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There’s More to Mission Than Going

Faithful financial supporters and prayer partners are answering God’s call as equal participants in the Great Commission.

By Jon Trotter

Prior to taking up a missionary assignment, one needs to, first, hear God’s call and then respond in faith. Those who invest time in prayer and discernment with the community of faith build their future ministry on solid ground. When trials come, the clarity of God’s call and its confirmation in the church provides a worker with confidence as they engage in ministry.

In a similar way, praying for and contributing financially to the work of mission is also a response to God’s call. This backbone of support is essential for VMMissions to exist and do its best to train, send, equip, support, and encourage people as they serve near or far. It is an equal partnership that joins in God’s movement wherever and whenever it is happening.

Donna Suter, a member of Gospel Hill Mennonite Church, Fulks Run, Va., has had a burden to pray for mission workers and their families since she was a young mother in her twenties. “Missionary pictures were usually up in our house along with those of beloved family members,” she remembers.

When she was young, her dream was to travel and visit missionaries around the world, a dream her husband shared. They thought if they did that, they would know better how to pray for them and their work. The dream of that kind of travel was never realized. Nevertheless, Suter has been a faithful prayer warrior and donor to missions, sending small monthly gifts to multiple VMMissions workers continuously over an astonishing 30 years.

Suter’s giving connects her to the people she gives to and their work. Giving the way she does connects her with far more people than she could ever visit, noting, “I pray for everyone I give to. I think my prayers are probably worth as much as the small amount that I give each of them. Maybe more!”

Curt Stutzman, pastor of Weavers Mennonite Church, encourages the body of Christ to use all its parts and gifts to support the mission of God to make disciples throughout the world. “We each have a variety of gifts, and the way we support each other with those gifts is critical. When the arm of the church is working in Thailand, the organs and blood and sinew of prayer and giving must support it,” he said. Stutzman’s congregation is a sending church for the Mark and Sarah Schoenhals family, who have been serving since 2009 in Det Udom, Thailand.

Stutzman is inspired by neighbors and fellow church members who give “exorbitantly” of their time and energy to refugee families in the church’s neighborhood, people who give sacrificially to missions, and those who regularly ask for prayer for those who are serving Christ in other
areas of the world.

At 85 years old, Suter asked the Lord how to use her remaining time in this life. The answer was to engage deeply in prayer for needs, great and small, around the world. As part of her commitment, she prays regularly for VMMissions staff and workers alike.

“We each have a variety of gifts, and the way we support each other with those gifts is critical.” —Curt Stutzman

A lifetime of faithful praying and giving has made an enormous difference. In Suter’s case, over the years that small amount each month for missions has added up to a significant sum. Most importantly, her giving has connected her to the call she has to pray for those who are able to go where she has been unable to go. Many others have also faithfully joined God’s work in prayer and sacrificial giving as participants and co-laborers in the commission of Jesus.

Stutzman strongly encourages this response in faith to God’s call. “My prayer is always that we can recognize and respond where God is calling each of us, and that we are willing participants in every way: with our time, our prayers, our resources, and yes, our lives,” he said.

Jon Trotter is Communications Manager for VMMissions.