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Christian Life

Getting Started in Missions Work

If the Lord has called you to the missions field, you are preparing for an exciting and difficult life. Missionaries often give up a great deal of their worldly possessions and leave behind family to go where the Lord has called them.

Missions work can be very lonely at times, especially for single men and women. Therefore, it is important that missionaries spend a great deal of time in regular prayer to keep their relationship with God strong. Prayer also is important because it is through prayer that God will disclose to what country or people the missionary is called.

Once you have a firm idea of where the Lord desires to send you, I highly recommend choosing colleges based on the availability of cultural studies programs. If you feel that you are called to be a missionary in Africa, for instance, choose a school that has a good African studies program. There also are other organizations that focus on missions; one in particular, Youth With A Mission (YWAM), specifically focuses on “giving young people opportunities to demonstrate the love of Jesus to the whole world.”

Other beneficial certifications and degrees for missionaries include sociology, global studies, and teaching English to speakers of other languages certifications. I also recommend several years of language study based on the country you will be working in.

Now you have prepared yourself through prayer and study, but you’re not done yet! You eventually will need to raise the money to get to the country to which you are being called. It is a good idea to work with your pastor, who can help you find resources specific to your denomination, understand the financial aspects, and assist with any passport or visa issues related to an extended stay in the country of your calling.

One of the most important things to remember while you are waiting for God to confirm a call to missions work is that the biggest missions field often is our own neighborhoods. People right where we live need the love of Jesus, need to be fed, clothed and shown that they still have value. While God does not call everyone to out-of-country missionary work, He does call all of us to love your neighbor as yourself  (Matthew 22:39).

Do you feel like God might be calling you into missions work?

For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me’ (Matthew 25:35-36, 40).

Image: istockphoto | Thinkstock


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  1. Jesusfreak1415

    Posted by Jesusfreak1415 on October 1, 2014 at 11:22

    Ever since I was twelve and was introduced to the idea of missions and spreading the Gospel I have been hooked. I have had the privilege to travel to NYC and the country of Romania and I am praying about where God wants to send me next. I know he is calling me to Africa, I just don’t know all the details yet but I am continuing to pray for His guidance and I know He will lead me along the right path. I guess we’ll see what happens!

  2. Project Inspired

    Posted by lordslady108 on May 31, 2012 at 13:12

    I want to go to Ethiopia, but all I can find are things that leave from an airport way far away, like in Texas. All that I saw on YWAM was stuff that involved missing about half of the school year, at least for the countries I’m interested in. The shorter trips are for countries I’m not so passionate about. Also, my youth group hasn’t done missions trips since I was a little kid. Any suggestions?

  3. Loving.Lexie

    Posted by Loving.Lexie on May 9, 2012 at 15:31

    I’m planning for my sweet sixteen to go on a mission trip with my two epals-one from Kansas, other from SC. But we don’t know where to go, how to raise the money, or which “responsible adult” will go with us…help?

  4. kayla.hb13

    Posted by kayla.hb13 on February 1, 2012 at 12:58

    I want to do missions, and I feel called to it, but I feel a stronger pull to meeting the man God has placed on the earth for me and having a family. I know I can do missions work in town or wherever I live and still raise a family!

  5. Project Inspired

    Posted by jesussaves on January 26, 2012 at 18:37

    I’ve always felt called to be a missionary:) I think that it would be the best job in the world, because you always get to share the love of God with other people! I know someone who went to YWAM and is now a missionary. I think it would be amazing to go to one of the YWAM schools someday:)

  6. olburrows

    Posted by olburrows on January 26, 2012 at 17:03

    I went to Haiti, and have been considering it, but I don’t know…

  7. GoatyGirl

    Posted by GoatyGirl on January 25, 2012 at 10:44

    I went to Guatemala 2 years ago, and I can’t WAIT to go again this summer!!! Our church works with a missionary couple that have live there for seven years. The wife founded a women’s shelter in Guatemala City, the only shelter or abused women in the country, in a culture where abuse in commonplace. They put on a class for Guatemalan pastor’s and their wives about how to help abused women, and many of the pastors didn’t think that it was an issue, because THEY abuse their wives! It is an amazing mission! I can’t wait to further my journey with God, and continue to raise awareness about this very serious problem!!
    (The shelter is called ‘El Refugio,’ which is Spanish for ‘The Refuge.’)

  8. Project Inspired

    Posted by kelaiboo on January 25, 2012 at 00:25

    I went on 2 missions trips for my school… I went to Pahala,Hawaii and Molokai.. I live on Oahu so it wasn’t too far… If you ever get the chance to go you should! (pray first) Not only does it help others know about Jesus but for me personally God worked on me a lot and with my relationship with Him. It helped me depend on Him more. It’s really fun! We stayed and lived in a church for a week! (: I kinda feel like God is pushing me towards missions. I really enjoy it!(: O and I heard of YWAM! Nathan Kress ( Freddie from iCarly) went on a missions trip with them! ( Yup he’s a Christian too! )

  9. Project Inspired

    Posted by fairlightmaiden on January 24, 2012 at 22:01

    I am feeling called to go to missionary midwife school in the Philippines. I have been struggling for the past 2 years with chronic illness, and have no money, but I am trusting that God will make a way and give me strength.

  10. Project Inspired

    Posted by Lilliterra on January 24, 2012 at 21:45

    I’m considering being a missionary to the United States. 😀

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by lifeguarders on October 12, 2013 at 16:09

      Thats awesome. Because people think it is such a Christian country, but in many ways it is not.

  11. ams7298

    Posted by ams7298 on January 24, 2012 at 20:40

    I know that I know that I know that I know that I know that I know that I know I’m going to be a missionary! God called me to this work through several different ways. At 13 years old, I could tell you without a shadow of a doubt what I’m going to do with my life. It’s a big story … But short version, We had a prophet come to my church and as always, they offered for people to come up and be prayed for. So, according to the UNIGNORABLE prompting of my Spirit, I went up. He had me repeat some words something like, “I will go to the nations…” A while before that I had been toting with the idea of becoming a missionary. But, right then it was confirmed in my heart. Now, I have absolutely NO desire to do anything else with my life. God confirmed it in a few other ways, and I go where he leads me. As of now, i want to attend the Honor Academy (I yr) straight out of college. It’s Teen Mania. Great missionary/worship training. Then, I want to get my masters in Theology (minor music) from Oral Roberts University. I know that I know that I know I’m going there too! Then, it’s whatever God tells me to do! I hope to be married before 21, and to never go on a date in my life. Only the courtship process. 🙂 I love my God, and I am passionate for my calling! I truly CANNOT wait! 🙂

  12. Project Inspired

    Posted by RachelMarie on January 24, 2012 at 18:44

    Amen. I know a lot of people who think “I’m going to be a missionary so I don’t need to go to college. All I need is God” That is NOT true. While having God is the main focus, He has put college there for a reason. There are so many things you still need to learn, so many ways having a degree can help you in ways you wouldn’t think it could.

  13. Paris

    Posted by Paris on January 24, 2012 at 18:14

    I do mission work with my church youth group now,and it is so much fun.