Image enhanced by Lily Wasmund
Summer typically offers time for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) missionaries serving with the Office of International Mission (OIM) to return to the U.S. to reconnect. But just like millions of others around the world, LCMS missionaries continue to experience life changes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The majority of the OIM missionary families serving in 16 countries in Asia will remain in their current mission field this summer. Travel restrictions, school closings, curfews and local movement adaptations are presently part of daily life for these missionaries as they serve partner churches and their communities in this region.
Missionaries are sent by the Board for International Mission and the expenses related to their service are provided through a structure known as the Network Supported Missionary model. Churches, individuals and mission advocates make up this network that provides the funds to keep missionaries in their overseas fields.
Missionaries and their families generally return to the U.S. to visit face to face with this support network once every two years. During these trips the missionaries typically travel around the country to share stories, challenges and updates. This is a blessing to the missionaries and their partners.
Supporters encourage missionaries — not only through financial gifts, but through prayer and personal connections. Always striving to remain in contact with their support network, LCMS missionaries have seen the need to increase even further their use of technology. Weekly mini-webinars, organized by staff at the LCMS International Center in St. Louis, have opened up additional avenues for making connections from a distance. Some of these new practices may continue even after travel restrictions ease in the future.
This summer, you may miss seeing the missionaries face to face and hearing how the Gospel is being shared with those who don’t yet know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Trust that these servants in the church will miss visiting and sharing with you even more.
Please continue to remember the missionary families in your prayers and visit this page to support LCMS mission work in Asia.