Don’t Miss Your Connection: Missions Conference, October 20–25

Allie Amoroso at a ROSE Women’s Foundation entrepreneurship training session.

The Importance of Connection

When Missions Director Janie Randell was serving as a nurse in the jungles of Papua, Indonesia, years ago, a fellow missionary’s child needed surgery that required flying halfway around the globe. The colleague undertook the journey alone — actually, with twin one-year-olds in tow. When Janie herself needed to leave for a family emergency, she had a similarly sudden, arduous, and psychologically difficult trek home. These unexpected instances, among others, impressed upon Janie the importance of missionary support from the home front, inspiring the focus of this year’s annual Missions Conference, Serving as Senders: Helping our Missionaries Thrive.

“Our goal for this Missions Conference — and this year — is to help our congregation understand what’s going on with our missionaries and how they can come alongside them,” says Janie. “We want people to engage with our missionaries and become friends with them — even if it’s just one missionary — to get to know them, write letters to them, ask questions, make an effort to connect with a missionary who’s here during the Missions Conference.”

Connection between congregants and missionaries is critical to the success of the missionaries, Janie stresses. Some years ago, a family of Fourth missionaries endured a tragedy while abroad. That could have ended their ministry, but they regrouped at Fourth, went back out to the field, and fruitfully served for many more years. “People in this church wrapped their arms around them,” Janie says. “Because they were a part of the life of the church.”

“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” —Romans 10:14-15

Beyond Monetary Support

It doesn’t take a disaster to be a source of help to our missionaries, who sometimes simply need temporary housing, transportation, or moving help while home on furlough. Some could use banking or legal help in the U.S. while they’re out in the field. Others are far from aging parents back home. Providing tangible help here at home is an invaluable way of supporting a missionary while they’re working abroad.

“People in our church have a lot of different resources, gifts, and interests that they can use to help,” Janie says. “We want to help people understand how they can come alongside our missionaries in more ways than just giving them money.”

Occasionally missionaries return home seeking a respite from the unique challenges of what might be an uncomfortable life in a different culture. In the case of burnout or other potential mission-ending problems, Fourth’s Missions Ministry helps fund professional counseling services.

“Forty-seven percent of missionaries don’t make it past their first five years. And it takes seven years to really be effective in the field,” Janie says. “A lot of the reasons they come home are preventable. There are opportunities for missionaries to get help with whatever they’re dealing with. I think counseling needs are a big part of it.”

But Janie makes clear that anyone from Fourth can be an encouragement to missionaries, “to just be able to listen to them. If you know what’s happening in their life, then you can help them talk it out and see what their options are.”

Make Your Own Connection

Ways to help during the Missions Conference week include hosting missionaries during their stay and providing transportation. Missionaries are often available for meetups with Community Groups, Women’s Circles, or other small groups. Contact Janie at if your group would like to host a sit-down occasion with a visiting missionary or host them on Zoom.

“When missionaries come home, they need someone to hear what they’ve been going through,” Janie says. “They need to tell their stories.”

Of the 50 missionary individuals and families Fourth supports, about half plan to attend this year’s conference. Its kickoff event, the Missions Banquet, will feature a panel discussion with missionaries, and that Sunday missionaries will visit Adult and Youth Sunday School classes and speak at both morning and evening worship services.  A Missionaries’ Reception follows the evening service — the perfect time for meeting and mingling with missionaries. Missionaries will address the Men’s Breakfast and Fourth Night that week will feature a Missions Fair, affording further opportunity to get to know our visiting missionaries. You can view the full slate of events and register for the banquet by visiting the Missions Conference webpage.