5 Things You Need to Know Before Missions
By Bruce and Laura Edgar
1. It will be harder than you think
It’s easy to hear stories or read newsletters and think that missions is easy. Some days it is but many days it is not. You will be tried in unique ways and there will be days you feel like giving up. That is why it’s important not to do missions on a whim thinking, “It will be fun to try.” A key to success is to have a support structure in place. This may be a mission board, as well as your church’s and pastor’s full support, and mentors who will be there for you along the way. This is true whether you go for a week or a lifetime!
2. It will require an investment on your part to be effective
Whether going short or long term, it’s important to invest in yourself before you go. That means educating yourself on the language and culture, but it may also mean getting more Bible training before or after you arrive on the field. Investing in learning the language is an essential component to being effective. Short term, this may mean learning some key words and phrases and using them without fear of mistakes, showing that you have an interest in learning the language. Long term, it may mean spending time in more formal language training. It’s worth the investment to be able to have meaningful conversations and to communicate the gospel clearly!
3. It will cost money
Financial stress is only multiplied when you are away from your home culture and resources. Be sure you are aware of the real costs before you go and be sure you are already practicing good financial stewardship. Talk with veteran missionaries to be sure you are planning enough support so that you will have what you need in order to live and do ministry. It is so important to raise the funds you need before you go. It is exponentially more difficult to raise funds from the field.
4. It is important to communicate
Communication in missions is two-fold: communication with veteran missionaries and national partners, and communication with prayer and financial supporters. Communication with national partners must be of highest priority. It is important to find out what is already being done and what should be left to national partners. Be sensitive and discern where you can come alongside a national to provide something unique. There are many areas where we can effectively partner with nationals but we must also do this without creating dependency. Gaining wisdom by spending time with veteran missionaries to gain a broader perspective of why things are done in certain ways and cultural pitfalls to avoid is invaluable.
5. It will be more rewarding and grow you in ways you could have never dreamed!
Whether long or short term, there is no way you can prepare for the ways you will grow in your own walk with God. Seeing the amazing ways God works, many times in spite of us, is absolutely incredible. Watching God make drastic changes in someone’s heart and life through the sharing of His Word evokes worship like never before.
So, yes, there is a lot to think about before you go, but it is altogether worth every investment, every trial, every sacrifice you will make.
Bruce and Laura have served with ABWE for over 15 years and serve in Nicaragua. They have two college age children. While Bruce does training and mentoring with church planters, Laura does ‘everything else!’ Her ministries have included Sunday School teacher training, one-on-one discipleship, serving on the board of the local Christian school, substitute teaching, mentoring other missionary wives, and hosting many people in their home. She also is very involved in the communication with and logistics of the short-term teams that serve alongside them in Nicaragua. To learn more about the ministry and short-term teams please visit https://bruceandlauraedgar.weebly.com/ministriesservice-and-learning-teams.html