since there is such a greater need for missionaries in RAN countries, do you think its a good idea for people to do kind of there first internship experience on their own in a RAN country or do you recommend getting experience elsewhere first?
I applaud you, Shaylene, for considering ministry in a RAN (Restricted Access Nation) country, a distinct challenge. I like your question, which indicates your sensitivity and caution. Entering a country of this description means you are facing at least two difficulties:
- Normal culture shock
- A context where by definition Christians seeking to share the Gospel are not welcomed and may even be targeted for deportation and/or persecution.
I would suggest several things:
- Gain experience as an intern “elsewhere” – not in a RAN country. This will give you the opportunity to savor the reality of culture shock in a more benign ambience. You will learn things about yourself in terms of adaptation and it will guide you as to whether you feel you have the gift of cross-cultural ministry.
- When you consider the possibility of going to a RAN country, I would strongly recommend that you investigate who is working there and what their policies are and what their experience has been. I would not go independently, but under the aegis of some experienced agency.
- Talk frankly with those who have field experience and learn from them.
- Study all you can about the country and its history and culture. Read biographies of missionaries who have worked there.
- If possible do some language learning. A little goes a long way. The more you know, the more quickly you will adapt.
- Review with a sensitive missionary counsellor your sense of call, and write down your answers. You will pull them out more than once as you face the reality of living in what will undoubtedly be a hostile environment – either culturally or certainly spiritually.
- Make sure you have a team of spiritually sensitive friends praying for you.
May the Lord guide you, Shaylene.