Knowing when to go is one of the trickiest decisions for a missionary to make. If you go to soon you are probably not financially ready and will be back in a few months feeling like a failure and facing the gauntlet of questions from family, friends, donors and pasts. If you go to late you might loose the momentum of your leadership and donors. Here are a couple of guidelines to help you navigate this question.
- Finances are Key – Often times the real deciding factor comes down to – “is your support where it needs to be?” If you are bringing in the needed monthly support to be able to sustain yourself on the mission field then you are ready to go financially speaking.
- Practically – This has to do with questions like – “are all your affairs stateside in order?” Are your commitments with your job through? Are you out of debt? Etc…
- Spiritually – Are your pastors and leaders ok with you going at this time?
I often get missionaries that are coming to me for help who have plane tickets in hand, which happen have them taking off in 9 days, who have next to zero support. This is sadly a very very common assurance. I have to then step in and play the bad guy and tell that that they can’t go in 9 days. This is a radical test of humility and faith for the missionaries and it is a test for me to see if the missionary is serious about being a missionary and being wise. If a missionary is willing to walk through this with me and do it the right way I am more then willing to come alongside that missionary and help them out. If they are not willing I always let them know that I will be here for them when they crash and burn. Now the extremely rare occasion does accuse when the Lord clearly speak that this is the necessary step of faith that needs to be taken but that is the exception and not the rule.
As the missionary you need to be humble and in submission to the wisdom of those that have gone before you. These guidelines are not here to quench you are to keep you from fulfilling your calling they are here to make sure that you are actually successful in your calling long term. Always, remember that God called the Apostle Paul to some extremely radical missions but it was over a decade until God said, “ok now it’s time…“