Dear Tobias…What’s the Worst & Best Thing about Being a Missionary?

November 23, 2014

Hi Tobias,

We’ve never met before but I’ve heard a lot about you from some mutual friends. My wife and I spent this past weekend with some missional families stateside and I know God has broken our hearts for the lost, especially for those in the 1040 window. I just wanted to say that honestly until taking this trip I never TRULY understood how much work and how much sacrifice it takes so I just want to say Thank You for what you do. I’ve prayed many times for you before, but after learning more from our friends I hope my prayers may be more effective.

My wife and I are thinking of missioning and I just wanted to ask you, what was the hardest or most difficult life change you had to deal with when you became a missionary? Also if you can sum it all up in a few sentences how has your life changed for the better?

Thank you again for all you do.

God Bless,


November 24, 2014

Sup Kai,

So excited about you and your wife and how God is moving in your hearts. I appreciate you being real and praying for us!! Great questions. First off, no one “becomes” a missionary – we are ALL missionaries the moment we chose to follow Christ. We are ALL sent ones – it’s just that most Christians don’t realize it yet.

Your first question: What’s the hardest thing about being a missionary?

By the world’s standard life as a missionary is the worst life you can possibly have:

  • You won’t own a home like all your friends do. You’ll never have a reliable car. You will forever be a pilgrim and international sojourner.
  • You won’t have a 50 inch LED and you won’t be able to shoot aliens or zombies on Xbox anymore. You will no longer have time.
  • You won’t have money to save. You won’t have a retirement plan and you will never be financially secure. You’ll be trusting God to provide each month.
  • You won’t have your close friends and family nearby. You will miss birthdays, weddings, funerals and graduations. The people you know will grow up without you.
  • You won’t know all the latest pop-culture news, songs, videos and apps. You won’t know who won the latest super bowls or NBA finals and you’ll “discover” things like Twitter, five years after it was launched.
  • You won’t have all the foods you’re used to. You won’t have all the modern services you are used to. You won’t have the weather you’re used to. You’ll have to adapt to eating and living differently.
  • You will struggle with speaking a different language. No one will understand you and you’ll have to start over and humble yourself like a kid with disabilities.
  • You will struggle with learning a different culture. You’ll have to strip away your own cultural practices and become culturally naked for the sake of the Gospel.
  • You will struggle with loving people who sometimes hate you. You will struggle helping lost people who hate Jesus. In many places you will face hostility and people will mistrust you, reject you or arrest you.
  • You will struggle with working with diverse teams. Sometimes your greatest struggle will be with other Christians, churches or missionaries. You’ll find mixed agendas, disunity and disrespect.
  • You will struggle with health. You may get sick often and have a lot of diarrhea and even get dengue fever. There will not be any emergency medical attention when needed unless you have international health insurance.
  • You will struggle with your kids’ education. You won’t know whether to home school or put them in a local school. The international schools will be too far away. Your kids won’t have friends that speak their language.
  • You will struggle spiritual attack through, depression, doubt, thoughts about giving up and arguments with your spouse about not spending enough time together. You’ll wonder if your family is being neglected because you are doing too much “ministry”.
  • You will struggle with the pressure of churches & supporters who want to see results. You’ll be frustrated with people who want reports and numbers and short-term teams that visit but don’t understand the context.
  • You won’t have much accountability or communication. You will hardly hear from your “closest” friends stateside. You’ll feel alone and the only coaching and support you’ll receive are the ones you seek out yourself.
  • You won’t receive any credit for the work you do. There are no degrees, rewards or plaques. You won’t have a website highlighting your name and no one will probably write a book about you.
  • And the list goes on…

Your last question: What’s the best thing about being a missionary?

By God’s standard life as a missionary is the best life you can possibly have:

  • You’ll be living out your God-given passion and be COMPLETELY satisfied in Him.

Your Brother in the Faith,

6 thoughts on “Dear Tobias…What’s the Worst & Best Thing about Being a Missionary?

      • Yeah bro! I’m Hmong and located in Raleigh, NC. I found my way to the nations somehow and will support in anyway I can. We gotta get all people out there to blitz the gospel! It’ll change the whole generation. Much love to you bro and blessings on your endeavors!

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