What would it look like if you were to shepherd a missionary?
Here is a starter list of ways you could consider doing shepherding work (based on Ezekiel 34):
Search: Take the initiative. Don’t wait until your missionary friend comes home in a basket. Be pro-active in asking about the condition of their soul.
Deliver: Never allow them to be out of sight, out of mind
Feed: Share what God has been teaching you, what has nurtured your soul, how he has manifested his lovingkindness to you. Remind them of the times you know when he has done the same for them.
Provide: Give them permission to rest. In fact, insist that they do. Even go so far as providing funds for a get-away.
Seek: Learn to read between the lines of their communications. Do you sense despair? A heart that is growing insensitive to the lover of their soul?
Bind: Ask God to help you be sensitive to their wounds and how you might be able to offer “a word in season.” Equip yourself with resources to which you might direct them (i.e. counselors, doctors).
Strengthen: Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Ask God to help you fuel their hope. Remind them of their place in God’s heart, and of his promises.
Provide: Keep their secrets. Be a safe place for them to share their hearts without fear of reprisal or even “preaching” from you