Below are my responses to questions for missionaries, sent to me by a brother who’s taking some sort of college missions course. Perhaps it might be useful to someone out there.
1. What was your motivation for becoming a missionary?
As a college student, I was made aware of the tremendous need in foreign fields for workers. To be useful to the kingdom of God was a primary motivation which spurred my decision.
2. What type of preparation did you have to do?
Missions studies in undergraduate degree, Master of Missions (M.Miss.), three trips to the field prior to moving (about 6 mo. total time), two years of college-level language study before moving, first year on field spent in language study and social research.
3. What can you tell me about finding a sending agency and raising support (especially in your case the situation now might be of some help)
Our sponsoring church offered to send us to Brazil. It was my hometown congregation. They will have supported us for about 27 years after terminating their commitment in June, 2010. Support from churches generally comes from people that know you or from recommendations from people to a church they know well.
4. What type of mission work have you done?
Personal evangelism, church planting, leadership training, edification and Bible teaching and preaching, publications, hymnology and song-leading, Christian camp, seminars and public evangelism, Internet.
5. What were some of the initial challenges to beginning the work?
How to reach the middle class we had targeted; rent issues, finding appropriate places to meet; team dynamics; helping established churches to see the need to reach a new (and higher-class) area of the city.
7. What about family issues?
(a) In the early years it was a challenge to maintain contact with extended family in the U.S. In time, the concern has become how to help aging parents. (b) Our family always made an effort to fit into the society in which we lived, be a part, as much as possible, of the culture, without denying our culture of origin. This has been a blessing.
8. What obstacles to the work have you faced?
(a) Fitting gifts to needs in the local work; (b) dealing with lack of time in people’s schedules; (c) doctrinal differences; (d) immorality and unfaithfulness among workers.
9. What would you say are the key(s) to the success in the work?
See my writings on this, one of which is linked to here in PDF format, brief outline is: (a) understanding that the mission is to save people eternally and devoting one’s time and energies to it, (b) confirming converts in their faith, cultivating their dependence on the faithful God, and (c) helping the saints to become useful to the Lord by employing their gifts. Or, more concisely put: evangelism for eternity, edification for fidelity and entrustment for utility.
10. This might not apply to you but what can you say about readjustment when returning home?
Doesn’t apply. However, reverse culture shock has been shown to be more severe than the initial adjustment to moving on the field.