In Exodus 17:10-16, the Israelites are led into battle by Joshua and Moses is told by the Lord to hold his rod above his head for the duration of the battle. As long as the rod is above his head, they will win the battle. Eventually, it gets too heavy a burden to bear and as it dips below his head, the battle begins to turn. However, Aaron and Hur, standing alongside Moses as he obeys this command, come up next to him and hold his arms for him, that he would be able to fulfill his mission for the Lord.
I will be heading onto the mission field this coming March to obey the Lord’s calling in my life. But, I can’t do it without a team committed to holding my arms above my head as I bear my proverbial rod in this battle.
~Being My Team~
Will you be a part of that team? Could you stand alongside me as I head onto the mission field? If so, there are 5 different ways you can be a part of my team. Please read a short description of each below and then fill out the questionnaire attached at the end of this blog post.
Moral Support Team (encouragement): You could be on the other side of the world and your words of encouragement and support will still be heard, felt, and welcomed. When I leave to Scotland, it’s true that I will eventually build new relationships and enjoy the fellowship of believers present around me. But, it’s you guys: my friends and family on my Moral Support Team, who will commit to emailing me encouraging verses, ask me questions of how I am doing, and continually point me to the Lord. You know me and can encourage me in those times I am home sick or simply need to hear from someone familiar.
Being a part of the Moral Support Team looks like:
· Write letters, send text messages, or email
· Personal Skype meetings
· Care packages
· Personal visits
· Share personal news, or other things going on around you in your life.
Prayer Support Team: Prayer is the glue to any ministry. Bringing our eyes back to Jesus Christ, the One we serve and the One we point others to for salvation. Without the consistent sweet fragrance of a Prayer Support Team, my labors would be done in vain. This is such a necessary and integral part of any ministry. Your commitment to praying for me daily is probably the single most important part of a care team.
Being a part of the Prayer Support Team looks like:
· Receiving prayer emails
· Daily prayer
· Attending SENT weekly prayers at Shoreline
· Follow up on prayer requests
Logistical Support Team: Planning, moving, settling, and even communicating with a care team while on the mission field can be overwhelming without someone to help keep it all on track. Even I, myself: someone who enjoys organizing and planning, will be completely relying on my Logistical Support Team to help make sure I have all those details in place: before I leave and after.
Being a part of the Logistical Support Team looks like:
· Help with organization and tracking of care team members
· Available to help with paper work
· Sending off details
· Sending care packages
· Help organize fundraisers and care team meetings.
Re-Entry Support Team: Knowing that my home church and family are here in America, I plan on making consistent furlough trips back here to visit. This will include spending time with my family and care team members, meeting new friends, and catching up with old friends. Having people to help with those sort of plans, as well as emotionally supporting the transition, are a welcome blessing to any missionary.
Being a part of the Re-Entry Support Team looks like:
· Help find a place to stay while on furlough.
· Organize update gatherings to share about ministry.
· Be available for a chat over coffee, dinner, or other such fellowship time.
Financial Support Team: Whether by one time gifts or committing to making a monthly donation, you will be helping support my trip financially. Heading over to Scotland on a Religious Workers Visa, I am unable to get a job in the United Kingdom. By being on my Financial Support Team, your donation, is allowing me to stay in the UK and share Jesus with these people, unhindered from having to raise a full annual amount before I leave to the mission field.
Being a part of the Financial Support Team looks like:
· Monthly or One-Time Donations can be made through Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators. You can follow this link (Shepherd’s Staff: Bennett, E) to make an online donation, write and mail a check, or fill out an EFT form to set up monthly donations. My missionary number (to be put on all donations) is 1061. All donations are tax-deductible.