How to Become a Foreign Missionary

Two Parts:PreparationSetting Up

Becoming a foreign missionary is a brave and difficult journey which will take you some time to accomplish. Use these steps to get out into the field so that you can reap the harvest.

Part 1
Preparation

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    Pray about your decision. There is simply no point in becoming a foreign missionary if you do not feel that God wants you to be one. Make sure to pray about the location, as well.
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    Discuss the move with your family. If you are single you can skip to the next step, but if you have a spouse and children you will need their approval for you to go. You may prefer to leave them in your native land while you set things up for them in the foreign country, or you may want them to come with you so you can face the challenges together. Do not sugarcoat or rush your family into making this decision, and only go if everyone agrees to it.
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    Research your decision and the area you have chosen. Make sure to thoroughly read up on the culture and customs of the place you will be going. Know what language(s) you may need to learn and what the popular religion of the region is.
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    Seek approval from your denomination, unless you are independent. Local pastors in your area may agree to pledge money to help support you. Your denomination may also be able to provide funds to help you stay for a long period of time in your chosen foreign area.
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    Raise funds for your trip. Unless you plan to work as well as be a church planter, you must have money to stay for any length of time. Even if you do plan to work, you will still need funds for the plane trip, baggage fees, a place of residence when you arrive, transportation, and church building. You will need to overestimate the cost of everything. Do not count on receiving donations, for many churches forget after several months. It is best to be self-sufficient, if at all possible.
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    Begin to prepare yourself for the trip. While you are saving money, consider the other things necessary to living in a foreign country. Begin taking classes to at least familiarize yourself with any foreign languages you will encounter. Learn basic, practical, and religious phrases that will help you thrive. Also think about what will happen to your home and car. Do what is appropriate to deal with these issues, whether it be selling most of your belongings or packing them up to put in a storage bin.
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    See if you can find resources in your area to help you learn about your new culture. Visit an ethnic restaurant to get a taste of foreign fare. Try visiting a church of the predominant religion. Make an effort to learn everything you can so that you can accomplish your goal.
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    Buy the plane tickets. When you feel that you have raised enough money to keep you in the field for at least a starter time or hopefully longer, you can begin your final preparations. Notify your distant family, go for a check-up at the doctor's and dentist's office, and pack all necessary belongings in a suitcase. Make long-term arrangements for any pets you have, or find out what is necessary for them to travel with you.
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    Fly out. Take a break and thank God for allowing you to make it this far in your journey of becoming a foreign missionary.

Part 2
Setting Up

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    Get money out of the bank. As soon as you get out of the plane, find an ATM in the airport. You may live in a country that uses a different currency than the one you are used to handling. Make sure you know the exchange rates so that no one rips you off.
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    Get your paperwork together. Make sure your passport has been stamped in all the right places and that you have the correct visa. Know when you will have to come back for another one.
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    Understand that, more than likely, there will be transportation you can hire right at the airport (such as a taxi). Make sure the driver either uses a meter or work out the price before you get in the vehicle or get your luggage in the vehicle. Have the driver take you to either an available hotel or your pre-arranged house.
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    If you have not found a place to live, do so soon after arriving in the country. Renting is a good option as long as you know the laws of the country you are now in and have a physical piece of paper you and the landlord signed in agreement to rent. If the house is big enough you might even be able to hold church in a spare room for awhile before purchasing a bigger building.
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    Mix with the locals. If you live in the capital city or a large city, you should know the location of your country's embassy. Find the local market and learn where to purchase drinking water. Make sure you are polite and friendly, but do not hesitate to stand up to someone trying to rip you off. Dress a bit on the conservative side until you know how comfortable the people are with your native dress.
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    Look for work. If you did your research well and are interested in earning a living, try to find available work. Individual countries have their own requirements, and you will need to find out what sort of jobs you are qualified for.
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    Acquire a translator. If you do not speak the language proficiently, you may need the services of a translator for any sort of gathering which you speak at.
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    Begin to find people interested in hearing the Good News. If you try and live a clean and decent life, in most cultures people notice. They will be intrigued by your foreignness and charmed by your attempts to learn about their culture. Try to keep your talk centered around God, thanking him for your good health, etc. Answer their questions honestly, and respond appropriately within your cultural situation.
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    As people continue to want to be taught about the Bible and God, teach them what God wants you to teach them. Let the Lord guide your every move until you have enough people to meet regularly every week. You do not have to meet on Sunday.
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    Continue in all of these steps until God sends you a flourishing church. Congratulations, you are now a foreign missionary.

Tips

  • Stay tuned to the news, as some parts of the world are not at peace. You may need to leave immediately at any time.
  • Make sure you thoroughly research the country's general stance and policies toward missionaries. Know what practices are illegal and obey the law if at all possible.

Warnings

  • This process may take several years to complete and should be approached with a lot of prayer and research.

Article Info

Categories: Philosophy | Philosophy and Religion