A lot of people have the ambition to work as a missionary or tentmaker overseas, but few are preparing for it in the present. Here are 7 ways you can start getting serious about moving overseas, even if you won’t be leaving for a couple of years.
- Share the gospel and disciple people now. For some reason, perspective missionaries think that once they hit the field, they will magically become a better witness for Christ and disciple maker. You won’t. If you are not doing these things here and now then you sure won’t do them in the midst of culture shock and in a second language. If you want to be a missionary that is worth anything, live out the Great Commission in your life now. Do not wait.
- Use public transportation. Most Americans don’t use public transportation, but for many missionaries serving in megacities driving their own car is either impractical or not financially feasible (gas in the country I lived in is 12 USD a gallon.) Learning bus routes and public transportation protocol is much easier when you speak the language. Taking public transportation is also a great way to redeem your commute time. You can study vocabulary, memorize scripture, or make a new friend on the bus!
- Start learning another language. You probably won’t reach fluency until you are fully immersed in a language, but you’ll be thankful in the future for anything you learn in the present. Even if you don’t know where you’ll be living or what language you’ll be speaking, simply learning one language makes it easier to learn another.
- Make an international friend. Adjusting to a new culture is much easier if you’ve helped someone else adjust to yours. Most public universities have a host family program for international students. Volunteer a few hours a week to help an international student transition to America and you’ll be surprised what you learn in the process.
- Learn how to cook from scratch. Americans are notoriously dependent on ready-made meals and processed foods. Could you survive with only fresh, raw ingredients? You probably will have to on the field. You’ll probably find it tastes better too!
- Sign up for a frequent flyer miles program. Most missionaries don’t earn a lot of money, but they do fly a lot. A free flight is helpful if you have a family emergency, could really use a vacation, or have to return home to raise financial support.
- Get rid of stuff. It’s hard enough to say goodbye to friends and family- don’t be held down by your possessions. The fewer things you have to box up means the easier it will be to move. Before buying anything ask: will I need this in 5 years? If I can’t ship possessions to my future country (it’s almost impossible where I served), can I take this on a plane?
- Sign up for missionary newsletters. Start praying for missionaries now and learn about their ministry. Pray for them as they experience hardships and you will be better prepared to persevere when you experience trials.