Ralph Winter of the U.S. Center for World Missions has stated:
"What is the greatest hinderance to missions from the USA? It is the tragic, trudging prosession of college graduates who are too burdened with (educational) debts to allow them to go into missions."
So what can we do? I see NO OTHER WAY to get trained for missions, especially specialized missions, than to go to college. And I see NO OTHER WAY to go to college than to take on DEBT. It is a trap, and I see one way out. But that forces another question. It is this:
Why must we first sell ourselves as slaves in order to be trained for missions?
I love it when people quote Ralph Winter, not only because I appreciate him as one of today's most brilliant and creative missiologists, but also because he was an inspiration to me when I attended his classes
As you are experiencing, his observation is right on. Two thoughts as I meditate on your cry of anguish ("Why must be first sell ourselves as slaves in order to be trained for missions?"):
1) Recognizing the problem you (and many others) are facing, Dr. Winter promoted William Carey University which has very creative ways for people to receive an education which will prepare them to serve the Lord overseas. Check out the following web site: http://www.wciu.edu/
2) I can appreciate your anxiety studying while contracting debt, but there is another way to look at the matter. Would it not be worse if one was unable to secure an education, which is the case of untold millions of young people in other countries?
But Steve, I have a challenge for you. If God is indeed calling you to serve Him as a cross-cultural missionary, is He not able to provide? Does this not then become His problem? Perhaps what He is opening for you is an opportunity to grow in faith, the bottom line of spiritual maturity in general and preparation for mission, in particular.
You know, Steve, I think you have some exciting experiences awaiting you as you put before the Creator of the universe a problem you can't solve yourself but which He is fully able to deal with, and thereby both glorify Himself and prepare you for a supernatural ministry.
I wish you His best.
Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? (Genesis 18:14). Check out Abraham's experience in believing God for a miracle in Genesis 12-20.