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Ten Problems Missionaries Face

Ten Problems Missionaries Face

The following was adapted from ACTION Founder, Doug Nichols, from an article he wrote about 10 problems missionaries face:

1. Discouragement with results of witnessing, progress in churches, growth in converts, uncertainty about lasting ministry.

Solution: It is God’s work, not mine.

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Colossians 3:23-24).

2. Priorities of the missionary’s commitment, time, opportunities, and time alone with God.

Solution: Establish a plan of books to read, study, family, correspondence.

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

3. Necessity of language fluency in one or more new languages.

Solution: Perseverance in study and practice in speaking.

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed…” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

4. Adjustments in working with people of another culture, thought pattern, viewpoint, and system of etiquette.

Solution: Flexibility, adaptability, proper dress.

“As a ring of gold in a swine's snout so is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion” (Proverbs 11:22).

5. Frustrating delays: seeking support, waiting for visa, seeking interviews with officials.

Solution: Faith, patience.

“But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:3-5).

6. Being tagged with the identity of a foreigner which represents wealth, a special political system, and a big power overshadowing small countries.

Solution: By life and actions, emphasize your calling as an ambassador for Christ.

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

7. Sense of restriction on individual initiative, expression of talents, professional excellence, and implementation of new ideas.

Solution: Find proper place in the Body of Christ and function in cooperation with other members, deal with things openly, teamwork, network, submission to leaders.

“But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-22).

8. Insufficient funds for inflated costs, children’s schooling, emergencies, and promotion of the work.

Solution: Faithful stewardship of God’s material deposit with us. News and prayer letters.

“Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been (given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. So we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work as well. But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also. I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:1-9).

9. Fulfillment of family responsibilities in demands of work, provision of needs, education of children, and times of separation.

Solution: A balanced Christian life. Build joy of Christ in your family. Plan vacations and family times together.

“Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart” (Colossians 3:18-21).

10. Spiritual exhaustion requiring encouragement, inspiration for ministry, personal devotion, and exemplary conduct.

Solution: A desert place to be alone with God and His Word. Spend time in God’s Word daily.

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity” (2 Peter 3:18).