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Deputation is…

  1. Deputation is asking the Lord for new fellow-laborers in the harvest fields.
  2. Deputation is reading to each other mile after mile… after mile.
  3. Deputation is hoping you can make it to the next gas station before running out of gas.
  4. Deputation is meeting with a room full of perfect strangers and leaving with the feeling you have known those folks for years.
  5. Deputation is knowing every $.99 menu from Pennsylvania to Florida.
  6. Deputation is waking up in pitch darkness and knowing you must be in the prophet’s chamber of some church… somewhere!
  7. Deputation is trembling as you open the phone bill.
  8. Deputation is rejoicing over the 2 for $.99 Taco Bell crunchy taco special.
  9. Deputation is waking up in the middle of the night to a crack of light streaming through the bathroom door so you will know you are in a motel… somewhere.
  10. Deputation is selecting a gas station minutes before a church service to freshen up, comb your hair and get the kids looking presentable again.
  11. Deputation is scanning the support list at the first of the month to see who the new supporters are.
  12. Deputation is asking the Lord how you can better communicate the burden He have given you for the field.
  13. Deputation is trusting the Lord for everything
  14. Deputation is making new friends.
  15. Deputation is the blessed peace knowing you are doing what the Lord wants.
  16. Deputation is getting a note from a dear friend saying, “All in His time; don’t get discouraged.”
  17. Deputation is freshening up the message, never let it get stale.
  18. Deputation is using the support list at the first of the month to thank God for faithful supporters and families.
  19. Deputation is rejoicing over finding a new name on that list.
  20. Deputation is seeing someone receive the Lord as their Savior.
  21. Deputation is hoping for a gas war when you’re getting close to empty… again.
  22. Deputation is trying to write a decent prayer letter and sometimes wondering if anyone reads those things anyway.
  23. Deputation is spending the night with a pastor and his wife, and being strengthened with laughter, fellowship, and yes, encouragement.
  24. Deputation is knowing the “best” exits on at least one major highway…or three.
  25. Deputation is showing up to a church that forgot you were coming, but by God’s grace they took you on for support anyway.
  26. Deputation is knowing that you can trust God for everything.
  27. Deputation is the mechanic shocked you are back so soon for your oil change as he just saw you a few weeks ago.
  28. Deputation is the 500 hidden napkins you have in your car.
  29. Deputation is having every card to save you money on gas as you travel!
  30. Deputation is hard work but also a lot of fun!
  31. Deputation is getting your 10th iced coffee refill at Starbucks as you hang out between meetings.
  32. Deputation is getting excited when you get new coupons for fast food restaurants!
  33. Deputation is when a vacation is being home more than two days!
  34. Deputation is a front row seat to seeing how big our God really is.
  35. Deputation is a new nursery every service for your toddler to terrorize.
  36. Deputation is the best way to appreciate a home cooked meal.
  37. Deputation is learning to always be ready for anything.
  38. Deputation is a great way to stretch your kids to make new friends.
  39. Deputation is stocking the car with emergency cleaning supplies, backup toothbrushes, and deodorant for everyone.
  40. Deputation is learning when your GPS is lying to you.
  41. Deputation is knowing everyone and knowing no one at the same time.
  42. Deputation is seeing that you aren’t the only one standing for the Gospel.
  43. Deputation is fellowshipping with brothers and sisters in Christ because of the unity we have in the Gospel.
  44. Deputation is a time to grow your faith in preparation for the mission field.
  45. Deputation is knowing that a 6 hr drive is actually 5hrs and 15 minutes… or 8 hours.
  46. Deputation is waking up in the night to see the neighbor’s light streaming through your curtains and realizing you are “Home Sweet Home” – at least for a night or two.
  47. Deputation is thanking God for a mission’s house with a washer and dryer.
  48. Deputation is seeing God provide in miraculous ways again and again in the most unexpected ways.
  49. Deputation is a proving to yourself and others that you have faith enough to step out and do what God has called you to do.
  50. Deputation is making life-long friends that will hold the ropes for you on the field!
  51. Deputation is passing through a city only to stop and grab a bite with a sweet family that previously hosted you in their home during a mission’s conference.
  52. Deputation is reminding your kids that God has blessed them so much to be able to see so much of their home country while on the road and meet so many new people.

I would love to hear more ideas (funny or serious) of what deputation is to you. Send them to me at jeff@visionmissions.com

YOUR DISPOSITION ON DEPUTATION by Missionary Tony Howeth

It has been stated that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to those things and their consequences. There is much truth to that in life and especially concerning Deputation. I am sure none of these are original! I learned or heard them from someone else but have been very much personalized over the last 16 months. I pray these will help you as you serve our Lord on Deputation.

D – Discern why you are on deputation. If the total focus of your time, travel and teaching is to get money you will be sorely disappointed when no love offering comes your way. You are given the opportunity to stir, motivate and encourage others about the greatest thing ever and that is world evangelism. Would you rather have a “good love offering” or have a young man surrender to the call to preach? If God can’t use you to minister to the lives of people on deputation, what makes you think that He would use you to minister to others once you get to the field?

E – Educate yourself as to your responsibility. Many missionaries complain of being on deputation for so long yet they have been in relatively few churches. The question is not how many months have you been on deputation but how many churches have you been in? I have met brothers who have been on deputation for a year and a half and have 30% of their support. That is not the problem, the problem is that they have only been in 75 different churches….that is only one new church a week! That is the problem! All of us will have to go to around 200 churches….you must decide how quickly you want to do that! Call, fill your schedule, write letters and learn how to present your ministry. Try to average 12+ meetings a month and once you are in a church present your work by God’s grace in such a way that they will never forget your name and the field you are going to. Again, learn how to do a calendar, make phone calls, schedule your meetings, present your work, carry yourself, talk to pastor’s, etc. God will do His part…will we do ours? Be careful not to blame God for something you were responsible for.

P – Protect your family time. You may have to get up earlier or stay up later but your family still needs you. I have been in full time ministry for 16 years and have never experienced the strain on my marriage and my family like deputation has done. My personal opinion is that when I pastored, I carried in all inside and on myself. Deputation takes its toll on everyone. There is no shielding the children from the scrutiny, long drives, dead services, etc. On deputation it wears on everyone and no one has the opportunity to be oblivious to it. Safeguard your marriage and children. Sir, it may be your attitude is not what it ought to be because the attitude of your wife is not what it ought to be. As the man helps your family to have the attitude they should and you will be surprised how it will help your attitude.

U – Understand you are not in competition with other missionaries. When you go into a conference they are not your enemies, they are fellow- soldiers. Stop comparing your love offerings, monthly reports, gifts, meeting, etc. to them. It is amazing how quickly your attitude can change when you find out another missionary got twice the love offering you did or scheduled a meeting after one phone call when you have called the same church a thousand times. We need to learn to rejoice with a missionary family when God has showered down blessings on them.

T – Thank those who assist you on your way. Write a thank you letter for the pastor giving you a meeting and then send him a thank you card after the meeting. (Your card could be post cards from your field to remind him of where you are going.) Thank individuals who invest in your ministry. Do not ever take someone’s sacrifice to help you for granted no matter how meager or humble it may seem. Attitudes are ruined on deputation when we think we deserve their time, money and help. Expect nothing and be thankful for everything.

A – Admit your own faults. Deputation is an opportunity for God in heaven to have His way in and through your life. Stop blaming the churches, pastors, children and wife….look in the mirror and admit there are things in your character that need a touch from God. Be man enough to say, “It is my fault.”, “I am sorry.”, “I was wrong.” Instead of, “What could the church have done differently?” Ask yourself, “What could I have done differently?”

T – Try not to get into needless debt. Be careful of taking the check or cash and putting all your expenses on a credit card and blowing the money at the same time. Financial pressure can ruin your day…make sure you did not bring it onto yourself. Keep a handle on what is coming in and what is going out. Many on deputation get a bad attitude over money they think they should have gotten but it may be God saw they were not a good steward of what they were getting so why should He give them more?

I – Insist on times alone with God. There are times when ones schedule is very demanding; it is then that you must seek first the kingdom of God . Refuel your life in the Word and in prayer. If you are working as you ought, you will constantly be giving to the spiritual needs of others. Be very careful that the Word of God does not become ordinary in your life. Let it truly be your life to quicken your spirit each and every day. Most of the time a bad attitude comes from not walking close to God.

O – Obey the Pastor. He has graciously allowed you to enter the church God has given him the responsibility of and to preach in his pulpit. Stop grumbling how you think he ought to treat you and honor him as the man of God. This is not about “what is right” but about you having a disposition that is pleasing to God. I can not control the how or the why of a pastor degrading me but I can control my mouth and heart toward him. Be careful that you do not train your children to bad mouth the man of God because one day the man of God they bad mouth may be you. Follow his time schedule whatever he gives you take two minutes less. Be a help to the pastor and his church….as you help the church one day when the church is able I believe the church will help you.

N – Never judge how your meeting will go with a church based on the testimony of another missionary. If theirs went badly then you will go in thinking, “This is going to stink!” (and it probably will because of your attitude.) If theirs went really well and the church helped them in a major way, you will be disappointed if they do not do the same for you. Then your family gets to put up with your sorry attitude all the way home. God is going to do different things, in different places with different people. Let God be God when you go into a meeting and see what He does!

By no means is this all inclusive! These are only a few areas that you will deal with that has the potential of changing your focus and ruining your disposition on deputation. Men if we fail on deputation, what will we do in language school and starting churches in a foreign culture? May God use deputation as a foundation to build a great work all over the world through Missionaries just like you!

Dear Soon-to-Arrive Missionary

by Missionary Benjamin Johnson

I know you are excited about getting to the field. It is what drives you forward and keeps you going. You look forward to the next step, the new beginning, the new challenge.

It’s been one year since we have landed on the field. Much has happened in that one year that has caused us to grow and learn in various ways and I would like to tell you some of the things that I have learned since they are so fresh in my mind.

Every Field Has Its Thing
Let’s be honest, missionaries are people and being people, we compare. We compare families, ministry, work effort, abilities and in the case of us missionaries: mission fields. We all try to one-up one another. This field is harder.

This field is more open. This field has more opportunity.
One area it seems that missionaries on the field seem to dwell in is the difficulty of the field they live in. Again, one-ups-manship is key here. “On our field, we cannot….” fill in the blank: get certain items, allow our children to go here, be out after dark, etc.

The fact is that every mission field has its thing: it’s one thing that makes it difficult for the missionary to live. For some, it is the prevailing religion; for some, it is the living conditions; for others, it is the culture; for others, it is the hardness of the people.

Comparing mission fields is a quick way to get discouraged or to feel superior. The fact remains is that it is important to fight your thoughts. Realize that no matter how hard it is, there is always harder and there is always good to look for in your field no matter what it is,

Every Person Has Their Problem
Not only do fields have their things, but people have their problems. And just like fields have differences, people have their differences too. One person will struggle with leaving their children in the care of another. For others, it will be the difficulty of the language. For different people, it will be the weather or perhaps missing their family.

Your problems and faults will be exposed on the field. As a missionary to China long ago said, “The scum rises to the top on the mission field.” This scum needs to be dealt with and put away. The first year on the field is an excellent opportunity for God to work in your heart and life to better mold you into who He wants you to be.

You Will Be Attacked
This goes hand in hand with the last point: you will be attacked by Satan. Just as everyone has their struggle, Satan will use whatever is your weak point and focus on that.

The pressure will come. Sometimes it will seem unrelenting – it will be one thing after another. You can’t catch a break. You will doubt God’s goodness. You will doubt you should be on the field. You will even think that God has it out for you.

There were many pressures and problems we have faced in our first year, but one of the biggest and seemingly most impactful was one at the end of August and beginning of September. We had a wonderful summer break that allowed us to get some more practice in Chinese and even my parents came for a visit.

The first Sunday in the month we received the phone about Crystal’s mother. Crystal and Evie flew back and upon their return to China, Evie had pneumonia and had several asthma attacks. We essentially missed our first week of university classes due to doctor’s visits.

There will be times when everything within you wants to pack up and go. It will not seem worth it anymore. You will feel like you walk around with a giant target on your back, and you will just want it off. But do not give up. God is big enough and although the attacks are hard at times and unrelenting, you can grow and God can use it for His glory and your good.

Deputation is your boot camp
Some, mostly missionaries currently on deputation, lament having to spend so long on deputation. I will not go as far as to say that deputation was an easy and wonderful road because it was difficult at times. Living as a nomad for years, the seemingly endless miles, the horror stories and so much more.
But deputation is an excellent time to prepare your heart and mind for the field. While driving, I listened to many books that I still think on as I am here on the field. The way I believe deputation is best compared is to boot camp. Boot camp isn’t easy. It has its struggles and difficulties, but it isn’t the active war zone that is the mission field.

Deputation is a great time to become better prepared for the field. It can shape you and mold you to be ready for what lies ahead. God can use deputation as a boot camp and form you into a battle ready soldier.

You will be attacked and/or tried in ways you did not expect
Be prepared to not be prepared for what’s ahead. When we landed, I knew culture shock would happen. I knew the language was a difficult one. But there were different ways that I didn’t expect to have problems. One of the most notable is the culture shock my daughter experienced. She was old enough to understand the change, but not old enough to necessarily process the change.
When preparing to face the unexpected, look to God for wisdom and patience.

Some things just take time for adjustment and that adjustment can be many, many months. Love God and love your family during these times. Learn to endure, pray and trust God and His plan. He is at work.

Don’t find balance, make boundaries
One article I read shortly after arriving on the field helped me a lot pointed out how everyone looks for balance but what is needed is boundaries. Boundaries about spending time as a family. Boundaries about spending time with your spouse. Boundaries about needing the necessary time to set up your home.

The problem with balance is that it is abstract. Boundaries are clear. This day is our family day. This time is our setup time. This time is for (fill in the blank). No, it can’t be super inflexible, but it will need to be guarded. It may not make you popular with others, but if you can make sure to keep your family, you will keep your ministry. Don’t keep your family, you definitely won’t keep your ministry.

Don’t forget the first goal: the language
You have spent years telling people how you want to spread the gospel and start churches. It is deep in our bones that we want to preach the word, but don’t let that passion get you off track from learning how to effectively communicate in another language. The primary goal of the first term is to learn the language.
You will be pulled to do ministry in English in many places in this world. But the most important thing you can do is learn the heart language of the people. Go as far in ministry as your language allows. Push yourself to do ministry, but in the language of the people you are reaching.

Have fun
I really don’t think I can stress this enough, but have fun. Fun does not mean not hard, but you can enjoy it even when it is hard. Travel when you get a chance. Find things that your family enjoys to do together as a family. Your first year on the field does not have to be drudgery. We have truly enjoyed the first year. It has not been problem-free, but it has been fun.

Enjoy life. Serving God is not a burden, it is fun! We have the privilege of doing one of the most incredible jobs that has ever existed. Don’t take that for granted. God has allowed you to go to another country, learn another language to tell others about how much He loves them. If you can’t enjoy life and have fun in that, then perhaps you need to find a new career.

The Call

“What really is a call from God?” and “How can I know if God is calling me?” Although some may disagree with the term “call”, we cannot deny that the previous questions pass through the minds of many Christians and it’s something we many times missinterpret.  In this brief study, we will see different thoughts to make us more aware of “The Call” and what God wants from us. Read More

Tips For Traveling On Deputation/Furlough For Missionaries

As we are on our second furlough, I wanted to make a list of ideas to help other missionary families as they travel on deputation or furlough.  At this time we have 5 children ages 10, 8, 7, 2 and a 6 week old baby.  Of course you may not use everything on this list, this is just things that we do to make the trip lighter.

  1. Leave with a clean vehicle. A few days earlier clean out the car. Everyone will feel so much better in a clean car.  Of course it won’t stay that way for long. J You can keep a small bottle of Febreeze in the glove box to keep it smelling clean.
  2. Cut the trip in half. Many hours on the road are hard on the whole family. If you have time to travel, try to break up a 9-10 hour traveling day into 2 days.  Or leave very early in the morning so the kids will continue to sleep if you are a morning person and can stay awake on the road.
  3. Use a GPS! Long gone are the days of figuring out a map.  I’m sure this one is a given, but it is worth the investment and you can even use them in the country that you are going to by installing the maps of your country.
  4. Have lots of patience! We have 5 kids so our vehicle is full.   There is not even one empty seat to stretch out into. J  Remember to keep your cool when things get “rough” and they will!  This is usually an indication that it’s time to get out and stretch.
  5. We have a small emergency bag of clothes and toiletries in the car. If a church is less than 3 hours from home, we will usually drive back home after the meeting.  Once we were stranded in a city because of slick roads and had no clean clothes for the following day.  After that I started keeping an emergency bag in the car.
  6. Make a list of things that you need to take so you don’t forget anything important. I keep a list on my I pad and just go over it, as I’m packing.  Some important things that I try to take are:
    • DVDs for the kids
    • Extra car key (in case you lose or get locked out of your car)
    • Wet wipes (great for sticky hands for the little ones), Antibacterial gel,
    • Thank you notes (to leave at prophets chamber, in homes you stay in or if someone gives you a gift)
    • Small recipient of Dish soap for washing out no-spill cups and bottles in hotel rooms
  7. Plan your trip ahead so you can call and find a Prophet’s Chamber instead of spending tons of money on hotels along the way. There is a list here: http://www.mwbm.org/images/propetschambers2006.pdf

Read More

Ten Suggestions To More Effective Missionary Display Booths

SOURCE: By Butch Oglesby (Many of the suggestions in this article are
based on the book, “How To Get The Most Out of Trade Shows”, by Steve
Miller.) 31 Oct 2003

One of the many tasks of a furloughing missionary is to inform his or her stateside constituents about the work that God is doing where the missionary is serving. We do this not just to inform, but to encourage interest in and support for missions. Even those of us who serve in denominations that do not require us to raise our own support must encourage our supporters to pray for us and the people we are trying to reach. Naturally, we want them to become excited about missions and support our work financially, either directly or indirectly.

Speaking at churches and mission conferences is most often the venue for missionaries, and we are expected to have some sort of display and even dress in our national costume. Often these mission conferences take on the
feel of a trade fair. In fact they may best be thought of as missions fairs. In order to be as effective as we can possibly be it would be good for us to remember some simple and basic rules about one’s mission exhibit. Below a few suggestions and the dos and don’ts of manning your missionary display.

1. Make your display area open. People do not like to walk into a booth where they feel trapped. If you have a table, move it to the rear of the booth so the area feels open and inviting. Don’t be a border guard. That is, don’t stand in the way of your display.

2. Have as much interactivity as possible. If you have a laptop computer you can produce a continuous slide show in Power Point or other programs to encourage visitors to pause a few moments at your booth. People love to touch things; simple games from your country are always attention-getters.

3. Keep your exhibit area neat. People will move things and generally clutter your table. From time-to-time straighten up the clutter. If you have equipment or extra material you are not using at the moment, try to find an out-of-the-way place to store it where it is not visible.

4. Give something away: brochures, fact sheets, pencils, candy from your country; the list goes on. However, don’t give brochures to everyone. They are expensive, and research shows that 90% of them are thrown away before
the recipient reaches home. One researcher says that the average time spent reading a brochure is 1.3 seconds. So, be selective about giving away your slick, four-color brochures.

5. Don’t sit or read in your booth. This gives the impression you really don’t want to be bothered or that you are “off duty.” People will pass you by if you give them any reason to do so.

6. Don’t eat or drink at your booth. It is rude and messy; people are polite and will not bother you while you are eating.

7. Don’t chew gum or suck breath mints. It is not pleasant to talk to someone who has something in their mouth. If you feel you need a breath freshener, use a spray.

8. Don’t ignore those who wander into your booth. If you are busy with someone else, at least acknowledge the person or draw him or her into the conversation.

9. Don’t spend your time visiting with the other missionaries. You do not want to look too busy to spend time with a potential prayer warrior!

10. Wear your badge properly. It may seem more cool to wear it on your sleeve or waistband, but if you want people to read it, then it should be placed on your shirt or jacket wear it can be easily and quickly read.

These are only a few suggestions, but following them will help you stand out and be effective. After all, you want to give your people group the best representation possible.

Survey Trip Check List

 

Name  __________________________________ Country ____________________________

Date of Trip _____________________________

Cities Visited: _________________________________________________________________

Living Expenses:

What is available to rent?  ______________________________________________________

What is the cost of an apartment? _____________ a house? ___________________________

Other? ______________________________________________________________________

What is the cost for utilities? Electricity? _______________ Water? _____________________________ Is the current 220 or 110?

Telephone? ____________________ Gas for house? ____________ Propane, Natural, Gas

bottles? What will set up cost be for the bottles etc.? ____________________ Read More