What Does it Take to Be a Long-Term Missionary?

There are many who want to be a long-term missionary and ask this question. People hear what long-term missionaries go through and feel they could never live up to the standard. The amazing stories of David Livingstone bringing Christianity to Southern Africa. Hudson Taylor giving up everything to go to China to spread the gospel. How could I do that? Who is capable to do those types of things? We must remember, God equips those he calls. We just need to be willing to go.

Get into the current

My family is in the Equip missionary training program. Sometimes I doubt my own abilities to be a long-term missionary. I feel like the least qualified person to be here. I forget it is not solely up to my work. One of the trainers said something profound. “Missions is like a current, you just have to jump in.” Great missionaries were not used because they were good in themselves. They were dependent on God and he used them to do great things for his glory. If we jump in God’s current, he will take us where he wishes.

Who is able to be a long-term missionary?

I was at a missions conference last year with this question as the theme. The keynote speaker was Joni Eareckson Tada. She gave herself as her own example for “who is able?” She is a quadriplegic and has been in a wheelchair for over 50 years. In 2010, she battled stage III breast cancer. With all of this stacked up against her, she has spread the gospel over the world. She encourages people with these three words. “Just show up.” That is it. She is in a wheelchair and has cancer — ”Just show up.”

Some will say, “I am scared.”

Just show up…

Some will say, “I have a family.”

Just show up…

What if?

I would love to be a long-term missionary, but what if…?  What if my family is endangered? Or what if people hate me? What if they want to kill me? All these are valid questions. And many missionaries have had these things happen to them.

Many people ask these questions, but the “what if” question I worry about is, “What if God calls me to his work, and I do not listen?” He has told us to, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (Mark 16:15) Our job and joy is to obey his commandments.

God is not asking us to become great missionaries and then go to the mission field. He tells us “just show up” and get in the current. He will take care of the rest. If you feel God is leading you to missionary work as a missionary here in the U.S. or abroad, contact us.

 

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