Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A letter to beginning missionaries

Robin wrote the following letter to some friends that were getting ready to move to Russia to work with orphans.  I believe it is good advice to anyone planning to go to the mission field! - Jon

I am so glad that you are obeying God and taking this challenge.  We are praying for you and your children! I was thinking about what I wished other people would have told me before I left for the mission field and what advice I did receive that has helped over the years.

The first part of this journey is all so quick and exciting that even the frustrating parts are fun.  It’s amazing to watch the children learn and adapt to their new environment.  Learn from them.  They are watching you to see if this new place is okay.  As I read about others’ experiences on the field, I am so convinced that the difference between a bad and good experience for the children is the attitude of the parents. 

I think one of my biggest challenges is to keep positive about the cultural differences that bug me.  Patsy Cameneti once told me that if we talk about all the things that we don’t like about the mission field…it frustrates the grace of God on our lives.

I am so proud to be an American.  There are so many freedoms that you will give up to serve in another country.  Many Europeans that I have met long to live in America.  Even if they don’t really understand the politics …they understand that America equates with freedom.  Because of that, many will be excited to get to know you.  They want to know more about you and God will use this as an opportunity to lead them to Him.  On the other hand, some people will not like you just because you are an outsider.  Their long time prejudices will come out in strange and hurtful ways.  This is an even greater chance to show the love of God.  Your neighbors will be watching you.  (When we meet people in our village, they usually tell us what they know about our family.)

Remember the call of God.  Write down what He is telling you to do.  When the times get tough…and they will…you can look at what God said and it will keep you there.  There are some extremely lonely times on the mission field.  Times where you are in the middle of many people and feel really alone.  I remember a time when I was at a hardware store and couldn’t figure out how to ask for a concrete screw so I could hang a picture on the wall.  I just started crying in the middle of the aisle.  Then, I had a good laugh. Many times it was frustrating just trying to decipher the bills and the kids homework.  But, they all add up to a wonderful and challenging experience that I wish everyone could have.

No matter where you are on the earth, in God’s will is the safest place to be.  With the political uncertainties that are going on in Russia right now, it’s important to know that God is in control.  We came over here two weeks after 9/11 and things were very uncertain.  But, when we got here we knew that this was the right place. 

One of my concerns before we moved to Germany was that maybe this wasn’t God’s will after all.  Maybe all this trouble was a big mistake.  Deep inside you really know, but there will be questions here and there.  Brother Hagin always said that it’s possible to have faith in your heart and doubts in your head.  But I think it’s better to go ahead and follow what you think is God’s will and fail… than to never try. 

Some people think that it is really too big of a step to take a family overseas to live.  But, that’s why it is so rewarding to do what we do.  We took a leap of faith and now are able to watch God work in ways that we never would have known.  I think in many ways that it is really more of a leap of faith to NOT follow the will of God. With Him, you know that it will all work out. 

Just do what you were doing there in Texas… in another country. 

Many blessings,


PS. Freetranslation.com is a God-send :-)

New Watermark Freiburg (Church Planting) Blog

Watermark Logo

New Watermark Freiburg (Church Planting Blog): "Thoughts about Church Planting and Church Government" - http://bit.ly/oz8EWJ