There was a time when the traveling doctor was a common sight. Maybe you’ve encountered this person in films or classic novels shoving the necessities of their trade into an old leather bag; medicine, needles, and a stethoscope, before setting off across the frontier to aide a family in need. The items in the bag, meant to bring health to the sick, are just as essential as the trained mind using them and the same goes for the missionary. However, in our case that medicine bag will be filled with some uniquely spiritual items. At the start of this series we discussed being secure and rooted in our faith before entering the missions field, now we come to utilizing that faith in a foreign land to build a foundation of prayer, worship and the word; tools of the trade.
Prayer is simply communication with your God, unpretentious and honest. Worship is openly acknowledging who He is and enjoying His holy attributes through prayer, song, dance and art among other means. The Word, known as the Bible, is that collection of divinely inspired writings recording man’s history with the Creator. It’s value is immeasurable as you are actually holding in your hands the records of songs written by kings in search of God, prophets who heard His whisper, and the diaries of the first missionaries to work miracles in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ.
It’s important to use these gifts together, building up a spiritual fortress in your house, workplace and even on the streets where you minister. Understand that if you were only casually familiar with them before then you’ll need to make these tools the backbone of your daily life as a missionary. They can no longer be relegated to a couple times a week or for just going to sleep and waking up. Neither can their goals be reserved merely for money and materialism either. The Apostle Paul, the most well known missionary from the 1st century, tells us:
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12
If you have chosen to come to someone else’s country and declare that they need to follow another path, which is Jesus, then you must realize you’ve entered a struggle, a war much older and powerful than yourself. Which is why in addition to being connected to a local church, constant communication with your heavenly field commander is paramount. Try setting daily times to pray and make an effort to be consistent with them. A step further would be to assign a different theme or goal to each session; divine empowerment, ministry strategy or emotional refreshment.
Worship is powerful. We are made in the Lord’s image and so know how good it feels to hear children tell us that we are nice, strong and “the best *insert here* in the world”! The same goes for God as we enjoy His nature and just how we rush to pick up that child that has their arms reaching out in need, so the Lord’s presence enters to rescue, empower and reassure the worshiper. He is moved by our heartfelt words and ever deepening love. Some people need music to jump start worship. This is not unheard of even in the secular world as musicians and artists often use certain tunes to enter whatever zone they’re working in. The zone we’re working in is an unseen one (Ephesians!), a place where souls are being won or lost daily. Just keep that in mind as you choose what to expose your spirit to.
Finally, reading the Bible should become a daily practice as well. There are two main reasons for this; fortification and distribution. As the Apostle Paul stated in Ephesians, you face an unseen enemy when you choose to stand for Christ, and in the lands you travel to that enemy may have more footing, which means stronger attacks. Reading about the will of God and the victories of those who struggled to know Him in a lost world will help build your initimacy with God as well as your confidence in carrying out your mission. You will see that, although thousands of years separate us, our ancestors in the faith went through much of the same things we do now in living for Jesus, and that many of their strategies for success are still potent today. You will be fortified. As for distribution, well, if you don’t know the word of God, how can you share it with anyone? How can you know anything about your faith at all? Questions that you’ve never been asked, maybe never even dreamt of, will be posed to you in the missions fields. Maybe you became a Christian much younger, when having all of the answers didn’t matter, but across the seas your message may not be limited to children and an adult WILL take you there. The only way a person will become passionate about Jesus is if they learn about His words, His actions, His life, which means study. Consistency is the key; many start their day with a scripture and think on it’s meaning in addition to their regular study, others use apps and internet services like GoTandem to send scriptures to their smartphones at pre-designated times. Also, reading an entire book of the Bible in one sitting can be an eye-opening challenge to connect with that author and their passion for the Lord (ie: Colossians).
However the Holy Spirit leads you, put God’s tools to good use for the advance of His Kingdom on the Earth!