What to Expect When You’re Ex-pat-ing

Reading Time: 6 minutes

expectations overseas

One year after my family arrived in Uganda, I sat in a gentle sunrise on our porch, overlooking a corner of our neighborhood–and evaluating my expectations overseas.

The same cookfires exhaled ribbons of smoke to the sky. The same lorries trundled down the street. Passersby trudged by in the same hole-y clothes and well-worn shower shoes. read more

A Missionary Budget: What Costs Does it Include?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

missionary budget

Wondering what goes into a missionary budget (which, when you’re raising support, can feel overwhelming)? We let you peek behind the curtain with some opinions of other global workers.

“A missionary Budget may cover all the costs of sending the missionary, not just what YOU need to live.”

A missionary budget may include all the expenses of fielding the missionary. Besides a salary, budget categories might include

  • taxes
  • health and life insurance
  • retirement
  • travel expenses (including cost of home assignments)
  • administrative expenses (including the costs of communicating with supporters, and often a certain percentage that supports the mission agency’s home office)
  • training costs (e.g. language school)
  • purchase or rental of property
  • purchase and maintenance of a vehicle.

It’s also wise to include some kind of surplus account, or perhaps a 5% buffer built right into the budget in anticipation of

  • lost support, cost of living increases
  • changing exchange rates
  • inflation
  • an emergency fund and/or insurance that covers medical evacuation

All this can add up to a daunting amount.

But trust me: Cutting corners is not worth the savings.

Being well prepared will help you and your family avoid some of the stress of arriving on the field and not having what you need. 

Most mission agencies include some kind of “admin fee.” What these fees cover varies considerably. A high admin fee may include some of the expenses listed above. A low one may suggest these items are listed elsewhere in your budget.

Editor’s note: If you’re considering going without a sending agency (and budgeting is one of your reasons), be sure to check out our series on the pros and cons.

It’s tempting to cut out things like contingency and retirement funds, but if missions is your career, you may regret neglecting such things.

Online resources you may find helpful: sample missionary budgets, basic budgeting forms, and How Much Is Enough?

Answer from Marti, who’s served as a mission mobilizer since 1995, including more than ten years with Pioneers.

“If married, both should get a salary.”

A missionary candidate recently asked me if I thought it was better for a married couple to both be counted as legal employees. Should just the serving member of the couple be paid, to simplify payroll even if both are working as missionaries?

Our organization issues W-2’s to my wife and I with half of our total income per year. I think it’s more respectful of our partnership to do it that way and honor my spouse’s major contributions to the work. That was our original reason.

We’ve discovered strong financial reasons along the way too.

When you are negotiating your budget with your agency and others, it’s to your advantage to present the full force of your contribution i.e. two full-time workers. Although people might remember there are two of us, it is to your financial advantage to remind them of the income you both are earning together.[su_pullquote align=”right”]For the Scripture says…“The laborer deserves his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:18)[/su_pullquote]

Many missionaries, even if they start under the traditional model of only one marriage partner as the breadwinner, evolve eventually to give both spouses a significant responsibility in the work. There can be a tendency for some to forget that you are working not just 40 hours but 80+ hours as two workers.

Employing both partners accrues Social Security credits for that partner, too. I’m not sure, but I believe this means she’d have higher income in retirement than if she wasn’t an official employee.

Consider, too, that liability insurance and taxation “safe harbor laws” (allowing return to your home state for a number of days without being taxed) likely don’t extend to a non-employee legally.

Answer from Sam in Taiwan, who has served with Beyond and Joni and Friends for well over a decade.

“your MISSIONARY budget is hopefully designed for your longevity on the field, from veterans who’ve realistically counted the cost.”

Raising an amount so much higher than a salary may surprise you. Why’s this necessary? You may be raising the actual costs it takes a business to employ a person (which can be an additional 100-180% of a salary)–plus costs intrinsic to being a successful global worker. 

These expenses may include costs like

  • overhead for project costs for your ministry. For example, if you hope to run a supply distribution for at-risk children, you may be raising costs to maintain that programming. The more independent your project is from your sending organization, the more likely you may need to raise those project costs.
  • travel expenses.
  • your computer, software, internet, desk, chair, phone, office space, etc. Some agencies don’t already provide these.
  • member care. These costs cover critical mental and emotional support for the challenges of living cross-culturally and more challenging circumstances. There are a vital component to your longevity, and should be factored into your budget (or your organization’s).

[su_button url=”https://www.goservelove.net/emotionally-healthy-agency/” target=”blank” style=”3d” background=”#00779b” center=”yes”]Don’t miss CHOOSING AN EMOTIONALLY-HEALTHY MISSIONS ORGANIZATION[/su_button]

Editor’s note: When considering what to relate to potential financial supporters about your own budget, see this post, “RAISING SUPPORT: 2 COMMANDMENTS OF SHARING BUDGET NEEDS”. Sometimes missionary budgets are difficult for non-missionaries to understand without passing undue judgment.


Obviously, lower administrative fees in a missionary budget help reduce your overall budget. But typically, more moderate to high admin fees include more benefits and services that help keep you going on the mission field.

Other thoughts to keep in mind:

  • Different sending organizations have very different philosophies of budget-setting (ranging from frugal to robust, job-based or needs-based). They also have varying levels of control over budget-setting.
  • Ask your organization about categories or aspects of a budget you don’t understand.
  • Keep in mind that the amount may seem overwhelming when you’re raising a high support goal. But your budget is hopefully designed for your longevity on the field, from veterans who’ve realistically counted the cost.
  • It’s also far easier to raise support before your first departure–and much harder to raise from the field and even during travel back to your passport culture. So go well-funded from the start!

Answer from John, the Human Resources director for Engineering Ministries’ International’s offices around the world.

Like this post? You might like

How to Overcome Obstacles and Get Fully Funded

“Is there any way other than begging for financial support?”

The Fix: For What Might Be Broken in Your Fundraising


Becoming a Missionary: Ultimate Preparation Checklist!

Reading Time: 6 minutes

becoming a missionary

Editor’s note: Go. Serve. Love knows the decision and process for becoming a missionary can very quickly become complicated–even overwhelming. It’s why we’re thrilled to partner with the brand-new Mission App, a 15-20 minute application sent for you to mission agencies who match your chosen criteria!

We’re excited to welcome the Mission App today as they hand you their ultimate preparation checklist for becoming a missionary. Drumroll, please.

One more thing: becoming a missionary is a continual process of being shaped. These are essential areas in which to continue growing even, and especially, once on the field.

Use these to increase self-awareness, not as a signal you’ve arrived.

Read: If you’re checking off these boxes and considering them “done!”–you’re missing the idea. Each of these ideas is a touchstone to highlight areas of strength, weakness–and continued necessary growth either way.

Becoming a Missionary: Questions to consider as you prepare!

We understand that becoming a missionary may seem to be a huge, scary unknown.  What if there’s something you haven’t considered… and it’s important?

This Ultimate Checklist is meant to help you think through the questions that matter in becoming a missionary.

Don’t worry – these things will never be checked off as ‘completely accomplished’ for anyone. We just hope you will be encouraged as you see how far God has already brought you.

You might be further along toward becoming a missionary than you think!

And maybe we’ll remind you of something you wish you’d remembered.

Abiding with Jesus – Am I …

  • growing since I first met Jesus? Jot down ways God continues to change you.
  • feeding myself through study of God’s Word? Write highlights of what God has been impressing upon you in the past month from your time in his Word.
  • developing my prayer life? – Jot down how you’ve seen God interact with your prayers this week.

Character / Personal Growth – Am I…

  • demonstrating fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22)? List a few ways you’ve seen this fruit in you this week.
  • quick to repent? List one thing you’ve repented of this week.
  • quick to forgive? Name one thing God’s given you grace to forgive this week.
  • full of integrity? Are your external and internal lives congruent?
  • living in humility? Name recent times you’ve God’s strength through your weakness.
  • learning how to handle conflict well? List one way you hope to grow in your handling of conflict.
  • learning how to handle failure? Name a failure Jesus has brought you through this month.

[su_button url=”https://www.goservelove.net/emotionally-healthy-missions-could-it-save-your-ministry/” target=”blank” style=”3d” background=”#00779b” center=”yes”]Grab critical indicators of EMOTIONALLY-HEALTHY MISSIONS[/su_button]

Family – Do I…

  • have a healthy marriage (if applicable)? Ask your spouse, your kids, your godly close friends what you do well and what you need to learn.
  • need to consider my kids’ readiness to go? Talk with them about the loss of current friends, the making of new ones, & the changing of circumstances (no Wi-Fi maybe?).
  • need to consider responsibilities like adult kids or aging parents? Jot down a prayer asking God for wisdom if this applies to you.
  • understand schooling options for my kids? Talk through if you and your kids are ready for the possibility of boarding school or homeschooling.

Relationship with others – What…

  • characterizes your relationships with those you work with or live near?  Write down positive and negative ways you’ve been described, and how you handle conflict.
  • is it about your life that draws people to you/renders others cold toward you? Write down what comes to mind.
  • shows that you consistently count others as more significant than self? Becoming a missionary means a dedicated life of others-focus–the life of a Christ-follower. Give examples of when you listened well more than you talked of yourself in the last few days.

Church Participation – Am I…

  • involved with a local church? Write down ways you have served in your church in the past and currently.
  • sent by my church? Write down how your church has supported you and confirmed the leading God has given you to share Jesus in another culture.  List those who are praying for you or who are willing to support you financially.

Biblical Formation – Do I…

  • understand core biblical doctrine?  Describe how God is healing the broken relationships in this world (between people and God and between people and each other) using specific Scriptures. What classes or books have you explored to increase your knowledge of solid doctrine? Write down your understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus from Scripture.
  • know how to articulate my faith?  Write down your core beliefs and why you believe them.
  • need to take formal Bible classes? Check with your sending church or organization to see if these are required.

Professional Training – Am I…

God’s Leading –  Can I…

  • put in words how God led me to consider becoming a missionary? Write down how God has led you so far in this journey toward sharing the Good News in another culture.
  • name a specific mission agency I feel connected with? Write a list of agencies that you are considering working with if you know of any.

[su_button url=”https://www.goservelove.net/following-him/” target=”blank” style=”3d” background=”#00779b” center=”yes”]Find all of our posts about DISCERNING GOD’S CALLING OVERSEAS[/su_button]

becoming a missionary

Evangelism & Discipleship Training – Do I…

  • have a heart for reaching out beyond my own life? Becoming a missionary isn’t a magic wand to change your outreach habits! How have you demonstrated reaching out in the last month? (Grab ideas to start right where you’re at.)
  • know how to share the Good News about Jesus? Write down a brief summary of this Good News.
  • have the tools you need, understanding how they might interact with the complex culture to which you hope to go? Jot down questions you may want to pursue answers for.
  • continue to train in discipleship making? Write down where you are learning now or where you could learn.
  • train others already in following Jesus? Write down ways you are currently training others in following Jesus.

Church Planting Training – Have I…

  • thought about planting a church? Write down your thoughts as you pray about this.
  • considered being trained to plant a church? Write down where you might get training.

Cross Cultural Preparation – Do I…

  • know how to adjust to new cultures? Write down how you handle change or being different. (Don’t miss this series on beginning to navigate cultural differences and “icebergs”.)
  • understand the religion in my potential new host country? Do a little research online to start or even better talk to someone.
  • understand the culture in my potential new host country? Do some research and talk to someone who has lived there for more than a year.
  • plan to learn the language? Research what language is most spoken in your potential host culture.  Make a plan of how you will learn; language schools are usually available, or perhaps you’ll employ a tutor.  You may want to find some flash cards (online works, too, or an app like Word Climber) and build your vocabulary in your free time.

becoming a missionary

Becoming a Missionary: Next Steps

If you asked yourself these questions and realized you’re ready to take the next step toward becoming a missionary, here are a few things you may want to do.

Mission Agency Selection

  • Research agencies: Go to themissionapp.com to search easily.
  • Look for options: Talk to people you know about what is available.
  • Find an agency that matches your purpose: Think through how God is leading you in terms of ministry, people group, and location.

[su_button url=”https://www.goservelove.net/meet-agency-series-fit/” target=”blank” style=”3d” background=”#00779b” center=”yes”]Don’t miss Go. Serve. Love’s MEET AN AGENCY series, to help you find a great fit! [/su_button]

Application / Orientation / Training

  • Send in The Mission App’s preliminary application. You can choose to fill out our single application, which we route to multiple agencies that fit your purpose.
  • Fill out full-time application or interview with your choice of agencies. Call them if they don’t call you.
  • Attend mission agency orientation. Your agency provides details of where and when.
  • Attend any extra training required. Your agency will send details of what is required.

Prayer Partners

  • Raise up prayer partners (at least 100). Start with your small group, your church, your family, your friends.
  • Start communicating to prayer partners. You can use a group email, mass email service (like MailChimp), or a Facebook page or Instagram account.  Be consistent in reporting requests and answers.  (Remember to consider security if you are moving to a “creative access country”. Seek out your agency’s wisdom and safety guidelines.)


  • Determine the model of how you will be supported. Your mission agency will likely have this in place.
  • Engage in fundraising training. You don’t have to fly blind–or damage relationships! Learn from organizations who train others in fundraising. (Find out more at Go. Serve. Love’s page on Funding God’s Adventure.)
  • Start fundraising. Let people know what it is exactly that you will be doing and what your financial needs are.

See?  Not so bad.  Now that the adventure of missions is not so unknown, you’ve got a clearer picture of where you stand and what to do next.  Grab ahold of God’s hand and go!

Like this post? Don’t miss gO. sERVE. lOVE’S FREE PRINTABLE, FLEXIBLE TIMELINE FOR YOUR JOURNEY OVERSEAs–and our free self-assessment below!



Choosing an Emotionally Healthy Missions Organization

Reading Time: 4 minutes

emotionally healthy

Missed our last post on Emotionally Healthy Missions? Grab it here!

When you’re headed overseas, it’s easy to underestimate the effects your organization’s health could have on the ability to thrive overseas.

As I type, I think of the friend who called me recently, voice throaty with tears, as she discussed their lack of ability to care for her after stepping off the field.

Or I remember my conversation with the missionary couple who felt they had no option but to leave their organization once they’re on the field.

I think of a young mom who felt her agency had far more interest in “the mission” than they did in the missionaries themselves.

I remember the friend that arrived with her family of five in-country for the first time, but were simply dropped at a boarding house with no cash, no meals for the first night. The whole family went to sleep on an empty stomach.

Feel Free to Date Around

Unfortunately, looking for an organization is a bit like dating. Everyone’s got their best foot forward–and is often unable to see the friction inevitable in a future “marriage”. 

And keep in mind–there’s no perfect partner on either side. The trick is to go in with eyes wide open.

[su_button url=”https://www.goservelove.net/go-overseas-organization/” target=”blank” style=”3d” background=”#00779b” center=”yes”]WONDERING IF YOU SHOULD EVEN GO WITH AN ORGANIZATION IN THE FIRST PLACE?

We weigh critical pros and cons.[/su_button]

How can you set yourself up for a wiser partnership when it comes to the emotional health of an organization?

1. Think bigger than a shared mission–and get intuitive.

Finding a good organizational fit can’t only be about a similar mission and proper theology–because no one wants to share a mission, but deal with unhealthy conflict management, possess few resources to care for trauma, or feel like their org doesn’t really listen.

When dating, I remember looking at the guy’s clothes, observing how he carried on a conversation (do I have to drive the convo constantly? And is he genuinely interested in me?). I watched how he tipped, how he treated the wait staff.

Bring that kind of intuition into your interactions with your missions organization. Chances are, the person who’s interviewing you or answering your questions won’t be the same person managing you or living down the street when you’re overseas.

Gather as much intuitive information as you can, sorting out how each individual changes the dynamic of your interactions and your impression of the agency.

[su_button url=”https://www.goservelove.net/meet-agency-series-fit/” target=”blank” style=”3d” background=”#00779b” center=”yes”]Grab our MEET AN AGENCY SERIES to start your search in the right direction.[/su_button]

2. To find an emotionally healthy agency, Ask Good Questions.

Consider asking questions like these to narrow down your choices to an agency that’s more emotionally healthy.

Questions to ask yourself

  1. How much does this organization value appearances over authenticity?
  2. Do their rhythms and expectations allow great margin for missionaries to replenish and serve from the inside out?
  3. How do I anticipate resting, finding community, being personally discipled, finding personal enjoyment, and otherwise creating an emotionally healthy environment that helps me stay as long and as emotionally healthy as possible?
  4. Who are this organization’s heroes? Of whom do they speak more negatively? (What does this tell me about their values?)
  5. How truthful and realistic does this organization seem?
  6. Do I agree with their approaches to evangelism?
  7. What do I identify with about this organization? What turns me off?

Questions to ask the organization

  1. What infrastructures are already in place for
    • training
    • on-boarding once you arrive
    • debriefing
    • member care
    • trauma care
    • emergency evacuation (physically, but also emotionally)
    • holding staff accountable
    • manager training (Pro tip: healthy management is often taken for granted…until it isn’t there)?

    2. How has your organization and its goals changed to respond to the changing face and theology of missions? (How are you doing missions differently now than you used to?)

    3. How have you dealt with burned-out missionaries in the past?

    4. How do you work to increasingly partner with nationals?

    5. What’s the missionary community like in the area(s) we’re considering? Are there children our kids’ ages? What are the educational possibilities?

    6. Can you offer us any anonymous examples of how you’ve dealt with conflict or missionaries’ “red flags” (porn addiction, severe anxiety, depression, etc.) while on field?

    7. What are your expectations for emotionally healthy home assignments, including

    • timing
    • how we would spend our time while in our passport country
    • ways to replenish ourselves and address needs harder to meet on the field (counseling, etc.)?

    8. What ways do you help missionaries succeed cross-culturally? Who will introduce us to the country cross-culturally?

    9. How do you partner with other organizations interdependently?

    10. What options will be available to us if we need counseling?

    11. For what matters (e.g. with extended family) do you encourage missionaries to return to their home countries temporarily or long-term?

    12. Describe your prayer support system.

    3. Consider your singleness, gender, and unique family structure.

    Questions for Singles

    Elizabeth, a missionary with SEND International for over 37 years, advises these questions for singles:

    1. How are singles, especially single women, viewed in your organization? Can they hold ministry leadership positions?
    2. If singles are part of a team, is there a good balance of singles and married couples?
    3. How is the support structured for singles? Is it assumed they will live with another single or do they have the freedom to live alone?
    4. What are your policies for a single marrying someone from their country of ministry?
    5. Is a single woman treated at all differently than a single man? What is the difference?

    Also, if you are dating or engaged, how does this affect you joining that agency?

    Questions for Families

    Families might also consider questions like these:

    • Jesus sent his disciples out in a minimum of twos. How do I see our family connecting with other like-minded families in the area we hope to go?
    • What are expectations for standards of living, e.g. appropriate and inappropriate levels of comfort?
    • If my marriage or a child needs immediate help with emotional issues, what are our options?
    • What’s the expectation of involvement for missionary spouses?

    Find even more questions to ask of agencies here and here.

    We want to hear from you.

    What questions do you find it critical to ask to find an emotionally healthy missions agency?

    Comment below!

Meet an Agency: Christian Veterinary Mission (CVM)

Reading Time: 6 minutes

We heart this ongoing series–a virtual trip to the coffee shop with organizations to help you go there, serve Him, and love them even better.

(For more thoughts about why you might join an agency–and a handful of reasons you might not–make sure to check out He Said/She Said/You Say? “Should I go overseas with an organization?”, both the pros and the cons.)

Today, because they’re based in the Northwest U.S., we’re grabbing a berry smoothie with Christian Veterinary Mission.

Pull up a chair.


CVM’s vision is to share Christ’s love through veterinary medicine.  We challenge, empower and facilitate veterinary professionals (vets, veterinary technicians, and veterinary students) to serve others by living out their Christian faith.

Through relationships built around the care of livestock and pets, the gospel can be shared in locations often closed to other missionaries.  We call this the “animal bridge”. 

Many of the unreached people groups are livestock-based societies that while not open to the gospel, would welcome someone who could help them with their animals.  From grassroots rural workers to university professors, what we have in common is our use of the “animal bridge” to reach people.



CVM was founded in 1978 by Dr. Leroy Dorminy, who was inspired by a West African woman who said not to come to help, but “Come and teach us, that we can help ourselves.” 

We now have 38 long-term veterinarians and technicians placed in 16 countries and approximately 600 volunteers who serve short-term each year in about 50 countries.


In Uganda, Dr. Daniel Graham is implementing a successful rabbit project among the Batwa people, who were looked upon formerly as slaves. 

Daniel teaches a course on caring for rabbits, and all about rabbit husbandry. Then those who complete the training course and demonstrate that they have built the housing necessary are given a pair of rabbits.

The first offspring come back to the project for the next round of training and recipients.  This gives him the opportunity with each lesson to share the Gospel and biblical principles and build relationships leading to spiritual conversations where it would be very difficult otherwise.

Daniel started a School of Ministry where pastors and church planters are trained by studying through the entire Bible in a year and then sent out.  From last year’s class, 3 students in a Muslim area have planted 5 churches, and asked Daniel to come to their area to give additional training.

Three other students have gone to the Batwa people and are planting churches there—locating several groups of Batwa in more remote areas where they were previously unknown.  They want Daniel to move there and help plant churches—an opportunity that opened because of the rabbit project.

When Turkeys Become Your Church Project

Last year, after Daniel trained on evangelism and disciple-making, he challenged each student to prayerfully choose someone in the surround community to evangelize and disciple, putting into practice what they had learned.

To kick it off, each student invited their new friend to the small neighborhood church which Daniel and a Ugandan doctor has worked together to get started.  When these new friends gathered, Daniel taught a course on animal husbandry for turkeys.

Thus it became a church project!  At the end of the course, each participant got a pair of turkeys to take home; as it was for the rabbits, two offspring would be returned to the project for the next opportunity.

This provided an opportunity for the students to continue their new friendships, visiting to ask how the turkeys were doing, and to evangelize and then disciple the ones they had felt the Lord led them to select from the community.

The turkeys were a great success themselves.  But better yet, many families started coming to church.

They explained that they had thought the church was just for the kids program, not for adults.  Now over 120 new people attend church, and a number have committed their lives to Christ and become baptized.

These are a direct result of using turkeys to show the love of Christ with human compassion and evangelism.  From humble turkeys to new life in Christ!

“Use the Tools that God has Given You”

Daniel wrote,

You never know what might happen when you use the tools that God has given you to reach out to those around you who are desperate for love and hope.

God uses veterinarians, especially to reach people who rely on their livestock for culture and survival.

In Tanzania, one church planter tells of going to a village and only getting to talk to about 6 people. But the next day, the veterinary team arrived.

As they treated animals, people would ask why they were helping them—an immediate opportunity to talk about the love of Jesus. 

Over the next couple days, they got to talk to more than 80 people and 60 made decisions to follow Christ—and a church was planted.  One of the village elders gave his own property as a place for the new church to meet.

In Central African Republic, a veteran missionary begs for veterinarians to come join their team.  “We have years of good relationships. We have spiritual materials translated.  But when I go out to the Fulani cattle camps, I can’t help with what they hold most dear.  A veterinarian would make all the difference.” 

He knows.  We previously had a vet there for a year, and it made the difference.


  • Christ-centered (multi-denominational)
  • Veterinary-focused
  • Relational
  • Supportive and Flexible
  • Collaborative partnerships


We encourage people to participate with CVM to get to know us as an agency first.  This might be going on a short term mission trip with us, or attending our long term missions orientation (generally a 2.5 day seminar offered once a year). It could be coming to a “Real Life, Real Impact” conference at a veterinary college (six times a year), or completing some of our free online modules.

Our first step is a simple Missions Interest Assessment form and a learning needs assessment that helps us recommend specific trainings based on an individual person’s experience.

Common recommendations for serious candidates would be

  • language learning and cross-cultural training
  • support raising (deputation)
  • Biblical foundations
  • Perspectives on World Christian Mission course
  • Training of Trainers in Participatory Methods (offered by CVM about once a year)

We ask for six references (two professional, two personal and two spiritual).

Once an applicant is approved by our personnel committee, they become an official candidate and we come alongside them and their church as they do further training and support raising.

CVM phase chart


We are looking for veterinary professionals with a commitment to Christ.

No two positions are alike. Some work in rural villages with subsistence farmers.  Others teach at universities. Some serve in modern animal clinics with pets in cities or large animals in the countryside, while others teach with what they carry in a backpack.

We work toward sustainability, participation, and transformational development. 


A CVM worker needs flexibility, resilience, creativity, and the humility to serve under national leadership.  All of our workers serve with an in-country partner.

Rarely do we have more than one CVM worker in a given location. Teams are inter-denominational and international in make-up.

Singles, married and families serve with CVM around the world. We have women and men, and both large animal and small animal veterinary professionals.


Red flags would be those who are rigid in how they think things should be done and unable to partner with national believers.


Think about how you can use your profession where you are now to share the love of Christ with those you work with and those you serve. Start now to use that animal bridge to build relationships.

Pray that God will give you a vision for how these skills might serve overseas.

Contact CVM now!  Come to our conferences, check out our website, try out a short term trip, contact our US-based regional representative for your area and get to know us.

We would love to come alongside you as you explore the possibilities even if you don’t go overseas for another ten years.  We are a fellowship of Christian veterinary professionals serving together wherever God has placed us.

Some people come to us with a specific calling to a specific part of the world. Others have a vague sense that God might be calling them but no idea where, when or how. Let us be a part of your journey.

Contact CVM by clicking here,

or email International Programs Director

Dr. Brad Frye at bfrye@cvm.org


Meet an Agency: Studio

Reading Time: 4 minutes

We heart this new, ongoing series–a virtual trip to the coffee shop with organizations to help you go there, serve Him, and love them even better.

(For more thoughts about why you might join an agency–and a handful of reasons you might not–make sure to check out He Said/She Said/You Say? “Should I go overseas with an organization?”, both the pros and the cons.)

Today, we’re grabbing a white mocha with Studio, a dynamic internship program designed to equip long-term workers for the Muslim world. 

Since we’re passionate about the unreached 4.13 billion, we can’t wait to tell you about this org.

Pull up a chair.



Our passion is equipping long-term workers for resiliency and fruitfulness among the unreached in the 10/40 window. 

Far too many cross-cultural ministers of the Gospel return to their home countries without seeing the fruit they wanted to see—unfortunately, often before their language ability is sufficient to lead a Bible Study in the host language. 

At Studio, we’re changing that with pre-field training that includes daily practical application, including real-life ministry among immigrants from unreached people groups. [su_pullquote align=”right”]Need to Know: “The 10/40 Window is a term coined by Christian missionary strategist and Partners International CEO Luis Bush in 1990 to refer to those regions of the eastern hemisphere, plus the European and African part of the western hemisphere, located between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator, a general area that was purported to have the highest level of socioeconomic challenges and least access to the Christian message and Christian resources on the planet.” Wikipedia.org [/su_pullquote]


We started Studio in 2016, and are now in our seventh three-month session. We have 40 graduates in full-time service in 18 countries across the 10/40 window.



All of our training is practical and reproducible, and our goal is to see our graduates training others on the field for greater resiliency and fruitfulness.  In one country, Studio alumni are partnering with local churches in training believers to reach out to unengaged peoples in their own region in effective ways.  We love to see our training multiplying to equip those on the “front lines”!


  • Fruitful
  • Resilient
  • Humble
  • Hungry
  • Transformed


Studio is only for those called to long-term service among the unreached.  All our trainers have spent their careers in church-planting ministry in the 10/40 window, and teach from real-life experience.


We combine adult-oriented classroom teaching with practical experience among refugees and immigrants in the context of community living and the stresses of team life, so our graduates go to the field with a complete toolbox they already know how to use.


Studio is a ‘first step’ to your long-term field ministry. After you’ve joined a team and raised your financial support, we invite you to come to Studio to gain and hone real-life field ministry skills.


We are looking for people committed to seeing movements of Jesus-followers raised up among every people group!  We are looking for people who are humble and hungry, eager to learn, and to practice what they are learning.  We are looking for those who want mentoring, growth, and ongoing transformation into the likeness of Jesus.


A big red flag would be a belief that training isn’t necessary; that we already know everything we need to know and have nothing new to learn!


Get involved in ministry to refugees and immigrants here among us.  Serve them, pray for them, pray with them, learn from them.  See what God is doing and how He wants you to join Him!

Interested in Studio? Email info@studioteam.org to discover more and/or enroll!

[su_button url=”https://www.goservelove.net/meet-agency-series-fit/” target=”blank” style=”3d” background=”#00779b” center=”yes”]Like this post? You might like our entire MEET AN AGENCY SERIES! Click here to check out another org![/su_button]


What Mindset Helps You Stay Overseas?

Reading Time: 5 minutes


You’re no doubt burning a lot of fuel, so to speak, to get overseas. Considering the 4.13 billion unreached, you know the needs are critical.

But what if getting there isn’t the only hard part?

What does it take to stay there?

For example, Thrive Ministry reports that approximately 31,000 North American women serve as global workers. Of those, about 4,000 women leave the field yearly for potentially preventable reasons. (See related survey results on missionary attrition here.)

What mindsets can help you stay onfield?

MINDSET 1: I will listen to my body, my family, and my long-term capacity.

The heroism regularly bestowed on overseas missions may cause you to think building God’s Kingdom is worth the subtle destruction of one member of the Kingdom for the rest–i.e., you. Your marriage. Your kids.

This doesn’t mean missions doesn’t demand self-sacrifice. Or that we don’t follow Jesus in carrying his cross.

But is our compelling message that Jesus is most pleased with burnout, lack of rest, and internal denial?

[su_button url=”https://www.goservelove.net/limitations-support-raising/” target=”blank” style=”3d” background=”#00779b” center=”yes”]Don’t miss Embracing Limitations: When Moving Overseas Kicks Your Tail[/su_button]

Courtney Doctor writes in her book Identity Theft of lies that tempt us from our core identity as children of God:

The lie of the slave says you have to work and work hard, to secure and sustain the Lord’s love…your worth is tied to your ability to produce and behave.

….The lie of the orphan says you’ve been abandoned and are all alone. No one really cares about you, provides for you, protects you, or loves you.

Remember our chief end as people: not just to glorify God, but enjoy him. 

Check out more at Never Forget: You are More than What You Do for God.

MINDSET 2: I will seek out mutual relationships encouraging grace and vulnerability.

Constantly in “helper” mode, it’s critical you also seek out relationships that are mutual: that demonstrate to you, too, over and over, God’s care for you apart from what you do for him. That show God as a strong tower for you–a refuge, a place where you can be upheld and refreshed. A place where you can seek counsel and encouragement.

Paul speaks frequently about how he’s encouraged by other believers, like in Romans 12: “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”

If you don’t have this overseas, perhaps you look for it by video conferencing regularly with a counselor or trusted friend who will ask you good questions, pray for you, and tell you the truth.

MINDSET 3: I will seek out members of the Body of Christ to participate with me.

Remember: Jesus sent his disciples in twos. It’s ideal that people would glimpse not just one person made in God’s image, but interact with his Body: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

And check out 1 Corinthians 12:21: “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’”

If you’re not already going with an organization, don’t miss the important tips in He Said/She Said/You Say? Should I Go Overseas with an Organization? The “Nope” Side.

If you’re seeking a team that best works with you, your gifting, your personality, and your personal sense of mission, check out MEET AN AGENCY: A Series to Help You Find a Great Fit.

Mindset 4: “Need” does not equal “called”.

Needs will be everywhere when you go overseas. The problem will likely not be “I hope I can find something useful for my time.”

It will much more likely be, “There is so much devastating need. How do I know what to say ‘yes’ to?”

While there is something truly beautiful and faith-filled in spontaneously helping–Here am I! Send me!–there is also great beauty in wise, well-considered steps of faith.

Yet, as I discovered when my husband and I considered adopting overseas, there is a sizeable gap between the person I want to be and the person I have capacity to be.

My dreams, I told my husband, will probably always surpass what I am actually able to do.

Acting solely based on need, rather than considering whether or not I actually have the capacity, can actually reveal my unbelief.

It’s as if God desperately needs me, and only me. It’s as if the Body of Christ–and God’s ability to provide–are not to be trusted.

Rather than working from peace, occasionally I work out of fear, wringing my hands over problems–rather than out of faith and deep joy. I think more highly of myself than I ought (Romans 12:3).

At times it can be a large view of myself, and small view of God.

Mindset 5: I will choose to resolve conflicts biblically, humbly–replaying what Jesus did for me.

Don’t miss 10 Ways to Make Sure Conflict Pulls You off the Field.

Mindset 6: success may not look like i saw it going in my head.

I once spoke to a woman whose parents, for four generations, were missionaries in Japan and China. It took 20 years before they saw their first convert.

If I remember correctly–sadly, this occured during a time of famine and drought, when the missionaries helped build a well. (Most of us don’t think, “Oh, goody! A famine!”–nor should we.)

As you’ve probably discovered with a God whose great success plan, the Cross, looked like a total failure–his ways are simply different. And higher. And more mysterious.

Thomas Merton writes in his “Letter to a Young Activist”,

Do not depend on hope of results. When…doing…essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no results at all, if not perhaps results opposite …

The big results are not in your hands or mine.…

All the good that you will do will not come from you but from the fact that you have allowed yourself, in the obedience of faith, to be used by God’s love.

Mindset 7: I will be all in.

What’s this look like? Learning the language. Making a home. Building relationships like you’re staying indefinitely. Finding ways to deal constructively with your very real cultural frustrations, rather than pressure building indefinitely, or just venting with other disgruntled missionaries.

After all: You’re no longer on a short-term trip. You’re here, like Jesus, to move into the neighborhood; to dwell among them (see John 1:14).

Get ready to stay there, and be truly present, as long as God has you there.ou’re burning a lot of fuel, so to speak, to get overseas. But what if that’s not the only hard part? What does mindset does it take to stay there?

Time to hear from you!
What mindset has been helpful as you prepare to go overseas–
or if you’ve already been, to stay there?
Join the conversation in the comment section.

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