“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.