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Considering overseas world mission?

A personal reflection after 5 years on the field – for those considering overseas world mission…


We have just relocated back to the UK to continue ministry in Turkey through visits and working remotely, having completed five years of overseas service. So few years compared to the years we had hoped and planned to spend living overseas and yet deeply significant years.

As I’ve been reflecting on our time here, I’ve wondered what I would have said to myself five, six, seven years ago when we were praying, thinking, talking, dreaming and considering overseas world mission. And what would I say to someone in a similar position now?

This is what I would say:

Come.

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Considering overseas world mission? It will be hard and humbling, but come…

even though it will be harder and more humbling than you could ever imagine. Come, knowing that there will be days that you feel so lonely, so worn out, so inadequate. You will cry, you will wonder how you will keep going, you will feel homesick, you will miss family and friends. You will try your hardest to fit into a culture where you’ll always stand out as the foreigner and then find that you’ve left a piece of yourself here so that you don’t fit so easily into your passport culture any more.

Flower seller in Istanbul - considering overseas world mission?

Considering overseas world mission? You will find you are weaker than you ever supposed, but come…

and you will change. You’ll be thrown so far out of your depth that you can do nothing but cling to Christ. You’ll find that when you feel lonely and misunderstood by those around you and those back in your passport country, you can spill out your words to Jesus and he will truly understand
you. You’ll find you are weaker than you ever supposed but Christ is stronger than you ever imagined.

Considering overseas world mission? Come…

and you’ll make friends with people from other cultures, eat new foods, learn a new language, explore a new country and rejoice in the diversity of God’s creation.

Come…

as one sent by and with the support of your church ‘back home’. Come, in partnership with the local church and believers where you’ll be serving. Come with humility and ready to learn.

Come…

because although it might feel safer to stay home, you are safe with God. Come, because even though the uncertainty that accompanies living abroad is overwhelming, God is good and he is sovereign. Come, knowing you are weak and not up to it, because God delights in using weak people and his grace is sufficient.

Bazaar shop keeper in Turkey - considering overseas world mission?

Considering overseas world mission?  Come…

because there are millions of people here who have never truly heard and understood the Gospel and the consequences are eternal. Come and know that results are not guaranteed because it is God who saves. But you may see lives changed and people saved and God might even use you – yes, you – as a means of accomplishing his work.

Come…

even though people will disappoint you and hurt you and oppose you and you will invest so much only to see people walk away, because Jesus will look even more beautiful then.

Young Turkish girls smiling - considering overseas world mission?

Considering overseas world mission?  Come…

because the work is not yet done and the harvest field is ripe. Come, because God is at work and it is our privilege to be part of it. Come, because Jesus is worth it.

Please pray for…

workers to come, to hear the call of the Kingdom and seek to share Christ with the unreached people of Central Asia.

Note:  this is used by permission (with editing) from a missionary blogger http://talesofbeingallthere.blogspot.com with some past material republished by the Gospel Coalition. As it is such an honest reflection of five years on the mission field, we thought it was worth including, especially as the conclusion is “Come”, despite everything!

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