You know you're a missionary if...

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by John of Japan, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Recently I posted in a debate thread a description of just a very few of the sacrifices made by a young couple I know that just went to Africa this year. A certain individual mocked the sacrifices I mentioned, intimating that believers in America sacrifice just as much. I have to tell you that extremely grieved me. This young couple is risking all for Christ, including their very lives. (Not only are there many diseases which have no vaccines, Boko Haram terrorists are active in the North of their country.)

    What I want to do on this thread is share some of the things cross-cultural missionaries do or have or risk as opposed to the average believer in the homeland. You are welcome to post from your own experience as a missionary, or as one who has been on a missions trip, or as a friend of missionaries.
     
    #1 John of Japan, Jul 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
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  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    You know you're an aviation missionary if you have your own plane and maybe your own airstrip and fly in and out of primitive airstrips every day, ferrying missionaries, supplies, sick people, Bibles and tracts, etc. etc.

    Earlier this year: So there I was at 8000 feet in a small airplane made in the States from a kit and flown all the way over to Africa. I looked down out of the little window by my feet 8000 feet down, and saw villages scattered everywhere: in the valleys, on the hills (Fulani Muslims), just everywhere. Very few of those villages have a Gospel witness, and most of them still practice primitive animistic and demon-led religions.

    I asked the missionary, "If 100 new missionaries came over, could you place them?" He said immediately, "I could place them all in five minutes."

    After having gotten to know this missionary and flown with him, I have great respect for all aviation missionaries. They have to be tremendous pilots to do what they do, and have to be their own mechanics as well. Plus, there are so many things that very few American pilots of any kind have to face: avoiding cows on the runway, rebuilding their planes to handle the stresses of landing on home-made grass strips, asking the Africans to build strips for them in extremely out of the way places, etc.
     
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    You know you're a missionary church-planting pastor or evangelist if you have to write your own ministry material.

    Notice I said "have to"!! Many American preachers write their own Sunday School lessons and other material, but they don't really have to. There is an incredibly huge amount of great material in English from many different Baptist and other groups that IMO no American preacher ever need write his own material.

    One missionary who was a tremendous help to us junior missionaries in Japan was Russell Stellwagon (1926-2011), one of the flood of missionaries who went over to Japan after WW2. He wrote with Missionary Kenny Joseph (still there, I think) the two volume hardcover Missionary Language Handbook, which had so many helps in it: a dictionary of religious terms, a set of outlines from Scofield, sermon illustrations in Japanese, etc. It was later reprinted in one volume without the Japanese writing (which was unfortunate). I must have consulted this hundreds of times during my ministry in Japan.

    Brother Stellwagon was also a leader in the effort to translation John R. Rice's famous tract into Japanese, "What Must I Do to Be Saved?" Over 8 million of this tract were printed and distributed in the country, and it was used to bring many Japanese to Christ. Stellwagon also wrote a discipleship pamphlet, and was a leader in the effort to produce the first conservative Bible translation in modern, colloquial Japanese, the Shinkai Yaku.

    You may see his obituary here: https://webapp2.meaningfulfunerals.net/home/index.cfm/obituaries/view/fh_id/10195/id/1283743. Be sure to read the guest book entries, which have a testimony by a Japanese man blessed by him.
     
  4. Revmitchell

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    I spent some time on the Navajo Reservation. My life was never at risk. That does not mean the ministry was not tough. The first year there We held 9 funerals for youth who had committed suicide. There were that many over the next few months that were adults. This is in a community of about 1900 people. It never dawned on me when I entered the ministry that I would one day cut a man down in his closet who had hung himself. This is a man who was the biggest drug trafficker in town, who had lost two teens to suicide, and had recently gave it all up to give his life to Christ.

    It was a Friday evening early when a middle aged Navajo woman named Yolanda, came by the church who had also lost children to suicide. She said she had not slept in weeks and she looked like it. She had three small children in the minivan she was driving and she had no home. She was looking for peace, rest, and maybe some assistance. Living out in the middle of no where makes it difficult to reach church members on Fri nights and having been there less than a year I was unsure if I could get two members to come out and access funds to help her. So I prayed with her and listened for a couple hours. The entire time I kept thinking to myself that I needed to get her and her children a meal and a motel room for at least a few days. Not convinced that I could access our financial resources I let her go away without any physical assistance. The next morning I received an email from a retired Berean Missionary who had lived in the area for more than 50 years. That email told me that last night a Navajo woman named Yolanda had committed suicide. Words cannot describe who I felt.

    Ministering to people, who are in emotional crisis, regularly can take its toll on a pastor. These are just a couple of stories out of many during my time on the "rez". There is tough ministry everywhere. Even right here in the US. However, not many are engaged in it.
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Missionary work with native Americans can certainly be very difficult. I've never ministered in that area, but from all I have heard there is often much alcoholism, drug addiction, etc.
     
  6. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    You know you're a missionary (or at least an expatriate or immigrant) if your children are fluently bilingual and bi-cultural. Missionary kids (MKs) are special!

    Our son grew up speaking English and colloquial Japanese equally well. In fact, he sometimes talked in his sleep in Japanese. When he went to college, his boss on the security force said, "You're not American, you're a Japanese. But if anyone gives you any trouble about it, send them to me and I'll handle it."

    When MKs grow up they can often be a tremendous help to their parents' ministry. Our son is a consultant on our new Japanese Bible translation, and a huge help. We have friends whose son and family went back to the land of their childhood to work as missionaries with their parents.

    The oldest daughter of the above mentioned missionary pilot is single, and is working on a Bible translation into the language of the Fulani Muslims who are all over Africa, and has published the Gospel of John. What a blessing MKs are!
     
  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    You know you're a missionary if you have to translate your own version of the Bible. This of course does not apply to all missionaries, but is nevertheless true.

    First world countries usually have their own Bible in their own language. This is true of all European countries and all the major countries of Asia. However, there are still thousands of tribal languages and those of smaller people groups (such as various dialects of Mongolian) which do not have the first word of the Bible in their language.

    In June I was at the WorldView Ministries Team Meeting," sort of a summit on missionary Bible translating. There I met Miss Margaret Stringer, an independent Baptist who was a missionary to the jungle tribes of Papua, Indonesia (formerly Irian Jaya) for 40 years. She told her story in the sessions. She endured incredible hardships to bring the Gospel to two tribes, translating the New Testament into the Citak and Tamnim languages.

    Do you have any idea what an incredible feat this is? It's stupendous. I have only the greatest respect for those like Miss Stringer who are willing to live in the most primitive of conditions and take many years of their life to translate the Bible for 3rd world tribes.

    By all means, get her story at:
     
  8. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    You know you're a missionary if you have had to build your own baptistry!

    When I was in Africa earlier this year I saw an outdoor baptismal pool in the yard of a missionary's church building. All the signs were that he or someone else there had poured the concrete themselves.

    The year was 1984. I was endeavoring to plant a church in Yokohama, Japan, and had just promised Miss Toyada that I would baptize her the next Sunday. "Good grief," I thought, "How am I going to do that? We don't have a baptistry?"

    By the time Saturday rolled around I had a plan. I bought some plywood and constructed a frame in the little kitchen of our apartment. The frame was about six feet by three feet, three feet tall. I then bought about twenty feet of one meter wide plastic, used by the local farmers to make a sort of greenhouse over each individual row of crops. My wife and I taped the plastic together, put it in the frame, then filled it with water. Yeah, it works! Um, sort of. Then we had to work until midnight to find and fix all the leaks. But we got it done!

    The next day I was able to baptize Miss Toyoda as promised, right there in our kitchen. Later I baptized our little boy in that thing, and Mrs. Hayashizaki, and maybe one other.
     
  9. annsni

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    You know you're a missionary when you are born in Columbia, grew up in America and then became a missionary to Spain only to go to Cuba later on and need to translate for the Americans with you. LOL - He told us he heard the Latin Spanish, though of the translation to European Spanish then translated to English and then went back and forth that way. :) Fortunately the next time they went to Cuba, they had my daughter's future mother-in-law with them and since she's Dominican, translating was much easier for her. :D
     
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  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Thanks for sharing, Ann. I didn't know you had that background. Praise the Lord!
     
  11. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    You know you're a medical missionary if your training is eye, ear, nose and throat, but you've done everything from brain surgery to delivering babies!

    Medical missionaries are usually serving God in 3rd world countries which have very poor health care. They may be the only doctor for miles around, so they get asked to do all sorts of care and surgeries. My friend Dr. T is a Japanese medical missionary in a country 86% Muslim, with most of the rest being Hindu. He has a small hospital and is pretty much the man I mentioned in the first paragraph. He is not only a great doctor, but a wonderful missionary, running a couple of hundred in Sunday School and planting several daughter churches in the villages round about.

    I was there some years ago to preach for Dr. T., and was blown away by what I saw. They baptized 46 at once, and had a correspondence course being taken by about 1500 people.
     
  12. annsni

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    LOL - Not me but a dear friend. :) My daughter has been to Cuba but she went with her future mother-in-law and not Raphael.
     
  13. annsni

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    We had a young man in our church who heard a missionary doctor speak of his work in the Congo and from that point on, this boy wanted to be a doctor to go to the Congo. He has opened the only Christian hospital there and is doing
     
  14. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Aha. Thanks for the clarification. :)
     
  15. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Excellent! Right in the tradition of Luke, the "beloved physician."
     
  16. Salty

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    A good friend of mine (member of Fellowship Baptist, Wildflecken, Germany) became a pastor - was in KY for 20 years - then went to the mission field - of Papua New Guinea, his wife, an RN, runs the medical clinic.
     
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  17. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    You know you're a missionary if you don't have a Sunday evening service--it's in the afternoon!

    In Japan almost all the churches have Sunday afternoon services because it's just more convenient. Japanese school and job regimens are intense, so it just makes more sense to have an afternoon service. It gives a better placed Sunday family time as well as allowing the evening time for Monday preparation.

    My medical missionary friend in an 86% Muslim land had to change to an afternoon service. They started their work with an evening service, but soon learned that if the believers headed home after dark they were more likely to get beaten up by Muslim zealots. "Men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil." So an afternoon service allows the believers to go home in the daylight, and recognize anyone who attacks them so they can identify them. This discourages attacks by Muslims.
     
  18. Sapper Woody

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    In Kansas, we had later services for the opposite reasons. We had to leave time Sunday afternoon for farmers to tend to cattle.

    I have great respect for any missionary, but especially those in countries who aren't any brand of Christian, and who have to master a foreign language.

    Sent from my QTAQZ3 using Tapatalk
     
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  19. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Thanks, brother.
     
  20. Martin Marprelate

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    John,
    I wonder if you've heard of Osaka International Church http://oicjapan.org/
    My friend Alistair McKenna has been the Pastor there for about a year, and has seen some blessing there both among the international community and indigenous Japanese. Alistair and his wife Wendy are at home on furlough for the next few weeks and they gave an encouraging report to our church.
     
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