5. Support Missionaries and Seek Out Mentors
Supporting missionaries, even as a young person, is an effective way to increase your affection for missions. By providing financial support (yes, even as a young person—and it needs to be your own hard-earned cash) and prayer support to a missionary or two or three, you will become invested in God’s work through them. You’ll feel the thrill of investing in eternity and you’ll become more aware of the highs, lows, joys and sorrows felt by those on the mission field.
As you receive prayer letters and emails from missionaries overseas, you’ll be mentored, in a way. You’ll get a glimpse of their life and have a small taste of what your life might be like if you were to walk in their shoes. Some missionaries may even be willing to mentor you from afar—meaning they may correspond with you by email or snail mail or even Skype with you at times. When we served overseas it was normal for us to engage in conversations with young supporters about our average day, our needs, our victories. Many missionaries are happy to share!
6. Go on Short-Term Mission Trips
One sure way to have your eyes opened and heart burdened is to travel to a potential future mission field and serve there with local national believers or long-term missionaries already there. I strongly caution all short-termers to read and embrace the wisdom of When Helping Hurts. But if you can find a team from your local church that is going overseas to connect with long-term, indigenous gospel work in a meaningful way, go for it!
As young people graduate from high school and even college, I think taking a whole summer or year is a beneficial way to both expose yourself to future callings, as well as to bless those on the field. I think Pioneers’ Edge and Venture programs are two excellent options.
You’re never too young to pray for various people groups around the world, for the gospel to go out to all the nations, and for God to grow you into the adult he wants to use for his glory. Talk to the Lord regularly about all of these things! David Platt says, “God has ordained our prayer as a means to accomplish His purpose in the world.” Don’t miss this vital practice for your good and God’s glory.
And lastly, few postscript book ideas: