Getting to the Mission Field
Times sure have changed about ‘how does one get to the mission field?’ Before all the advancements in technology and travel, getting to the mission field was as difficult as doing all the work once you got there. But most of that is much easier.
Technology and travel are not the only things that have changed in getting to the mission field. Times have changed so much that today an individual or couple can begin serving on a foreign field much easier and quicker. Older established methods and processes are still present but some have created their way to a foreign field.
Here are 6 basic things that must be thought through or accomplished if someone wants to get to the mission field. This was taken from a workshop at a past ICOM:
- Build Your Base. Start now to select your ethical, prayer, financial and legal support team. Your “home base” is key to a solid foundation.
- Confirm Your Call. This is very important! Sometimes certain goals or decisions aren’t as planned or thought out as they should be. Some people graduate with a degree only to realize that their new speciality isn’t actually what they want to do after all. To move to a foreign country is difficult for a parent to think about their child (or as a result their grandchildren, too) leaving. Let’s just make sure you really feel God wants you to do this. When trials come, if you do not have a clear vision, your calling will be severely tested. Short-term mission trips and internships are great ways to try an area of the world or a particular vocation in order to test what you think your calling may be.
- Mentoring and Training. Make sure you have a good foundation and Godly people speaking into your life. This will be very exciting, but also a very different life or work you might ever do. So make sure you have good counselors and advisors in your life. Study your plans and goals very thoroughly with them. Include your family, so they know the work you are putting into this.
- Overcome the Opposition. Opposition might come from the most unlikely places, so be ready for it. If you do your homework, ask yourself all the questions you can think of so that you can be ready for the pushback you may encounter. Be careful not to cast judgment when opposition comes from someone you thought would always be “on your side”, so to speak. Ask for help in this, too. You don’t have to do this alone.
- Surrender Your Spirit. Doing a major move like this will deeply test your abilities and personal strength. You might want to consider realizing you won’t know all the answers. Don’t let your pride step in, but let God take control of this process. Humble yourself and don’t be anxious.
- Work out your witness. It always seems odd when someone is preparing to go somewhere far to serve God and yet they won’t do a single thing right in their own hometown or local church? Being on the mission field will not make you exempt from temptation or the devil either. So, start right now working on your character, doing good habits, serving those around you so that when you get to the field your life will simply be an expression of what you have always been, a humble servant to the King of Kings. Build good relationships with people while you are making your journey.
Two of the biggest mission field prospect stoppers you will need to be ready for:
- Relationships. This could be (sorry to say) parents, grandparents or children. It could even be your fiancé. I have seen plenty of guys and gals who made a commitment to go serve somewhere in the world only to fall in love and discover the one they love has no desire to leave the county they are standing in; so they never go. Recently, we heard of one young man who had the courage to break off a wedding date because he knew his fiancé would never go where God was leading him to go. Talk about it with your girlfriend/boyfriend, fiancé, spouse etc., if you’re thinking about the mission field as the direction for your life.
- Debt. College loans, credit cards, possibly a car – these are just a few things that can become an obstacle to getting to the mission field. So, think about that as you get further into the process and hopefully you will have enough time to get those out of the way.
There is so much to learn, but hopefully this will get your started and give you a launching point of discussion topics with those in your life who want to see you succeed!
Here are some other questions, thoughts, and tips from the workshop we thought would be helpful:
- Ask yourself: Will I be an independent missionary or do I go with a sending agency?
- Ask yourself: How do I go about choosing a sending agency?
- Think wisely: Be careful to read and think through any contracts before you sign with an agency.
- Think wisely: Never make a decision where you feel pressured to “do it right now”. A rushed decision could cost you later.
- Tip: Talk to a lot of missionaries or former missionaries, they might just save you a lot of trouble!
- Tip: Believe it or not, there are a lot of missionary topics covered on You Tube. (I was surprised!)
There is so much more to learn and time to learn it too. But anything of greatness takes time and effort to do it well. You don’t want anything to surprise you, or hold you back.
One last story. In the picture above, the person sitting to the far left is Isabel Dittemore. She went to the Far East and served for many years and was president of ICOM in 1951. Within the last few weeks before leaving, she discovered that there was a problem with her teeth, and that she would have to come back and deal with them as they got worse. So, before she left, she had all her teeth pulled so nothing would deter her from going to where she felt called. Wow! That’s dedication.
You can do this, too.