Pastor Austin Gardner and VBM Director Jeff Bush answer a missionary’s question. Whether you will one day be in this missionary’s shoes, or whether you are already a veteran who will one day have a missionary like this one in your ministry, this podcast is sure to be a help to you!

  • We’ve been on the field for five months. What goals should I have after six months and then for one year?”
    • Glad you asked! Too many missionaries just let the time go by.
    • You want to learn to identify with the people
    • You want to become one of them
    • Learn how they experience life
    • Get involved in their culture
    • What is a funeral like?
    • What is child-rearing like?
  • Recommend Reading
    • You should read Kaffir Boy and Born a Crime
    • They are not Christians, but they will show you what it is like to be one of the people
    • Have We No Rights is a great book
  • Jesus’ Example
    • Jesus came, became a servant, and clothed himself with humility
    • Jesus wasn’t looking at people as wrong or weird
    • He adapted to them, and we should do the same
    • We should be like them instead of them being like us
    • Jesus experienced anger, rejection, and loss
    • He knows hunger hurt and thirst
    • The Word becomes flesh
    • Jesus came not as a teacher but as a learner (Luke 2:46)
    • He was asking questions
    • We are supposed to have His mind in us
    • Jesus was completely a Jew
    • Unlike a lot of missionaries, Jesus came to give, not take
    • He came to give not get
    • He came to be a servant
    • Our first thing is to learn their culture and learn what life is life for therm
  • Paul’s Example
    • Paul became all things to all men
    • He didn’t go out drinking or hanging out a bars
    • But he learned the culture
    • Instead of saying they were wrong, he walked and talked like them
    • He did that so he could win some
    • We are on the field for a reason
    • If we can’t adapt to their culture, we will fail
    • Paul ate the food (1 Cor. 10:27)
    • Paul was there to spend and be spent (2 Cor. 12:15)
    • In the first few months, we need to mix with them, learn from them, and be a part of who they are
  • A Bad Example
    • There was a missionary who lived in a place where the people ate with their hands
    • The missionary carried forks so they didn’t have to eat with their hands
    • The excuse doesn’t matter
    • You have to adapt to their culture!
  • Learning the Language
    • To identify with their culture, you have to learn the language.
    • You can’t speak another language and speak to their heart 
    • People have a heart language
    • It’s what they use when they are relaxing or alone
    • We need to be able to deal with them and preach in their language!
    • If you don’t communicate in marriage, you’ll have a rough marriage
    • It’s the same in your ministry
    • If you can’t communicate, it won’t go well.
    • If you can’t talk and speak their heart language, you’ll never reach their heart
    • If you can’t reach their heart, you can’t teach them about Jesus and train them.
  • The Goal is Belonging 
    • You want to become one of them
    • You are a different size, color, and background
    • But they can love and accept you if you work at it
    • Stay away from the Americans
    • When you’re with nationals, speak their language
    • Eat their food
    • Sit where they sit
    • Go to their house, not your house
    • Let them make fun of you
    • Play with them
    • Work with them
    • Do ministry with them
  • Life is about Attitude
    • If you have a good attitude, you’ll have a good life
    • If you have a bad attitude, you’ll have a bad life
    • The same is true with dealing with people
    • If you have a bad attitude toward them, they will know
    • If you have a good attitude toward them, they will know!
    • Don’t just eat with them because you have to
    • Don’t just be work with them because you have to
    • Do it because you love them
    • Like, ministry, and everything will change based on your attitude
    • Have the right attitude
  • Immersion vs. Isolation
    • Missionaries who isolate themselves hurt themselves
    • We don’t like American pastors who isolate themselves
    • Jesus was accessible.
    • If you isolate yourself, your language isn’t as good as your think
    • Unless you live in the language, you don’t speak as well as you think you do
    • You can’t act like there is a bubble around you
    • Isolation will kill you and everything you do
    • Take a name that they can say and like
    • In your heart, you need to move to your new country
    • You visit America, but your new country is home
    • Don’t isolate your wife and kids
    • Don’t immerse yourself, but isolate your family
    • You want to hurt with them when they lose the World Cup
    • You want to celebrate with them when they win
    • If they can’t be around you or your family, then you don’t love them
    • If you are isolated, your wife will will be miserable
  • Why Two and then Four Years?
    • We don’t believe that you should turn your work over to another missionary
    • You should train a national to take it over
    • Two years isn’t enough time for that
    • The first two years is spent learning language and culture 
    • That way you can hit the ground running when you start the four year term
    • Don’t start a church in the first two years
    • You don’t want to start something only to abandon it
  • Learning from the Veteran
    • You might not like the way he does things
    • Humble yourself
    • For those two years, you need to be the best staff he ever had.
    • Learn why he does things certain ways
    • You can’t run until you walk 
    • You need to learn to walk from the veteran
    • Deputation makes you think you’re great
    • We need to be humble and realize we aren’t that great
    • We don’t learn because of our pride
    • “I am a missionary just like him. I don’t need to learn from him.”
    • That is wrong
    • They have been there longer and understand it better
    • You need to keep your heart and eyes open and your mouth shut
    • Just learn during those two years
    • You don’t have to do everything just like him 
    • Take advantage of those that are there and ready to teach you
    • These two years are getting you ready for a ministry that will last a long time
    • Don’t short cut them
  • Closing Remarks
    • The World Evangelism Fellowship is November 5-6, 2019
    • More info is on vision missions.com 
    • The Summit is this December at Lake Lanier
    • It is like a missions conference on steroids
    • Please come!
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