Missionaries must be adaptable. They must be able to adapt to a multitude of things such as new cultures, customs, paces of life, harsh weather conditions, strange foods, and difficult languages; just to name a few. All of these things are put right on top of the normal every day pressures that come with raising a family and ministering.
If a missionary doesn’t learn very quickly to adapt, they will most probably be miserable or ineffective. Every little inconvenience will seem like “suffering for the Gospel.” If a pity party ensues, it will most probably lead to an early departure from the country.
Speaking on the need for adaptability, Thomas Hale puts it plainly, “The field doesn’t adapt to you; you adapt to the field.” This reality may be hard for us as Americans who are used to being able to being able to easily get in and out of situations we find uncomfortable. The little comforts we run to when we feel stressed and irritated may not be readily available to us. It’s during these moments we most need the internal fortitude to “adapt and overcome.”
One of the assistants of our local church tells me that she loves working with me because I am flexible. The “missions guy” should be known as the most flexible, the most adaptable! He should have a “no problem” attitudethat trusts in the sovereignty of God over his life’s circumstances.
Now, I know that I will be stretched much further in another culture. This is when the real test will begin….starting with the language! In what ways have you learned to adapt to hard or uncomfortable circumstances?