You might not be called to where you are comfortable but the Lord will always be where you are called.
Silk Road Mission exists to recruit, train, send, and support missionaries to the peoples, nations, and communities along the Silk Road. It’s my ambition to see a new generation of missionaries raised up to take the name of Jesus Christ to places He has not been named. His name will one day be praised by every tribe and tongue. I want to be a part of what the Lord is doing and I hope you do too.
This post is the second of ten that will lay out the life cycle of missionary service. Whether you are simply exploring the idea or have already chosen an agency, these posts are meant to encourage and inform you. Let me know below if they helped in anyway!
Okay, so you’ve spent some serious time in prayer have you? Good that is the first step. Now it’s time to get slightly practical. Only slightly though. Pragmatism can often hurt us more than help us.
1. Answer the following question to yourself: is there a place in the world you are drawn towards?
Be careful with the answer. I don’t mean, “Where do you want to travel to?” or “Where would it be cool to live/visit?” This question is one of understanding. Have you researched any single place or country? If you are unable to go there, are you open to other places? Where?
The Lord gives us inclinations that we should not ignore. India is a unique place and unless you are truly called there, it’s going to be a poor fit. That inclination to serve in a tough place is a good indicator of calling. However, just because a place would be considered “easy” doesn't make the calling any less real. Paul in Romans expressed a desire to come see the Christians there in Rome quite fervently. Rome was the center of the civilized world. Does that make his calling there any less real? Not at all.
So, explore the world and find a place that you are drawn toward. Just remember that the Lord with you wherever you go. You might not be called to where you are comfortable but the Lord will always be where you are called. Trust Him.
2. Language acquisition is no joke. Are you prepared to be a student again?
I still remember graduating from college thinking I was going to be running the show in no time. I was done being a student and was ready to USE what I had learned. The problem? Most people have to unlearn much of what they learned in their educational careers. Not all things in the real world work the way the classroom says they will. That’s okay. It will just be time to hit the books.
Language is learned by study study study. I’m learning Chinese at the moment and I can see the difference one day of skipping practice makes. Becoming a missionary takes time, commitment, and toughness! Time to spend in language school, commitment to finish what you have started, and toughness to endure the hard times. I’m telling you now, language acquisition requires all three of those things. Are you willing to develop in that area? If yes, awesome! Move forward. If no, why not? What do you need to do to become willing?
3. It’s time to build some connections.
One of the biggest regrets I have from college is not networking more. If you’re in college reading this and considering missions, then start networking today. Make friends with international students, study abroad, get connected through a local church and mission board. Ask these connections for opportunities to go overseas. It may not produce immediate results but you will at least get some leads to pursue later. As an additional benefit, you’ll meet tons of unique friends from all over the world!
Another way to build connections (especially if you’re considering the tent making route) is to connect through business events. Seek ways to use your skills and talents for the Kingdom. You’d be surprised the connections you can make at such events. Networking is a skill that should not be neglected. Even if you are hoping to join a large mission organization you will still need to network to get your foot in the door. Then you will need to network when in the field to gain contacts. Then you will need to network to simply share the Gospel. Networking is missions and missions is networking.
There is a ton of research to be done before getting to the field. I wish I could say that from the moment you understand the Great Commission it won’t be long until you’re on the field. It took me 4 years and some change to get there. I know a couple missionaries that from calling to going took 10+ years. Everyone’s journey is different. However, one thing that they all have in common is that they researched before going. If you are here, enjoy the open possibilities before you and learn all you can!
I’m Kenneth with Silk Road Mission, I will be praying that the Lord bless you and keep you and give you peace.
Until next time. Soli Deo Gloria.
P.S. Happy Easter! He is Risen!!