So You Want to be a Missionary? Essential Considerations Book Review by Jeff Bush

So You Want to be a Missionary? Essential Considerations

By Don Mingo


– Half of all new missionaries do not last beyond their first term on the field. — Page

– Missionary casualties often occur in a vacuum of poor self- and soul-care. Soul-care
is rarely discussed. Many missionaries spoken with over the years struggle with dry,
barren souls. — Page 18

– Expectations probably result in more missionary casualties than any other single
cause. Expectations is the graveyard of many missionaries’ callings and dreams. —
Page 30

– Expectation defines not so much what missionary life looks like, but rather what it
must look like. Think about it for just a moment, couldn’t an expectation be perhaps
considered as an idol? — Page 33

– Where do your expectations originate? Please, think about that question. Where do
notions of what your missionary experience should – must – look like—arise? —
Page 35

– What if – just what if – one learned that so much upon one’s own “this is what I
expected it to look like?” What if we learned instead to pursue God‘s expectations in
every facet of our missionary lives and endeavors? — Page 38

– Missionaries are very human folks, just doing what they were asked. Simply a bunch
of nobodies trying to exalt Somebody. Jim Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty.

– Missionary, you will get hurt. Count on it. It’s a rough, hostile place out there. And
may I let you in on a little secret? The place to which you’re going is controlled by the
enemy. An enemy who hates the Father and will do anything —anything— to prevent
people from coming to him through his Son, Jesus. — Page 47

– Count the cost, or, like so many, you’ll leave the field before you even get started.
Think about it. Isn’t missionary service an incursion into the enemy’s — Satan‘s —
stronghold to rescue souls away from him? A veteran missionary shared, “Serving as
a missionary in a foreign country is like going to war. The battle is real.” You’re going
to the frontlines of battle. What happens at ground zero? Don’t combatants get
injured? Don’t some die? You’ll get hurt. Expect it. Prepare for it. Commit to it. —
Page 47

– Adoniram Judson, pioneer missionary to Burma, said, “If I had not felt certain that
every additional trial was ordered by infinite love and mercy, I could not have
survived my accumulated sufferings. — Page 49

– Suffering and missionary service go hand in hand. — Page 50

– For American missionaries, sometimes the health and wealth gospel derails us by
playing a diabolical part in our preconceived notions about serving God on the
mission field. The thought is, “If I serve God, he will protect me no matter what.” The
problem with such a viewpoint is that it is contrary to the Scriptures and disproven
by at least one hundred people in the Bible. Suffering is part of God‘s plan for his
people (2 Corinthians 1:4). — Page 50-51

– Accept it, expect it, and prepare yourself for it. This is your cross, missionary.
Suffering is real. If anything, we suffer more than friends and family back home
because of our exposures to multiple unsafe environments. Are you willing to carry
such a cross? — Page 52

– That’s it. I am finished. “We are going to resign, go back to the States, and work
secular jobs.” Really? After raising your funds, finishing your schooling and training,
and arriving on your field, you’re just going to quit? Because someone hurt your
feelings? Really? How many years of preparation have you undergone? And you’re
just going to hang it up after only how many months? And what about the next
challenge you encounter in life? What will you do then? — Page 55-56

– Loneliness – as a missionary – is a cross you’ll need to learn to carry. Sorry, there’s
no other way around it. The missionary life requires experiencing seasons of
loneliness. Yet your loneliness can present positive opportunities. — Page 69

– Loneliness is the number two problem cited by most younger missionaries
contacting us for help. — Page 70

– When you are lonely, try to reflect upon God. Don’t waste your loneliness in
aloneness. — Page 72

– Please hear this: If your marriage isn’t healthy, strong, and vibrant – then please don’t
become a missionary. Not yet. Strengthen your marriage first. Becoming a
missionary does not fix a marriage. You don’t belong out there if your marriage is not
strong. I didn’t write the rules of spiritual leadership. God did. (See Ephesians 5,
Titus 3, and 1 Timothy 3.) — Page 106-107

– One missions agency told me that 80% of their applicants voluntarily indicate a
struggle with pornography, resulting in staff shortages on the field. — Page 109

– Again, if you struggle with pornography, don’t go to the field until you’ve:
• Established sound boundaries.
• Implemented ironclad accountability.
• Learned to regularly biblically confess your sin.
• Gained knowledge of the dreadful consequences of porn.
• Acquired godly sorrow about your sin (2 Corinthians 7:10).

– The mission field isn’t a magic wand to rectify our problems. It often increases our
malfunctions. It does not end them. — Page 110

– No one owes a missionary anything except God who promises to meet your needs.
— Page 113

– If God caused a guy in the desert with a big stick to part the Red Sea, he can part
your soul-doubts, bringing you to your promised land. — Page 115

– The money you receive comes from people who do with less so that you, the
missionary, can accomplish more. — Page 120

– Learn to speak their language, and you will sing the music of their hearts. — Page

– Be a learner. Be humble enough to receive instruction and correction. Never stop
learning the language of the people you serve. — Page 133

– Missionary, if you say you care, then show it. Take the time to master the language of
the people. It’s a true way into their hearts. Only then will your message be heard. —
Page 134

– I’m convinced missionary work is most effective when missionaries minister in the
shadows of cultural existence, encouraging national people to lead their own people;
not the other way around. Too often the missionary is viewed as “the boss.” — Page

– The most common reason missionaries go home isn’t due to lack of money, illness,
terrorism, homesickness, or even a lack of fruit or response to the gospel.

Regretfully, the number one reason is conflict with other missionaries. Yes, you read
that correctly. — Page 156

– Don’t waste your pain dwelling in a cave indefinitely berating, begrudging, and
bellowing your bad fortune. It’s a lousy place to live. Pain can serve as a greater
purpose than that. It can propel you toward God and greater service. Don’t waste
your pain. — Page 226

– Older missionary, your greatest asset is the Elishas you leave behind. As your name
and work fade in the rearview mirror of life —and they will—, those staying after your
departure will determine your ministry’s real success. It’s not in the buildings or
structure you leave behind, but rather in the Elishas you’ve left to carry on the work.
— Page 229-230

– Elijah, what about you? When your chariot takes you out of this world, what will you
leave behind? Struggling remnants of your ministry’s remains? Or an Elisha or two
who takes the work beyond the capabilities of your influence? — Page 233

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