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5 Things You Thought About Becoming a Missionary That Just Aren't True

June 3, 2020 at 3:00 PM


You can picture it now: living in a shack under a roof made of palm tree leaves, the tropical sun blazing outside, dirt floor, unfamiliar language, snake-tail soup for breakfast....these are some of the things you might imagine when you hear the word "missionary". But how many of the things we believe are based in reality? Here are five of the most common misconceptions about the missionary life.

1. You'll have to live in a shack

It's true that some missionaries are called to reach the rural and isolated, but there is no need to take a cookie-cutter approach to mission life. Each and every Christian has their own unique set of gifts and their own unique calling, and they may be called to serve in multiple places and in multiple different ways over their lifetime. After all, there are hundreds of thousands of unsaved people living in New York City, not just in the jungles of Africa or the mountains of Nepal. Wherever we go, we are called to live alongside the people, whether that means making our home in a shack, a dorm room, a church, a four-bedroom home, or a beautiful apartment overlooking a city.


2. You will lead thousands of people to the Lord

Some days, you will sweat and slave without seeing any results.
Some days, you will pray and think you don't hear an answer.
Some days, you will share the gospel and no one will respond to the call.
Some days, you will question if you are making a difference.
But other days, you will watch as a lost man, woman, or child finally surrenders their lives to Him. Those are the days that remind you why you wanted to become a missionary. You may not see entire tribes, people groups, or nations turn to the Lord because of your ministry, but you can rest assured knowing that you are not responsible for miracles—you are only responsible for being faithful and obedient to God. You never know how the seeds you plant and the small contributions you make will go on to grow, multiply, and affect the hearts of hundreds of people long after you are gone.

3. You're going to be poor and miserable

Life is full of trials, and going on the missions field does not exempt you from hardship. Missionaries living abroad often struggle with homesickness, culture shock, learning the language, and raising financial support. That being said, the reality is that even if you choose to live a "normal" life, you will still face trials and discouragement. As a missionary, you can find peace and joy even in the midst of difficult days because you know that you are right where God wants you to be. You may have "less" materially than others, but the fulfillment you experience from being in the center of God's will for your life is far more valuable than money, fame, or material possessions.

4. You'll go hungry

Depending on where you go, the real struggle might involve eating too much! Many cultures are renowned for their delicious food and gracious hospitality. For instance, in Middle Eastern countries such as Iran, it is customary for families to invest a significant amount of time and effort in preparing a large meal for you, and they may honor you with special dishes reserved only for guests. In countries such as India, you are expected to eat everything on the plate to show your approval.
The day will undoubtedly come when your host offers you something strange to eat, like baked lizard or toasted grasshoppers, but for the most part, you will find people eager to welcome you into their home or church by blessing you with delicious food. You might even find you like the cuisine of your adopted country more than your home country!

5. You'll never see your family again

God loves families—they were His idea in the first place. Many missionaries in YWAM can attest that God has surprised them with thousands of dollars for plane tickets home or even blessed them with fifty dollars for a bus ticket across town. God loves you and knows the value of family and relationships. Lean on Him and trust Him to provide. Who knows, maybe He'll encourage your family to hop on a plane and visit you!
God has called each and every one one of us to play a part in fulfilling the Great Commission. If you feel like He's calling you to the journey of becoming a missionary, don't let questions, doubts, or misconceptions hold you back. Let Him shake up your old ideas about being a missionary and  blow your mind with what He actually has in store for you.

Become a Missionary

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