When we chat here at Go. Serve. Love about the kind of information and stories we want to tell you, the idea has always been the feel of a virtual cup of coffee with a knowledgeable, thoughtful global worker.
What would they tell you? And what questions would you ask?
Because creating networks of people around you who get this vision, this passion, this rabbit hole into which you might soon be descending–is part of connecting yourself with the Body of Christ. Of being sent well.
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)
So this week, we’re challenging you: Take the initiative to interview a missionary around you–someone who lived overseas in the past, or who’s visiting on home assignment.
Start with questions like these. (This might be more than one cup of coffee’s worth.) Consider sending them the questions beforehand–and also paying for their coffee, of course.
As you listen, thank and affirm them for ways they’ve served God. Look for themes in their story, and reflect what you’re hearing. Tell them what’s helpful from what they’re saying.
Interview a Missionary: The Questions
Before you went
- What compelled you to go overseas?
- How did your reasons for going morph or change–to become the reasons you stayed?
- What was part of the cost you knew you’d have to count? Was there part of the cost you can tell me about that you didn’t expect?
- What do you wish you’d known before you went?
- Describe your first few months overseas.
- What were the biggest adjustments? What was plain hard?
- Tell me was different from what you expected.
- What was exhilarating and life-changing?
- What would you have done differently?
- Describe a typical day for you.
- What did you miss most about your passport country?
- Tell me about one of your closest friendships overseas. And do you have any advice for building community?
- Where you served, what was the greatest spiritual need, in your opinion? What did that look like?
- What were a few of your most meaningful moments or seasons there?
- As you feel comfortable, tell me about one of your hardest times overseas. Is there anything you wish you could have told yourself?
- What were some of the aspects you enjoyed most?
- Describe what you most appreciate(d) about your host culture. What was hardest to understand or stomach?
- How did you care for your own soul overseas? (Any recommendations for keeping healthy rhythms of rest and renewal?)
- May I ask about what it was like working with your team–and recommendations you’d have to help me function well on a team?
- Any tips on thriving as a single overseas? / Any tips on helping a family thrive overseas?
- What did you love, and not-so-much, about home assignments? Got ideas to help do home assignment well?
- What transitions were hardest for you, either overseas or when you came back?
- What’s the most common misperception of you or your realities by people in your passport country or sending church(es)?
- How are you different from when you first left to go overseas? How do you view the world differently?
- What do you wish you could explain about your time overseas?
Did you interview a missionary? Tell us about it!
What wisdom could you share?
Comment below with their insights and “aha” moments!
Janel Breitenstein is an author, freelance writer, and speaker, as well as the editor for Go. Serve. Love. After five and a half years in East Africa, her family of six has returned to Colorado, where they continue to work on behalf of the poor with Engineering Ministries International. Janel also frequently writes and speaks to missionary women through Thrive Ministry.
Her book, Permanent Markers: Spiritual Life Skills to Write on Your Kids’ Hearts (Harvest House) released October 2021. You can find her—“The Awkward Mom”—having uncomfortable, important conversations at JanelBreitenstein.com, and on Instagram @janelbreit.