Category Archives: preparing for your missions trips

10 Tips on How to become a Missionary.

  1. Have a sense of calling to a place, people group, or ministry activity.
  2. Understand yourself and the kind of ministry that best uses your skills, gifts, and talents.
  3. Have a flexible written ministry vision statement.
  4. Form a strong sending support team around you.
  5. Serve alongside a team on the mission field.
  6. Encourage and maintain a supportive attitude of those who are in leadership.
  7. Look for opportunities to make a difference.
  8. Work with others to create a plan for personal growth and continued learning.
  9. Work with a mission organization like Adventures in Missions that provides good administrative support.
  10. Find a mentor willing to invest in you.

Most of all, have a dynamic relationship with Jesus who is your solid ground on which everything else is built!

A Young Woman’s Journey to Africa.

It feels like just yesterday that I heard direction from the Lord telling me to pursue go to Madagascar as a missionary. I had never heard of Antananarivo (Tana), the capitol of Madagascar, and now I will be living there in just a few short days. Preparing for this trip has been exciting and nerve-racking all at once—exciting because I was preparing to go to a new land and nerve-racking because I will be apart from everything and everyone with whom I am comfortable. However, the Lord made it clear to me that this was His plan. I obtained my new passport, visa to Madagascar, and all my vaccinations with no problems. Yet as I said goodbye to my family in Texas and boarded my plane, I wondered if I was making a huge mistake or embarking on one of my life’s greatest adventures.

I can feel the Lord reassuring me every day that He is in control. He will complete in me the good work which He began; part of that completion might be bringing me here, to Africa.

Before I left the USA, my mother encouraged me with these words from 1 Chronicles 28:20, ‘…Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the LORD God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished’ (ESV).

People have asked me if I feel as though I’m wasting a semester of college, or have told me how great I am for sacrificing my time in college to go to Africa. In those times, I’m reminded of a quote by the missionary David Livingstone: ‘If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?”

I feel so honored and blessed beyond words to be chosen by God for this task. I’m looking forward to arriving in Madagascar!

When I was a little girl, I learned a song called “Jesus Loves Me”. As many times as I’ve heard this simple song, I’ve never realized the profundity of the phrase “they are weak but He is strong”. There’s nothing like experiencing a new culture to make you realize how weak humankind is. We’re all vulnerable, broken and completely dependent on the grace of God. Some countries in our world are more developed—they’re cleaner, maybe even safer, yet the people in our world are all the same: weak.

This probably sounds like a very negative thing to say. But the reality is that none of us has anything valuable to offer this broken world apart from the strength of Jesus. His strength is what runs in our veins, fills our lungs, and gives us the ability to live and love effectively.

One new friend here in Madagascar said, ‘Just your being here gives me strength to carry on in ministry, because I know that someone across the world cares.’

I’ve been in Antananarivo, Madagascar, for only one week, and several times already I’ve been approached by fellow believers telling me that my presence here has encouraged them. One new friend here in Madagascar said, “Just your being here gives me strength to carry on in ministry, because I know that someone across the world cares.”

I’m humbled that in the same way Jesus encouraged me to come to Madagascar, my presence here has also encouraged someone to do what is difficult—carry the name of Jesus to the unreached.

All this is to say that I am weak, but He is strong. We often pray for God to raise up workers to go into the mission field; I would urge you today to be willing to be the answer to that prayer. God is ready to use weak vessels, with lots of cracks and holes, so that His strength will shine through to the nations.

The first glimpse I caught of Sainte Marie, a small island off the east coast of Madagascar, was so beautiful it almost took my breath away. Even through the tropical rain, I could see the numerous palm trees and small wooden canoes floating about.

It looked like a deserted island from a Hollywood film, but fortunately I wasn’t deserted. In fact, I was one in a group that included people from Nigeria, Netherlands, UK, Madagascar, Brazil, El Salvador and South Africa.

After traveling for more than 15 hours by bus through the jungle and two hours by boat, we all breathed a sigh of relief when we arrived at our destination.

It’s not up to me how many people accept the good news; it’s only within my power to offer them hope.

Witchcraft has a stronghold on Sainte Marie, like it does in much of Madagascar. Some parents even dedicate their children to Satan after birth. We knew we needed to be very diligent in prayer.

We woke up every day at 5:00am to praise the Lord and pray for the day’s activities. Some days included children’s ministry, street and door-to-door evangelism or youth outreaches. The harvest was truly ripe, and at least 100 people accepted Christ as their Savior!

I’ll never forget one particular moment, sitting on the floor of a grass hut sharing the gospel with a woman who had never heard the name of Jesus. Just moments later she joined the family of believers and was saved for eternity. It’s a privilege being part of this ministry.

Madagascar is a stunning and exotic country, with souls ready to hear the good news. I have been challenged to take this passion home with me and be more proactive in sharing about God wherever I am.

Jesus said, “…go and make disciples of all nations…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20; NIV). It’s not up to me how many people accept the good news; it’s only within my power to offer them hope.

Please, join with me in thanking the Lord for how many He rescued in Sainte Marie.

The moment I set my foot on the bike pedal the rain started falling. It’s going to be a long 10 kilometers, I thought to myself. It was during a recent outreach to Manakara, a city in southeast Madagascar, that I visited Maroala, a truly rural village of about 200 people that can only be reached on foot or by bicycle. After carrying the bike through a steep mudslide in the tropical rain, I started to doubt my decision that riding was a better alternative to walking. Nevertheless, 10 kilometers later I stood in the village of Maroala covered in mud and sand.

Though I had tried to mentally prepare myself, I was still shocked at the poverty in front of me. As I looked at the children with swollen bellies and mothers with hopeless looks in their eyes, I wanted to shut them out and cause my heart not to feel for them. The team had brought clothes for these people, which we passed out after a gospel presentation. Still, I was distressed that I had no food to offer, no immediate relief.

But I heard Jesus remind me: “I am the Bread of Life and Living Water; whoever comes to me will never be unsatisfied.” He’s our great provider and ultimate satisfaction. Please pray with me that His name will be made great in the village of Maroala.

Since being in Madagascar, I’ve experienced things I never imagined I would—like riding a bike through the jungle. Most of these experiences have made for hilarious stories that I’ll never forget, but some have broken my heart.

For instance, I never thought I would hear a little girl say she wanted to grow up to be a prostitute. But the dark reality is that prostitutes on the small island of Sainte Marie, off the northeast coast of Madagascar, appear to be the wealthiest and most satisfied individuals. They have the nicest clothes and the most customers. This little girl doesn’t realize that these women are used, abused and hurting. She doesn’t realize that she’s been created with value. She hasn’t been taught to dream beyond her small island home.

I felt so saddened by this little girl’s answer, thinking that if she only had more love and support, perhaps she would dream beyond prostitution.

Then it hit me: maybe the Lord looks upon us, His Church, and feels the same emotion. He has provided unfailing love and the unending support of a Father, yet what do our dreams look like? Can we see beyond our circumstances? Do we believe anything is possible with Christ, that He can really change a nation? Let us pray for this nation, interceding on their behalf for God to do miraculous and marvelous things among them.

For more information about international missions, look up the following organizations:

Operation Mobilization

Adventures in Missions

Pioneers

Youth With A Mission

Helpful Resource for Teaching English Abroad on Missions Trips.

Serving God by teaching His Word in foreign lands is an exciting opportunity. It can also be extremely challenging, especially when there is a language barrier and the mission is short-term.

Teaching English Around the World: Creation Lessons for Short-Term Mission Trips provides 7 lessons based on the 7 days of creation that combine teaching God’s Word with teaching English. This book provides short-term mission teams with tools to teach English vocabulary and dialogues to students of all ages in a fun, action-packed way. Each lesson is focused on a day of creation, and the dialogues relate to what God did on that day. There are memory verses related to each day, song suggestions, and creative activities that reinforce the lesson and help the team interact with the students in a meaningful way.

Each lesson can be used in whole or in part depending on the time available with the students. The lessons provide the team with a platform not only to teach English but also to establish a relationship with the students.  The ultimate goal is to share God’s love with them and lead many to come to know Jesus as their personal Savior.

This book is available at Cross Books Publishing.

Build Your Own House or Get an Expert Builder?

Let’s say that you want to build a house. You could do it all by yourself. It could save you a lot of money. You could read a few books to find out how to do it and then make up some blueprints. You could buy some land, cut down the trees and use machinery to cut up the wood into lumber and then start to build yourself a house (whew, that sounds exhausting). Now if you are building it yourself, it is probably not going to be very fancy unless you are an amazingly skilled builder. You will probably make mistakes along the way and have to redo some things or you might find that you forgot to do task A before task B and you have to undo task B to do task A first. Since you have never done this before,  there will be a lot of starts and stops while you figure out what to do next. It will probably be very exhausting work and at times very difficult to do by yourself. There might be things that you could do to the house to make it more energy efficient or comfortable to live in but you would have to know what to look for in order to find out more information about it.  However, not having built a house before, you could easily overlook something important. Assuming you had the money, it would be much easier to hire some experts like an architect or general contractor and tell them what you want and let them design it and find the skilled people to build it. You would end up with a better constructed house, more suited to your needs and it sure would be easier on you than doing all of the physical labor yourself.

Now, isn’t this what we sometimes do with just about every decision in life?  We want to do things on our own. We don’t want anyone’s help. Certainly not their suggestions on how to do it. We want to do it our way. But we have an expert in everything right at our fingertips. His name is God. He says to ask for wisdom and He will give it. This is coming from someone who knows us intimately, knows what will happen in the future and has the power and resources to do whatever He wants. But the trick is doing what He says. Sometimes we don’t want to do it His way. But you can trust Him with everything because He is God. There is no one else who is more trustworthy than him. The trick is asking Him what He wants you to do, and then wait for an answer and his guidance before starting something.

This can also apply to a person’s desire to serve God overseas on a missions trip. Whether it be a short-term missions trip or long-term, it is a very important decision that needs God’s input. Often we are the ones who want to choose the country or ministry activity. But God may have other plans. Maybe He wants you to go and be a witness to radical Muslim fundamentalists in Palestine. That’s what Brother Andrew does of Open Doors International. Or maybe God wants you to go and work in a remote area of Central Asia.  Or He may want you to serve the people in one of the countries around the Mediterranean Sea. How about smuggling Bibles into closed countries? For more information on that, see the following:

Open Doors

Voice of the Martyrs

For opportunities in short and long term missions, see the following:

Pioneers

Frontiers

Adventures in Missions

Operation Mobilization

How to Look at Language Learning from a Different Perspective.

The struggle that many missionaries face is that of learning a new language. Often, there is the feeling that so much time is being wasted when there are souls out there that need to be saved! Read the following article that will help any new missionary in understanding the value in learning the language of their host country.

Language Learning Is Communication – Is Ministry!

by E. Thomas Brewster & Elizabeth S. Brewster

There is a popular mentality that suggests that missionaries should learn a language in order to have a ministry – that is, in order to be able to communicate with the local people. We would like to suggest that the language learning process itself is communication – effective communication.

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Moving Overseas to a New Country? How to Bond with Your New Culture!

Below is an excerpt from an excellent article that can help you become comfortable in a new culture that you are going to call home.  Written by E. Thomas And Elizabeth S. Brewster, it is extremely helpful in training new missionaries that arrive on the mission field.

The Missionary Analogy
There are some important parallels between the infant’s entrance into his new culture and an adult’s entrance into a new, foreign culture. In this situation the adult’s senses, too, are bombarded by a multitude of new sensations, sights, sounds, and smells—but he, too, is able to respond to these new experiences and even enjoy them. Just as the participants in the birth experience, his adrenaline is up and his excitement level is at a peak. Upon arrival, he is in a state of unique readiness, both physiologically and emotionally, to become a “belonger” in his new environment. But then…

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Unsure About Applying to Work in Christian Ministry?

The thought of stepping out of your comfort zone and considering full-time work in Christian ministry can be very unsettling.  There are lots of thoughts that go through your mind. Will I have enough finances? Where will I serve? Is it “safe”?  I’m not qualified. I don’t have the skills needed. Can God use me? These may be some of the questions that you asked yourself and many more for sure. The fear of the unknown can sometimes handcuff a person from following the Lord into a new chapter of life. It can require a huge step of faith. But isn’t that what God wants to do in our lives – stretch our faith and make us more dependent upon Him?

Sometimes God wants us to get up and step out into the unknown even if we are not 100% sure about it.  If it isn’t what God wants, He won’t let us have peace about it and He will make it obvious  that the choice / decision is not what He wants.  Conversely, if it is something He does want us to do, He often places it in our hearts and mind – to the extent that we are willing to make ‘sacrifices’.  Usually God provides some assurance that you are walking in His will by providing signs of confirmation through His word, through circumstances, and through other people.

When we are honestly and truly seeking to follow God’s call by being obedient, He makes all things work out together for good – He blesses obedience.  Yes, we might make some mistakes along the way that He will correct.  However if we let fear paralyze us into doing nothing – that’s just what the enemy Satan wants.  Have you heard the expression “failing forward”?  It is okay to make mistakes and fail.  This is part of how we grow and how sometimes God does speaks to us and guide us – it is a positive thing.

It’s okay to be unsure, to have doubts.  Just don’t give place to doubts and fears that renders you incapable from moving forward with God.  Go ahead and take the necessary steps to follow where you think the Lord is leading. If you are considering filling out an application, view the application process as a part of the larger picture of confirming your call.

For some excellent books to help you with your journey, consider reading “Out of the Comfort Zone” by George Verwer and “Scaling the Wall” by Kathy Hicks.

You can also find a world of helpful resources at: Ask a Missionary