Before joining missions I never...(Part I)

You can read all the books and listen to all the Podcasts in preparation for joining missions, but there will always be surprises. Experiences you never thought would happen to you (until you’re standing wide-eyed right in the middle of them). Things you never imagined you could live without (until the ‘necessities’ all of a sudden become the ‘luxuries’). Food you never expected to eat (until it’s placed right in front of you and everyone is waiting for you to take a bite).

Continue reading to find out what surprised missionaries around the world!

Dong! Dong! Dong!

“Dong! Dong! Dong! That is the sound I imagine of how the boy jumping around during kid’s ministry in the photo grew into a big strong man,” says Ivy. “…You never know what is happening in the lives you are touching right now, but God finds people to carry on all parts of His work. No missionary can claim to have done all the work themselves and everyone should rejoice together with the great work of God at the end.”

Excuses, excuses

“Do you make a lot of excuses? I have lately,” admits Rebecca. “Not necessarily out loud in conversations like the scenario I just described, but inside my head. And the number one thing I’ve been making excuses about? Devotions—which means I’m not only making excuses to myself, I’m making excuses to God as to why I’m not spending time with Him.”

The end of the road

“Road ends are there for a reason,” says Hannah. “Otherwise, we would forever be on the same track and never experience so many of the wonderful adventures and lessons in life. Without road ends, you’d probably never take the time to glance back and see where you came from.”

The man on the bus

“Here was someone who showed up at the right time with the right knowledge to take me to the right place,” remembers Renette. “He knew how to take me from being hopeless to having direction, purpose. He took me from off the map to back on the map. He didn’t use words, but walked alongside me, comforting and guiding me. And when he knew I could take on the next part of the journey by myself, he left. In 10 minutes I went from lost to found.”

I don't feel very 'missionary'

“…I shared that somehow, I needed to write a blog post about the experiences I was having (in East Asia),” says Anja. “Why? Because the life I described to you at the beginning of this post didn’t fit my definition of what the “classic life” of a missionary looks like. Getting noodles delivered to my bed because I was sick while visiting a foreign country seemed to fit my definition a lot better.”

Happy endings

“As I watched the ending scene (that lasted about three minutes) I thought about the “happy ending” notion,” says Ava. “Is it real or is it a fairy tale? A utopia created by Hollywood to give their viewers a false sense of hope in the reality of a broken world? And so, I said to myself: I believe in happy endings.”

Leaving a legacy

“I love hearing from the local people here about the workers that have gone before us who have now returned to their passport countries,” shares Beth. “I hear stories like: ‘She taught me to quilt’ or ‘She gave me this recipe’ or ‘She taught me how to set a table for foreigners.’ And, of course, the best stories begin: ‘She taught me about Jesus.’ These are the things those who have gone before us have left behind.”

Turning over the table

“I knew before I came to Africa that I would face the issue of poverty cycles, but I didn’t know there would be poverty cycles in ministries as well. I was so emotional about my friend’s situation that I wanted to do something. In Chinese, we call this feeling ‘turning over the table.' Chinese are usually reserved people so turning over the table means that someone could not hold back the emotion any more,” explains Ivy. “They have to do something to express what they are feeling.”

Why we help

“In the face of this devastating poverty, I feel a sickening sense that there is no way to help; that any programme we organised, any aid given or any message shared would not be enough to bring a real change,” shares Ellyn. “It is only when I learn to see their beauty—the person that God crafted them to be—that I feel hope in the fact that they too were created by God and placed here on earth for a purpose.”

My life of adventure in missions

“Yet, the point is not so much that I have any special abilities, but that my story is a story of obedience to God,” shares Simon. “In fact, there are generations of other Christians who gave up their homeland to travel a worse road just to bring the message of hope and healing to other people.  I tell my story, because it is a story of how a simple act— one that is actually fun and enjoyable—can still lead to transformation.”

Rejoicing in the simple gospel

“As time passes by, my prayer has changed. It is no longer for God to take me to higher places, or fulfill His promise for me but through me,” says Camila. “It has become more and more my biggest pleasure in life when I see the poor being fed, the orphan being adopted, the widow being comforted and my heart kept separated from the pollution of the world (James 1:27). Not ignoring it, but fighting it. Bringing justice where there is none and being a light in the middle of the darkness.”