As a young girl dreaming of one day serving in a foreign country or perhaps a wife married to someone who is headed toward the mission field, you may find yourself trying to prepare the best you can for foreign missions. Maybe you are researching the most mission-minded Bible college to attend (By the way I highly recommend the Our Generation Training Center). Perhaps you are reading every biography you can find on world missions. I attended Bible college and learned a lot, but If I had a “re-do” as a young girl preparing to serve, there would be some things I would definitely want to learn before moving to the mission field. There are actually too many things you could be learning to mention, as well as too many to add to your To-Do-List right now but I will mention my top 10 things I would recommend.
#10 Learn a Second language
Even if you highly doubt your second language will be one your high school or college offers, don’t opt out of taking this class. Just seeing how it feels to learn a second language, to figure out the best way of memorizing new vocabulary or learning how to roll an “R” can help prepare you for things to come.
#9 Learn to play the Piano or other instrument
You will more than likely be the only option for music at the start of your new ministry. Again, another thing I wish I would have perfected at a much younger age
# 8 Cooking from Scratch
This one can be a big shocker for the girl who is use to Hamburger Helpers and Betty Crocker’s million different mixes. I would dare say almost anywhere else you go, cooking from scratch becomes more of a necessity. I would highly suggest spending extra time in Grandmom’s kitchen before leaving for the land of no mixes.
#7 How to cut Hair
This would have actually come in handy on deputation. Countless times I noticed the boy’s hair on Saturday night in the middle of “no where” wishing I had gotten them to the barber before we left home. It actually happened frequently enough that I had a friend teach me how to do the bare minimal myself, but I still wish I knew how to cut hair better and maybe even venture to the girl’s hair
#6 English Grammar
You may be confused at this, especially if you plan to learn a foreign language, but now in the process of going through my second language school I can honestly say knowing English grammar helps a ton! To know what an infinitive is or predictive nominative really helps in trying to figure out the structure of this new foreign language, just trust me on this.
#5 Learn to Drive a manual
This was a huge hurdle for me. Not only was I trying to figure out the other side of the road, but also learning to drive a manual at the same time. If I had it to do over I would have learned how to drive before moving overseas. This problem was actually an inspiration for one of my other blog post.
#4 Hosting Large Groups
I would say my first year on the mission field I cooked for 100’s of different people, no joke. I had probably only ever cooked for 8 different people before that time. There are practical things you can learn, recipes to gather, special kitchen gadgets to collect but the most beneficial thing would be to actually practice hosting. Volunteer for your family’s next Thanksgiving dinner or host a July the fourth Party for your entire church. You will be surprised at all the things that go into that day, like not forgetting the napkins!
#3. Visit a foreign mission field as soon as possible.
I would dare say, it would be best that the first time your feet hit “non” American soil shouldn’t be when you move away permanently. So many things from just visiting the mission field prior to moving there can help prepare you in a big way. I am so thankful for the 4 times I visited other countries in my youth. I believe each of those trips prepared my heart for my new home years later.
#2 Teaching Ladies and Children
This will quickly be added to your list of responsibilities, many times in a foreign language. It really would be best if you had all the practice you can. I started teaching children when I was only 15. I still think about those days and how beneficial they have been to me, even with my everyday responsibility as a mom!
and the number one thing you should be prepared for:
#1 How to Feed yourself Spiritually
I saved the most important for last. On the mission field many things can come into play: loneliness, discouragement, working with others, and humility just to name a few. It is important to know before arriving on the field how to Spiritually feed yourself. There may be a time where you understand no preaching or a strong Church is non-existent. Pastors are great, mom is great, but if you don’t know how to daily keep a strong relationship with Christ, you very well can fall flat. You can perfect all of the above, but if you are Spiritually drained your ministry will fail.
Those are my top 10 choices of things a missionary-to-be should learn to do, I would love to know from other Missionary Ladies out there what they wish they would have learned to do before moving. A few others I couldn’t leave off would be: sewing, Computer literacy (blogging, web design etc.) , cake decorating, packing ( I would always be the first one to volunteer to help someone pack up to move, you would be amazed at how helpful that would be when it’s is your turn to pack ) and lastly the dreaded “Accounting” for all the new “self-employed” things that you will be responsible for.