For many missionaries, the road to the mission field is a long one. From the time that they first decide to go, to the time that they actually go, it can be many years. There have been applications, candidate courses, church visits, theological studies, support raising, and a thousand other things to be done before they can finally leave.
But that day does come. And it is fantastic. You are finally there! After so much preparation and waiting, it is time to begin the ministry that you’ve been dreaming of.
First comes language study. After all the hurdles that it has taken to get to the mission field, it feels like once you get there, it is time to begin what you’ve always wanted to do. But you can’t. Alas, there is more waiting to do before you get good enough in the local language to say the things that you’ve so desperately wanted to say to the people that you’ve come to serve. But for the moment, you are in no condition to serve anyone because you don’t even know where to pay your electric bill or ask for simple items at the store. But that’s okay, because as you buckle down into language study, your ability to fend for yourself grows by leaps and bounds each day. Everything you are learning is immediately applicable to daily life. Numbers. Colors. Weather. Food. Directions. Months of the year. Past, present, and future tense. You are barely a few months into language study and you can do so much already. Okay, so you can’t share the Gospel yet but, you just wait! At this rate, I’ll be preaching in the streets a year from now.
But a funny thing happened on the way to fluency.