So You Want To Be A Missionary
Don't be foolishly idealistic. You aren't going to save the world. God already took care of that one.
By Kent Kristensen
So you think you want to be a missionary? H’mmm. Well, first, throw out your preconceptions of how fantastic it will be. While you’re exploring the refuse, toss out those fears of whether you’ll be OK. Chances are you’ll get sick, hurt, discouraged and generally have a rough time.
And now that we’ve disposed of the pleasantries, ask yourself what your motives are for leaving your comfort zone. If you’re trying to get away from home, go on a cheap vacation, follow a friend, or do the “SDA thing,” do yourself and those in the field a favor. Stay home.
Should you leave your comfy abode though, live up to your name; have a mission, but don’t be foolishly idealistic. You aren’t going to save the world. God already took care of that one.
You’ll be in the field to teach-probably English and religion. English, the ostensible (or cover) subject, and religion, the real agenda, the unheralded noun that creeps into the subconscious mind. Whatever subject you teach, though, it’s who you are that teaches the most. God’s purpose for you as a missionary may be to reach a person nobody else could.
Be efficient. Focus on your mission, stay out of church politics, and let yourself get walked on. Foreign cultures will trample all over your perceptions of the “perfect” Adventist. The whole world isn’t like your cozy hometown church. Believe it or not, there are many ways to accomplish the same goals. Don’t shortchange your usefulness by being culturally stubborn.
On the flip side, perseverance is important: perseverance in prayer, perseverance in faith, and perseverance in giving “the last full measure of devotion.” Will becoming a missionary change your life? Possibly—even probably. At the very least, it should broaden your world view, a change usually regarded as positive.
All things considered, if you still can’t logically argue your way into or out of being a missionary, do what you should have done first. Pray.
Kent Kristensen reporting alive from Bangkok, Thailand