As we begin our second term overseas, I’m realizing the real life missionary training that happens every day.
Things you can’t really learn in books or through a one hour session with your missions sending organization.
There are many things I’ve learned so far, things I’m currently learning, and so much more to learn in the days ahead.
Real life missionary training that happens on a daily basis.
Through this process, we are changing, growing and developing new skills as we journey forward in missions. These skills will help us be the missionary family that God has called us to be. These skills will equip us for the challenges ahead.
Our girls are learning flexibility, independence, strength, bravery, and that God has also called them to be a part of this missionary endeavor.
Jeremy and I are also learning lessons of challenge and growth.
We are learning that life is going to be incredibly hard. Spiritually, relationally, socially, physically… life is going to be one big challenge after another.
We are learning that we can make it through every hard thing ahead. God is with us and He is preparing the way for us.
We are learning that we are special because of the call God has placed on us. We are willing to go. Being a missionary who crosses cultures is a high calling with high expectations and high responsibilities. Being a missionary takes endurance and a soft strength given by God to win the world for Christ.
We are learning that we are NOT special. We are tools. We are being obedient and God does the rest. We are servants, hands and feet who are called to lay down our lives. Step out of the boat and obey.
We are learning that we will never really fit in. We will always be outsiders… leaving the familiar to try to settle somewhere new and then trying to re-settle when we arrive back home years later. Time goes by, things change, people move on and life continues with or without us there to be included in the process.
We are learning that we will forever have roots in different places. Home being a completely new definition for us all.
We are learning that God’s Family is everywhere around the world and we will always have a place to fit with in that Family.
We are learning that real life missionary training is needed to be able to live REAL LIFE in another country. I’ve heard it said that 80% of a missionary’s day is just living life. The other 20% is ministry moments. It takes a lot of energy to just live in some places around the world. Getting 1 thing done in a day is a good day where we are in West Africa. Life is slow, purposeful and takes more patience than we knew we would need.
We are learning that there will be things we will never understand.
We are learning that we will adjust and make a life for ourselves.
We are learning that we must prepare and be prepared. Studying God’s Word, learning the language, asking cultural questions, reading books and listening in deeper ways.
We are learning that danger is real, life is precious, health is fragile and sadness is deep.
We are learning that we can never be fully prepared. There will always be things we have to discover on our own. Missionary training that happens even when we don’t know we are learning a lesson. The unexpected will come. The moment will arrive. Whether we are prepared for it or not.
We are learning that we need the prayer and financial support of people. Missions depends on prayer and funds to go. It is completely necessary.
We are learning that we must share life behind the prayer card so people know how to pray and support and encourage their missionaries.
We are learning that when we ask people to support us, we are not asking for us. We are asking for the partnership of God’s people, working together to reach the lost.
The call, the job, the mission is not ours. It is God’s. He will do it.
The call, the job, the mission IS ours. The Great Commission gives that job to all of us. We must each do our part. Because God will do it through us.
Learning big lessons. Real life missionary training teaches incredible things that we just could not learn anywhere else.
Things I want to learn in this walk with Jesus. Things that make us stay challenged and keep growing.
We aren’t learning all of these things for our benefit, but for the people around the world who have yet to hear.
So, we will continue to learn, to grow, to love.
We will stay in this real life missionary training.
We will walk out these seemingly contradicting lessons and remember that every single moment is God’s and He is with us through it all.
What is something you want to learn?
What is something that real life missionary training has taught you?