You’ve been dreaming of serving in missions and preparing for it. Now with COVID-19, everything is on hold. Or is it? What seems like harm for our community could also turn out to be for our good. How can we take advantage of this time right now? We’d like to share a few practical things you can be doing now to prepare to launch into missions soon after travel restrictions are lifted.
Meet with potential supporters: What better time to meet up online with friends, family, church leaders, and potential supporters?
They might need your encouragement right now. They might have more time and availability to pray. You might stand out in their minds because they think you’re crazy, but then it gives you the opportunity to share with them why this is so important: people are living and dying right now without Jesus and we have an opportunity to change that!
Do theological study: Now is the time to build a strong theological foundation.
Many organizations require some seminary, but while not all healthcare professionals choose to take seminary courses, having a strong spiritual foundation will help you thrive personally and spiritually, as well as make a greater impact on those you’re going to serve.
Check out this free program through Gordon Conwell Seminary:
Dimensions on Faith
Here are some suggested courses we recommend whether auditing, online, or in some other setting.
Study language: There are multiple ways to study language.
Check out great resources like Transparent Language, which has many more obscure languages than some of the other apps. Also, libraries do have some great beginner books for the more common languages, as well as e-books.
Build cross-cultural relationships online to learn culture and practice sharing your faith.
There are ways that you can find online communities or individuals who would like to learn English or become a language partner for you to learn their language and culture. There are other platforms, but try meeting regularly with someone to learn about their culture and their religion, as well. This will help you know how to better engage the people you hope to serve one day. Make sure this relationship is not one-sided, but one of give and take. One platform to consider: is ITalki.
Grow in other areas like writing, speaking, teaching, business skills or more.
As a mission worker, you’ll be expected to write lots of updates and newsletters, perhaps even do some grant writing. You’ll also be asked or expected to speak in churches and other communities. Now’s a great time to hone those skills - maybe even take a preaching course or one on teaching. You could consider taking intercultural skills courses. Business skills often come in handy on the mission field ,as well. And don’t forget that learning to take good photos, produce videos, or do graphic design can all enhance your communication with others as well. These skills will help you share the awesome things God has done and is doing. Here’s a link to one free opportunity: FutureLearn.
Pray for least reached.
Now is the time to learn and pray more! Be diligent in researching and lifting up least reached. If there’s not already a people group on your heart, visit Joshua Project and pray for their featured workers. Watch videos of different countries through PrayerCast. Also consider checking out PeopleGroups.org and Operation World. LiveDead Journal will challenge and stretch you and help shape the way you pray for least reached.
Grow in spiritual disciplines: prayer, fasting, silence, Scripture memorization, generosity, confession, worship, fellowship, celebration, service, rest.
Have you ever considered tithing your time? 10% of 24 hours = 2 hours and 24 minutes. What would it look like if you spent that much time every day communing with the Lord through prayer, listening, digging into Old and New Testament, singing worship songs, and more? Try committing the next 30 days to this and see how it transforms your life! Whether you are able to commit that type of time or not, do consider growing in areas of spiritual discipline and find a friend or two who will do this with you.
Rest: God modeled it and we should do it!
Did you know that God’s original plan included a whole year of rest? Don’t believe me? Look up the Year of Jubilee in scripture. Not only are we meant to Sabbath weekly, but we’re meant to rest, take sabbaticals, and change things up, not just pushing hard all the time. People who rest on average 8.5 hours a day have been found to be more successful in their work and happier in life. Studies show that burnout can be more harmful and more difficult to get out of than depression.
Missionaries, and especially medical missionaries, tend to push this issue to the limit and to the detriment of their teams, ministries, and families, often resulting in coming home from the mission field early. How can this be avoided? By truly learning to set boundaries and intentionally planning times of rest; or in this case, taking advantage of times of rest. You were designed by the Creator for rest and for recreation, so why not enjoy what He’s given you? Time to rest and play!!