When a new missionary arrives on the field he should have in mind what he needs and wants to accomplish in his first term. I would like to share a few ideas about what that might be and then ask you to add more to it or disagree with me in the comment section.
- Learn the language and the culture well. You can not learn the language without the culture and you can not learn the culture without the language. This means that at least for the first year or two you need to spend 40 or 50 hours in the language. That can include 20 hours of class, a route of listeners as discussed in Language Acquisition Made Practical by the Brewsters, watching TV, having friends over, etc.
- Make several close friends with national believers.
- Learn to feel comfortable in the culture and with the believers.
- Learn to express your heart and Bible doctrine in the language.
- As soon as possible get involved in discipling, mentoring, training new believers. This will help your language abilities, build you spiritually and build others also.
- Win, baptize, and disciple as many as possible through the basic levels of discipleship. If you can get several families saved, baptized and serving you will have proven your ministry.
- Do not sit in your house waiting on God to give you the language or ministry. Do not hang around the other Americans. That is not why you went to the field.
- How many you have attending church is not important but having trained several, say 3, young men to serve God and be spiritual leaders would make your first term a great success.
- It is not important how many you have in services or even how many professions of faith you have but rather how many leaders are you training.
- Lay the foundation for all that you will do in the future on this field.
I realize that this is only a matter of opinion but I think it might help you and encourage you. There are two sorts of missionaries. There are the lazy that get their support and basically hang out on the field until their term is over. They are just happy that they made it four years.
There are the others that feel like they are a failure unless they have a lot of people attending a church or have started several churches. Get the goals in line with reality so that you do not have to live with frustration all the time.
I would love your opinions on these ideas. I will refine my ideas as you sharpen me with your criticism.
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