Going on the mission field is exciting, rewarding, challenging all at the same time. There is something elating about getting out there and ministering to others who are in need. It is an eye-opening experience to see how others live and how little they have. Here are five things that you should know before going on the mission field.
One of the most important of the five things you need to know is that being in third world countries can be like going to war. Some say that they wished that there was some sort of cross-cultural training to prepare people for what they see. The water supply is often lackluster, there are airborne viruses everywhere. The chances of getting sick are real. Many say the culture does not make any sense to them, and they feel homesick. The people are not going to change, it is the missionary that must adjust their ideals to adapt to the environment.
Many people glamorize the mission field to get people to join. However, you must have realistic expectations of the journey. Mission trips usually are designed with work in mind. These groups go out to build houses, feed the poor, and do other good Samaritan things. Forget about being on a super-spiritual pedestal, you will be humbled by the experience. Many find that they come face-to-face with all of their inadequacies and weaknesses while doing mission work. You must totally depend on God for strength, or you will want to, turn around, and come home.
Most missionaries find that they don’t speak the language of the country they are serving. It makes communication rather difficult. The goal of most of these trips is to share the gospel with those who are lost and to help someone less fortunate. However, the language barrier can really inhibit the work you set out to do. Learning to use interpreters can be quite unnerving. Many have no clue how to communicate with these people and the interpreters may not understand everything either. Gestures and things that are commonplace in this country are not in others. It is important to learn a few basics of the language before going.
Spiritual warfare is a real thing. You must understand and recognize spiritual warfare before heading into these countries. Every country has their own demons to battle. You need to know the nature of that battle so that you can be victorious. For centuries, Satan has built strongholds for mankind. The battle is different for each section of the world. However, the battle may look different than in our country, but it is certainly not any easier. To get the victory over the powers of darkness, you must ensure you are prayed up and on guard.
The final of the five things that you should know before becoming a missionary is that it will change your life. You will come away from the experience different. It will alter your thought processes and change your total outlook. You will never be the same again. You will learn to appreciate even the smallest of things. You will be so thankful for where you live and all that you have that you will have a new reality.
Not even the five things you should know before becoming a missionary can prepare you for what you will see and experience. Money will be tight, food lackluster, and support may be nil. You must learn to depend on God and trust that you are doing His work, and He will take care of you. Remember you are never alone.
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