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Engaging the Church If you are a church leader you can utilize resources like this Missiographic and similar ones to spur a vision for missions in your church. These resources are free to distribute to your congregation.

You could include this in a slide presentation in your service, utilize it in a newsletter or bulletin, or distribute it at a missions event. One of the greatest needs for upcoming generations is awareness of global missions.

Take these free resources to engage your congregation to new levels of missions interaction. Organizational Application North American mission leaders, you are mobilizing and placing workers around the globe on a regular basis.

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Remember you do not stand alone. We are part of a great community of gospel focused, proclamation minded missionaries. Let us continue to find ways together to partner more creatively and engage more strategically to raise up a new generation of missionaries that will go to every corner of the globe! Permissions The representation of this data is copyrighted by Missio Nexus and the information within is used by permission. Missio Nexus grants users the right to reproduce this image digitally and in print for the purpose of educating and engaging audiences with the content.

People help people who are in need! Then, when potentially stressful situations come up he can, as learner, secure help, answers, or insight from these insiders.

A couple who has chosen to be isolated from Western people during their first months in a Muslim context wrote us about the victories they have experienced: My husband and I knew before we left that we would have different types of adjustments. I knew the hardest time for me would be at first and he felt that his hard times would occur after he had been here a while.

So it has been. I really had a hard time leaving our family. But after I started getting out with the people here, my homesickness faded.

The local community has so warmly received us. At Christmas, of these friends came to our Christmas celebration. And during that season, the closeness of our interpersonal relationships amazed us. Christmas for us was different than it has been. Plus he was laid up for a week with the flu. During that time, he yearned for familiar things. And he says he was tired of always trying to be sensitive as to how he is coming across. The Lord has blessed our work here, and two Muslim converts that he is discipling are what is helping him get over this.

We really have been alone in many ways. But I suppose that is why we have such good national friends.

The one who feels at home may feel discouraged or even melancholy for a time and some cultural stress is to be expected, but it may not be necessary to experience culture shock. Culture shock, like severe postpartum blues, may be a problem of the structure more than a problem of individuals.

It is significant to note that the new Muslim converts mentioned in the letter above are the result of the ministry of relative newcomers. At a time when other missionaries might typically be experiencing the cushioning and isolation of a language school, those who are bonded and carrying out their language learning in the context of relationships in the new community also have the opportunity to pursue the development of their new ministry from the earliest days of language learning.

A few years ago the authors supervised the initial language learning for a team of eleven newcomers in Bolivia. We published an article describing that project, in the April, , Evangelical Missions Quarterly: " Over 30 people came to know Christ as a result of the involvement ministry that these new language learners were able to develop during those first three months.

Many of these were either members of families with whom we were living, or were on a route of regular listeners. In both cases, as a result of the personal relationships that they had developed, they were able to follow up and disciple the new believers.

Missionaries Serving in Some Missions No Longer Required to Wear Suit Coats

Little wonder that this was a fulfilling experience for these new language learners. Bonding and effective interpersonal ministry are realistic even for short-termers, and should be encouraged and facilitated. The rapid international expansion of Mormonism is virtually all being carried out by short-termers, most of whom immediately move in with a local family and become belongers in the community.

We were recently told by a Cantonese man from Hong Kong that the missionaries there who have learned the language best are Mormons! Only a minimum of the target language is needed to initiate bonding relationships. But I did talk with forty-four.

She then closed with a thank you and a leave-taking. The ice was broken on her very first day and, from then on, she was able to begin to feel at home in her new community. Having local friendships is essential for feeling at home. A report developed by a mission for whom we recently consulted on a language learning project compared the 18 maximally-involved learners with a control group of missionaries who had been through language school.

The report revealed that the individuals of the control group the resident missionaries each had an average of one close national friend, while each of the learners—after only eleven weeks—had a minimum of 15 close local friendships. Since each learner had contacts with dozens of local people, there were at least nationals who had positive experiences with the learners during the weeks of the project.

As a result, gaining proficiency in the language is normal for the person who is deeply contexted and has his sense of belonging in the new society. But language study will often be a burden and frustration for the one who is bonded to other foreign missionaries.

It is therefore important to facilitate an opportunity for new missionaries to become bonded with and hence belongers in their new community. New missionaries should be challenged with the bonding objective and prepared to respond to the opportunity to become a belonger. Preparation should include an orientation to the importance of bonding, with a commitment to do so. A few sentences of the new language that will be helpful for entry purposes could be learned.

Also, skills should be developed in how to carry on language learning in the context of community relationships. Echerd an in-house mission report, p. He should be permitted to choose to remain in isolation from other missionaries for his first few months. He should seek to worship with the people, away from churches where missionaries lead or congregate.

Our observation is that experienced but non-bonded missionaries can be a primary obstacle to the new missionary who wishes to pursue the bonding goals. We have therefore occasionally recommended that a new missionary arrive about three weeks before the other missionaries expect him.

If a newcomer is going to successfully establish himself as a belonger, live with a local family and learn from relationships on the streets, a prior decision and commitment to do so is essential.

When we have accompanied missionary learners at the time of their entry into other countries we have found that a prior preparation of perspectives and expectations is helpful. We therefore expect all participants in projects we supervise to meet four conditions: I Be willing to live with a local family, 2 Limit personal belongings to 20 kilos, 3 Use only local public transportation, and 4 Expect to carry out language learning in the context of relationships that the learner himself is responsible to develop and maintain.

There is hope for you and your family!

With a prepared mentality, a newcomer is freed to creatively respond to the bonding and learning opportunities that surround him. We have seen that with a prior decision to do so, it is almost always possible to live with a local family though non-bonded senior missionaries are typically pessimistic.

Our experience is that the new missionary—whether single, married, or even with children— can successfully live with a local family immediately upon arrival. Live-in options may be multiplied with sleeping bags. We hope to find a family to live with for about three months, and we will pay our expenses. Do you know of a possible family? We do not intend to imply that immediate and total immersion in a new culture is without risk.

There is no other time with so much stress and danger as birth; and entry into a new culture has its own accompanying stress and risk factors.

It is likely, however, that the stress and risk components themselves are essential to the formation of the unique chemistry that makes imprinting and bonding possible. And there is another side to the risk question. It seems that one or the other cannot be avoided.

The problem of missionary casualties suggests that there is a heavy price to be paid by those who fail to become belongers—probably half do not return for a second term, and some who stay despite ineffectiveness may be greater casualties than those who go back home. Indeed it is not easy to live with a family, make friends with numerous strangers and learn the language, but neither is it easy to continue as a stranger without close friendships and without knowing cultural cues, living a foreign lifestyle with all the time, effort, and alienation that entails.

Once the new learner is securely established as a belonger he need not relate exclusively with the local people—he has not rejected either America nor Americans.

The bi-cultural apostle Paul ministered primarily to Gentiles, but when he was back among the believing Jews in Jerusalem Acts 21 he did not reject them, but readily shaved his head, took a vow, and purified himself in readiness for a sacrifice. The bonded missionary will probably continue to live and minister with the local people, but after the first few weeks it might not be detrimental from the bonding perspective for him to participate in occasional activities with other expatriates.

It might even be helpful for him to spend Saturday evenings with other learners or a supervisor and, of course, he may seek to listen to the Super Bowl with other Americans. As a group they can decide that each will become bonded in the local culture, and they can encourage each other in the pursuit of that goal. For the initial months, a sharing time each week or so should be sufficient to maintain their commitments to each other.

The concept of bonding implies a bi-cultural individual with a healthy self-image. Nor is being bi-cultural the same as being schizophrenic.

The schizophrenic is a broken, fragmented self.

Missionary No More: Purple Panties 2

But the bi-cultural person is developing a new self—a new personality. The Scriptures give various examples of individuals whose names were changed to symbolize changed roles and relationships.

The new personality, with its new name, does not have an established self-image to protect, and it can therefore be free to behave in uninhibited, creative, and child-like ways; it can make mistakes and try, try again.

The newly developing personality enables the individual to feel at home in a second culture. For the Christian missionary, the process of becoming bi-cultural can begin with the recognition that God in His sovereignty does not make mistakes in creating us with our first ethnicity. Yet in His sovereignty He may step in and touch us on the shoulder, as it were, and call us to go and be good news to a people of a different ethnicity.

To become a belonger in a legal sense, through formal immigration, might also be considered by some serious missionaries. Throughout history, people have immigrated for political, economic, religious and marriage reasons. Tomorrow the quick retreat may be cut off. We may be forced to relive those days when missionaries went abroad, never expecting to return. Many governments which refuse entry to missionary expatriates, hold the door open to naturalized citizens of colonizing communities.

The Moravians led the way in this as they set up Christians colonies around the world.

Surrender of treasured U. But is that unthinkable? Is bonding possible after the first critical months have passed? In the past decade our work has carried us to almost seventy countries, giving us opportunity to observe missionary activity in many places. Only a small percentage of these missionaries manifest the kinds of relationships with local people that would demonstrate that bonding had occurred. It is not too difficult to tell the difference-the bonded missionaries are typically the ones who feel that even their social needs are fulfilled in their relationships with local people.

Unfortunately, it is a subtle bondage that is difficult to throw off. The answer must be yes because it is a normal human process to establish belonging relationships. But we must confess that we have seldom seen overseas Americans shift their sense of belonging for their expatriate community to the people of the local culture.

Yet we believe that potential missionary effectiveness is so greatly affected by the bonding factor and by being truly bilingual and bicultural that the issue must be pursued.

Again we seek an analogy with another divinely ordained relationship of intimacy—the marriage relationship. This model may be helpful, for in it adult participants achieve a belonging relationship with each other. In our culture, readiness for bonding is established during courtship; with the honeymoon, the bonding is culminated. The analogy would suggest that an established but non-bonded missionary might release the potential of his ministry with steps paralleling the marriage model: acknowledge the potential and desirability of a belonging relationship with the local people; implement a decision to make such a commitment to the people; then set a date and inform the missionary community of the scope and implications of the potential change in his relationships.

In all cultures, times of major life transition, like puberty, graduation, marriage and death, can be facilitated through festivities at the peak of emotion. The festival itself can serve to intensify the emotion which in turn can help facilitate the transition.

The commitment to belatedly join a new community might successfully be initiated by a festive transition celebration. When the date arrives, the honeymoon analogy suggests the necessity of becoming established with the local people by moving in with a local family maybe in another community and adopting a Learner role.

The minimum would seem to be a need for a means of reciprocity with the people. Bonding, like marriage, implies a radical adjustment of lifestyle.

The Dilemma of the Bonded Missionary It must be pointed out that the new missionary who pursues the bonding objective may find himself in a dilemma: his non-bonded colleagues and superiors may be threatened by the initiative he takes in pursuing his ministry through a lifestyle of relationships with the local people.

His total involvement lifestyle of ministry may contrast all too sharply with the foray ventures of other missionaries. A few years ago we became friends with an African while he was in North America.

We later had opportunity to visit him on the mission station where he worked in Kenya. In the course of our conversation he related a dilemma he was experiencing. A new missionary had arrived a few months earlier who loved the Kenyans arid demonstrated it by his lifestyle.

Our friend liked the new missionary and wanted to encourage him in his identification with Kenyans, but he was afraid to do so. Over the years he had observed that the missionaries who had not learned Swahili or the tribal language—and hence did not relate to the Africans— were the ones who were then advanced to administrative positions on the station and in the mission.

It was his experience that new missionaries who loved Kenyans became an unacceptable threat to these administrators and did not last; and he did not want to hasten the termination of a man whose missionary approach he valued. The bonded missionary is invariably viewed with suspicion by nonbonded colleagues.As a result, newcomers experience a disorientation which can lead to culture shock.

We would like to suggest, however, that this cushioning is an unfortunate disservice, because during the first two or three weeks the newcomer would have been especially able to cope with the unpredictable situations encountered in the new culture.

People help people who are in need! He goes because he, himself, is a belonger in this most meaningful of relationships. But, if infant and mother are separated immediately afterbirth, the infant can become attached to a surrogate—a cloth doll, a different adult animal or even a human.

He should be permitted to choose to remain in isolation from other missionaries for his first few months.

JADA from Lakeland
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