Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a long-term cross-cultural missionary? Have you ever considered or dreamed about living overseas and sharing the hope and love Jesus offers? Here are the 4 steps to becoming a long-term cross-cultural missionary.
Pray- Prayer is powerful and it is a tool to help us get onto God’s page, not our page. Are you prayerfully asking God to help you discern if long-term cross-cultural missions is something He’s leading you to? Do you already make it a regular habit to pray for nations who don’t yet know about Jesus? Do you pray for the cross-cultural workers who are already working to bring the good news of Jesus to the people and places who’ve never heard? Learn HERE how to pray with a heart for others.
Engage the cultures at your doorstep- In our excitement to bring the good news of Jesus to a place and culture far away, we forget that God has already brought cultures from far away right to our own doorstep. How are you engaging the cultures, first generation immigrants, and refugees that are already in your own community? We’ll never have long-term success with engaging cultures overseas if we’re not first willing to engage the cultures around us. Wondering where to start? Typically, minority cultures tend to group. Let’s start with food; sharing a meal or shopping experience brings people together. There’s a high likelihood that if there is an ethnic community near you, there will be a market or grocery store nearby where they can buy food and goods that remind them of home. Start shopping there and look for ways to strike up a conversation with other shoppers. Asking questions about food, recipes, and how to do something, puts you in a position of need. Being in a position of need puts you and I on an equal playing field. It elevates the value and status of your new international friend and it helps them to know that you care about their culture and want to learn from them.
Go on a Short Term Trip- Sometimes these are called vision trips. Find a cross-cultural missionary, team, or cross-cultural outreach agency with which you would hope to either join or join something else with a similar model or strategy. If you feel led to share the love of Jesus through meeting housing needs or education needs, find a group that is doing that and ask to intern or visit and participate for 2 weeks-6 months to discern if this is a good fit. The point is to expose your self to a type of work you hope to aim for. Maybe you’ve never been on a cross-cultural outreach trip before and you’re looking to just get your feet wet. Check out HERE our short-term trips and register for one!
Choose a Sending Agency- We can’t stress this enough. The best sending agencies will walk you through the process of:
Identifying who and where God is leading you to reach
Establishing a sending church
Building a support network
Getting appropriate theological and cultural training
Preparing emotionally and mentally
Preparing for helpful goodbye’s and transitions
Gaining tools you need for culture shock and challenges you’ll face
Deciding on the best process for language acquisition
Receiving helpful and consistent care from people who understand once you’ve finally reached your new home