Before I begin this post, I want to share about a minor change in how I will post blogs on lifeinexile.net. I realized that posting three blogs each week is overwhelming to those who subscribe to my blog site, so I’m backing off in hopes that more of you will subscribe and actually read my posts, knowing that there will be only one each week.
I will continue to do a Mission Monday, Wednesday Wisdom, and Friday Focus emphasis, but I will spread them out. So, this week I’m posting on Monday and writing about missions. Next week, the post will come out on Wednesday and offer some wisdom from other writers or the Word. The following week the post will be out on Friday, and so on from there. I trust you’ll like the change and again, be encouraged to subscribe to my site or at least follow my Facebook page for Carol B. Ghattas.
Now, back to today’s thoughts on missions.
Cross-cultural service is not something that always brings out the best in people.
There, I said it. That might sound harsh, but it’s true. When we move out of our comfort zone in ministry, some of our baser tendencies rise to the surface. We’re stressed, and the sense of home is far away, causing us to lash out at those nearest. Those nearest on the field could be your spouse, children, other team members, and even the nationals you are seeking to serve. When the ugly in us is revealed, our witness can be hurt. It can also make us feel unworthy of service. “Why would God call me here, if all I’m going to do is give him a bad reputation by my words or actions?” This kind of struggle leads many to pack their bags and head home.
If you’ve yet to begin your new ministry, there is time to do some pre-flight internal checks. If you’re already on the field, it might be time for some self-evaluation exercises. Either way, these can help you push back against Satan’s attacks and move forward with a more realistic expectation of what’s ahead on a personal level.
My new book, Not in Kansas Anymore: Finding Home in Cross-Cultural Service can help you work through some personal check-lists on this topic, but here’s a glimpse of what to look at:
- Stop pretending. You will not be a different person from who you are now once you get into ministry. Take a long, hard look at your relationship with the Lord, your time in prayer and Bible study, and your relationships with others. If there are areas that need improvement now, they will need even more help overseas.
- Make sure your foundation is firmly set. Don’t head into ministry with doubts about your salvation.
- Be secure in your present relationship status. How content are you as a single person? How strong is your marriage? Would you be satisfied working mostly with people of your same sex? Other cultures’ societal expectations can differ vastly from current American or Western norms. Make sure you stand strong in who you are in relation to others.
- Are you a loner or a team player? Depending on where you go, you may or may not have a team in which to find support and encouragement. If you do have a team, do you play nice or push others away in an effort to get your own way?
Let Scripture and the Spirit be your teacher.
Take time to look at your current struggles in light of Scripture. Invite the Holy Spirit to search your heart and mind and be open to his counsel and correction.
Know thyself as you press forward in service to his glory. You are uniquely and wonderfully made in his image. May that encourage you today as you seek to grow more into his likeness for the sake of the Kingdom.
Grace and Peace