1. How is your walk with the Lord? how are you doing with the Lord?
Often I think of a dear friend of mine who, many years ago, was involved with me in work into China. He was doing quite well and then he said to me one day, “I want to go home.” And I said, “No, no, no. Dig into the Lord. Spend time with the Lord. Get a hold of the Lord see what the Lord is saying to you.” and essentially a few days day he said, “No I want to go home.”
So the first thing is, and that's before you go, it's not after you go:
How's your relationship with the Lord Jesus?
Do you know him personally, but more than that are you walking with him day by day?
Our habit is when we get up in the morning (and I’m speaking to you from the Far East, it doesn't look like it because I got a sweater on but it's a brief really cold time. Actually, the locals here they keep saying to me, “Oh is so cold they got coats on.” I say, “It’s cold. It’s not so cold.” because I'm a Brit and have some idea what really cold is (actually from Scotland). So number one, you walk with the Lord. How are you doing with the Lord?
2. Do you have a clear sense of call or vision?
Do you know that the Lord has spoken to you? (Now Brad is going to deal with this in another talk in this group so I'm not going to go into that at length.) But are you sure that the Lord has called you? Can you stand on that call?
3. Do you belong to a Missions Based Church - a church it actually believes in mission?
Don't tell anyone that I say this, but a lot of churches actually don't believe in cross cultural work. They don't believe in sending people away from their local area. They may be doing an absolutely fantastic job locally, and there's so much we can learn for them. But they don't teach us and inspire us with a vision to reach people of other cultures, other nations. Do you go to a mission based prayer meeting? Now I'm not saying for a minute, “leave your church.” For what I am saying is, “Find that prayer meeting. Find that mission group that you can pray with, that you can share with.”
4. Have you ever read or studied books about missionaries or the history of missions?
See you may say, “God has called me. I'm going to change Ethiopia -- Or I don’t know, any country you care to mention -- I'm going to change them.” Have you read a few read books about Hudson Taylor, and (William) Carey, and (David) Livingstone, and other men and women of God whose adventures and struggles and the rest of it, are there for us to learn about? Have you read those books? Please do. One of my classics was David Brainerd who was, if you like, a “cross-cultural missionary “to the indigenous people of the United States many years ago. Carey again as I say, Hudson Taylor - these men and women of God, we can learn so much from them.
5. Do you have a Friendship circle that’s conducive to mission?
I think of a group that my parents used to meet every year - just socially at Christmas time - and you’re going abroad what are you, going to do? Well that’s alright. Many people will look at you that way. Many people forty-eight years afterwards, he asked some people quite close to me, “What does he do?” They wouldn't have any idea, I don’t think. but I'm asking, “Do you have group of friends who have that same passion as you? That will be iron sharpening iron?” If you don't, if you’re a student in your student world, if you're a church member and your church world, find others who have that same calling.
6. Next, have you ever talked to a missionary on the field?
Have you ever contacted with a missionary on the field? I know there are some closed countries where that might be difficult, but have you ever done that? It's a good thing to do. Get a hold of a missionary team. They may be too busy to talk to you, but finally…
7. Then go on short-term mission trip.
Go on a short-term cross-cultural trip, that'll take you. I, as a Cambridge student, God had called me to serve as a cross-cultural worker. This is in the 1960s and I went with operation mobilization to Eastern Europe, and I finished in Russia actually at a time when Russia was really pretty tight. That mission trip did as much to confirm my calling, as the actual call itself did. Which I’ll talk about another time. Is that something that you've ever considered doing? Because it will change your life, one way or the other.
No. 1 Do you have a worldview that goes beyond your culture?
How do you do in a supermarket when you meet someone with a completely different culture and background? How do you do in the office, train, school or wherever, if you meet someone who is totally different. Do you say, why are you not the same as me, or can you embrace, are you culturally open and adaptable. If you go cross cultural, it's their culture not yours. You are not there to change them culturally as a cross culture worker. You maybe there to work with the orphans, preach, teach, work with poor but you are working with their culture and you are not there to change their culture by imposing yours.
Kingdom culture, the culture of Jesus, yes, but not your culture. Where their culture is not hostile to scripture, can you manage, can you handle that, it is really difficult. If I was doing more than 7-8 minutes quick learn I would tell you a lot but will do as well. So come to us and see us in FieldPartner, come and see us in our website. We will flash it up at the beginning and end.
No.2 Friendship with foreign students if you are a student.
Being with people of different culture. Not just meeting with them but befriending them. can you sit down with them, can you accept what they do, can you respect them. Are you always saying, well, why are these people behaving that way, because they are not the same as you or as me. So do you have those friends, do you have people you have coffee or tea with?
No. 3 Studying about the country of other people you gonna work with
Have you ever done that? You say God has called me to work in Mongolia, well, do you know anything about Mongolia, do you know what it is like, do you know what they believe, eat, their strength and weaknesses? Am not telling you to read a whole story of Mongolian restraint, but have studied them?
No. 4 Current Christian activities
Am I in any way witnessing, serving, discipling. Am not asking if you read the bible, I hope you do because you really need to. That ought to be my first talk. But are you someone who is really drawing people to Jesus Christ. We often say, getting on an aeroplane does not change you and that’s a fact. What is going to change you is what you are doing now.
No. 5 Your vision and calling
No. 5 This is really good, really tricky. I will say it in Chinese (Chinese) “ first you have your vision, your calling on your life then you have your opposite number, your beloved”. What do I mean, if you are in beginning several relationships, fellow with a girl or girl to fellow, you will feel God has called me to cross cultural work, and that person you are getting fond of say (Chinese words) which is a very rude expression for” take a hike”. If they say that, you need to face out to what is going on, because probably it will cost your calling if you go on into marriage and so on. The reverse is true. My wife who has a call to mission in her own life, Brian and Jane, there is an advantage when they are there with you step by step. So, have you considered that if the fellow or girl you are keen on. Are they walking the same way.
No. 6 Your gifts and temperaments.
What do you like in terms of gifts and temperaments, because one of the things is that you get stretched, someday once put it to me that, you are stretched so wide you could read a newspaper. What is your gift and temperament like, are you adaptable, are you able to face what is going to come that is the period you really struggle with culture, activities with this or that and you can say, I can handle that. How are you doing now in your church situation? Are you the one always colliding with people, then I suggest a period of discipleship in your local church might be the best.
No. 7. Finally, relationship and team works.
Same idea, how do you do team work. How do you do in working with other people. How do you do about serving the Lord together in a worship group, evangelistic team, in putting the chairs together. Are you the one always saying no, do it my way? Please if you not do a team a work, it is sad to say but many of cross cultural workers fail not because of other people they are working with . we know, certain nations that if you put nation A and nation B together you gonna have fireworks. How do you make them work in a team. Particularly, realizing that the people you are working with maybe a completely different culture, not the people you are trying to reach but people on the cultural team when you go and work there.
- Team at FieldPartner
If you found this post helpful, do check out our Crossing Cultures online course.
P.S. You can download this article as an infographic. Check it out:
23 Keys to Being a Healthy Cross Cultural Missionary (PDF)
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