Missionary Interviews #1 – David and Zoe

 

   I was so excited when I found out that I would be able to interview David and Zoe*.  I appreciate their insightful and helpful answers! This is the first missionary interview in the series, so, let’s begin…

How long have you been serving?

   We have been serving in missions for 18 months.

Where have you served?

   We have been serving in Western Asia.

When did you first feel that you were called to be a missionary and how did that lead into what you are doing now?

   I first felt called to be a missionary in my mid-20’s when I took the course, “Perspectives on the World Christian Movement.”  I learned from a number of missionaries throughout the course about God’s heart for the nations and the various roles in the Great Commission and also the various organizations there are in missions.  Currently, I’m a church-planter serving in an unreached country that is only 0.005% evangelical Christian.

What does your job entail?

   There are a number of aspects to my job.  I’ll arrange it sequentially.  Firstly, in order to be a missionary full-time, I needed to raise financial support.  My wife and I spent over a year meeting with individuals and churches sharing the calling God had on our lives and the opportunity to partner with us financially and answer questions people had.  Once we departed for the field, we had to set up our lives and adapt to the new culture.  So we were (and are) learning and thinking about how the common person lives and how we are to adapt accordingly.  Next, we began (and are continuing) to learn the native language.  This takes years to accomplish and varies based on the difficulty of the language.  Our desire is to become proficient enough to communicate the gospel without significant barriers to understanding the message.  Furthermore, our job is to preach and share the gospel.  Once people believe, our job is to disciple, equip, train, and gather believers.  It’s incredibly important that we raise up national leaders so that the church can grow and multiply through the native people. As the church grows and matures, we are to discern when to fully hand over leadership to nationals.  Once that takes place, we come alongside the church and offer support and encouragement in order that it may truly be an indigenous church.

How do you think that your specific role in missions is especially important?

   All people play an important role in the church and in the great commission.  Church planting among unreached people groups is especially important though because people in our country do not have access to the gospel and Jesus told us to go to the ends of the earth.  People are born, live and die without hearing about Jesus in some parts of the world.  Therefore, it’s vital that missionaries bring the gospel to them that they may be saved by placing their faith in Christ.  Further, we don’t see that our job is complete until those people who do come to faith by our evangelism are gathering and are worshipping in the context of a church.  We don’t want to simply lead them to faith and then move on, but rather see them worshipping with other believers and recognizing that they are an essential part of the body of Christ in the context of a local church.

Do you have a story about how you have seen God work through your role?

   We are in the early phases of church planting, but have seen God begin to plant seeds with our language helpers and teachers.  Just recently, my wife began meeting with my teacher from my language school at a local university for private tutoring.  My teacher said that she knows whether or not a student is a missionary within a matter of minutes of meeting them based on the expression on their face and their attitude.  She said that she just notices a difference in their life.  However, this is the first time she has ever had a missionary student in her home for tutoring.  We have been explaining the gospel to her, and she said it’s the first time she has been able to understand the joy that missionaries have in their heart.  We are thankful for all of those faithful missionaries who shined the light of Christ.  We are hoping to see by the fruit of their lives and ours, along with our words, that she comes to faith in Christ. 

What training did you have to take for your job? (college degrees/classes/working with people on certain things)

   I went to seminary and received a master of divinity degree.  However, it was not absolutely essential that I get the degree in order to do my job, but I highly recommend biblical education.

What tips would you give a young person or anyone who is interested in this role? 

  1. Pray. I recommend the book Operation World.  It’s a prayer guide for all the nations.  You can learn a lot about the world through that book, pray accordingly, and God may prompt your heart to a particular field.
  2. Prepare to be challenged.  Missions is a very difficult job (but incredibly rewarding as well) and people need to be ready upfront for a challenge.  Life is full of challenges, especially for those who serve the Lord in ministry.  It’s His way of molding and shaping us to be like Jesus.
  3. Serve in ministry in your own context.  It’s important that you learn how to minister in your own culture and language before attempting to do it in a foreign one.
  4. Talk with your pastor before you seek to go to the field.  Having their support and blessing is crucial.  Unfortunately, some pastors in the US don’t have a heart for missions, and if that is the case, it may be more difficult to get to the field or have their blessing.
  5. Take your English grammar classes seriously. It sounds like strange advice, but if you have to learn another language, it’s helpful to know your own language and how it works really well.  It will benefit you when you study a foreign language eventually.
  6. Study your Bible.
  7. Read missionary biographies and texts for ideas and encouragement.

Is there any way that we can pray for you and the area you work in?

   Pray as we continue to the learn the language in Western Asia.  We really long to be proficient in the language so that many can clearly share the good news and eventually plant a church.

 

   David and Zoe have a great task before them. Please take a moment to pray that the Lord will give them the strength and perseverance to continue the job which He has given them – to make His name great.

*These are pseudonyms for security reasons. 

Introduction to Missionary Interviews 

 

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