Monday, January 13, 2014

Good Questions to Ask Missionaries

What to Say to Missionary 

"How's Africa??"

No, you did NOT just ask me how a whole continent is doing, did you?

I can almost hear the wheels turning as my fellow patriot from across the ocean scrambles to reach out to me--this person that they think they remember her name--or at least her country of service, actually uh, continent, rather.

So if it is your lot to have the missionary over for dinner, here's a little primer, a (free!) printable full of welcome questions guaranteed to keep conversation goin' for the duration of your visit.

Questions about personal life
  1. Lifestyle: How is your life similar to life in America? And conversely, just in case your missionaries are shy: How is it different?
  2. Occupation: What do you do each day? (Try not to over-emphasize the word "do.")
  3. Language: Are you learning a language? How is it going? Are you discouraged? Rate your discouragement on a scale from 1 to 10. (Just kidding--leave off the scale remark.)
  4. Sins: What sins might a missionary be especially tempted with that another Christian in the U.S. might not? This is a great question, but may need to wait until you have established a more open, friendly tenor to the visit. You know, like, don't open with this question, and a response, "Well, if you're not sure, I could help you with that."
  5. Devotion: How have you been spiritually? How has Christ become more precious to you? What verses or Scriptural ideas keep you persevering in ministry?
  6. Reading: What books have you been reading? Do you have any book recommendations?
  7. Friendships: Who are your closest friends? Do you have any close friends among the Africans?
Questions about ministry
  1. Success: Have you had any encouragement in ministry recently? Can you tell me two or three things that have encouraged you?
  2. Challenges: What is your greatest challenge in ministry? What other difficulties wear you down?
  3. Church: What do your church services look like? How are they like ours? How are they different? How is your church managing when you are not there? Will your church ever stand on its own? (Try not to emphasize "ever.")
  4. College: (If they have a college) How is the college going? How many students do you have? What is the course like? Have any men graduated? Are they in ministry?
  • How can I pray for you?


Lou Ann Keiser said...

"How's Africa?" Love it! Life is funny when you're a missionary, and it's hilarious to field questions sometimes. I don't think anyone but other missionaries and well-traveled people has any idea of the reality of living in a totally different world from wherever they are from. I have to admit that I enjoy some of the funny questions we get. (At least someone's interested and asking.) Loved your post and your suggestions!

gospelcorgi said...

I have a couple of evangelist friends, and I feel like I have a million questions that I want to ask them, but I get so excited it gets hard to verbalize them. This post gets to the point. Thanks so much! :)

Amy Meyers said...

So glad it's helpful. :)

Chrysti Hedding said...

This is great. We get so many vague questions because our friends and supporters don't know what to say. My favourite is... "How's London?" Because we don't live anywhere near London!