The Impact of a Friend

two women having coffee

As we look at this month’s focus on relationships, I am drawn to think of how our commitment to friendships impacts missions. When Jesus sent out His disciples on their first missionary journey, He sent them out 2 by 2. We need each other. Even in missions, God wants us to have someone to travel with, to share with, and to do missions with.

I remember Michelle, a friend of mine in a past season of missions. We were ministry partners. We prayed before each house we visited and held each other accountable for spiritual goals. One time when my husband was out of town and I was ill, she stayed with me until I had enough strength to take care of my children. God used her in my life for 5 years until He moved us to another place of service.

Lisa was another friend on mission. We didn’t live in the same city, but we talked on the phone and planned times to gather our families together. We even planned a women’s retreat together to share with others. She was a worshipper and possessed the true heart of a missionary. We prayed together for women we came into contact with. She passed away as a young woman, having been sick for a short time. How we all grieved, yet I am so thankful for her friendship and partnership in the gospel.

Another friend, Sharon, I have probably known the longest. Sharon has been in my life for more than 30 years. Yes, we were very young when we met! All these years, I have appreciated her kindness and willingness to spend time together whenever possible. We have lived in different time zones most of those years, but we stay in touch. She is a faithful encourager.

I use their names because I want them to know how much I appreciate every second we have been able to have together. I am thankful for others as well. Missions is a richer experience when we serve together. Heaven will be even sweeter as we have time together around the throne. My friends have shared who they are and who Christ was making them to be, and I hope to do the same.

In a day when we search for mentors, coaches, teachers, and models to follow, maybe we just need to elevate the meaning of the word friend. My prayer this month is that God would put friends in our paths to share life with, to love, to encourage, to challenge, and to grow with as we live on mission together.

Laura Harper is ministry consultant for adult audiences at WMU. Contact her at lharper@wmu.org.

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