We’ve been asked these questions many times, “Is there anything I can send you? How can we take a more active part in encouraging you? What is something we can do for you?” Another blog I read broke it down into a top ten list of things that people back home can do to help friends who live overseas. I’ve borrowed that list and added explanations of my own.
- Pray: Seems a simple thing and yet it is our strongest weapon. Prayer is instant communication with our all-powerful God. We need your prayers on our behalf. We try to send out specific requests regularly but even if you don’t receive those for all your overseas friends there are general things that you can always be praying for. You can find these on the top menu under our “prayer page.”
- Keep in touch: With technology today this should be easy. No more waiting 2-3 months for a letter to arrive and another 2 months for a response. Email and Facebook are two of our best friends! The note doesn’t have to be monumental or pages long. Our moms simply write the day to day occurrences in their lives. We love that! What may seem mundane and ordinary to you is exactly what we like to hear about.
- Don’t forget us: This goes hand in hand with #2. It’s easy to get too busy living life and after we’ve been gone several years sometimes it’s hard to keep in touch. But it’s as simple as the picture my aunt posted on my Facebook of a baby giraffe knowing how much I love them.
- Send snail mail: I’ll admit this is mostly for me (The Girl) but even he likes to receive letters. It’s exciting to return to Nairobi and see mail in our box or to receive a letter dropped off by one of the pilots. Now a days it only takes between 10-14 days to get here.
- Remember birthdays: A card, a Facebook message, an email. One supporter sends me an email poem for my birthday! It reminds us we have friends on the other side that care.
- Discover specific needs: Sometimes we might have specific needs. Ask us! We probably won’t know you want to help until we are approached. Recently a Sunday school class from a supporting church “adopted” us. I received an email asking if we had any specific request. An “as seen on TV” mosquito net screen door is on its way to us even now!
- Care Packages: I, especially, love to receive care packages. Just know that these packages do cost us money on our end. Customs officials in our country charge us to receive these items. The more expensive the items are deemed to be, the more they charge. If you send packages please also send money (via our account, not actual money) to cover expenses incurred from import taxes. Otherwise we are essentially paying for our own presents. 🙂 However, small (the smallest size) padded envelopes usually come in faster and without a charge!
- Take the initiative: (Or as another blogger wrote “stalk us!”) We try to send out email updates monthly and write regularly on our blog. If we miss or go “silent” for a while write us! Check on us. We might have hit a dry spell, had terrible luck with our internet connection or simply been busy. However it could mean that we are struggling and need someone else to reach out.
- Get Personal: “Life overseas can be really hard; unfamiliar culture, smells, sounds, food, expectations, and language.” Everything is new. Nothing is “normal.” Our safety net of close friends and family has been removed. Ask us about it. Ask about our heart’s condition, our attitudes, focus, quiet times, if we have joy and where is it coming from. I can think of one friendship in particular that has actually been strengthened by my leaving. She checks on me. She asks me how I’m doing. And she’s coming!!! Which brings me to the last point…
- VISIT: We love to share our lives with you through email, pictures, videos and blogs. But really that only scratches the surface of what our lives are like. When you share in our day to day life then you are not only an encouragement but your understanding of how we live is deepened giving you more ammunition in prayer.
Have you done something to encourage an overseas friend?
Have you been encouraged by someone back home?
Share it in a comment.