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In 1793, the father of modern missions arrived in India. While William Carey was revolutionizing the way the church thought about foreign missions, a much lesser known name also served Christ and missions by supporting Carey. For 21 years, Andrew Fuller led the Baptist Missionary Society, an organization that began in his own home in 1792. Fuller helped raise money, recruit missionaries, write pamphlets, and write to missionaries on the field to give them counsel and encouragement. He promised William Carey that, like lowering a man into a well, if Carey would go down to India he would “hold the rope.” “Holding the rope” has come to represent the support we can and should be providing to missionaries who have gone out. From prayer to finances, short-term trips to sending birthday cards, we can and should be caring for our missionaries.
In the next few months, we’ll have the unique opportunity to have two of our missionaries here with us for extended periods of time. Erion and Melodie Dielli come Oct. 26 through Nov. 1, and Cory and Kristine Cramer will be here January–March. How can we maximize our time with these missionaries? How can we best “hold the rope” for them? Here are three practical suggestions—consider, connect, and come.


  1. Consider how you can meet their physical needs while they are stateside. When missionaries return to the US, they have many churches to visit and people to see. Gas cards can help meet a real need. Gift cards to places like Target and Walgreens can allow them to buy what they aren’t able to bring in a suitcase. Restaurant gift cards let them enjoy a meal without the pressure of the cost.
  2. Connect intentionally with our missionaries while they’re here. Get to know our missionaries while they’re here with an eye to a relationship all year long. Find out what kinds of care they need. Do they miss a certain food? Need an encouraging letter at a particularly hard time of year? Just want someone to tell them they’re praying for them every week? Use the time that they’re here to prepare for the many months that they aren’t.
  3. Finally, come. We have multiple gatherings so you can be with our missionaries and they can be with us. Take the time out of your busy schedule now so you can hear from our missionaries. What’s going well? What’s most exciting? What are their greatest challenges? How is their church doing? You won’t know those answers unless you come and find out for yourself. Plus, our missionaries want to know us as a church family. Come eager to hear, but also to share about our church life and our love for global missions.

Let’s hold the rope well for our missionaries, and seize the opportunities we’ll have with the Diellis and Cramers in the next few days and months.

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