This past week, my 18-year-old son headed off on a quest to become a US Army Ranger. Now granted… There’s an unmistakable sense of accomplishment, not only for him, but also for my wife and me. We’re thrilled at the fact that he cares enough about freedom and liberty, not to mention the constitution of the USA, to be willing to give his life for it. But at the same time, I’ll admit: (confession time) today, his first Sunday in training, I wondered how he was doing. “Did he get a chance to go to a chapel service somewhere on base? Is he sunburned already? :-) Did they already give him his gas mask, haircut, uniform, and rifle? Was he happy, sad, fulfilled, scared, nervous, sleepy, excited, pumped, … I mean… I wondered about the whole range of emotions.

And then, around 5pm, we received that 4-minute call which filled us in on at least most of the answers to those questions. In addition, it reassured us that he remembered we would be wondering about him. He knew we’d be praying for him. And he wanted to be sure to tell us that he loved us.

As I pondered that principle (calling — to let one’s loved ones know that their prayers are most appreciated), I realized — the missionary enterprise is actually quite similar. As the missionary family heads off to do spiritual battle against Satan and his forces in far-flung, hot & arrid places, those who provided the sending foundation are left to wonder what in the world is going on. What a wonderful gesture of gratitude and grace — just that simple call or email back home, which says, “I haven’t forgotten about you; and what’s more, I know you haven’t forgotten about me, and that’s giving me strength.”

The moral of the story? Missionary reporting is magical. Not only does it increase the likelihood of continued support, it also is the right thing to do in light of *previous* support. I’m pretty sure we all grow weary of putting together those letters. Some of us have to do them every month (Team Expansion has monthly reporting as a requirement). Yawn. I’ve been with the organization 30 years now. It doesn’t take long to do the math. But after literally *hundreds* of monthly reports, I remain convinced: it’s the right thing to do.

So take a moment this week to make someone’s day. Skype-out, email out, or postal-mail out; drop in, use ham radio, sat phone, or even a good old-fashioned telephone. Say thanks, so “it sure means a lot”, and say, “Thanks for the prayers.” We might never know just how much it’ll mean to those doing the sending.

May God bless your week!