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Serving as a Sender
Some of this support structure is found in mission agencies like AIM, which provide vision and direction as well as a variety of practical, logistical, and spiritual help to a missionary on the field. But the task of specifically and sacrificially praying for and financing missionary work is ultimately a responsibility, and privilege, of the Church. This is a Biblical model and largely how missions is still done today.
AIM missionaries, likewise, depend month to month and year to year on networks of congregations and individual Christians who commit to be prayer and financial partners – people who may not themselves be called to move to Africa, but who choose to be a part of God’s provision for the sending of another.
Practically, this may simply mean mailing a check each month or taking time out of a busy schedule or church program to pray. But partnership is so much more. Supporting a missionary means that you take ownership in the people and the ministry their work represents. Both the trials and the triumphs are yours too. You’ll be more compelled to pray when the news is hard. More joyful when it’s good. You’ll get to know an individual or a family more intimately because you’ll have journeyed together through something unpredictable and wonderful. The missionary will become your hands and feet to serve God’s purposes in a far-away land, and you will become to them a manifestation of God’s faithfulness and provision. Your vested friendship will lend affirmation to their calling, accountability to their work, and encouragement to their hearts.
Missionary support, offered up in prayers and dollars, is really an investment in people – an investment in the missionaries themselves, but also in the people they are reaching. There is no price that can be placed on such an endeavor. In Africa, a work may take five years or forty. It may require simple methods or complex and expensive ones. And it might cost more than just money – a reminder of why prayer is so vital.
Whatever the cost, the work of the Great Commission is worth it. And to be caught up in it – as those who go or those who support them – is a blessing beyond measure.