I want to spend a good portion of my life overseas, but have about a year left to complete my undergraduate degreee. What is the best advice you would give for me to continue preparing for living in an unreached people group?Christy
Christy, I think we need to look at your question from several angles:
1) Spiritual preparation.
Although I am sure that you are developing your spiritual life or you wouldn't have come to the position you are now in, I would suggest that you continue to work on several areas:
- I trust you have learned to share the Gospel with people on a personal basis. Is this part of your lifestyle? If not, I would encourage you to get involved with a fellowship of people who are doing this, especially those who are witnessing to their own contemporaries.
- Learn more and more how to help new Christians grow in Christ.
- Learn all you can about preparing leaders.
- Talk with older Christians about ways to grow your own spiritual life: spiritual disciplines that have helped them, especially what they have learned about prayer and intercession.
2) Support preparation
I would imagine that you are connected with a local church.
- If you don't know the pastor very well, ask for an interview. Tell him/her of your interest in mission and ask for advice in preparation. Ask for his/her prayers, and for permission to send them your prayer letter.
- Get to know the mission committee (if there is one) of your church.
- Try to figure out who might be praying for you when you become a missionary, and ask them to pray for your now as you prepare. If you can't find a group, form one of your own. Remember William Carey's famous statement before he went to India: "I'll go," he said, "but you have to hold the ropes." Several of these friends prayed for him for 40 years. They pray in your funds, pray you through tough difficulties, acceptance by a mission, etc.
- You might want to begin participating in the mission prayer group, if there is one at your church. This kind of participation will prepare you to write prayer letters that are helpful.
3) Academic preparation.
You need to get more information.
- If you know where you would like to go, begin reading and doing research on this place.
- You will need formal preparation in several areas such as: Bible, Theology, Missions, Comparative Religions, Anthropology, History, etc. If you can find it, take a course on language learning.
- The kind of work you are interested in doing will also guide the kind of preparation you will need.
4) Organizational preparation.
- You will probably go with a mission agency. You need to pray that the Lord would help you find the right one.
- This agency will help you get ready to go, including the kind of academic study you will need.
This is a start, Christy, and as you move along, other aspects will come to your attention. Any chance that you could attend the Urbana Student Mission Convention this year?
May the Lord continue to guide you, Christy.