Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions 10 Secrets Missionaries Won’t Tell You

10 Secrets Missionaries Won’t Tell You

6. Hosting teams is a nightmare.

WHAT MISSIONARIES SAY

I’m so excited about your team coming!

WHAT THEY WANT TO SAY

Bless your heart. You think you’re doing me a favor. Thirty people show up at my door and expect me to provide transportation, food, lodging, sight-seeing and a list of service projects a mile long. You’re here to “help.” The thing is, the other 51 weeks out of the year we manage to do what needs to be done here just fine. That is, except for the time we spend working on the logistics for your team. You come over and want to help build a fence when I can hire local workers to build a fence for a tiny fraction of what you spent to come here. I appreciate your desire to help, and I even love having visitors, but consider the size and expectations of your group before you plan your trip. A team of three or four highly skilled people is much more valuable to our ministry than a gaggle of mission tourists.

7. “Going home” is a lot of work.

WHAT MISSIONARIES SAY

It’s great to be back home.

WHAT THEY WANT TO SAY

Please understand, I now have two homes. When I’m at one, I’m away from the other, and there is a lot of emotion involved in that. On top of that, my life is absolutely crazy when I go “home.” I have to see relatives and friends, visit with partner churches, and take care of any number of issues that have arisen with my health, my electronic devices, and my government paperwork. Whether it’s a few weeks or a few months, I spend my time living out of suitcases and hustling from one appointment to the next. Is it good to be home? Sure. But when I get on that plane to go to my other home, I breathe a sigh of relief that life is almost back to “normal.”

8. It’s easy for God to take a back seat in their life.

WHAT MISSIONARIES SAY

I’m not very good at self-care.

WHAT THEY WANT TO SAY

Let’s face it, I’m no saint. I’m not any more spiritual than you are. I don’t start my day with three hours of devotional reading and prayer. I typically just get up and get to work. And there is a lot of work to be done. In fact, there is so much need here that it’s really easy to become so focused on doing things for God that I lose sight of God himself. In pursuing my calling, I’ve somehow forgotten about the caller. My spiritual life is almost nonexistent, other than the occasional desperate cry of “Why God?”

9. It’s hard to trust people.

WHAT MISSIONARIES SAY

I’m just looking for some good strategic partners.

WHAT THEY WANT TO SAY

There are good people here, there really are. But I have seen the worst of humanity in my work here—much of it from people I worked with and trusted. Other missionaries and pastors can be the worst. Just when you think you know someone, they stab you in the back, the front and both sides. I’ve gotten to where I simply don’t trust anyone. My guard is up, and it’s not coming down. I refuse to get burned again. If that means I have to do everything myself, then so be it.

10. Missionaries are lonely.

WHAT MISSIONARIES SAY

I’m OK—just really busy with the ministry.

WHAT THEY WANT TO SAY

Having neglected my relationship with God, and given up on people entirely, I’m left with just me. I hate it. I want to quit. I have dreams about what my life would be like if I went back to my old home town, to my old church and my old friends. I could get a normal job earning a salary—with healthcare and paid vacation. I could shop and eat at normal places. Most of all, I could have normal relationships. But here? I’m all alone. I don’t know if there’s anyone like me here, and I know no one back home understands. I want to feel wanted, invited and loved. I want someone to pour into me the way I’m pouring into others.

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adammosley@churchleaders.com'
Adam Mosley is a pastor, blogger, and writer, as well as a husband, and father of two. He and his wife, Melody, have been in ministry together for over 15 years, and are preparing to launch a new church community in Nakuru, Kenya. For more information about their new endeavor, visit www.trinitykenya.com. You can also check out Adam's blog at www.adammosley.com.