We are in a new era of missions.
Facebook, Voxer (our current favorite), Skype, Google Hangouts, Magic Jack, blogs...
We can stay in touch with our families in real time. They can be here in 30 hours (best case scenario). We could be there in 30 hours (you know, if all our children has passports and stuff - little details).
In the past year, nearly every missionary that I know has had a parent visit.
This is a different era of missions.
Parents of missionaries live a unique life. Their hearts are partially in a country they have never inhabited. Their grandkids are growing in a culture foreign to their own. They take a month off work and cross the globe with the goal of LITERALLY snuggling their grandchildren for 3 weeks straight.
They drop their life to rush to the aid of their children in crisis - not unlike any parent in the West, except that such a selfless act costs thousands of dollars instead of a drive to New Hampshire.
They encourage YOUR missionaries like no one else can. They provide insight that no other person is qualified to give. They watch for red flags of burn out, disillusionment, and self pity and they alone can be so completely honest that your missionary HAS to listen. They see the progress and can encourage like no other.
How can you support the parents of missionaries who are in your midst? Are they grieving the small losses? Not being there on their grandchild's first day at the village school? Are they grieving the big losses? The death or significant health concern of a loved one overseas? Would your missionaries be exceptionally encouraged in dark times by a visit from their family?
The mission field is all around you. Don't miss out!