That awkward feeling you get in your stomach when you meet someone new and haven’t a clue what to say to keep the conversation going.
Have you ever met a missionary visiting your church but been at a loss for words beyond, “Thank you for coming.” or “I will be praying for you.”?
You want to get to know them better but wonder what is appropriate to ask them?
Our family has been on deputation (the fund raising season for Baptist missionaries) for 2 years. I’ve seen the look in someone’s eyes multiple times when they’re really wanting to talk with you but aren’t sure what to say. I’ve also been there myself—longing to get to know someone better but simply smiling and walking away instead of talking with them.
I’ve compiled a list of 3 GREAT QUESTIONS to get the conversation flowing and get to know your missionary! I use these myself when meeting a new missionary or pastor’s wife.
The next time you have a visiting missionary (and want to get to know them better), try asking some of the questions below!
- Ask about their FIELD. How were you called to missions and how did you choose your field? Have you taken a survey trip to your field? What did you love most about your field? What do you think will be (or has been) your biggest struggle in adjusting to living on your field? When do you anticipate moving to your field? How long have you been on your field? Missionaries love to share about their burden for the field God has called them to. Asking about their field is an awesome way to learn more about their heart for missions.
- Ask about their HOME. Where is your home base? What is your housing situation? How long did you drive to get to our church and where do you head from here? Did you know that some missionaries on deputation pack and unpack and drive back and forth to churches every week, while some live completely out of their CAR and rely on prophets chambers or hotels for a place to sleep? Others travel in an RV (this is what we do), and go from church to laundromat to church to campground and back to church again. Your visiting missionary may have driven 30 minutes or 30 HOURS to get to your service. Their children may be wiggly because they’ve been buckled into a carseat all day or haven’t eaten dinner yet. Asking about their HOME will help you understand their day to day life better.
- Ask about their FAMILY. How many children do you have and how old are they? How do you homeschool on deputation? How do your little ones cope with so much travel and an unpredictable schedule? What about your extended family–where are they and how often do you get to visit with them? Missionaries are real, normal people, with a love for their family just like you. 🙂 Asking about their FAMILY will help you relate to the missionary better.
Next time you meet a visiting missionary, go from AWKWARD to COMFORTABLE by asking these questions! Not only will you be able to get to know your missionary a little better, you just might make a new friend. 🙂
I have new friends all over the world because we pushed past the awkward stage and got good and comfortable with each other.