Saturday, August 29, 2015

Missionary Challenges

I have read several posts from other missionaries over the past several years which have expressed my feelings so very well.  It is difficult for me to write about the challenges of being in the missionary field for several reasons.  First, I am so blessed in all I am doing that it seems petty to talk about the challenges.  Second, missionaries (in my opinion) are often afraid to discuss challenges as it may offend someone or cause them to lose support.  And then there is the ole' saying "Don't air your dirty laundry".

A few months back, I was talking with another nurse who had taken some courses in "Being a Missionary".  We were discussing the different challenges which are faced in missions and she told me that on one of her exams was this question - "What is the biggest challenge for the missionary?"  The answer:  "Other missionaries".  I was shocked, but then realized that this is also one of my biggest challenges.  It is a pretty sad fact.

I don't know if all missionaries do as I did, but I do know that most come close.  I so wanted (and felt like God wanted me) to share my gifts and talents with others who were less fortunate than me that I sold everything, gave up a good job, left my family and moved to a foreign land.  I do not tell you this for any other purpose than to say that the majority of missionaries are people who feel so strong about their calling that they will do everything they can to make it happen.  Many of you also have callings...not missions....but other calling which you will do everything you can to make them happen.

Missionaries have no steady income for the work they do.  They have to rely on their church families, friends and people who love to help mission works in order to have money to pay for their day to day expenses, work expenses and salaries to cover future needs.  This is another BIG challenge which most, if not all, missionaries face.  It is difficult to ask for support.  (On the other side of the coin, it is difficult for donors to know what will come their way tomorrow.)  Missionaries have a lot of faith in God to provide open doors, open hearts and open wallets. Without support, mission works cannot be done.  One of the biggest support challenges comes when a supporter suddenly decided he cannot continue supporting someone.  That sudden loss of money can be devastating to a missionary's work.

Another huge challenge is emotional support.  Culture shock is a great challenge for many missionaries.  Along with the culture shock comes the reality that friends back home continue with their busy lives and many times lose touch with you.  And it is truly difficult for friends back home to understand what each missionary is going through...Nothing for the friend has changed.  For the missionary...EVERYTHING has changed including the loss of a previously wonderful support of friends.

And the last challenge I will discuss is spiritual support.  Every day, each missionary is pouring out spiritual support to others, but there is no one to pour spiritual support back into the missionary.  Personally, I like to listen to sermons from my home church and, of course, I do Bible studies on my own.  However, spiritual growth and support is difficult for the missionary.

Please do not misunderstand the comments I have made in this blog.  I am VERY happy with my choice to become a missionary and I absolutely love where I am and the people I work with daily.  I am making these comments to let you know that the life of a missionary is not any easier than the life you are living back home and, in fact, has it own challenges.  We are not living a "vacation" life on someone else's dime.  AND we are very dependent on the generosity of others for our support.  Your emails and face book comments are needed, appreciated and let us know that we are not forgotten by our friends. The blessings I receive far out-weigh the challenges, but the challenges still remain.

Please pray for missionaries, support them, email them and encourage them in whatever ways you can think to do so.  YOU are one of the  KEYS to our SUCCESS.

1 comment:

  1. Cheryl,so very well blogged. If it were not for the financial help of others, we would not be able to do, what we do. We are so thankful for this. But for me, even more important is the spiritual and emotional support from others. Receiving an email or a comment on a blog is so encouraging! I think of you often, my friend. Take care and remain safe )