You might be wondering how to become a missionary or you are a brand new overseas worker.
You’ve requested the paperwork, are busy with interviews or have just finished the process.
The mail came and you received your envelope saying you’re approved to begin raising your budget.
You might need to resign your job or your church staff position. It’s time to think about your house, your car, your kids’ schooling and so on.
You tell your family and friends that you are moving across the ocean to live in a foreign land.
One morning with coffee in hand, you sit and look in the mirror saying, “This is it. We’re doing this. I’m a full-time career cross-cultural worker.”
You have a seemingly never-ending road ahead to raise a large budget, prepare your family, sell your belongings and travel like a crazy person until the job is done.
Then, when that job is done… more jobs begin. Learning a language, a new culture, multiple moves, figuring out your realistic ministry focus, winding down from a whirlwind 18 months to 2 years of traveling from church to church to church to church. It truly is quite a process.
So, what would I tell someone who wants to know how to become a missionary?
What do you need to know if you are just starting the long process of moving overseas?
What would I say to someone who asks, “How can I be an overseas worker in another part of the world?”
What advice do I have for someone starting an intense furlough or itineration?
I don’t have all the answers for how to become a missionary or raise a budget.
I can’t promise that what worked for us will work for you.
Unfortunately there isn’t a “Do these things and this will happen” formula for raising an overseas budget or deciding how to become a missionary.
It truly is up to God and His faithfulness for you to reach the end. He enables. He gives. He sends.
But, here are a few things we’ve learned in this process of how to become a missionary.
This advice is for those just beginning but honestly, it’s something we call can come back to again and again.
1. Stay positive. No matter what happens. Do not let the enemy have his way by sulking, pouting or whining. Stay positive. Get Joy. Fight, and you will have to fight some days, for a good attitude. Talk positively about pastors and churches and experiences… especially in front of your kids!
2. Trust your instincts. Just because someone else is doing it to raise support, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Pray for guidance and creativity and new ideas that will reach pastors and people in your circle of influence.
3. Don’t undermine your hard work online. Here are 18 ways you might be doing that. People really are reading and watching you. Your online voice is vitally important to how you come across to those learning about you, your mission, and deciding on whether or not to be a part of your support team. It’s like walking a tightrope. Do it well.
4. Connect with people. Life doesn’t stop just because you are raising support. Talk to the people who come to your table. Pray for pastors over lunch. Ask about how things are going at their church. Be willing to offer help without expecting anything in return. Build relationships that are real. Continue relationships that have nothing to do with raising support or building your budget. Help people. Share your life… connect in real ways by letting people get to know you.
5. Take time to enjoy the travel. Stop at museums and parks. Find fun restaurants. Visit new places. Make memories! Even on a budget, there is a lot for your family to experience while traveling and itinerating!
6. Keep looking forward. What you are dealing with right now will not last forever. This season will end. Remember the end goal and keep working towards it no matter how long it takes. Do the next beautiful thing on your list.
7. Stay grounded. Do your devotions. Read. Grow. Be discipled. Bloom where God has planted you.
8. Travel well. Plan. Think things through. Schedule with wisdom. Pack right. Be prepared for anything. Keep your costs low. Accept help. The experiences you are having are funny, stressful, weird, unique and exciting. Travel well. Even on the bad travel days, you’ll have a story to tell of God’s faithfulness and protection.
9. Do not compete. This is not a competition. You are on your own journey of how to become a missionary. Help others. Support other missionaries financially, relationally and prayerfully. Never compete. It is a trap you do not want to fall in to. ever. We are all on the same team.
Can I star and underline #9?? Go read it again.
Ok… move on…
11. Work well. If you are married, you will be working with your spouse like you never have worked before. Working well together takes time and effort and patience. The togetherness is a gift. You will have some organizational differences… work through it. And laugh. And love.
13. You are on a roller coaster. Hold on! From the moment you ask how to become a missionary to the point where you take that first donation to the moment you leave, you will be on a crazy roller coaster of emotions and situations and experiences.
14. Stress. You will face crazy stress. And you will know more stress is coming. Figure out how you can cope best. Go running. Get sleep. Relax. Eat healthy. Breathe deep. Trust God. Believe. Have Faith. Build good stress coping skills now because the stress is NOT going away. What is your fight song?
16. Missions brings unexpected gifts. Watch for them. Take note. Be thankful.
17. There are days you will feel like you are giving your whole life away, sacrificing it all. Because you are. But remember, your citizenship is in heaven anyway! You’ll literally feel the sacrifice for the gospel. And that is a good thing. Even when the sacrifice is unexpected, even then.
18. Never look down on any gift no matter how small. Little things matter.
20. Remember, just as you are willing to be the feet that go, others are willing to be the hands that send. Do not be discouraged. God is leading people to give in His timing. Everything will fall in to place.
21. You are saying goodbye. A lot. But you are also saying hello to new things, new people, new adventures.
So every time a phone call goes unreturned or an email unread or a facebook message ignored…
Every time you feel like the pledges and offerings will never increase.
Every time you are overwhelmed as a new overseas worker.
Every time you pack those suitcases for the 5th time that week.
Every time you wonder how to become a missionary and make it through the process.
Every time… Keep going. Move forward. Trust Him.
Live your own overseas journey. Let God do His thing!
What is something you’d tell a new overseas worker?
What advice do you give when someone asks how to become a missionary?