dating on the mission field

SAM_4445So can you date a national?  Are you racist if you say, “No!”  Have you considered the cultural differences?  In some mission fields the differences are striking while on other fields the differences are minimal. 

What happens if you do fall in love with a national? Is that national merely a gold-digger, looking for a passport to a better country? What will happen to your ministry? Will you have to leave the mission organization? Will you start over raising support as a couple? What nationality will your passport become?  How will other nationals view your ministry with one spouse being supported by outside help?

These are all logistical questions that go beyond the regular questions of whether or not you have chosen a good and godly mate. And even more so, they are questions that single missionaries face if they ever get the chance. Most of us have chosen to follow the Lord and give up the remote possibility of meeting someone.  When you live in a village in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by people with very little education, no electricity or running water, you find that you have little in common with which to start a relationship of that level. (Don’t get me wrong, I have many close friends in the village, but I could never imagine a guy that makes $300/year supporting me as his wife!)

So we follow the Lord in Faith. Sometimes he brings an Helpmate along our paths and then we face all those logistical questions, but more often than not, we are alone. We have comfort and companionship in Christ and in Christ alone. We live a life in which our family cannot really understand us and those we minister to cannot really comprehend where we come from either.  Our co-workers which understand us a bit often are coming and going; as are we.  So in Christ and Christ alone we find solace, rest, fellowship, love, comfort, a constant friend.

How to Love the Unlovable?

In ministry we meet many people. We teach many people. We run various ministries. Work with many leaders. Some are working on this sin and some that sin in their lives. We are all imperfect saints. We are all working on living for our Saviour – or we should be.  We have different personalities, backgrounds, training, experiences. All of these combine to make us who we are and help us in what we do.

Picture1 (1)But there are some people in this family of God that are just hard to get along with!  Maybe I’m one of them, but then again, I strive not to be.  I’m talking about those ones that come to help and then stand around doing nothing. The ones that talk about people behind their backs. The ones that judge others refusing to the see how far they’ve come. The ones that live in sin purposefully. The ones that blatantly ignore certain commands of God.

You can fill in the blanks with names of your circle or with other areas that are just frustrating. 

God give us patience as we deal with these people. We are in ministry we are supposed to love them. We are supposed to train them. We are supposed to be there for them. But sometimes they don’t want our help. They don’t listen to our advice. They bluntly tell us off. Then what?

When you see a brother or sister harming another in ministry, what do you do?  Do you stand up for them? Do you fight back in a sinful manner? 

Do you pray for them? Do you love them?

I don’t have the answers to these frustrating situations. I know that we each need to look at ourselves and make sure we aren’t being those stubborn saints harming those around us. We need to make sure that we aren’t judging. We need to seek to love as Christ loved us. We need His Spirit to work in and through us, empowering us to love and keep on giving even when it seems impossible.

And there are days when we need to find the support of godly men and women and get their advice on how to handle a situation.