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Puerto Rico is on all of our minds and hearts as we pray for our missionaries, our Puerto Rican friends, the camp, the churches, and ministries affiliated with Grace Ministries International on the island. Because cell service, internet, and electricity have been completely knocked out, we have been receiving information at a frustratingly slow pace. We can tell you that our missionaries are well, but Camp Caribe has suffered extensive damage. Fourteen to sixteen inches of water, mud, and sand inundated most of the buildings on the property which means that much of the contents has been damaged or destroyed. Most of the buildings’ roofs suffered damage while the roof on the chapel was completely destroyed. All the power lines outside of the camp have been knocked down from the camp to Santa Isabel to the east. Cleanup and repair will be a long process.

Many of you are asking about sending teams and what you can do to help both at the camp and with our other affiliated ministries on the island. We are still in the process of assessing the needs, but there are a few things you can do now. Consider assembling a team so you can send the team sooner rather than later once we have more information as to when a team can go and what the teams will be able to do.

We also encourage you to give. Though our properties are insured, we do not know yet exactly what insurance will cover, and we also know there will be many expenses associated with the recovery from the hurricane in terms of repairing damage and replacing items that were destroyed. We also anticipate that our missionaries and affiliated ministries will have opportunities to help their neighbors devastated by the hurricane. As you can imagine there will be several unforeseen expenses.

If you would like to give a gift to help our GMI missionaries and affiliated ministries in Puerto Rico with hurricane recovery, cleanup, and relief, please click HERE and choose “Puerto Rico Recovery” from the dropdown menu. Our initial goal is to raise $20,000.

The situation in Puerto Rico is very difficult as communication is limited or non-existent on most of the island. There is practically no electricity and the food and water supply is running low in many areas. It is extremely frustrating that there is so little we can do at the moment. In times like these, God wants us to bring our burdens and our cares before Him.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you”  1 Peter 5:6-7.

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How can we help our missionaries who are serving so far away on foreign fields? Or how about when they are in the States on home assignment? How can we show our missionaries that we really care about HOW they are doing and WHAT they are doing? There is so much information available on this topic, especially on the internet. We have whittled it down and taken some information from TEAM and used it with their permission. Now we would like to share it with you.

NINE WAYS TO HELP YOUR MISSIONARY ON THE FIELD

  1. Regular, intelligent, heartfelt prayer is your missionary’s number one need. Nothing else is as important; perhaps nothing else is harder to give on a consistent basis.
  2. Communicate regularly with your missionary. A five-minute telephone conversation may not be as expensive as you think. But check the time difference — don’t call at 3 a.m.! Send emails without an obligation to respond to every one.
  3. Send your missionary something to help celebrate the holidays: for instance, Thanksgiving napkins or Christmas placemats.
  4. Birthday cards are very important, especially for children. Mark your calendar to send cards far enough in advance to get there on time (but late is better than never!).
  5. Visit your first-termer, or send your pastor or missions chairperson. Always give advance notice and don’t stay too long. Remember that your missionary is busy and can’t always drop everything and act as your tour guide. And do leave a monetary gift to cover the cost of your stay.
  6. Read your missionary’s e-mails and prayer letters thoughtfully. Is he lonely? Is she discouraged? Then send an encouraging note and refer to items mentioned in previous letters.
  7. Send money at Christmas for something “extra” or for your missionary’s vacation. A few days away at a quiet spot will do wonders for his outlook and ministry!
  8. Send gifts that can’t be obtained on that field. Favorite foods, videos of football games, or the latest books in English you can gift through Kindle can be a treat. How about a magazine subscription they would really appreciate that they could get online? If you choose to send something, please check with the missionary first about duty charges and whether it is wise to send them packages. Sometimes you may know someone going to visit them who would be willing to take something small.
  9. Music is appreciated. Remember the ages of your MKs and select music they would enjoy. Recordings of familiar hymns and contemporary worship songs will help your missionary teach his children the basics of North American worship.

 

EIGHT WAYS TO HELP YOUR MISSIONARY AT HOME

  1. During home assignment, give your missionary your friendship. Share what God has done in your life and what you are doing in service for Him. Make a consistent effort to encourage and nurture your missionary’s personal spiritual growth.
  2. Help with the transition back into North American life. Assist with signing up children for school. Offer your name as the “secondary emergency contact” person for school or events. Suggest good places to shop or explain optional activities for children such as library reading hours and the Little League.
  3. Plan a shopping trip. After several years away, your missionary may need to update his wardrobe. Why not treat her to a new outfit? It is particularly important that MKs have clothes to fit in with their peers.
  4. Provide some R & R. Do you have a “get away” spot (cabin, cottage, trailer, in-law apartment) that you could make available for a few days for your missionary? Traveling from place to place while on home assignment can be stressful.
  5. Provide a list of area resources such as reputable doctors, good places to shop, fun places to take the kids, babysitters, beauticians, and barbers. It has probably taken you years to build up a list of places where you do business. Why not share that resource with your missionary?
  6. Can you make your car available for your missionary? A reliable car that will take your missionary over miles of home assignment travel is a gift of peace of mind.
  7. Reorient your missionary to your local church. Lots of faces have changed since your missionary was last there. Make sure you and others connect with your missionary not only in church but also in informal gatherings outside of church. Having a party? Invite your missionary!
  8. Most of all, pray. Wasn’t that already mentioned? For a missionary in the heat of spiritual battle, nothing is more encouraging than to be told, “I pray for you every day.”

 

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