Hello, my name is Devin. This question has nothing to do with myself but it is about my friend. She is 16 like myself, and she is a HUGE christian. That being said, she really wants to become a missionary, however she doesn't know where to start. She doesn't know if she should go to college to start or what. She would like to be a missionary in Japan. I was wondering if you could give me some advice to tell her where to start, any good websites on how to start?
Thanks, Devin, for your question. What a privilege to have a friend who is a HUGE Christian! I trust she will challenge you to be a HUGE Christian yourself one day (if you aren't one already!). Here are some suggestions I will send directly to her through you.
- The very best preparation for missionary service in the future is getting involved in ministry right now! For example, if there are groups of Christians meeting in your High School, get to know them and join the one that will involve you in Bible Study, prayer, and sharing the Gospel. I don't know what your church offers, but you should also be involved in some activity where you can not only receive, but also give - such as teaching Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Youth Group, etc. You don't want to get overloaded, but this is the time to learn how to receive from the Lord and grow in leadership opportunities through service.
- I trust you have established a pattern of daily meeting with the Lord. If not, make this a priority, even if it's only 15 to 20 minutes. If this is a new idea to you, ask a mature Christian or two for advice.
- Make sure the pastor of your church knows of your commitment. He will be pleased and will be a great source of guidance as you move along and have to make choices.
- Do the same with the head of the missions committee (if there is one) at your church.
- If you church supports missionaries, read about them, and then choose two or three and begin writing them, especially if you know of some who are working in Japan. Ask to receive their prayer letters and begin praying for them. If you like what they are doing, you might want to begin sending some financial support - as small as it might be - to them. This will help you understand what it's like to be supported financially, when you become a missionary.
- Talk to your pastor or missions committee chairperson about going on a missions trip. It would be particularly significant if you could visit one of the missionaries you are praying for!
- As far as education is concerned, this will depend on your interests, your specific calling, and how the Lord leads you. Much will depend on the orientation you receive from the mission agency through which you plan to serve. If you are a good student, I would encourage you to study something like anthropology, history, or literature in college, and then study Bible, theology, and mission in a seminary or graduate school. If you can get courses on Japanese history and society, all the better. More and more countries are expecting people who apply for visas to be professionals and have "something to offer" their countries other than just a degree in a religious subject. But all depends on where you feel called to serve and the kind of work you feel called to do. But you have time to think more about this!
I trust that these suggestions will be helpful to you.
I'd love to hear from you directly.