Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What do missionaries wish they had known before they first went?

Some interesting things for me to remember. Please keep me in prayer as I continue to prepare jump in to this cross culture transition. I got this from


I would have gotten more cross-cultural training, especially focused on the culture to which I was going. I would have taken more time in language learning. But most of all, I needed realistic expectations. Working in a foreign field is the same as being in a war. I know. I've fought in both and the similarities are striking. There is not much glorious about warfare. It may look exciting on TV or in the movies, but in the trenches it's a lot of hard work. And the enemy has ambushes everywhere. Often you can't tell the enemy from the friendly. And your friends get injured and killed. It hurts.

The culture won't make a bit of sense and you'll even resent the people sometimes, or think how they do things is ridiculous. But you will learn how to live there. You'll learn new cultural cues. You'll begin to see how they do make sense in your new culture. And in the learning, you'll grow to love the people. So learn to laugh at yourself!
Don't give up! When you go, determine that you're going to stay. It's like God meant marriage to be. It won't always be easy, but make it work! Don't expect the other person to change. Change as you need to. And there's probably no better environment to promote change in us than working in another culture.
 Tim, who has served for twenty-five years with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Cameroon and the United States.

Boredom is real. I heard that before I left my home country. But now I have long periods of down time that I used to fill so easily at home. The first two months or so in a new place are the hardest, since you're establishing new friendships and a new pattern of life.
Knowing yourself is very important. I have been stretched a phenomenal amount, especially in the first months of my assignment. If you have any hidden personal issues, God will bring them to light. Be willing to deal with them as they come up; don't push them away. God needs to break you in order to use you.

Be teachable, and be a lifelong learner. It's easy to depend only on your ability to figure it out once you get there, since firsthand knowledge may seem more dependable than book knowledge and theories. It's not true. Know before you go.

It takes time to ease into the structure. At home, I had lots of energy to fill my day from early morning to late at night. But overseas, I tire so quickly. Realize that being stretched physically, emotionally, and spiritually as well as facing a new culture, language, and living situation wears you out. It's okay to slow down. Being a missionary is not about being superhuman and accomplishing a long list each day. Some days all you'll accomplish is a trip to the grocery store or a government office. It's about trust, obedience, and hearing the Master's voice.
Bethany, who is serving in the Middle East with the Assemblies of God.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Goer, Sender, Mobilizer-- Which are you?

I just read this great article from MissionNext. I thought it was worthy of sharing.


For many people to be a Goer seems to be the highest calling. And if you can't go then perhaps you can fill a somewhat lesser role by helping to send someone, by praying for them or maybe by encouraging others to consider going.

But the question is not about a higher or lower role, it is about the right role for you at this time in your life. It is about fully engaging in the "good works" He has prepared for you today, not about waiting for some future role.

And roles change. Scriptural examples of God's servants show them in all of these roles at one time or another. Even the Godhead can be seen, each exercising each of these three roles at various times.

Last month we looked at being a Mobilizer and this month we'll consider the role of being a Sender. A simple definition would be: A person who uses their resources to assist Goers.

Are you a Sender, with a great concern for the lost of this world, a desire to use all you have to see that they hear the gospel, a willingness to learn to sacrifice in order that the good news of Jesus' love and redemption can be sent out around the world?

One of the patterns we see in scripture and down through history is that, through His people, God provides the resources His kingdom will need. Unfortunately, another pattern we see is that at times God's people decide those resources are primarily for their own use and the kingdom needs suffer.

The role of being a Sender is crucial to the proclamation of the message of the gospel throughout the world. God has provided the resources necessary and channels them through us. Those resources are monetary, goods, services, prayer and time. A Sender is intentional about investing these resources into the lives and ministries of Goers.

As with being a Mobilizer, we can all be Senders, regardless of the other roles we might be playing at any given time. If you resonate with the Sender role, I encourage you to engage fully in opportunities God is placing before you. There is great joy and satisfaction in discovering the "good works" God has prepared in advance for us to do. If being a Sender is one of your roles at this particular time in your life, do it well, do it fully and do it with all your heart, because it's the Lord you are serving, not just other people, as we see in Colossians 3:23.

To learn more about my ministry and how you can get involved please visit

Only a little more than $1,000 in monthly support needed before I will be moving!