Hi Jack.First, thank you ...

Bri asked:

Hi Jack.

First, thank you for your willingness to answer questions and offer advice--I was reading some of your responses to others and was blessed, so thank you.

I recently graduated as a nurse--and have been called to missions work since I was quite young; and more recently, medical missions.

I have been told by many that I need two years of experience in the states before going abroad. While I appreciate that advice and accept it as sound, I am afraid that I will grow comfortable here and actually never leave in two to three years when I have the "suggested" amount of experience.

Do you have any suggestions? Or do you think my fears may be stemming from doubting God's will?

I don't know if that makes sense; I guess I'm afraid that in two years I will "settle in Haran" and not move as I believe I've been called to...Thank you for your time.

In HIS grip,

Bri

Jack Answered:

Thanks, Bri, for your kind and thoughtful comments on my column. Much appreciated.

Interestingly enough, the advice you are receiving is the same I received about 50 years ago when I was in my last year of seminary!

The general director of the mission I later joined encouraged me to work two years in my own language and culture and make my major mistakes here rather than inflicting them on Latin Americans!

Those two years stretched into six – four in a church I founded and two more assisting a pastor whom I greatly admired. Although I got to “the field” later, I think the advice was good. I never would have had pastoral experience if I hadn’t followed his admonition.

More and more missionaries today need to take with them not only academic knowledge, but also practical experience, which gives them greater credibility when they arrived in the foreign land and helps the recent graduate to transform theory into practice.

There are always pitfalls to one’s missionary call:

- Growing comfortable in this culture.

- Establishing networks of friends one won’t want to leave.

- And especially for women, the possibility that some nice young man will sweep you off your feet and want to marry you, one who does not have a call to mission.

But there are also positive aspects.

- Gaining in practical experience, as I mention above.

- Getting more involved in a local church that one day may support you.

- Developing a relationship with friends who will pray for you and hopefully partner with you financially. You may well have such a group of supportive friends, but it’s one thing to enjoy each other, and quite another for them to be committed to you.

Remember William Carey who before he went to India in 1793 said to his friends, “I will go with my family, but I trust you to hold the ropes.” And they did – some for 50 years!

- I think that if you develop both church and friendship relationships, and constantly speak of your plan to be a missionary, and meanwhile live a frugal lifestyle, I think it will help you reduce the power of the temptations to “settle down in Haran.” Good phrase, by the way!

Obviously I don’t know the Lord’s will for your life, but these are some thoughts that may be helpful.

Blessings on you, Bri,

Jack

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