Lewis McClendon BCMN
When you are on the road, you cannot possibly pack everything in your luggage you will need. You depend on motels and restaurants to have what you cannot take with you. When you host a missionary, they are depending on what you can provide for them. Take the time to think of all the big and little things that will be a blessing to them in these areas:
1. Kitchen – If your missionary housing includes a partial or complete kitchen, provide as many dishes, utensils, pots and pans, serving bowls, and cleaning supplies as the kitchen will allow. If a missionary is going to cook a meal, they will need everything you have in your kitchen to do it. Stock the kitchen well and check the inventory on a regular basis.
2. Food – Churches have tried many ways to provide food for missionaries they host. There are plusses and minuses with any way you choose, but here are three ways you can provide food.
● Stock your missionary housing with lots of food for all missionaries that will be staying in your missionary housing in the months to come. Purchase canned goods, crackers, cookies, fruit, milk, cereal, etc. that is ready for any missionary you are hosting. The benefits of this is a missionary has a wide variety of food items from which to choose. The downside is it takes up a lot of room, and food can get out-of-date, stale, and just plain questionable. A missionary can wonder how long the bottle of mustard has been in the refrigerator. If you choose this option, it is best to give away or throw away anything that has been opened after a missionary leaves. Also, continuously check the use-by dates so no food is out of date when a missionary arrives.
● Stock your missionary housing with food specific for each missionary. When a missionary is coming, put food in the room for that one missionary family. If you choose this option, a missionary knows the food is fresh, but you run the risk of stocking the room with food a missionary won’t or can’t eat. They may not like the food or have an allergy to it or be on a diet. To prevent these problems, put a check list together and send it to the missionary before they arrive. Tell them to check one or two in a category of fruits, snacks, drinks, etc. You are still in control about how much you will spend on food by limiting the number of items on the list you provide. It might also be good to communicate to the missionary that they can take any of the food you specifically purchased for them when they leave, if that is your goal.
● Provide gift cards for the missionary. A gift card to a grocery store allows a missionary to get exactly what they want in their favorite brands. Gift cards for local fast food places and restaurants in your area are greatly appreciated as well.
3. Bathrooms – Provide the basic amenities that motels provide.
4. Washer and Dryer – Provide normal washing necessities. Some churches that do not have washers and dryers provide gift cards and directions for a laundromat near the church.
5. Internet – There is no way to overstate the blessing of a good reliable internet connection for a missionary you are hosting. We all rely on internet service, and missionaries do, too. Chances are the emails you exchanged with missionary staying in your mission housing was facilitated by the internet service provided by a church they were staying at when they emailed you. Missionaries rely on your internet for laptops and tablets, and in addition to that, many times the children of the missionaries are enrolled in a home school that requires an internet connection. If at all possible overcome the hurdles of your unique situation to provide a good strong internet connection for the missionaries you host.