I found this article written by someone named Dr. Isaac T. Saoshiro and this was presented at the Global Congress on Church Ministry and Missions some time October 2001. This article is about the Sending Body’s responsibility to their missionary. Organizations who wants to send missionaries should read this article. I will present his main points and will give my comments. The article is divided into four responsibilities of sending body to their missionaries namely: (1) Its responsibility to the missionaries in the field; (2)Responsibility to the missionaries during furlough; (3) responsibility to missionary kids and parents; and (4) Responsibility to the supporting churches.
Responsibility to the missionaries in the field
First, the Sending Body (SB) needs to give clear guidance to the missionaries regarding their duties to the home office, expectations in the field, their relationship with other bodies, and their goals. SB should give the missionaries a clear job description.
Second, the SB should have regular correspondence. It is essential for the SB to communicate regularly with the missionaries. Missionaries are required to submit regular ministry reports as well as financial reports. Because of the internet, this correspondence can be done in the most convenient way. SB can know the situation of the missionaries on the field in real time and there is no way to prevent them from extending assistance. Urgent prayer requests can also be communicated in no time at all.
Third, the SB has the responsibility to visit the field. Email communication can limit the understanding of the real situation of the missionaries. The SB should be responsible to visit the field and get a first-hand information and listen to the missionaries about their difficulties, problems, victories and future plans.
Fourth, the SB should provide pastoral care to missionaries. SB should assigned a person most likely an experienced Pastor who can provide spiritual counseling and prayers. The person does not necessarily need to report what transpired in this pastoral sessions. This will help the missionaries to have a healthy outlet concerning their struggles. Moreover, the SB needs to give pastoral care for missionaries by sending movies, audio, missions magazines and books as a way to encourage them spiritually.
Finally, SB should provide physical and psychological care to the missionaries. They must provide a good health care system for missionaries such as periodical health check. SB should provide professional counseling, medical insurance, and health care information through medical books and magazines.
Responsibility to missionaries during furlough
First, SB must provide housing for missionaries during furlough. Usually, when missionaries left their country, they sold everything they possessed. Missionaries do not have a house and have to live with their family and relatives. The SB should provide a rented house, a guest house or a mission house ideally near the airport where the missionaries could stay while they are on furlough.
Second, the SB has the responsibility to receive and send off missionaries. When missionaries come back from their mission fields, they experience an enormous culture shock. They face many adjustments and challenges in the seemingly new lifestyles. Cities do change a lot and missionaries who have gone for a long time may get lost in the city. The SB should extend all the assistance that the missionaries might need when they return to their own country.
Thirdly, the SB should plan for the missionaries deputation schedule. The SB should arranged for the missionaries schedule to speak in churches, conferences and other requesting organizations. Arrange the time and location wisely so that the missionaries do not have to make unnecessary travel. They could arrange also that part of the furlough could be spent on studies related to the missionaries ministries. It is good for the SB to arrange for their missionaries to have rest and retreats.
Responsibility to missionary kids
Schooling for the missionary kids is not an easy matter. This is the greatest concerns of the parents. There are very few schools in the mission fields that can provide good education. International schools are expensive and the SB should do everything they can to extend assistance. Some SB provides tuition fees for the missionary kids until they finish high school and partial scholarship when the kids are in college.
The SB should also take special care for the missionary kids who are returning home from the mission fields for education or work. Their family and relatives may take a big role in this area, however, the SB must provide any assistance needed in the areas such as missionary kids’ residence, job hunting and introduce fellowship groups that would encourage MK to adjust to the culture smoothly.
Responsibility to supporting churches
The SB needs to communicate with supporters and supporting churches effectively by newsletters. The SB should have regular and proper financial reports to the supporters. It also needs to organize mission services and missions’ day of prayer to educate the church about the missions and the missionary they are supporting. SB should be active in raising funds for mission works and continually raise supporters’ interest for mission.
In our situation, we are not send by any sending body (in the real sense of the word). Although, we have been approached by few sending bodies about the possibilities of working with them, we really did not make any steps to be part of any sending body. We have been in the mission field for almost six years and the Lord never failed to provide for our needs. We are totally dependent on God and we are enjoying our independence. Apparently, the SB has huge responsibility to the missionary they are sending, otherwise missionary should reciprocate that responsibility. Any SB should not claim any missionaries as their own if they are not committed to do their responsibilities.