I love doing missionary work -It’s not always easy, but it is fulfilling.
I’ve worked with a lot of missionaries over the years. Some of them have been very disappointed because things did not work as they hoped or expected.
In this article, I want to highlight some things you need to know before you embark on a missionary trip.
1. Become a minimalist during your stay
Avoid carrying unnecessary stuff. Think of the TV show Survivor. OK! Don’t panic -It’s not that bad!
You don’t want to be the one with the biggest luggage on the trip. Pack everything you think you’ll need, then the next day, ditch half of it, and start over.
See this article about minimalism.
2. Have an attitude of learning
What an incredible opportunity to soak up a piece of another culture. You will learn about a different lifestyle and new foods. You will also make new friends.
3. Avoid poverty tourism
Search your heart. Are you going on this trip to take photos of hurting people? Or just for the experience of saying you were in Africa -so that your resume looks good? If this is you, -please don’t go. You are part of a larger story, and it’s not about you.
Remember, it’s an honor to serve.
One time, a missionary to Kenya, went to volunteer at the hospital and took photos of very ill patients. He then returned to America and posted those pictures on Facebook. What happened to privacy and confidentiality? Those are peoples’ loved ones. If you did that in America, you would get summoned to court and pay a huge fine. Please respect others just like you want to be respected.
4. Learn people’s names
‘Hey, YOU!’ -is not a name. Listen to their stories. Tell them, “You matter to God and me. I am invested in your future, and I will not abandon you.” And mean it. Please keep a long-term relationship and don’t make any promises you cannot keep.
Some missionaries promise school kids stuff like; I’ll pay your fees, send you toys, etc, -and then disappear, never to be seen again. Don’t be a liar. In fact, it is best not to make any promise at all. You will be respected.
5. Keep your camera to yourself
Before you take anyone’s photo, ask for their permission. People get upset when they see their pictures in Magazines or on YouTube channels without their permission. Nowadays people confiscate your camera if you don’t ask their permission.
6. Give yourself
Give your arms and hugs and prayers. Offer your skills like teaching in schools, volunteering at the Medical Center, Evangelizing, Training, Workshops, and Comforting the Sick & Suffering.
7. You are not the savior of the world
I have seen missionaries with T-Shirts written on “Save Africa.” Seriously, only Jesus can save anybody. That is the wrong approach and will be met with resistance.
Is God calling you to be a part of what He is doing in the lives of the people of Africa? You can serve in several different ways.
1. Volunteer Opportunities in Children’s Schools and Daycare Center
2. Volunteer as a Medical Missionary
3. Ladies, volunteer to work with teenage girls (I need a lot of assistance here with reusable sanitary pads- email me:)
4. Volunteer as a Business Trainer
5. Volunteer as a Leadership Trainer for youth and adults
If you are interested in finding out how you can spend a couple of weeks or more, send me an email and share your interest at:
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