Wednesday, April 29

How to Keep in Touch & Encourage Others When We Have To Be Apart - A Dose of Encouragement


We are in lockdown in Northern Ireland just like many are in lockdown all over the world during this month of April in 2020 and may be like this for many weeks or months to come.

We are confined to our homes or as many of us would say - we are stuck at home.

Many of us want to keep in touch and encourage our family, friends and church family.

What can we do to encourage others when we cannot go out to visit, talk in person face to face, or meet together in our different churches?







Yes I'm sure it is in your mind right now that there is one obvious thing we can do - PRAY!

I agree the first thing we should do is pray for
  •  our situation 
  •  our families
  •  our friends
  •  our neighbours
  •  our church community
  •  the lonely, vulnerable and anxious people we know
  •  those who are ill
  •  doctors, nurses, other hospital workers
  •  home carers
  •  foodbank workers
  •  key workers

BUT

What else can we do to keep in touch?

What else can we do to encourage each other?


Yes here I am sitting at the computer as I do for at least a little while each day - okay much more than a little while most days - and in this day and age most people do spend time each day on computers, mobiles, tablets etc.


My computer is where I do most of my blogging, online shopping, work on kids resources,  playing with graphics, storing photographs and filing Home info.

My iPad is where I do most of my emailing, make lists and notes, facetime our kids, go on facebook, play a few games' and browse Ebay and Amazon.

My mobile is where I text, message, whatsApp, take pictures & videos


Now on each of these things I do have contact with other people but everything via these things is in a kind of shortened form.


However in the situation we are at this moment I need to change my ways and add something that is not so much in shortened form - I need to start using my phone as a phone.
I hate talking on the phone and will do almost anything else so as not to have to do it.
Partly because I don't feel that I hear these so clearly on the phone even though my hearing is fine.
Partly because I talk with my hands, and you can't do that while holding a phone and of course there is no-one to see it.
And
Partly because I can't see the person to see how they actually feel as they are talking to me.


So I'm going to have to get out of my comfort Zone and actually phone people because it is just not enough to ask Fred how each person is after he has called them.


That sort of brings me to what our church is doing in this time of Lockdown.



What our Church is Doing

  • Live online service each Sunday morning.
  • Online Prayer Meeting on Zoom midweek
  • Bible Study online midweek
  • Milk Note*
  • Leadership Phone contact rota
  • WhatsApp group for prayer requests and encouraging news and uplifting videos etc.
  • Videos of some of the congregation singing (individual videos put together)

*A little note put in the door (one day in the week) of people who may need some extra help during the week to get some extra groceries or something else from a shop and then collected another day and the items delivered as soon as possible.







Types / Groups of People within the Church Family

  • Elderly
  • People who live alone
  • People who do not have any family living locally
  • People suffering from Chronic illnesses
  • Couples
  • Families with teenagers
  • Families with young children

All of these people need to know that others are thinking about them, praying for them and care about them.



How can different people within the church family encourage each other?



What We can Do as Individuals

  • Phone calls
  • Text Messages
  • Send Cards
  • Write letters
  • Support foodbanks
  • Buy a special treat or make a tasty treat
  • Use any hobbies we have to support other organisations or people*
  • Use any abilities we have to support other organisations or people*
  • People living in the same area can take their daily walk some days to go past homes of others and wave to them or stop and have a brief chat or take a picture from a proper distance.

*Remember that if you have any hobbies like card making, knitting, crocheting, quilting, cross stitching you can use them to encourage and show love and care for others.


*Remember that if you have any knowledge of computers you can be of help to get other people online when there are church services and prayer meetings and Bible Studies available there. 


Help them set up a Zoom account  for prayer meetings, Bible Studies or even ladies meetings - yes this is how I had to speak to ladies from another church a week ago.






Help them to get a facebook account set up so that they can access the live streams and direct them to good facebook pages.


Get them onto WhatsApp to be in a group of people for contact and prayer requests.


They may even want to come join others on my Facebook page which was primarily set up to encourage others as is this Blog.  Just click on the pic below.








IDEAS for Children to be Involved within the Church Family


Children can make cards for the older people on their own.
Our grandchildren made cards for us and because they know what they like to play with in our house and they know the things we like they customized them for us.
My card had a large heart and some butterflies because you will find hearts and butterflies all over my house.
Fred's card had a guitar on the front because he loves guitars.
Both of our cards had pirate stickers on them because our grandson Matthew loves to play with a pirate ship we bought him which stays in our house.







Parents can share little videos of the children

Families could take a little video of them all saying hello and waving to people.




Children can dictate little messages for their parents to send to others.

Our daughter-in-law wrote a postcard to me for our granddaughter who is not quite 3 years old yet and she wrote it by asking Ruby questions to help her think what she might like to say.
I can tell you now that we are going to have sausages and pasta the first time we get back to see them in their house after Lockdown, partly because she likes pasta and I like sausages.







People who know the children well can facetime the children to chat with them, read a story, sing a song with them, or play a little game.


We sing songs
with our grandchildren and find out if they have learnt any new songs recently that they can teach us.


We do a hide and seek over facetime where we get the grandkids to close their eyes and count while we hide a cuddly toy bear in different places in our house and they then have to tell us where to go in the house to look in the places they think we may have hidden it.







We can do a jigsaw together with them over facetime.
This was one that their mum got us for Christmas and it was rather special because it was made from a picture of Fred and I and the three grandchildren the day the youngest was born.








The Church can produce simple materials for the children

The Church can choose themes or topics and produce a

  •  little prayer,
  •  story idea,
  •  colouring page
  •  simple memory verse
  •  and maybe a simple craft idea for the parents to use with the children.
for each one.

Having been a Sunday School Curriculum Writer and A Kid's Club leader for many years those kinds of things come more naturally to me and every church will have someone who can develop a little system like this.




WHAT CAN WE ALL DO TO KEEP IN TOUCH?

WHAT CAN WE ALL DO TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS?


Can you encourage someone?
Yes you can.

Can you do any of the things mentioned above?
Yes you can.

No matter who you are, you can do at least one of the things mentioned here in this blog post.



Do you think that one thing you are able to do can make a difference?

If you said no then you are wrong.

Every little thing we do out of love and concern and compassion for another person can make a difference to a day for them.

In times of loneliness, vulnerability, anxiety or stress one thing in the day can help to brighten someone's life - that's what encouragement is all about.

People always need to be reminded of God's Love

People always need to be reminded that:





I actually received that poem above many years ago after an extremely sad time in my life and I was very thankful for some encouragement.




Can you encourage someone?

YES!

To encourage someone means to leave them seeing their day, week, life, changed even in a very simple way so that they are lifted out of any discouragement, loneliness, dismay, they may be feeling.

With the added advantage we have of turning their eyes toward Jesus to know He still cares for them.



And what about the person doing the encouragement?

Well if you step out and do some act of kindness to encourage another I tell you it will also encourage you.



Let me encourage you from my own experience how simple acts of kindness encourage others.

I know how a little letter can help someone   -   See  Tears over a Little Letter

I know how receiving a handmade card can encourage someone.   -  just look above to the cards we got from the grandkids.

I know how a phone call can help someone   -   I'm not good at making them but I do appreciate them.

I know how keeping in touch on facebook messenger regularly can help someone.

I know how checking in with someone on WhatsApp helps them.

I know how thankful people are for little cards sent out to them to show your love and concern.

Here are examples of some of the lovely Postcards I found that I am sending out to people within our church who are on their own.






I picked them because of the attractive, encouraging Bible Verses they display.

I bought them from a company called "10 of Those" who are a UK company and sell lots of books as well with everything being at really good prices.

There are two packs of the postcards and they each have 5 different designs, the picture above show three from each pack.






I get no commission from "10 of Those" - I just wanted to give you an example of what you can get for a good price but I'm sure other Bible Book shops online will have similar products.



I also know how providing that bag of pasta or flour or toilet rolls or other essential items to a foodbank will not only help the people who receive gifts from the foodbank but will also help to relieve the pressure on the foodbank organisers.  -  Our son is in that position.


I also know that just being the person someone else can turn to at any time for prayer is a great encouragement.


I also know that being the person who is inviting you wot pray online with them, or read the Bible or sing the Psalms together online is a great help to others.  -  Our other son is in that position.


I also know that having someone just to remember you live far from your homeland and in a different culture and to make you laugh at times can be a great gift.  -  Our daughter is in that position.


So why not think how you feel and how you would like someone to encourage and help you and then do that for someone else.





You may also find my blog posts on

  BIBLE VERSES OF ENCOURAGEMENT IN TIMES OF ANXIETY WORRY & STRESS
  BIBLE VERSES OF ENCOURAGEMENT IN TIMES OF BEREAVEMENT

 to be of help for phone calls, letters and cards and even for encouragement on social media.


Or you can click on ENCOURAGEMENT in the Menu Bar at the top of this post for other blog posts on Encouragement.






6 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this. It let me know I am at least on the right track. I ordered cards and I have sent my mother who is in a nursing center a card a week. I've also sent her a box of goodies after I made my last grocery run. I also sent a card to my churh, my daugter, 8-year old grandson, granddaughter, and a my girlfriends It has been a lot of fun. I also attend church every Sunday virtually, and bible study most Wednesday evenings, and small bible group some Saturdays. I meet with coworkers at least twice a week via Zoom as well. I think I am still connected for the most part. I just miss the face-to-face connection and hugs but I'm okay. Thanks for list of great ways to stay connected.

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  2. You totally described me when you talked about how you don't like to talk on the phone! But you are right. Maybe we need to push out of our comfort zone so we can help others right now.

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  3. What a great lot of ideas! As a grandmother, I love the ideas from grandchildren. I was a bit wary of receiving things from the mail, but my husband wipes all the mail down with an antiseptic wipe. I'm planning to email or send a card to an older couple at church who don't have the means to get into our church Zoom meetings (they don't have wifi but do have email--I think they check it when they are somewhere that has wifi). They have family in the church, so I know they do have people checking on them. But I just want to let them know they're missed.

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  4. These are great ideas! I’m going to try to get my kids more involved with writing notes to their friends❤️

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  5. These are great ideas. We are playing Trivial Pursuit with my partners family over facetime. I've also been communicating with my granny over Facebook messenger and making sure she has everything she needs. Such a strange time right now.

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  6. Great ideas Sandra! I’ve been trying to send notes to each family in our church just to let them know they’re being thought of. I’ve also been drawing pictures and writing letters for my grandsons. It takes effort to keep in touch but so necessary! This is so timely! Thanks for sharing!

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