From the Blog: Preparing for the Mission Field – Preparing to Leave for the Field

“I can’t believe I am finally going to leave for the mission field!” Most missionaries can relate to this sentiment. Years of preparation, a decision was made to plant churches in a foreign land, thousands of miles were travelled and hundreds of churches have been visited and it is finally happening. The missionary is so excited! But to arrive to the mission field, there is a lot of preparation that must be done in order to leave. So what does this involve? Here are a few questions to help prepare for departure…

  • How are you getting your possessions to the field (through bags or perhaps shipping a container)?
  • What are you going to do with all of your possessions you are not taking?
  • Where will you stay your last nights in the states?
  • Who will you be with your final day/night in the states?
  • Who will take you to the airport?
  • Where are you going to live on the mission field (which specific house or apartment)?
  • How much money do you need to pay for furniture you need to buy, a house to rent (many times you need money to pay up front when renting a house as a foreigner)?
  • How will you set up?
  • Who is going to pick you up at the airport on the field?
  • When will you start language school? Where? With who?
  • How will your kids do their schooling while on the field?

These questions need answers and these answers are not always easy to decide, but they are necessary. There is also the “saying good-bye” to loved ones that needs to be lined up. Some couples have families in different states, making it harder. The good-bye’s are not fun, but it all does need to be all planned out. This stage of preparing is a mixture of emotions. The missionary is excited to be finally get to arrive to the field, sad to say good bye to friends and family, overwhelmed with all that needs to be packed, and nervous about all that needs to happen once they arrive to the field. And to add “a cherry” on top of this “preparation sundae”, there is the dreaded paper-work to live in the new country. We are talking about background checks, birth certificates, apostilled (a type of certification) documents, profile pictures, visas, and of course passports and photo copies of passports, and depending on the specific country, a lot more! This is not fun for anyone. It is tedious and can seem never ending, and can get expensive. All of this needs to be taken care of in preparation to leave for the field. 

I know this paragraph seems to be a part of every post in this blog series, but there is much more that can be said on this subject. Preparing for the mission field means at some point you must prepare to leave for the field. 

Preparing For The Mission Field: Deputation, “a how to…”

Last week’s post was about deputation and what it is. In preparing for the mission field, you’ve got to know more than just what deputation is, you’ve got to know how to do it. This blog gives a few highlights of how to do deputation. There could be posts on each of these topics but for now we will just touch these themes…

  • Things to buy: First off, a missionary on deputation needs prayer cards and a display board. These things are very important. The prayer cards should include everyone in the family, everyone’s name, the mission field, sending church and support address. The display board ought to be something portable and should display the whole family and the name of the mission field (country). 
  • Call churches: I think many people in our churches think of deputation as traveling which is definitely part of it, but before any of that deputation is calling churches and requesting an opportunity to present how God is leading you. Calling churches is not just for a couple of hours, but what a missionary on deputation does every day and all day until the schedule is full. 8-10 hours per day should be spent on the phone. Deputation is making calls. The missionary who does not make calls will not have a full schedule and consequently will take much longer to get to the mission field. The goal (which is very obtainable) is to have 13 meetings per month (Each Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night, and an extra meeting). Don’t stop making calls until you have a whole year scheduled out (two years would be better). There are contact programs that will help you through this process. Take good notes with every call you make and set reminders when a pastor asks you to call back. Much more should be said to emphasize the importance of calling churches.
  • Go to meetings: When going to a scheduled meeting to present what God is leading you to do there are several things to keep in mind. Be early. Our goal was to be in the parking lot of the church at least one hour before the service started. Frequently we were the first ones there! Your appearance is important so make sure you are dressed appropriately, clean, clothes ironed, etc. Keep a pack of breath mints (not gum) in your pocket (there are few things more distracting than bad breath). Be respectful, if Pastor gives you 10 minutes, take 8 minutes. Do not go over time! Be sure to thank the Pastor for the opportunity. He didn’t have to have you in. Introduce your family. This shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds or so, but let everyone know who your family is, they make up the team that God is sending to plant churches, it is important that people know who they are. Smile. A smile goes a long way and remember people are watching you. How you preach and how stirring your presentation is will have little affect if you look miserable the whole time. Be genuine. Don’t put up a “front”, be the man God has saved you to be. 
  • Stay in contact: I know some people are not interested in what is going on in your ministry, but some people are. Keep them updated. Have an email sign-up sheet (ask the Pastor for permission to put it on your table beforehand) and send updates to all who are interested! You should send one physical prayer letter per month and at least one weekly update per week. People are investing in the ministry God has placed you in and they should have the opportunity to know how God is blessing and working through you. 
  • Trust God and work hard: The first months of deputation can be hard. God will bless. God will take care of you. Make sure you work very hard and fill up your calendar with meetings. My mentor uses the illustration of a farmer. A farmer who prays for a strong crop, but never goes out to plant one seed is not doing it right. The farmer who begs God for a strong crop and works to plow the field, plant the seeds, fertilize and water faithfully, that is the farmer who will have the strong crop. 

There is much more than should be said about deputation. Preparing for the field includes this important step. One more thing that I would like to share, deputation is not a “part time endeavor”. It is full time work. I know men who have done deputation “part time” and after a few months they are discouraged. If you are going to do it, jump all the way in! There is much more to preparing for the mission field. More on preparation is coming soon. 

July 2018 Missions Letter

Father’s Day and Friday Nights We were very blessed to have a special Father’s Day. We have one special event each month that we push as a big day with special invitations, gifts, etc. Father’s Day was a big push. We gave hammers to every father … [Continue reading]