I’ve always wanted to go on a cross-cultural missions trip, but for some weird reasons i keep on getting denied. From a supposed to be long-term missions trip on Afghanistan the very reason i left my last job, all my 3 friends got to go except for me. And the saga continues, another trip to Mongolia that got postponed because of a super cold weather, and still another one in Mongolia where I was not chosen to be the staff to go. Even a study and a conference trip to US where my visa got turned down thrice.
But last September 17-28 turned out to be different. After 10 years I was out for my officially second missions trip with two other campus missionary-Lynn and Melfer. An odd group of three women but certainly not an accidental combination as I would relate later on. This blog is meant to chronicle some of the lessons I’ve learned as a newbie and hopefully you can glean something from it as well.
Lesson 1: Love for the nations begins with lots of preparation
Confession time- we barely had 2 months to prepare for this as we are doing this on top of all our everyday task at work.
Prepare yourself physically
Yeah of course you know this, but some people refuse to heed it so im writing it here hehe.
Aside from the fact that you don’t want to be hospitalised in another nation and be detained,
you also don’t want to be quarantined when you get back on your own nation-remember the yellow paper you have to fill up honestly.
Melfer was really smart in asking her nurse friend to give her a list of medicine must haves so that whatever slight sickness we have she got it covered-yay! So i suggest go have a list like that.
Lesson 2: Don’t underestimate the power of a healthy body in the mission field
Prepare yourself emotionally
I will keep it short and simply say- leave your personal baggages in your own nation (better yet deal with it) and carry only loads of peace, joy, and love.
Prepare yourself spiritually
On top of the very basic thing of not cramming your personal week long devotions a day before you go to the missions ( i know the struggle is real but so is God’s grace), dont forget to keep your prayer team informed. There’s so many ways to prepare yourself spiritually but i’ll just zoom into prayer team just for today.
Lesson 3: We can never have an overdose of prayers while in the mission field
Aside from our family and close friends, our prayer teams are the most informed people in our lives during the whole trip. Audaciously ask prayers from them, your family, friends, team even your FB friends. Even if just !% of my FB friends will be praying about what I posted that will still be 42 additional people interceding for us. Speak in tongues daily, pray unceasingly!
Prepare your team
To keep things short and simple, lets put an acronym for this: VIP, nothing original just
Vision, Instruction and Prayer
Vision: Honor God, make disciples and be a blessing to the nations.
Obey all of God’s instructions and seize every divine appointment
Instruction: Get and prepare as many materials as we can.
I was so blessed to have a team that will do whatever it takes to get the job done. We got so many materials you would think we are doing a month-long seminar 🙂 Melfer even brought books and manuals no matter how heavy they are. As for me Im privileged to have well-travelled bosses so i hijacked them for all the materials they used whenever they speak outside, I got notes on Leadership, Discipleship, Evangelism and Teams.
|By faith we are nations-ready!
We prepared ourselves for whatever they will asks us to do. We got a lot of training materials and were just constantly studying and learning: Worship Service, Events Management, Discipleship Database,Power Evangelism, Five Dysfunctions of a Team and the list continues. What a blessing that we are all so diverse thus its easy to complement and amplify each other’s strength.
Lesson 4: For training materials focus on the value we have and the principles why we do what we do, teach them methods only as examples and not patterns to follow
Prayer: We prayed on the plane, prayed on the taxi, prayed on the bus even in the tuk-tuk, we prayed every breakfast, prayed even when the event is already ongoing. Im glad no one among us was an expert missionary that it really drove us everyday to really depend on God’s strength, grace and wisdom.
Prepare for the unexpected
On top of all the crazy preparations, one thing we cant prepare is teaching all the trainings with a translator :), this is a skill we have to learn on the spot! We navigated when to pause, what words to use to make it clear and simple, when to cut our sentences and when can we do paragraphs, what illustrations are best and what examples can they relate to. This whole experience is completely a Holy Spirit moment as we allow Him to teach us words to use, discern right timing and relevant stories to share, otherwise we would not have survived this exercise 🙂
Lesson 5: Good communication skill is a must to missions keep on mastering it!
So this is just a tip of the iceberg of this exciting journey called Missions.
I hope to continue writing everything we have learned though i know as early as today that there will be no words enough to capture every God-sized adventure we undertake. Cheers to more front row seat to what God is doing to the nations!