I have never been a missionary’s wife, however God has allowed my paths to cross with several great missionary wives. I am sad to say that when I first went into the ministry I did not truly have a heart for missions. My husband and I were put in charge of the missions department and the mission’s conference at the church we were working at. It was then as I was able to host these missionaries and learn about them that I truly developed a heart for missions. Mission’s conference has become my husband’s and my favorite week of the year.
I have taught my children that missionaries are our Christian ambassadors. They are not people who couldn’t find anything else to do in the states, but they are some of the most amazing, humble servants of God I have ever met. With each missionary wife that I have met, I have learned that each one faces different struggles and has learned different avenues to make these struggles into blessings.
From talking to my missionary friends, I have learned the importance of adapting to your surroundings. It is not the missionary’s job to bring America into other countries and teach them our ways, but rather to teach them of the love of God and how they can live a Christ-honoring life in the country where God has placed them. A missionary wife can’t constantly be trying to bring things from America to make her life easier, but rather she needs to use what is accessible in that country. A missionary wife needs to adapt well to change and learn to be adventurous. She can’t just sit in her house; she must get out and learn about the people and the country to which God has called her.
Just as in any other ministry, it is important that make your home a haven. Even on the foreign field, your family needs a safe place they can call home. Your husband needs a sanctuary to rest in and be with his family. I know that in some countries it will take some creativity. No matter where you serve, it is important that you make your home and family your priority. After all, the Bible teaches women to be a helpmeet and the keeper of the home. It is important that your children have a schedule and maintain a well-balanced life. Their life should be well balanced between schoolwork, playtime, spiritual activities, and missions work.
I had the privilege of going on a mission’s trip with my husband to Africa. It was probably one of the most exciting trips I have ever been on. It was great! One of the things that I liked about the missionary that was hosting us was that he paired us up with native Africans for soul winning. Even though I could not speak with my soul-winning partner, we shared a common love of the Savior, and that was worth more than words could express. I learned during that week that these people didn’t need to learn American ways for a better life, but rather as an American I learned from them the importance of being content with what you have. They didn’t need televisions or iPads or even living rooms to be happy. They were happy and content with their outdoor living spaces and dirt floors.
I teach young ladies that they are called to a man, not necessarily a ministry, and that they need to be willing and prepared to go anywhere. If my husband were to be called to the mission field tomorrow, I would go. Even though I am not a missionary, I know that above all a missionary wife has to have a willing heart. Whether you are reading this as a future missionary wife or just as a laywoman in your local church, I encourage you to love your missionary wives. Pray for them. Encourage them. They are representing us Christians and our Savior in the regions beyond.
I once heard a missionary wife say that how we view the mission field like the twelve spies who went into Canaan. We can either have a good report or a bad report. Sometimes the good report may be hard to see, but it’s all about perspective. We need to look at the field that God has called us to through His eyes.