Skip to main content

So, You Wanna be a Missionary?

We left for the mission field in 2002. Here's a picture of us with our packed truck ready for our Panamerican Adventure! My, our truck looks great and we look so young...and refreshed!
Sometimes I wonder if missionary life isn't some cruel version of Survivor. Every week we hear news of another faithful one that's bit the dust. Don't get me wrong, we're no "Super Missionaries." Although we've come along way, baby, we're still spring chickens and we continue to be humbled and refined

We're learning about what it takes to be a missionary; not just a quick-stint missionary, but a missionary for the long haul. Here's a few characteristics that we're working on:

1. Pioneer Spirit. If you're the type of person that likes everything neat and pretty and handed to you on a silver platter, do not try missions. In many cases, you will be starting projects from scratch, everything takes longer and requires a lot of sweat equity. It's getting your hands down and dirty with the nationals and learning to do things their way, not yours.

2. Age doesn't matter. I thought (naively) that younger missionaries are the best because of their energy and passion. I no longer judge a book by it's cover! Some of the most committed, wisest, loving folks we've seen serving cross-culturally are over the age of, well.... their hair color has evolved.

3. Infinite Flexibility. Can we tell you how important this is? We are both type "A" personalities. We like to be on time, we like things planned and we like to be in control. Well, let's just say that after seven years of serving in a "Don't worry, be happy" culture, we're not sure what our personality type is anymore! But, I would have acquired a stress-related illness had I not readily embraced very reluctantly changed my expectations and loosened up.

4. Dependent upon the Lord. You are not IT. The country you serve was doing fine before you came and they will continue on when you leave. You are not the Savior and you NEED Jesus-every day. Don't let the good you are doing, and the relationships you are building feed your ego. Nurture your intimate relationship with the Almighty. You are on a mission that's great than you are and you need Him.

5. Stick it out. When the going gets tough, don't bail out! Missionary work is the toughest job you'll ever love. You will have days where you think you've landed on Mars. You will feel lonely, discouraged, unappreciated and you will miss the food back home. Suck it up and stay with it. You'll find your groove and those days of culture shock and not understanding the culture will pass.

6. Find support. Where we live, there are no other missionaries (or English speakers) within a four hour drive of us. While we miss the idea of a "missionary community" we have an incredible support of friends, churches, family back in the States that write us encouraging emails, snail mail (we love letters!), and call us on skype. Thankfully, the modern technological age helps keep us connected. More than emotional support, spiritual support is a must. We have 2-4 prayer partners that we can write anytime and they are praying for us on a continual basis. This is crucial for our sustenance.

7. Be a Learner. Learn a little and use it a lot. Don't arrive into your host culture and act like a know-it-all. Be vulnerable and show your human side. While I really dislike looking like a fool in public, I realize how much closer it brought me to the people I serve. They just love it when they can teach me something and it keeps me good and humble, something that God wants in all of us.


  1. Great post. Its encouraging to see that you guys have stuck it out. Did you actually drive there?

  2. The one about finding support is SO important. Its so helpful when we can talk to others who have been down the path before us. And to fellowship in our mother tongue.

    I would add one more, its not about me. Its about the Kingdom. So what ever I go through is not that important in the light of eternity.

  3. Nice post! I especially agree with #3 and #7. With timing especially, I have found that different cultures have completely different viewpoints on when it's okay to be late/early, or on the importance/non-importance of keeping appointments. And with #7, sometimes it takes just a little bit of humility to ask one question that will save you a lot of embarrassment later on.

  4. Oh my goodness...that picture brings back memories of our journey through Mexico to Belize with you guys! It's hard to believe it's been 6.5 years ago already!

    We love you guys!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Christmas in Paraguay!

If you're wondering what Paraguayans do at Christmastime, they have some great traditions, including the "noche buena" meal on Christmas Eve at midnight.  They eat lots chipa guasu (a type of corn casserole, stay tuned for a recipe), asado or grilled meat (some eat it cold), salads, especially fruit salad, watermelon and drink mucho terere.

Families travel from all over the country, many even return from working in other countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Spain, to celebrate with loved ones. This is us at last year's Kurrle celebration in Asuncion. Festivities are anything but a silent night with fireworks, loud music and drinking cidra (hard cider). 

Most Paraguayans do not decorate Christmas trees (we decorate ours in shorts!) or emphasize Santa Claus.  Instead, they put beautiful nativities "pesebres" in their yards and in store fronts.  Kind of novel to focus on Christ at Christmas, isn't it!

To beat the heat, many Paraguayans go to a river to rel…

September highlights. A month in Paraguay

I want to thank you for hanging out with us this past month. Every day was different. Sometimes I wish I had more of a routine. But in my missionary role, routine is not something I experience very often. Here are a few September highlights.

We traveled to Asuncion, to get some paperwork done. The trip to Asuncion generally takes six hours on a two lane road, with crazy traffic. We avoid these trips as much as possible. 

I was part of a Baptism ceremony in the Parana River. 28 people made a public commitment. The Parana Rive is the second one in size after the Amazon River.

I had a chance to continue my bible teaching at our local church on Tuesday evenings. I fill in various classes and find teaching very rewarding.
We celebrated Anahi’s 6th birthday with our immediate family. Anahi is finishing her preschool and will start first great next year

We celebrated Dominick’s 4th month. He also got his shots last week. Dominick has occupied the center of attention. He has been a great joy for …

Technology in missions

As I started my day, within a few hours, I had a list of things to do. By 10 am I had enough items to keep me busy for a week. After several hours in the office, I was able to send audio messages and video conference with people on both side of the Equator. I sent letters out to several people in just a few seconds. I posted on FB, and I googled some maps while listening to a webinar.
Did my grandparents or even my parents have these technologies? The answer is no. David and Lilian Meier left on a steam ship the port of New Orleans in December of 1935 towards South America. All the field knowledge they had was a letter from a German missionary who wrote to America saying. Will someone come to Brazil?

That was the beginning. Their first trip lasted a decade serving in several places in South America. There where no phone calls, no daily FB updates and no cool Instagram pictures. Few words on a telegram, or when letters were written they delivered weeks later were the ways of communica…