Your church's adopted missionaries

     The Church of the Nazarene has a "budget" system which supports its career missionaries. While such missionary do not need to raise their individual support, each missionary or missionary family is assigned to a local church in a program called LINKS. LINKS is an acronym for Loving, Interested Nazarenes Knowing and Sharing. LINKS is a way for everyone to get involved in a ministry of encouraging missionaries.
     If you don't know your assigned LINKS family or need contact information for them, get in touch with your district Nazarene Missions International president. [ see district NMI web sites ]

Ideas for local church involvement in LINKS

LINKS missionaries on furlough?

     Find out right away when your adopted missionaries are going to be home. If your church's adopted missionaries are going to be on furlough soon, take advantage of that. Try to schedule them in your church and in others on your district which have also adopted them. Give these furloughing missionaries royal treatment. Plan a family style dinner and a time of celebration. If you can only have your LINKS missionary family on a week night, contact neighboring churches and plan a big multi-church reception.
     Plan ahead. Discover your adopted missionaries' needs. Find out what they would like to take back to the mission field. Ask out about their special interests and hobbies. Be a "loving, interested Nazarene, knowing, sharing!" [ when your church has a missionary speaker ]

LINKS missionaries expecting a baby? Moving to a new location? Having a 25th anniversary? Or a 50th? LINKS MK getting married? LINKS missionary retiring?

     Then you can have a wonderful time helping them celebrate: Showers, cards, flowers, and phone calls.

LINKS missionaries retired?

     What a special privilege you have! Let these veterans know they are appreciated and not forgotten! Write and introduce yourself, your church and your locale. Send snapshots of your church, your pastor, and interesting happenings in your area. Team them up with senior citizens in your church as pen pals. When you send them cards and letters, include extra stamps inside for their mailings. Ask about their interests and hobbies. Ask about their music and reading tastes. Let them tell you (by tape or by mail) about the mission field where they served. Send small gifts such as:

  • Boxed cards
  • Pens
  • Gift-boxed foods
  • Stationery
  • Linens
  • Sweaters
  • Gift certificates
  • Scrapbooks
  • Albums
  • A magazine subscription
  • Books
  • Personal items or toiletries
     Anything you do will be appreciated, especially by older missionaries who are widowed or unable to get around much. Older missionaries will love hearing from the children in your church. Encourage your children or teens to adopt your retired missionaries as grandparents and remember them on special occasions. [ Casa Robles Missionary Retirement center ]

LINKS missionaries have kids?

     Adopting a Missionary Kid can be a real challenge and a lot of fun! Most teens would enjoy hearing from a church youth group. What teen wouldn't enjoy birthday party components arriving in the mail?
     Need a selection of ideas from which to pick? Try these:

  • Video tapes of sporting events (including ice skating for girls)
  • Craft items
  • Candy
  • Pens
  • Novelty notebooks or binders
  • Colorful folders
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • T-shirts
  • Sweatshirts
  • Girls like:
    • Cosmetics
    • Hair things
    • Inexpensive jewelry
    • Personal items

     Of course, a check is also a welcome gift. (If you are a Nazarene church, be sure to send cash gifts through General Treasurer so you can get 10% credit).
     Church children's groups could also do a boxed-up birthday party for their LINKS MKs. Have your children bring in small gifts that can be easily mailed: crayons, markers, pens, pencils, books, candy bars, gum, fruit drinks, balloons, stickers, stamp sets, note pads. If you're doing a birthday party box, include cake and frosting mix, candles, napkins, and prizes. Remember to do the party box well in advance so that it will arrive in time. Home-made birthday cards will add a special touch.
     Other things LINKS Missionary Kids might enjoy are:

  • Videotapes of good stories
  • Cartoons
  • Musicals presented by your children's group
  • Character socks
  • Jewelry
  • McDonald's toys
  • Bible activity books
  • Computer games
  • Puzzles

Does your adopted missionary family have kids in college?

     What an opportunity for all-church fun and involvement! Shower them with homespun care and love:

  • Care packages filled with goodies and home-made snacks
  • Mad money for the snack bar
  • Laundry soap or money for laundry
  • Money for phone calls home
  • Supplies for a big birthday party (complete with home-made cake)
  • Cash for a college sweatshirt or some personal items

     Most of all, let them know you care by sending lots of cards and notes. Plan a "treat month" for your college MK. If it can be worked out, you might even invite them to your church for a weekend. If the school they're attending is close to you but far away from family members where they will spend summer and Christmas vacations, offer to host them for those brief breaks when they would not be going to a relative's home. In short, treat your LINKS MK college kid like you would want your child to be treated. [ more info on MKs ]

Missionary families like to get:

  1. Food parcels with items such as jello, pudding and cake mixes and other things they are not able to get on the field
  2. Packages of mixes such as macaroni and cheese or noodle and rice mixes. One missionary was thrilled with chili mix; another loved packaged ingredients to make pizza
  3. Cans of Chinese food for a complete dinner
  4. Seasonings and special teas (pack in Tupperware)
  5. New items that have just appeared your own grocery store shelves
  6. Letters and e-mails
  7. Address labels from LINKS churches
  8. A stick of gum inside a letter to a child
  9. Surprises and inserts in letters
  10. Cards that say "we're praying for you"
  11. Craft kits
  12. Fabric and thread
  13. Needle point
  14. Models
  15. Pens, markers and neat stationary
  16. Gifts of money to eat out on a birthday or anniversary, or when a new child is born . . . or "just because"
  17. Pretty napkins and paper plates
  18. Birthday party supplies
  19. Special holiday decorations or supplies
  20. Boxes of greeting cards
  21. A devotional book
  22. Band-Aids and towelettes
  23. CDs and music cassettes
  24. Videos of sporting events
  25. Good story or movie videos
  26. Magazine subscriptions
  27. Crossword puzzle books
  28. A calendar
  29. Packages packed with comic papers
  30. Parcels for birthday celebrations
  31. Parcels with a new necktie or socks or pantyhose for mama
  32. Parcels!
  33. Things for their kids .
    • T-shirts, socks, hair stuff, a new purse, a cap, a watch
    • McDonald's toys .toys!
    • P.J.'s, slippers, toothbrush
    • Cassette player, radio
    • Powdered drinks, gum, straws
    • Balloons, books, puzzles
    • Stickers, markers and paint sets

     Missionaries are like you: they love to know they are loved! Learn their desires and interests. Show them that you care.

A bit of history

     In 1921 -- which was only about 2 years after what is now NMI had begun -- a "box work" program was begun. Box work was a way of encouraging local churches to send more than cash to missionaries. It meant actually boxing up personal and ministry stuff and sending those boxes overseas to missionaries.
     Two years later -- in 1923 -- the General Budget (now World Evangelism Fund) came into being. At that point box work became a way of providing a personal touch with individual missionaries who began to be supported through a central budget.
     That "box work" program has now evolved into what we call LINKS. It provides a valuable personal contact between local churches and missionaries.

Unofficial LINKS

Among the "unofficial" LINKS requests are those from medical missionaries asking for rolled bandages made from old sheets. For information on where bandage rolls are needed, go to: . Click on "Involvement" and "LINKS." Then scroll to the bottom of the page to "Unofficial LINKS." Next, you will want to click on "Rolled Bandages." This will provide a list of needs and directions for shipping. Choose a recipient and follow the instructions on this page!

Churches can also "adopt" unreached people groups [ read more ]

SNU missions course materials and syllabi

Cultural Anthropology    Introduction to Missions    Linguistics    Missions Strategies    Modern Missionary Movement (History of Missions)    Nazarene Missions    Church Growth and Christian Missions    Theology of Missions    Traditional Religions    World Religions
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Howard Culbertson, 5901 NW 81st, Oklahoma City, OK 73132  |  Phone: 405-740-4149 - Fax: 405-491-6658
Copyright © 2002 - Last Updated: January 29, 2015 | URL:

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