Keeping mission vision alive and growing A quarterly publication of Mission Data International

Archive for January, 2008

Interview with David F.

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

This interview with David F., a missionary kid who grew up in Indonesia, lends us the perspective of someone a few years beyond college. David is married with two young children and recently ventured out into an unexpected but successful business partnership after a number of years teaching and working for a local greeting card company. All the while, his heart desires to be overseas at some point in the future.

Propel: Once in a while I come across stories of missionary kids who resent their upbringing overseas for various reasons. How was life as a missionary kid for you? What were the pros, the cons?

David: I absolutely love the fact that I was brought up overseas, and really cherish my unique upbringing. I got to enjoy all kinds of cool things and activities that I wouldn’t have if I had grown up in the good ‘ol U.S.A. I guess I missed McDonalds? Don’t know any of the TV shows people do? Honestly, I credit my parents for clearly demonstrating and communicating that it was family first, work and ministry second on the mission field. Most MK [missionary kid] resentment comes from the all-to-familiar attitude of ‘nothing but my ministry’ that some mission organizations once espoused. Family is our first ministry. The same disenchantment exists in the homes of pastors — or just busy people.

Propel: How did growing up as a missionary kid influence your decisions today? How did it affect your outlook on life, goals for life and spiritual walk?

David: It’s definitely broadened my horizons; other cultures are really, really not like our culture! They’re not worse, they’re different. Viv ‘la difference! I take very seriously the charge of Jesus to go into all the nations, and want my life to always be involved with missions as God leads. I’ve seen mission activity produce a great harvest — with my own eyes — and this makes me value it and desire it to go forward unhindered.

Propel: When in life did you decide you wanted to be a missionary? What led up to this realization?

David: God wants us all to be a missionary where we are. However — and I may be a little weird — but I think that being a missionary is really cool, even fun. Yes, it has a lot of challenges and generally scares me to death as well. Helping people know God is just about the highest goal for anyone; I’m convinced it’s a great way to spend a life. I’ve thought so for a long while, not sure I could put my finger on exactly when. (more…)

Preparing your kids to go international

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

by David Armstrong

Communication, information and a loved mother are the keys to preparing your kids to go international.

Communication is about adventuring together rather than alone. It is the sharing of what one is thinking, how one is feeling and the decisions one is wrestling with. Start when God begins to call you to missions. As you ask other adults to pray with you, ask your kids to pray with you. As you learn about the country and the people you are being drawn to, involve them in that learning. Communication between family members is crucial, especially for those six years and older.

Not everyone is an out loud processor, but everyone will benefit from the interaction and sharing. It does take longer to keep several people in the loop, but the unity as a family and the positive attitudes will be so much better.

Information is crucial to preparing you all, and the more the better! Research the people you plan to serve and the places you plan to go. Go through the discovery process together as a family. You will find that each person in your family will be interested in different parts of the culture and each will ask questions you never thought to ask. Take the time and energy to make it fun.

Try books from the library and visit Barnes and Noble. Look for DVDs and videos. Search the internet and make a notebook of what you find. Look for common recipes from that country and try them out. Locate students, businessmen or neighbors who have lived in that country and have them over for dinner and a visit. Search out any blogs talking about that country, and pay attention to news items relating to that part of the world.

Ask questions. What is the country like? What do people do for jobs? What do they produce? What kinds of clothes and what colors of clothes do they prefer? What smells and sounds would one find? What kind of cars do they drive? What are their favorite foods? What will your kid’s schools be like?

(more…)

Survey says . . .

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

by M-DAT executive director

In our last issue I requested your input to help shape M-DAT’s new web resource for aspiring missionaries. We have had an amazing response, 350 completed surveys to date! Wow. Thank you so much to all of you who took the time to give us your valuable input. I wanted to share with you some of the highlights from the survey.

First, the most encouraging tidbit of information: 98% of respondents said they planned on using the internet to find information to help them on their journey to becoming a missionary. This serves as confirmation to our staff of M-DAT’s mission “bringing people and missions together using internet technology.” (Now if we could just find a few more people to join our team and expand our capacity to provide great web resources!)

Respondents overwhelmingly affirmed that the video segments we described would be “helpful” or “very helpful.” 75 to 90% of people responded this way for each segment type. We take that to mean we are on the right track!

We learned that people have high speed internet and like to watch video clips. Almost 95% said they had high speed internet and 80% reported watching video clips on the internet everyday to a few times a month.

We learned it takes a long time to get to the mission field! Roughly 50% have had the desire to become a missionary for more than five years. 70% expect it will be at least another two years before they make it to the mission field as a full-time missionary.

We learned that the process of becoming a missionary is difficult. 90% said from their experience so far the process was “moderately” or “very difficult.”

More respondents than we expected indicated they had nailed down some specifics on the who, where, and what questions, but a significant number still had outstanding decisions to make. Roughly 40% said they either did not know or only somewhat knew what type of missionary work they wanted to do, what type of training they would need, or where in the world they would like to serve. 60% do not yet know what organization they want to serve with.

Finally, we had several hundred excellent responses to the open ended questions. Those responses are already influencing some of our decisions for the new web resource.

The survey exceeded our expectations of learning about the needs of aspiring missionaries. We are so grateful to all who participated!

Resource highlight: Perspectives and The Journey Deepens

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

We’ve mentioned the semester-long missions class called Perspectives on the World Christian movement a few times already in Propel’s short history. It’s well worth mentioning again as Spring classes begin in just a week or two. Register now using the link following this blurb from the Perspective’s staff:

    If you want to live life with passion and purpose and discover God’s heart — Perspectives is the best course going. Find your place and time in ‘His-Story’ — take Perspectives. Perspectives is not so much a course as it is a “movement” involving tens of thousands of God’s people throughout the world finding their niche in God’s overall purpose to bless the nations. Since its beginning in 1974, dozens of other seminars, courses, and materials have been developed after the pattern of the course, both in the United States and abroad.

To find the class nearest you visit this link and type in your ZIP code.

If a smaller commitment is better for your schedule, give serious consideration to The Journey Deepens gatherings. Upcoming retreats are scheduled for March 7-9 in Oklahoma and April 18-20 in Illinois. From the website:

    “This weekend will deepen your relationship with Jesus and help you explore what it is like to be a missionary, discover whether a missionary or sender role is God’s fit for you, and connect with mission agencies. The core of the retreat and the key distinctive is the discussion groups with six prospects and two mentors which meet four times throughout the weekend. The retreat has separate groups for college students and high school seniors, young professionals in their 20s and 30s, adults of any age, singles and married couples. Meet others like you and compare maps on the journey. Discuss your compass with mentors who have journeyed into missions already.”

M-DAT News and Prayer: January 2008

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Praise: Response Exceeds Expectations — Over 350 aspiring missionaries completed the survey we conducted in November and December. The responses and feedback have been extremely helpful to gauge the need and interest for a long-term mission website. We were also pleasantly surprised to have over 200 respondents sign up to receive Propel!

Praise: Volunteers Man Display at Mission Connexion Northwest — We broke into new territory this past weekend (Jan. 18 -19th) when for the first time ever, the M-DAT display was entirely setup, manned, and disassembled by volunteers. Thanks Nick and Kari! Nick reported: “I found that people really appreciate the work that you guys do. I expected that, but it was really encouraging to actually hear it from people. God is really using M-DAT, and I think that is really cool.”

Prayer: Volunteer Coordinator and Website Project Manager — Please pray for God to provide a volunteer volunteer coordinator. This person would help us tap into people who desire to invest a portion of their time to help accomplish our ministry vision. We are also still praying for a website project manager to join our team — an addition that would greatly expand our capacity to serve.

News: Mission Book Giveaway — In February, March and April we will be giving away ten short term mission books each month. Rules and details will be published in the next few weeks on ShortTermMissions.com.

Prayer: Video Gear — As we move forward with plans for the website for future missionaries, we have identified the need for basic video equipment and editing software. Later this Spring we’ll be letting folks know about the need and asking them to give to help meet the need.

Prayer: Spring Board Retreat — Coming up March 13th-16th our board meets for their annual retreat.

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