FAQ About Missions

35 Questions About Missions

Below you will find 35 frequently asked questions about our personal missions work that I have answered.

Scroll down to find the ones that may be of interest to you.

You will find an emphasis on Thailand and Thai people but in most cases you could apply the answers to any unreached people.

If you read them all, you should walk away with a strong sense of my thoughts in regards to cross cultural missions and how you may answer those who ask questions about your work.

 

Q: Why don’t you stay here in America and reach people here?  There are plenty of people who need Jesus in this country.

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A: We, as the church, should always be looking out for where God is working, wherever we are in the world, and join Him in that work. We have all been called as ambassadors of Jesus Christ calling men everywhere to be reconciled to God because of what Jesus has done. This is step one. But just like in any natural army, there are those who serve in different capacities, but their goal is the same. Ultimately, they should all be working hard to ensure victory over the enemy. Some work in supply, some maintain the home base, and others are scouting out new territories. In the same way, God calls frontier missionaries and equips them for work on the forward edge. They require a special commission and have the capacity to do what many who serve in the army are unwilling to do. However this does not make them any better than others serving in the army. Their function is different, but without the support of the home base, the supply line, and so on, they would not be able to carry out their mission. In order to ensure that there are enough people to serve, recruiters or mobilizers are constantly sharing vision and calling people into commitment. They are critical to overall success and their work at home should be honored and supported. -John Falconer once said, “I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light” I would rather preach to someone who has never heard the Gospel once than to one who has “heard it all a million times” and has yet to believe. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t receive Jesus and change my life the first time I heard the message, so I certainly don’t have anything against fellow believers who are going after souls in the “Post Christian” society of America that is growing more pluralistic and humanistic with each passing day. I am simply saying that more people should be compelled to the places where the people have little to no access to the Gospel. May God raise up both those who love their home country and seek to live missionally at the local level and those who will cross cultures and oceans for the sake of the Gospel! The imbalance of the Gospel message in the world has been a growing burden in my heart over the years. As a wise man once said, “The things that anger you are the things that you are assigned to change.” When God puts a healthy and holy anger in your heart, it is a clue to your calling. The Apostle Paul felt some of these same things. It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: ”Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.”This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you. Romans 15:20-22 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. Acts 17:16,17 Is this your ambition as well? Lastly, I believe that we as Americans really don’t understand what we have in regards to access to the Gospel compared to many other parts of the world. Especially with the recent advances of satellite TV, broadband Internet, and millions of Christian books and CD’s, each American more than has the chance to run across the preaching and demonstration of the true Gospel many times in his life. Yet in many places of the world, there is not even one life giving reproducing church anywhere. Think about it this way, in America, Bible tracts are looked down on as an archaic way to do outreach, even in the church. Yet in some parts of the world, tracts may still be the only way some one ever gets the opportunity to hear the gospel! A little goes a long way in the unreached places of the world, if a little is done well. If you wanted a Bible in America how difficult would it be? If you really wanted one and couldn’t afford it, somebody somewhere, at any church in any city in the US, would go out of there way to make sure you had one. You could always pick one up from your local hotel the next time you’re on vacation. Bible societies would send you one if you wrote and asked for it. Most of us have lost more Bibles than most of the world has handled in their lifetime! In many places, people still don’t have access to the scripture in their language. A large percentage of the world is illiterate and couldn’t read if they wanted to. Who will go to them? Who will finish the task? K.P. Yohannan, founder of Gospel for Asia Bible Society once said, “Believers who have the gospel keep mumbling it over and over to themselves, meanwhile, millions who have never heard it once fall into the flames of eternal hell without ever hearing the salvation story.” You may have thought that every Christian is called to be a missionary. Consider this thought from C. Gordon Olson, “If every Christian is already considered a missionary, then all can stay put where they are, and nobody needs to get up and go anywhere to preach the gospel. But if our only concern is to witness where we are, how will people in unevangelized areas ever hear the gospel? The present uneven distribution of Christians and opportunities to hear the gospel of Christ will continue on unchanged.” All believers are called to be a witness for Jesus. We are all called to be ambassadors of reconciliation. But there is still a specific call of God to be sent. There is a call to go and preach Christ where He has not yet been named. This quote from Oswald J. Smith has challenged me since I first heard it- “No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once.”

Q: Wouldn’t it be easier if you just took yearly short term trips overseas instead of uprooting your family and actually moving to another country?

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(For those considering overseas service) Easier is not a word that you can factor in when discerning the will of God. God may call us to sacrifice and for that we must count the cost. If we have counted the cost and are willing to put ourselves in the hands of God then He will make sure that we have all of the grace that we need to make it through. Short term trips should be used to further the long term goals of those to whom teams are sent. The ultimate goal of short term trips should be long term advocacy, support, and commitment. The ultimate commitment is to be willing to go yourself. When Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord, he was willing to do anything God asked. When God asked, “Whom shall I send, who will go for us”? Isaiah responded “Here I am Lord. Send me” (Isa 6:8). When asked why he would ever become a missionary, Jim Elliot answered, “People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives … and when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.” By saying this, he did not mean that anyone who was not a missionary would not have any eternal significance. Rather, I believe that he was reminding us that we all have only one life to live, and from God’s perspective, only what is done in Him will have eternal value.

Q: Are American missionaries still needed in global missions work?

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Missionaries from all nations are still needed. There are over 7,000 unreached/least reached people groups totaling 2.89 billion people. This means that that these people have little to no access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. According to Wycliffe, out of over 6900 languages spoken in the world, more than 2,200 language groups do not have a single verse of Scripture available. Beside these staggering statistics, the world is filled with unwanted children needing a home, elderly and handicapped people needing care, and people dying from hunger, various diseases, and addictions. Slavery, human trafficking and child prostitution are still problems in the modern world. In many of the “reached” countries there are still these same problems and the church may still need to be mobilized and reenergized every so often.  Truly we need the whole Church to take the whole Gospel to the Whole World.

Where then does the priority lie for those who have the means and resources to do something in global missions?

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In short, I believe it comes down to: -Engaging the Unengaged & Reaching the Least Reached–Finding a way to begin a movement where there are no believers. This means redirecting a greater percentage of resources to places where missionaries have yet to impact yet there is an openness and willingness to hear the message. Most of our mission’s resources in America at the local church level are being directed to local outreaches or being sent to places that already have large concentrations of Christians. It has been estimated that only .01% of our missions giving in America goes to reaching the least reached and unengaged. If there are native believers waiting to go, but need support, let’s get behind them. If God is calling an American team to go and start a work because the natives have yet to engage a certain province or area, then support them. If God is calling someone to mobilize the American church as a full time role and they have proven their calling, then support them! -Equipping Reproducing Leadership-Instilling the vision and leadership principles that will create church planting movements into those God is preparing to lead among the unreached. By equipping and empowering leaders, this will in turn create many other types of support ministry that will bless the people where the churches are being planted. Many times, American missionaries have started out with the intention of reaching an unreached people and have transitioned into this supportive role as God has raised up local men and women to carry the torch.

Q: Why don’t the these people reach their own people?

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There are God fearing and God loving people who do seek to reach their own people for Jesus, but their numbers compared to the population who don’t know God are very small, less than 1% of a population of 65 million! The harvest is still plentiful and the laborers still few in many places in the world (Matt 9:37, Luke 10:2). I don’t believe that God is only using Americans to fulfill His Commission (Matt 28:19-20), but that doesn’t mean than He is excluding them from going to other nations either. God is using many nations from all over the world to carry the name of Jesus to those who have not heard, including Americans. Whenever possible the West should partner with those native believers who need our help, but we can also go ourselves. For instance, if the Thai people have yet to establish a life giving reproducing church in a certain province of their country, nor are they planning to plant one, then I believe that it is not unreasonable to believe that God would send an Westerner, or any other nationality for that matter, who has been saying, “Here I am Lord, Send me!” in order to fill the void. There may also be “native churches” in the land that have been planted decades ago but remain small in vision, fiercely territorial, steeped in doctrinal error, and stunted in growth. Could God not send someone in from outside the culture to bring fresh vision and fire? Is this not what has happened recently with African preachers being sent to Europe and America to restore and revitalize dying churches? Sometimes, it is the going of the western missionary and the work that he does, that raises more awareness and subsequently more finances for the least reached places of the earth. Some agencies would like us to believe that they have that covered for us, but who made them the one stop shop for native missionary support and projects? I believe God will raise up new wineskins and fill them with new wine as young Americans continue to heed the call to serve cross culturally in the least reached places of the world. If they are truly called and appointed then their service and sacrifice will be valuable for the kingdom of God and eternity. Their work will help to fill in the gaps in needed areas and strengthen the local believers where they work. Don’t get me wrong, if I had the choice between the effective, Spirit filled native Christian who already knew the language and customs of the people and the effective Spirit filled American missionary who had to learn these things, then of course I would choose the native. But that’s not an option in many of the places of the world yet. God may still be sending people across the seas with a vision to make it more of a reality than it is. Some places are beyond this of needing long term outside help living among them, but most still are not.

Q: But what about the cost difference?  Aren’t native believers much more cost effective than Western believers?

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As we all know, God does not see things as man sees them. I believe that there is no limitation in the area of finances when it comes to His kingdom. If God did not spare His own Son…the mostly costly gift that could be given, how much more would it not deter Him to send an American cross culturally even though it may cost more than a native Christian being sent? People who use this argument see finances as limited rather than limitless. We should do the later (support many more worthy native missionaries with Western money) and have not forgotten the former (send Western missionaries with Western money). We can do both. Giving up completely on the practice of sending American missionaries is not the answer. It limits our Almighty God who does not see as man sees and who is not limited to funding an army of native believers, as well as an army of cross cultural South Koreans, an army of cross cultural South Americans, an army of cross cultural Singaporeans, and an army of cross cultural Americans all working together to make Christ known where He has not been known before. Lastly, being a native believer does not mean that you will be accepted by the people you are sent to more than a Westerner will. It also does not preclude you from wasting finances and being corrupt. It can not guarantee you a militant evangelistic vision that goes to the streets to compel people to receive the Good News. It does not mean that you will rise above your cultural values that clash with Kingdom values to do what God is calling you to do despite the backlash from your countrymen. You may struggle with seeing ministry through your own cultural lenses and remain unaware that you are doing more harm than good by continuing ministry this way. These issues can be problems that any Christian/minister faces whether they are Western or not.

Q: There are huge needs all over the world.  Why one place over another?

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Looking at the world’s needs today, someone with a passion to see Jesus worshipped among the nations, could easily be overwhelmed with the needs. Just narrowing a location down to a certain continent can be unnerving. One of the things that I have tried to do is pay attention to the circumstances and people God has placed in my life as well as the reoccurring themes that have been playing in my heart from the time I sensed God calling me in this direction. Beyond this, I think we need to look at compatibility with the culture and access. By compatibility, I mean, can you see you and your family living there long term? Have you visited the place and spent time with some of the people? Do you have an idea of what the culture is like and do you feel like you would have the grace to engage it with the Gospel? By access I mean, is the society generally ready to at least listen to what you have to say? Is your nationality generally welcome? Do you see an open door or a potential place for yourself? Sometimes, these things come as we go, but I believe God will help us to see some things in advance to encourage our hearts.

Q: Why you?-How have you been prepared?

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The Scripture says that God’s people would volunteer freely in the day of his power. Both my wife and I were sovereignly and supernaturally drawn to a time and place where God was moving by His power to save, deliver, and call many people. We were two of those people. By his grace I have been to 14 different nations all before age 30. Many of those places were in SE Asia. Specifically I have been to Thailand three times. Each place I traveled, I was able to participate in God’s work in those nations. As I have sensed God calling me to serve cross culturally and be a catalyst for missions, my calling has been tried and refined through seasons of waiting and testing. I have served at each place in my journey never giving up on the deep down calling that I know has been placed on my life. After being married, my wife and I walked down the aisle to the song, “Ask and I will give you the nations”! Since that time, we have been building the foundation of our family and key relationships with people who have been called to come along side us in prayer and “hold the line” as we go forward. God has proven to me that I have the ability to make a six figure income if I decided to stay and work in the States, but it only makes it all the more sweeter when I think of giving it up to follow Him to the nations. What’s your story? How can you show that you have been prepared for this work?

Q: Why now and not when you are older or retired?

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The scriptures says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Some have said, “He will give you desires in your heart.” Whatever the case, it has been my desire to give God my best years and serve the Lord in my youth (Eccl 12:1). I know that this calling is special because both my wife and I are in agreement about it. We both feel that when the “nest” is growing more and more uncomfortable then it’s time to fly! I sense that this is a fairly unique phenomenon because most of our friends are perfectly content to stay right where they are in America at a great local church. They wouldn’t dream of selling everything they own and leaving the US. We thought about it just about daily before God sent us.

Q: How do you know that God has “called you” to this particular place?

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We can knew that we are “called” because of the events that have happened in our lives that have confirmed that things that we have felt in our hearts for so long. For us, the list was too long to name. Otherwise, concerning a particular location, we were looking at our deeper relationships and considering the aspects of living and working as a “missionary team and community.” Many of our friends who have gone out to the nations and returned have confirmed that “who” is more important than “where.” We agree. On our first time out, we joined a veteran missionary couple that have been in Thailand for 20 years, raised 4 children there, speak the language fluently, and have been involved in numerous forms of ministry including planting a church that is now pastored by Thai man and his wife. From our initial term with this couple, we could launch out to anywhere else in the region if we sensed God’s leading or we could stay and continue on working in our current city. For instance while in Thailand, I remarked about how I would like to live there one day. I spent the last few years thinking of places I could go that I might not enjoy for the fear of going somewhere out of emotion and not calling Beyond this, the spiritual condition of the nation fit the profile of the burden that I had been carrying for some time now. Unreached, unengaged, generally receptive. We know that God will grant a greater love and burden for the people than emotion could ever give. As we go, we go realizing that we are ministering to Jesus Himself. This is what will keep us moving forward even when we are in a place where we may not be applauded or appreciated.

Q: Should we go overseas to do missionary work even if it could be dangerous?

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Crimes like murder, rape, and kidnapping get nightly airtime in every major city in America. Many other countries are safer overall than America. I would say that Thailand is one such country. We trusted God to protect us and “rebuke the devourer” overseas in the same way He does it while living in the US. Though we trust God to protect us (see Psalm 91), we are not ignorant of the fact that there are even greater dangers that come with being a missionary family. A little wisdom and common sense can go a long way in keeping safe while living overseas. Nevertheless, we face the realities knowing that there could be a price to pay for the work we do. We counted that cost and were willing to face whatever dangers came our way, knowing that no matter what happens, ultimately we can’t lose.”(Phil 1:21)

Q: What kind of dangers do you face in a place  like Thailand?

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Because Thailand is used to having international guests, it is relatively safe place to live and raise a family. The people are generally friendly and helpful and most of them do not have a temper. Beyond the people, travel can be a little more dangerous than the states because traffic laws are only loosely followed and child seats are not commonly used. Food borne illness is a potential problem in the villages, but large cities like ours have modern day grocery stores as well as markets. Thailand has had major political instability, but generally those involved are not interested in hurting guests to their country.

Q: How will your children adjust to living overseas? 

How will they get an education? 

Will this “shelter them” from the “real world”?

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I am sure that most of you know how adaptable young children are to their environments. This is one of the reasons we wanted to get out to the field sooner rather than later. Language learning is much easier at earlier ages as well. Education for missionary families is usually done through correspondence and home schooling. Home schooling when done with diligence has been known to produce highly intelligent functional members of society. There are some curriculum that are much more challenging than what the average American child get in public school. When you add in some regular play times with others kids, missionary kids turn out just fine. They may be even more refined and aware of the real world than kids their age back in America. As parents, we are ultimately called to “shelter” our children. They don’t have to be exposed to everything in society to be productive and healthy members of it. We must give them the tools they need to rightly discern good and evil and the moral courage to choose the good when it comes time. We also have access to good bilingual schools. They are more expensive but our children could still attend if we made that choice for them.

Q: What kind of sacrifices do American missionary families have to make in order to live in a country like Thailand?

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Leaving behind family, learning a hard written and spoken language, adjusting to a new variety of food and culture, leaving behind the conveniences of America, and all of the normal pressures that come with planting a church just to name a few. When communicating the Gospel, we will be starting from the ground up. Definitions of common terms will have to be defined first. Words like God, Jesus, salvation, faith, and worship will have vastly different meanings in a predominantly Buddhist country like Thailand. While church planters in America see transfer growth from one church to another, and people who have grown up in church, fallen away, and later returned; these things are virtually non existent in the context of planting a church among an unreached and unengaged people.

Q: What are some unique characteristics of the Thai culture?

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Thailand has been called the “land of smiles.” The people are generally friendly and have an interest in American life and culture. They are very polite and overall are very meek. The younger respect their elders and pay deference to those in authority over them for the most part. In the dark side, Thailand is home to some of the most decadent cities in the world where prostitution, drugs, and addiction are rampant. Buddhism is generally practiced throughout, especially in regards to life events like marriage and funerals. Islam is predominant in the South. The majority of Thais know little to nothing about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who do know something about the Gospel think of it as a “western religion.” Most Thai’s have been taught all of their lives that “to be Thai is to be a Buddhist.”

Q: What kinds of ministry can we expect within the first few years of you being in the country? 

Do you have a strategy? 

What will your schedule be like?

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As my friend J. Lovorn points out, if our relationship with God and our family fails, then our ministry fails. Our priority is to love God, keep a strong relationship with Him, and make sure our family is settling on a solid foundation. Because we are entering a completely foreign culture, this process of cultural assimilation generally takes some time. During this time, we will be studying to learn the language so that we can effectively communicate over the long term. We will also be involved in evangelism and church planting work, teaching those who are born again, praying for the sick, networking with any other believers working in the area, educating our children, and traveling as God leads. Missiologist Gailyn Van Rheenen correctly observes, “Approximately the first two years on the mission field are appropriately called the learning period or the adaptation stage. Missionaries are learning to live in new contexts and adapt to them. During this period, four interrelated types of learning take place. Missionaries learn (1) to speak a new language, (2) to understand the culture of the people among whom they are working, (3) to form personal relationships within the culture, and (4) to develop models of ministry appropriate to the context. Two extremes are common during this stage. On the one hand, some missionaries assume that they should not begin communicating the Gospel until the learning stage is completed–until language and culture learning are accomplished. Christianity, however, is the core of identity. Missionaries cannot easily lay aside their identity even during the early stages of missionary work. They should learn languages and cultures as Christians and thus express and live out these distinct Christian perspectives! Christian proclamation must be incorporated rather than marginalized during the learning of language and culture. When effective language and culture learning takes place, the first converts are frequently made and a church established, even during this preliminary learning stage. Missionaries must, however, understand their communicational limitations and work within these. They should teach using broad, general concepts and use indigenous illustrations only with the greatest of care. On the opposite extreme, some missionaries naively bypass the learning stage. They conceive that “people are people all over the world and the Gospel can be presented in the same way in all contexts.” They, therefore, desire to be teachers without learning first. Without active language and culture learning during the first months on the field, the missionaries’ effectiveness in all other stages is reduced, and the resulting movement is typically anemic rather than a vibrant. Learning…Growing…Collaborating…Phasing Out by Gailyn Van Rheenen

Q: How do you raise your support to be in the country long term?

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We put together a budget that includes monthly cost of living expenses as well as potential ministry costs that may come up while we are in country. We then seek partnerships with local churches and individuals who commit to supporting us monthly. We believe that support partnership is God’s plan for funding the work of cross-cultural ministry. By raising support through individuals and churches, those involve are able to share in the fruit of the ministry and the blessings that come from this type of partnership. I believe that there are three types of giving that all believers should be involved in: tithes, offerings, and alms. Missions giving falls into the category of offerings and alms (when it goes to a project helping the poor.) These three areas of giving work together to meet practical needs or God’s work in the world and bring a promised blessing from God on those who choose to trust Him in these critical areas of discipleship.

Q: Is all of the sacrifice, labor, and finances worth it?

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The question needs to be asked, “If they didn’t go, would there be people who weren’t around God’s throne that could have been”? When you think of the value of a human soul, all of the sacrifice, labor, and finance can’t compare. Jesus paid the ultimate price for us, so how could we give him less? Most American Church planters have already answered this question themselves before starting a local church in America. The cost of salaries, general upkeep, outreach, and buying land and building buildings are all part of planting a church in America. In America, the cost can reach into the millions; and all of this in a land that has 24/7 access to the Gospel and multitudes of churches. How much more should the same sacrifice, labor, and finances be used to plant churches among those who have little to no access to the Gospel?

Q: If being a Pastor in America is difficult, how do you expect to be effective in another country with the unique challenges cross cultural workers face?

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I believe there is a special calling and equipping that God provides for those He calls to this type of work. I also believe that true ministry is done only in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit. This fact only stands out even more in a cross cultural setting because many times there is very little available in regards to machinery, methods, and finances for ministry compared to what it available in the West. God still uses the weak things of this world to confound the wisdom of this world. Our strength and sufficiency must always be of Him.

Q: How are you being held accountable in your life and ministry?

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We work in the context of a missionary team where we practice mutual submission and accountability. In addition to this, we will regularly communicate with our local church leadership and the leadership of our advisory board who have the authority to speak into our lives and ministries.

Q: What will you do in the case of something unexpected like an emergency back home or a pregnancy?

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We deal with any issue that comes up on a case by case basis and trust God for the wisdom to know what to do in each situation. We work to maintain an emergency savings fund that can be used in the case of having to return to the States for any reason. In regards to pregnancy, it would be our goal to utilize the medical services of our host country.

Q: Can people come and visit you?

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Our family, friends, and ministry supporters are welcome to come and visit us anytime! We also look forward to facilitating short term mission teams coming from the States. (What you answer will be completely dependent on your own situation)

Q: Will you ever come back “home” to the US?

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We will make trips back to the States in order to visit family and reconnect with our support base. The consistency will depend on the status of the work we’re involved in and the practical need of such a trip. Many times, American workers to Thailand have to return every 15-18 months at a minimum to meet visa requirements. The reality of world travel has made this type of trip more accessible for us than it would have been for missionary families of the past. However the trip is still long, arduous, and can be costly. I believe the cost can be justified if you think of the reality of American Pastors and their families taking yearly ministry conference trips for the purpose of renewed vision, rest, and impartation or if you consider the cost of a typical American’s yearly family vacation. As a family, we have never truly called one place “home” over the other. This has been a unique experience for us that I believe has prepared us to be willing to go anywhere God called us. We hope that our lives will be a representation that as believers, our true home is Heaven. We are just foreigners and people passing through. (Heb 11:13, I Pet 2:11)

Q: What do you need from people who support you back in the States?

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We need true partnership where people remember us as being just as much a part of the fellowship as anyone else. We are willing to go forward overseas, but we need people who are willing to “hold the line.” This means people support us through feverent prayer and consistent giving. Those who are called to partner with us will share in the burden, but they will also share in the fruit that comes from our service.

Q:What kind of ongoing communication do supporters expect from you?

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We communicate through consistent newsletters for those who support the ministry financially as well as through blogs. We want people back home to benefit spiritually from the ministry that we are accomplishing with their help, so we hope to continue to share missionary insights through regular blogging, if possible. We also use social media like Facebook and Twitter. These are easy to update through the use of new mobile phone technology. But some countries and environments don’t make this kind of communication possible so it depends on the person and place.

Q: What kind of skills and aptitudes does a person need to have to be an effective missionary?

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The answer to this question depends on where you will be going and what you will be doing. There are some general qualities that can be found in most successful missionaries: A Strong Desire to Learn, Heart for Adventure, Good Sense of Humor, Willingness to Sacrifice, Spirit of Humility, Industrious, Hard Working, Flexible

Q: If people are good Buddhists or even good atheists, then why not just leave them alone and let them live according to their own consciences or according to the way they think is right?

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The Bible says, “There is a way that seems right unto man, but the end thereof is death.” We can be sincere about our beliefs and be sincerely wrong. In a simple answer, because this attitude is not love. If we know the one who alone has the words of everlasting life and we are not willing to introduce Him to others, then we are, at best, not walking in love towards our fellow man. The Word of God tells us that the second of greatest commandments is to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Q: If people don’t hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, will they be lost when they die? 

Will they be separated from God’s presence?

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People will not be separated from God because they didn’t hear. They will be separated because of their sin and sin separates us from God. The price we pay for sin is death-separation from God. This is why the Church of Jesus Christ must go into all the world and preach the Good News (see Matt 28). Jesus paid the price for men to come to God with His blood, but He has yet to fully see the reward of his sufferings.

Q: Aren’t we all God’s children?  Won’t God accept us all when we die?

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We are all God’s creation, but in order to become His child we must be born again (John 3:3). John 1:12 says, “To as many of them that received Him (Jesus Christ) to them he gave the power to be called the children of God…” This verse shows us that we only have the power to become children of God by receiving Jesus Christ. The image of God has been marred in each one of us through sin. Only through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ can we have that image recreated in us. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. When speaking to the Pharisees, Jesus told them, “You are of your Father the devil.” This interaction shows us that not only can people not be known as children of God, but instead, they can be known as “children of the devil.” The Word of God states that we were all enemies of God in our minds. We were all “children of wrath.” This may be hard for us to take in a society where “every man proclaims his own goodness”, but this is truth.

Q: How are you sure that your way is the right way?

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The right way is Jesus Christ. How do we know this? Because he said so (John 14:6 ) and was validated by being raised from the dead (I Cor 15:14). The resurrection of Jesus Christ makes him more unique than any other person in human history. No other human being ever claimed that they would die and be raised from the dead. Jesus not only claimed it, but also proved it by presenting himself to many people, including those Apostles who were eyewitnesses. History shows that they died horrible deaths defending the truth of the claims of Jesus being risen from the dead. The resurrection is the foundation of our faith in Christ. Everything rises and falls on this fact of history. In regards to culture and style issues, most Christians have followed the pattern of: In things essential, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity …Agustine. This means that we agree on certain core truths that have been the foundation of our faith for centuries, we have flexibility on the ways that we express that faith in and to the world, and we realize that in everything, if we don’t have love as described in I Corinthians 13, we have nothing of value to offer.

Q: What kind of church will you raise up?  Will it be part of a denomination?

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We must start with the definition of church. Most Westerners think of church in a certain pre-conceived way, but at its most organic and simplistic level, church is a group of people who have been called out by God through faith in Jesus Christ and who have gathered together to worship, serve, and obey Him. We will seek to raise up these churches by abundantly sharing the Gospel in the community through a variety of means such as literature distribution, one on one sharing, and demonstrations of the Spirit and power. This is akin to the idea of a farmer sowing seed. When people respond to the word being preached, we will come along side them to teach them to know God and obey His word. Once we have a group of people coming together regularly for worship, we will begin meeting together as a corporate body to worship, hear the Word of God, take communion, and pray for one another among other things. As the Spirit of God speaks, we will identify potential leadership and set them in place to serve the community. Our long range goal is to be catalysts in a movement of multiplying leaders and churches. These leaders will minister to their own people and come up with ways to practically minister to their communities and cities. Our goal is to equip these leaders that God has called for these works of service. Our churches will not be a part of any certain denomination. But like any other churches, they will have certain characteristics that define them. These things will come over time as we give the Thai’s the freedom to express their faith culturally within Biblical limits.

Q: If you raise up a church or churches, will you remain the leader over them all?

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Our goal would be to raise up churches and ministries that are self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating. The process of our ministry should be: Learning…Growing…Collaborating…Phasing Out. The time line of this process will depend on many different factors and variables. My role in this will take many forms from evangelist and church planter, to a nurturer of new Christians, and trainer of developing leaders. We are coming into the country with the attitude of being “servants of the people” and not “lords over them.”

Q: What are your long range goals?  What do you want to want to accomplish for God’s kingdom?

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My long range goals are to become an effective missionary coach to other emerging Asian leaders in the places of the world where there is little to no access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to raise up and nurture this indigenous apostolic leadership that will multiply leaders . The two key words that I feel will define my family’s ministry are “catalyst” and “strategic.” I would like to be involved in mobilizing Christians all over the world, especially overseas, to play a part in fulfilling Matt 24:14 through knowing, praying, giving, and going. I am also interested in working in meeting people’s practical needs through the work of humanitarian Gospel missions. I am also heavily involved in using creative ministry strategies that reach the new Asian online generation. What are your goals?

Q: How do we balance our missions endeavors between harvesting very responsive fields and the cultivating of unresponsive fields (looking to that day when they will become responsive)?

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We should always avoid unduly favoring those fields generating the best stories or whose missionaries give the best and most exciting presentations. In Thailand for instance, there may not be an explosion of growth in church planting success compared to Latin America or Africa. There may not be a need for a feeding ministry for children. These scenarios are just two of many that could fall into the “best stories” categories. We must understand that unreached places are unreached because they have not generally been the most convenient and easiest places to reach. This should not keep us from plowing, sowing, and reaping in these fields, even though the harvest may be smaller or harder to gather.

Q: Why should I as an American Christian care about the Thai people or any other people group for that matter?

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John Stott is quoted as saying, “We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God.” Moreover, Jesus tells us that the greatest commandments are to love God and to love our neighbor. This leads to the question, “well then, who is my neighbor”? Is it simply the person who lives next to me or is there something deeper that God would want us to understand? People in Jesus’ day asked the same question. Jesus told them answer in the way of a parable we commonly refer to as the parable of the Good Samaritan. In the story we see that the person who showed mercy to someone who had nothing to offer him back was the one who was really loving his neighbor then He proceeds to tell those listening to the parable, “Go and do likewise.” “But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Go and do likewise. Go and help those who have been beaten and wounded by the enemy. Go and restore them to health. Provide for them with finances you have and give them the care that will bring them back to life. Go and show the love of God in a practical way by showing them mercy because God has done the same thing for you. This is a general principle of the Word of God that translates easily over into missions work. Secondly, if we truly love God then we will care about the things that are on His heart.God is on a mission and the focus of his attention is “all the peoples (ethnic groups) of the Earth.” (Matt 24:14) “The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.” -Henry Martyn Jesus has purchased men for God, paying the greatest price, his own blood, and He has yet to receive them (Rev 5:9). Yet, we the Church are His hands and feet in the world. He has chosen us to get the message out through the “foolishness of preaching” (I Cor 1:21). Yet even in the 21st century, there are still multitudes in the world who have not heard the message. Why? The Apostle Paul laid it out for us in the verses below and yet we as the church have still not taken this verse to its fullest extent. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? God still calls, commissions, and sends people to preach the good news of Jesus Christ to the nations of the world. Even though we may be called, it is up to us if we will obey God. “I was not God’s first choice for what I have done for China I do not know who it was It must have been a man a well-educated man. I do not know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he was not willing and God looked down and saw Gladys Aylward And God said – “Well, she is willing.” – Gladys Aylward (1902-1970) If we refuse to play our part in God’s global purposes, God will require us to give an account. The Whole Body of Christ and more specifically, the Church in West, can play a part in God’s global purposes by knowing, praying, giving, and ultimately by going if God has put that calling on your life. We must keep in mind the principle, “to whom much is given, much is required. (Luke 12:48)” The resources and vision that we have is not merely for us to consume on ourselves. It has been stewarded to us by God in order for us to accomplish His will in the Earth. Specifically, we as Americans should care for the Thai people because less than 1% of the total population have professed Jesus as Lord. Multitudes have never heard the message of Jesus dying for our sin, much less great preaching on a variety of Biblical subjects week in and out. Many Thais still don’t have access to the Bible even if they wanted to hear. Instead they are surrounded by a fear of spirits, Buddhism, and the decadence of hedonism. The love of Jesus in us should make our hearts cry out for them to be saved. So, in conclusion, if we love God and care about the things that are on his heart, then we will love and care for people who have yet to receive His gift of salvation, freedom, and mercy.

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