Sending Love in a Missionary Care Package

I never imagined when my friend, Denise,  began sending missionary care packages several years ago that Doug and I would one day be a recipient of them. Denise shares her heart for doing this and some great packing tips:

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Our latest missionary box

I began sending packages when a friend was serving as a missionary in Uganda many years ago. Back then there was hardly any communication such as email or  Facebook so I had to just go with what seemed like items he would like to receive. The focus was on items that were light weight. It was expensive and we wanted to make it all count. I am certain he was tired of Ramen Noodles, Kool-aid packets and Mac & Cheese but I felt like I was ministering to him and had a connection even though  he was across the ocean.

Now fast forward to 2011, my very best friends decide to become missionaries in Mozambique. They were leaving everything they knew, family, friends, church, and all the favorite foods from home. So it became my personal mission to make sure they did not feel forgotten, they had everything they needed, and was available to send them something as the need arose.

Luckily for me in the age of technology I have full access to the Crawfords. I am able to communicate in many ways. I can keep in touch and find out if any special needs or items are needed. This last box had a phone battery in it for Debbie’s phone. It is sometimes hard to find the right item in a foreign country. I feel like I am doing my part in ministering to them so they can in turn minister to others. It may only seem like a few food staples but to them it may be a sweet reminder that they are missed, prayed for and thought of more often than they think.

 Tips:

It is least expensive to use Large Flat Rate Boxes from the Post Office. The boxes are free and the cost is the same up to 20 pounds. And believe me the box will be full way before that unless your are sending canned goods.

Let other family and friends of your missionary know you are sending a package. They may want to send and item, card or pictures. They may also like to donate toward the shipping which spreads the cost.

Always plan ahead, in my case packages take 3 weeks to arrive. So if you are planning on sending for a holiday, birthday or special occasion you need to prepare your box a month before you want them to receive it.

I always have an extra box on the counter to put things I find in it as I go along. I try not to buy everything last minute. And usually I have more items then I can fit so I start another box!

When packing the box, I try different arrangements to make the most of the 12 x12 x5 space. Sometimes I will open packages of wrapped candy or other items I can scatter in the the cracks and crevasses to fill every inch.

I put flat things on the bottom and things that are cushioned on top such as pouches of biscuit mix or cookie mixes.

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I know it is not possible for everyone to be able to ship boxes overseas. But it is possible to send a Birthday or Christmas card, write a note telling them they are thought of and missed or send a family photo to keep them up to date with what is happening at home. The cost is minimal  but the blessing and encouragement they will feel is priceless.

Some missionaries might question the cost and wouldn’t we rather have the money instead of the goodies but I can tell you that a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is great therapy for a homesick heart that money could never accomplish. The dash of flavored creamer in my coffee every morning reminds me of the love and encouragement of my faithful friend…along with the lime green nail polish!

What does a missionary care package mean to you? Do you have any other shipping or package ideas? Share in the comments below.

Sharing at Faith-filled Friday

Learning about Malaria from the Xicumbane Women

 

Malaria Deaths Country by Country

The toddler laid on the straw mat in the shade. He was hot with fever from malaria. Fatima got him a cup of water to drink from and I sprinkled droplets on his head. His mother, Constancia, had gone to the fields to get food. When she returned I was overcome with care for her as she looked like she was going to pass out at any time. She shared that she had been throwing up since morning. She is a widow who has four children to care for and like any other mother she keeps on going to provide for them. While everything in me wanted to get her and her child to the clinic, we called on the God who knows all her needs and prayed for her.

Mozambique is one of the top 10 countries with the highest malaria burden according to the World Health Organization. In Mozambique children die of malaria more than any other disease. In 2011 an estimated 176 Mozambican people out of 1000 die yearly  with 103 of those being children. I took the opportunity to ask the Xicumbane women some questions concerning malaria:

Do you have mosquito nets? Does the government provide those for you?

Yes, they do but they only give out one per family.

Does anyone ever come and spray this area for mosquitoes?

They laugh. No.

Are you able to get medication for it?

Yes but the clinic has been out and so has the other two clinics.

These other two clinics they speak of are several miles from the village. The Ngala clinic was resupplied the following day but another problem is that they must cross the river to the Ngala clinic to be seen. With the river being high, they must pay R30 to go by boat and another R30 to return. Many do not have the money to do that.

Has anyone that you know of died from malaria here?

No, not that we know of.

So what do you do if you can’t get medication?

Well, we trust God. If it is our time to die then we die if not He will bring us through.

This is a truth that we teach the women: the concept of God’s sovereignty. Yet, when I hear their words of faith I am always amazed and humbled.

Photo credit: Compassion

Malaria is treatable and preventable.  Unfortunately not everyone in this area has a mosquito net to help protect themselves. There are many different types of malaria and a blood test will detect the parasite and the anti-malaria drug for that type will be given. It has an incubation time of seven days to three months. Here is a typical cycle of malaria according to the Mayo Clinic:

Mosquito transmission cycle

Uninfected mosquito. A mosquito becomes infected by feeding on a person who has malaria.

Transmission of parasite. If you’re the next person this mosquito bites, it can transmit malaria parasites to you.

In the liver. The parasites then travel to your liver — where they can lie dormant for as long as a year.

Into the bloodstream. When the parasites mature, they leave the liver and infect your red blood cells. This is when people typically develop malaria symptoms.

On to the next person. If an uninfected mosquito bites you at this point in the cycle, it will become infected with your malaria parasites and can spread them to the next person it bites.

Please pray for the people of this area in Mozambique as they battle this outbreak. 

Sharing at Tell His Story

Don’t Wait

hospital-bedsUncle Raymond. I don’t know why he came to my mind. I remember as a young girl bursting into his house and giving him a little play punch on his stomach. He would be in his recliner leaned back and usually watching a Cardinal baseball game.

As I grew into a young woman, I unfortunately didn’t visit him as much as I should have. Then the day came when he was reclined in a hospital bed instead of his lazy boy chair. A stroke had left him in ICU where the doctor had given him a short time to live.

I was a young Christian. I wanted to share the good news of the gospel with him many times but always just drove by. God gave me such a burden that on my lunch break I went to the hospital. It was just the two of us. I held his hand and the best I could without breaking down told him about his need for Christ who died on the cross for his sin. I told him that if he understood me would he just squeeze my hand. As light as it may have been I believe he did. He passed away later that day. I wrote this poem in memory of him:

To Raymond

 Why did I wait so long

To share Jesus with you?

Now I have to wonder-

Did you hear?  Did He get through?

 So many times I thought of you,

But I just drove on by.

We think there is always tomorrow.

Sometimes we run out of time.

 It took you lying there dying

To get me over my fear-

But I believe in my heart

That in Heaven I will see you there.

 We never know what tomorrow brings-

Live each day as the last.

Is there someone who needs Jesus?

Go!  It may be your only chance.

-Debbie Crawford

 

If you have a loved one that needs to hear the gospel, don’t wait…