So…you have surrendered your life to serve the Lord in whatever capacity he would have you, whether it be a pastor’s wife, missionary, missionary’s wife, student, or a working professional who desires to be a strong witness for Christ (just to name a few). Romans 12:1 says, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. It is not strange for us to offer our bodies to do what the Lord would have us to do in the matter of service. It is reasonable. There are many practical things you can do to prepare for a life surrendered to the Lord. In this two-part series of “Prepping for the Field,” (which can be applied to really any facet of Christian service) we will explore things that real-life missionaries wish that they would have done before leaving for the field and things that they are glad that they did before arriving on the field. We pray that these are a help to you all and are things that you can use as you prepare for a life given to the King.
My family and I are currently on deputation to serve in the country of South Africa. Everyday, at least once, I have the thought, “When we get to South Africa, then I (or we) can….” but really, I should be very intentional in preparing myself spiritually and practically to help to accomplish the tasks or deal with the difficulties that one may face on the field. Like mentioned before, we polled some veteran missionary wives on the topic of prepping for the field and I would like to focus on the things which these ladies were glad that they did in their pre-field days. These would be great things for all of us to learn to do to better equip us for the work God would have for us.
1. Glad that I…learned to drive a manual.
Now, I don’t mean that you must know how to drive a manual in order to be in ministry, but this would be very useful to know because the majority of cars overseas have a manual transmission or you may run into a situation where you are forced to drive a stick shift. Learning to drive a stick shift here in the States where you can understand the language and the road signs and the “rules of the road” would be a lot easier than learning in a different country where you don’t really understand anything. It is very wise for a lady to learn to drive in her new country so she won’t be dependent on anyone else for her to be able to run her errands or go where she needs to go. It enables her to get out of the house and feel comfortable in her new home.
2. Glad that I…cooked and planned for visitors and groups.
Having groups and visitors on the field is wonderful and exciting…however, they must eat and it may be up to you to get that accomplished! Practicing cooking for large groups or even some guests in your home is a great way to prepare for doing so in your new home on the mission field, or to show hospitality to others here stateside. Get a few tried-and-true recipes up your sleeve that you are comfortable with. Learn how to double/triple/quadruple recipes to accommodate for groups. A practical way to do this is to help with the planning and execution of church gatherings/meals. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy…but should definitely be edible and cost effective. Ministry is all about others, why not equip yourself to be able to prepare and share a meal with those you are bringing to the Lord.
3. Glad that I…learned how to stock a pantry.
You must be vey flexible when on the field and really in the life of ministry. Your quiet family dinner may quickly turn into many friends or friends of friends coming over for a Bible Study or for just a time of fellowship. If you don’t have some basics stocked up in the pantry that you can go to to feed your crowd, you may be one stressed out little lady because there won’t be enough time to run to the store. Do yourself a favor and learn the art of stocking the pantry to help with the “just-in-case scenarios.” Another point is that there may be something on the grocery shelf one day and may not be there the next and you are left thinking, “I should have grabbed some/more of that…” because you don’t know when it will be back.
4. Glad that I…cooked a lot.
I am not one that loves to cook. I am not comfortable with just “whipping something up.” I am not very practiced in the kitchen, but I have noticed the more I cook and the more time I spend in the kitchen, the more comfortable it becomes. Practice making things from scratch and practice making things outside of your comfort zone to help hone your cooking skills. Get around others that are great cooks and take notes! It will sure pay off in the long run.
5. Glad that I…taught a lot.
When starting a church, you may be the only option for a Sunday School teacher. What are you going to teach? And it won’t be for just one week, it will be several times. It would be a great idea to find any avenue in which you must prepare and execute a lesson. And do it as much as possible. It will only be a benefit to you in the future and will also help aid in bringing you closer to the Lord as you prepare.
The Lord will provide opportunities for you to serve others and may already have some if you just look around. Do things with intention to #1…glorify God, and #2…to be a blessing to others and to train yourself in a way that could possibly be used in the future in your service to our King. These are just a few things that were mentioned by these veteran missionary wives that they were glad they did before leaving for the field because the experience and skills gained from doing so has helped them in their realm of ministry. Pray for the Lord to provide opportunities for you, and don’t say, “no” when they come…God will be glorified and you will be blessed! What are some things you are a glad you did in preparation for ministry life? We would love to hear from you.
Our next post will focus on things these ladies wish they would have done before leaving for the field. You don’t want to miss it!