Missionary Mistakes #9 is a common problem seen amongst many missionaries. I both want to say thank the Lord for what He has taught me, along with a caution to all to not make this mistake. This Missionary Mistake concerns Preparation.
To be a missionary, there are many important steps to take. Without going into depth, I would like to mention some of those areas where we cannot afford to take the step without preparation.
If you go to a non-speaking English country, it is of upmost importance to learn the language of the people. A missionary that can not speak the language of the people will have many disadvantages as well as hindrances in his ministry. We all want to jump in and begin preaching, but if we do not take the discipline of going to language school, we may never be accepted by the people or possibly never be used as greatly for our Lord. We must not be fooled by the idea that everyone knows “some” English.
May we learn the language and learn it well to be affective in the Lord’s work!
Of course college is very important, but after college it is important to get hands-on training. My close friend Brother Aaron who is a missionary in North Africa says, “we must train for the field on the field”. Not only will we get the culture, language and practice, but when the time comes that we are leading a ministry, we will be ready. It is often looked at a waste of time to work under a veteran missionary before going out alone, but I believe it is a wise man that learns all he can before going into battle.
Know Your New Field
Once the Lord has placed a field on your heart, it would be unwise to just sit still and wait until you arrive. During the time of college, deputation or language school, take advantage of library books on your country. The internet will provide a large amount of information and pictures that will help you know your country better. Write missionaries via e-mail and ask questions. Pray for the people, the area you will work in. Do your homework and you will later be glad that you did.
The Deputation Manual by Austin Gardner and Tony Howeth is a great resource of ideas and helps for raising funds to get to the field. Not only is it a great source, but also a proven source by many missionaries that have used it and finished deputation in less than 2 years. You can order it online at www.bcwe.org
There are many areas of life that come by surprise, but we can and should be ready for the mission field. If God is leading you to the mission field, begin to prepare now ….. you will not regret it when you arrive to the mission field.