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My life has been deeply marked by godly men and women serving God globally. One of those couples is Carlos and Zeza Nogueira who serve with Word of Life in Mozambique. Carlos was a Pastor in Brazil for many years before becoming a missionary. One night while we were enjoying some exceptional Brazilian coffee, he shared with me his thoughts on the privilege of being a missionary.

I was so moved by his words, I wanted to share them with you. I think you too will be challenged. As he talked about the privilege of serving on the mission field, he said, “I have the privilege to:

  1. Understand my citizenship in Heaven.

There is the realization you will never be a citizen of the new country where you are a missionary, and the longer you live in the new country the less you feel part of your home country. This provides a great opportunity to begin understanding our citizenship in heaven rather than having feelings of detachment.

  1. Learn how to be flexible.

We live in a very unstable world. Changes in our home country (politics, churches, donors) and changes in the mission field are certain. This requires me to develop a flexible and simpler life.

  1. Test the basis of my calling.

You can count on problems with Missionary relationships, the mission office, family abroad, churches, donors, support, expectations, results, etc. All of these problems provide a basis for testing my calling.

  1. See my own culture in a different way.

You see your own culture differently when you are away from it which gives a greater appreciation. On the mission field, you will have the privilege of viewing yourself and your culture through different “glasses.”

  1. Discover new ways of communicating the same Gospel.

How do you share the Gospel to an oral culture who can’t read or write? Obviously, you can’t use tracts. Because there may be no electric power in many places, you may not be able to use PowerPoint. You can’t use western and urban examples to a rural, eastern people. The message of the Gospel does not change but the methods do!

  1. Experience not only the loss of precious people and things, but the gain of precious people and things.

You may move away from family, friends, and processions but you move to people who become family and friends. Jesus addresses this in Mark 10: 29-30.

  1. Connect people in a different culture with eternal change.
Jesus is the answer, not me! I also have to remember, they didn’t ask me to come. I am the one who has to adapt to them, not them adapt to me. I must do everything to make the message of the Gospel clear to them.

I asked Carlos if he had any final words before we finished our conversation about missions: “This is the most meaningful and wonderful work in all the world; I feel so privileged that these wonderful people are willing to allow me to minister in their country. I am also blessed to have people support me to do this work. I am a privileged man.”

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