How can I relate to our missionaries in helpful ways?
Every pastor or missions pastor should have direct communication with the missionaries you support.
an annual letter, similar to a condensation of your “state of the union” report at your church’s business meeting
a quarterly greeting, email, or Skype call
a Christmas card or birthday card
Try to make time to have a personal interview or coffee meeting with your missionary when they are home on furlough or home assignment.
In some kind of rotation, try to plan on visiting every missionary on their field, in their home, if possible. It may take you ten years to do it. But doing it will put them into the elite group of missionaries whose pastor cared enough to visit them on the field. Don’t go with the idea of being in the limelight and conducting a lot of ministry; it’s not about you “using your gifts.” It should be about shadowing them in “normal” life, seeing how they live, shepherding them personally, learning how to sympathize with them and pray for them effectively because you’ve seen first-hand the challenges they face, the sights, sounds, smells, and spiritual atmosphere they live in. You will find your own prayers and sermon illustration enhanced and fueled by the experience.