10 Things Missionaries Won’t Tell You

By Posted in - Vision on July 6th, 2014 96 Comments 10

Due to the popularity of this post (and the fact that it kept crashing my personal site) I’ve redirected the original link to this page, where I have much more bandwidth. The full content of the original post can be found below. Unfortunately, I can’t mirror the comments, but rest assured, they are intact and will be available back at the original site once the traffic eases a bit. Thanks for your understanding!  -Adam

Being a missionary is hard work. Everybody knows that. But the things we think of as the hard parts – lack of modern amenities, exposure to disease, and the like – only begin to scratch the surface of the difficulties of real missionary life. Often, it is the things left unsaid that really begin to erode the passion and soul of a missionary. Here are just a few of those things…




Have you read my latest newsletter?


Newsletters, blog posts, website updates – all the “experts” tell me that I need to be sending you fresh content on a regular basis so you won’t forget about me. But here’s the thing…writing is hard, especially for those who aren’t natural writers. You know what else is hard? HTML, CSS, PHP, and a bunch of other tech-geek stuff that you have to learn about just to make a decent-looking website or email. I really want to tell you what’s going on, but it’s hard to turn out gripping narratives while I have a sick child asleep in my lap. And if I have to look up how to code a “mailto” link one more time, I’m going to scream!




Thank you so much for the encouragement!


I’m glad that you liked my Facebook status. I really am. The thing is, when I say we need $1,200 by the end of the week to pay the school fees for orphaned children, I’m talking about actual dollars and actual need. Contrary to the rumors, Bill Gates doesn’t donate a dollar for every Like. That part is up to you. So, the next time you Like my status, consider sending a few bucks my way too.




I’m trusting God to provide, and I’m so thankful for our donors.


Lest you think #2 sounded a little whiny and money-hungry, you should know that I truly despise asking for money. I always have. And now I have to ask for it almost all the time. Even when I’m not asking for it, I’m thinking about asking for it. There are never enough funds to do all the good I’m trying to do, and I live with a nagging feeling that the one person I don’t ask is the one who would have written the big check. So, when I ask for money, know that I do so with fear and trembling.




Please pray for me. It has been a challenging week.


Things are pretty bad here. If I told you what’s really going on, you would either come rescue me, or think I was exaggerating. If you heard some of the things I’ve said out loud, you might question my salvation. If you knew some of the thoughts I’ve had rattling around in my head, you might question my sanity. Sometimes good days are hard to come by, but I don’t dare tell you the worst. If I did, you would probably tell me to throw in the towel.




I just need a time of refreshing.


After 2 or 3 years of hard work, most people feel like they deserve a little break. Take the family to the beach. Visit a theme park, a national park, or Park City. I would love a vacation, but honestly, I feel guilty “pampering” myself, rather than putting all my time and resources into the ministry. On top of that, I know some people will judge me if my vacation is “too nice.” If I scrape and save pennies for 5 years so I can spend a week on an exotic island, you’ll never hear about it, because I can’t handle the snarky, “It must be nice” comments (the ones you’ll say to my face), or, “My donations paid for your vacation” (which you’ll think, but not say out lout – at least not to me). So, I keep some great stuff to myself for fear of being judged.




I’m so excited about your team coming!


Bless your heart. You think you’re doing me a favor. Thirty people show up at my door and expect me to provide transportation, food, lodging, sight-seeing, and a list of service projects a mile long. You’re here to “help.” The thing is, the other 51 weeks out of the year, we manage to do what needs to be done here just fine. That is, except for the time we spend working on the logistics for your team. You come over and want to help build a fence, when I can hire local workers to build a fence for a tiny fraction of what you spent to come here. I appreciate your desire to help, and I even love having visitors, but consider the size and expectations of your group before you plan your trip. A team of 3 or 4 highly skilled people is much more valuable to our ministry than a gaggle of mission tourists.




It’s great to be back home.


Please understand, I now have two homes. When I’m at one, I’m away from the other, and there is a lot of emotion involved in that. On top of that, my life is absolutely crazy when I go “home.” I have to see relatives and friends, visit with partner churches, and take care of any number of issues that have arisen with my health, my electronic devices, and my government paperwork. Whether it’s a few weeks or a few months, I spend my time living out of suitcases and hustling from one appointment to the next. Is it good to be home? Sure. But when I get on that plane to go to my other home, I breathe a sigh of relief that life is almost back to “normal.”




I’m not very good at self-care.


Let’s face it, I’m no saint. I’m not any more spiritual than you are. I don’t start my day with three hours of devotional reading and prayer. I typically just get up and get to work. And there is a lot of work to be done. In fact, there is so much need here that it’s really easy to become so focused on doing things for God that I lose sight of God himself. In pursuing my calling, I’ve somehow forgotten about the caller. My spiritual life is almost nonexistent, other than the occasional desperate cry of “Why God?”




I’m just looking for some good strategic partners.


There are good people here, there really are. But I have seen the worst of humanity in my work here – much of it from people I worked with and trusted. Other missionaries and pastors can be the worst. Just when you think you know someone, they stab you in the back, the front, and both sides. I’ve gotten to where I simply don’t trust anyone. My guard is up, and it’s not coming down. I refuse to get burned again. If that means I have to do everything myself, then so be it.




I’m OK – just really busy with the ministry.


Having neglected my relationship with God, and given up on people entirely, I’m left with just me. I hate it. I want to quit. I have dreams about what my life would be like if I went back to my old home town, to my old church, and my old friends. I could get a normal job earning a salary – with healthcare and paid vacation. I could shop and eat at normal places. Most of all, I could have normal relationships. But here? I’m all alone. I don’t know if there’s anyone like me here, and I know no one back home understands. I want to feel wanted, invited, and loved. I want someone to pour into me the way I’m pouring into others.

I am incredibly grateful for my missionary friends around the world who helped me formulate this list. If you are a friend, family member, or supporter of a missionary, please share this with them and begin a quality discussion about these issues. For more on our response, visit www.trinitykenya.com

(96) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • dan waits -

    July 6, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    I’m married to a former Southern Baptist missionary who lived, worked, & ministered in medicine in Kenya during the 1970’s. She lived in Kisumu & did mobile clinics in the surrounding areas. When she took me to Kenya in the winter of 1983, we went through Nakuru many times.

    EVERY thing you mentioned in this blog she has told me about over the last 30+ years. You’re completely spot on – what’s more, you told us only enough to maybe understand your situation. If you told the complete story, it would have been too much for folks to absorb..

    I won’t quote you any 10 cents worth of scripture – you’ve read them as much as I have, I’m sure.

    I won’t give you any advice or offer any encouragement – you’ve probably thought of anything I could say a thousand times.

    Maybe the only thing I have to give is 2 simple words…

    I understand

  • Fran Love -

    July 8, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Thank you Adam! I am going to MLM this October and would love to share a quote from this blog. It will resonate with others as it has with me.

  • Ramona Bose -

    July 9, 2014 at 6:13 am

    This sharing has opened my eyes to so much I did not understand before. I am thankful for this

    • Meredith Chandler -

      July 18, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      Thank you soo much for the insight. Your list has opened my eyes a little more. I’ll definitely be sharing this with my friends.

  • SG -

    July 9, 2014 at 9:01 am

    My sister sent this to me. My wife and I work overseas and know many of the emotions expressed here. Thank you for your authentic “top ten” list from the not so great side of life as a missionary.

    With that said, I must confess that I think #3–“They ask for money because they have no choice” –is simply an incorrect view of support-raising and detrimental to both those who receive and those who give. Support-raising is an incredible honor. It is not (as many suppose) ME asking people to give THEIR money so I can make a living. Rather, it is me inviting people to INVEST in the best thing they could ever spend their money on–the Kingdom of God. My job is to help other people steward their money in such a way that it is not only good for me…but good for them. This is an incredible responsibility and honor. I LOVE getting to invite others to give away “their” money for kingdom causes. Let’s face it though, it’s not their money and when I receive it, it’s not mine either. It is God’s money.

    If I were honest, I did not always think this way. I used to “despise” asking people for money, as the article states. That is, until I had a conversion (see Henry Nouwen’s “The Spirituality of Fund-Raising”). Since then, God has been showing me the power of inviting others into his Kingdom work. These people PARTNER with me, they don’t support me. They will receive treasure in heaven (just like I will) for the people that come to know Jesus because of OUR partnership together in the Gospel (Phil. 1:3-4). We should not despise inviting people to invest in something far better than cars, food, and a million other things that will not last. Jesus didn’t (see Luke 8:1-3). If he can humble himself and receive from others, so can I.

    Again, thank you for writing this. I am not sure if you wrote these to be purely descriptive of how missionaries think (and not necessarily healthy) or if you wrote assuming some of these were permissible ways of conducting ourselves (and people should simply be aware of how permissible they are). I will choose to believe the latter rather than the former. Either way, a great piece.

    For a longer and more complete work on raising support and the joys of it please read “The God Ask” by Steve Shadrach

    • Ruth Morris -

      July 9, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      The part about support raiding is good. I too had to learn that my sharing God’s vision in my ministry is an open invitation for others to answer God’s call to become part of this ministry. Yes, the money is not for me but for God’s vision. Amen

    • SG -

      July 12, 2014 at 7:15 pm

      oops. I meant to say “I will choose to believe the former rather than the latter.” That is to say, I will believe the best. Sorry for the confusion that may have caused.

    • HIK -

      July 13, 2014 at 9:02 pm

      I work as a full time missionary, and i agree that if you are having these thoughts about #3.. then you don’t fully understand why we “support raise”
      I fully agree with SG and what they said was spot on. It’s really a paradigm shift of what it means to “receive donations” from people.
      i also i have friends (who have incredible giftings) that earn money as they do missions. one friend of mine writes music programs for companies on the side and earns quite the amount. in reality, they don’t need to ask for financial support but they ASK anyway. because it’s not about the money. It’s really about partnering and giving the chance to bring people int he work that the Lord is doing. Yes, money is important and we need it to help us do things and get places, but my point here is that if we could be doing all of these things with sea shells, we’d be asking for sea shells. get what i’m trying to say? we ask because we want more people to be apart of His kingdom and experience the joy that we get to see when we see a person saved, or a hungry fed, or a broken hearted loved.

      I am just as guilty with #3. two years ago I DREADED doing newsletters and asking people to “join me” or “partner” with me .. (which really means..yes, i need money) but that was back then when i didn’t fully understand and didn’t have a revelation of the joy of being able to share this experience and inheritance with others.

      hopefully anyone who’s read this will somewhat understand what i’ m trying to say. this list really is honest and i’m glad that many people can have a better understanding of people who have given up a lot things to be in the place they are.

    • Sussi Servant -

      July 16, 2014 at 5:22 am

      Great article. It is fully understood that those feelings are not all felt at the same time, they are felt, even if sporadic, by young and seasoned missionaries, though I’ve heard rare cases of people that thrive and excel in everything they do on many situations. I practice to email back right away a comment about the newsletter I got because I know it takes time and effort, to some more than others, and how encouraging my little comment really does mean to them.
      Raising support while overseas is hard, so it is not only beneficial, but essential to be at a 100% PLUS launching costs before leaving the US. This will help the missionary a lot in tons of ways. I agree with the book “The God Ask” by Shadrach, his SRS (Support Raising Solutions) Boot Camps are great at helping someone make a plan and work that plan.
      The full work of a missionary is not just their own, it is a whole team of their financial and prayer supporters, as well as the folks giving service to their donors, prayer teams and of course family and friends.
      It is articles like this that bring awareness and though some will not fully relate, agree or like what it uncovers, it is in the hopes that missionary care is exercised more by churches, organizations and professionals.

  • Wes Bell -

    July 9, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    There are many of us who do not necessarily experience these same reactions, but they are certainly potentially true. I would rather it be written that the missionary may be saying. Often the first comment of what the missionary says is true.

    • Rocketrodcub -

      July 10, 2014 at 11:04 am

      Thank you Wes. It sounds to me like the biggest problem is that the “missionary” noted here is not properly pursuing his or her walk with God. This is the priority of every Christian.
      It solves the many other insecurities mentioned in the list. Who I am “in Christ” brings riches to the heart that uplift much spiritual discouragement.

      • Anna -

        July 10, 2014 at 12:27 pm

        I was thinking something similar to this. As well, what is the point of this article? Truly wondering. I have more thoughts, but I’m not sure how to say them. It seems to me that if this is someone’s view , they possibly need to consider going home. The cart is before the horse. Due to certain presuppositions, real missions are eclipsed from their sight. If missions has become an industry, then it has ceased to become missions. Either God is in it, or He is not. Stop pretending. But seriously, I am asking what the point of the article is. Partly because I have natural sympathy for people who go out to spread God’s Word. But partly because I sense there is a huge problem here. The structure is out of place. It won’t work if the structure is not correct.

        • Anna -

          July 10, 2014 at 12:30 pm

          I.e. thinking something similar to the above comment by Rocketrodcub.

      • Met -

        July 12, 2014 at 10:52 pm

        Your heart is obviously in the right place with your comment but, unless you’ve actaully done long term missions, it is a little naive to assume they aren’t properly persuing their walk with God.
        I would hesitate to share things with people back in the West because I would be told exactly what you just said.
        That said. There are amazing days and not everything in that top 10 is applicable every day. But I have experienced all 10 at some point and it sucks that it was like that and I hope that my experience will help make it better in the future.

        • Anna -

          July 13, 2014 at 2:49 pm

          MET – Thanks for the reply. It’s a different belief system. I was serious about what I wrote, even if it wasn’t very well worded. I’m going to try to expand on this in reply to each point in a separate piece. I am writing from Jerusalem, Israel, though from the US. I’ve been here since December, 2012. This shouldn’t matter, though, as it is a matter of belief, not experience. This article reveals a different worldview.

  • Cindy Salazar -

    July 9, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    You know what? I have never heard this much honesty from a Christian.
    This gives me hope. I have felt and do feel these things at times and I feel like a terrible person. There was a time in my life that I didn’t think I was saved, because I felt I didn’t fit the criteria of being a Christian.. Then one day I remembered what Jesus said to”believe” and I do. I finally get it. I know that I am a work in progress. and will be until the day I go to heaven.
    Thank you so much.

    • Alison -

      July 18, 2014 at 9:59 am

      Yes, Cindy! It’s a relief and a comfort to hear others being so vulnerable in writing these article points, to know we are not alone in the struggle.

  • Fer -

    July 9, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    As a missionary I do understand the feelings very well, but I am very disappointed with the way missionaries are depicted in the article. It makes us a bunch of cynics of hypocrites. Saying one thing and meaning something else…. I think that does not honor the mission. The true feeling are real, and it should be ok to express them without trying to present to others what we don’t really feel.

  • Patrick daviosn -

    July 10, 2014 at 8:04 am

    Sorry folks, but i am glad that I do not have the handicap of this kind of missionary culture in the country i come from. Having said that, I am never-the-less grateful for both the honesty and by and large the content. Sp far after only two years overseas I can honesty say I do not think or mostly act like that. But, my own timber mill keeps me brutally aware of my planks without worry about your country’s on going paternalistic domineering ethnocentric style of ‘being a missionary’, i mean if he can save and still sue an aussie, then all’s good :) My heart goes out to the single women on the field because the church still can’t grow men with balls. Seriously keep up the good work and for His sake be more of a Mary and less of a Martha :) With love, honestly :)

    • Rocketrodcub -

      July 10, 2014 at 11:12 am

      Now, that’s an honest post! Thanks.

  • Chris Malone -

    July 10, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Hey Adam,
    Great post. We are missionaries in Ukraine and this top 10 is spot on.

    Would you allow me to “repost” this with links back to your original article and fully cite you as the author?

    • Adam Mosley -

      July 10, 2014 at 9:53 am

      Yes, Chris, feel free to repost and link back here. May God bless the work you are doing!

  • Amanda -

    July 10, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Excellent. Honest, NOT hypocritical. That would be those who couldn’t handle the honesty, lol! So instead, we choose our words and have to turn to the Lord for understanding, encouragement. Missionaries are the toughest, most enduring and compassionate ( not JUST to the natives they minister to but to those back “home”) people I know. The $$ part: it is caused by a poverty mentality existing in the Body, not the missionary. 😉

  • Doug Lindauer -

    July 10, 2014 at 11:01 am

    I had to nod my head and say “glad someone has said it” about these one week mission trip/vacations that seem so prevalent. I’ve wondered about them for a while because it seems like an awful lot of money for very small return. Interesting that it often turns out to be a huge burden to the missionary who’s actually spending his life in “the field.”

    In general I’m not nuts about foreign missions but I have a lot of respect for those who are genuinely called to it.

    • Nancy Stewart -

      July 10, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      Adam, I appreciate your post, because I believe it is very important as a missionary to be honest with my supporters, my partners in ministry. I decided when I first went overseas that I was not going to present myself as a superwoman, and that I would share the bad with the good. Sometimes people don’t like that, but I just write them back and say I am sorry they are offended, this is the situation they may not have been aware of, please pray for me if I need to change–and then I move on.
      Doug, I agree that short term trips/teams are a lot of work, but I believe they are mostly worth the effort. I am not in work where I can have teams come in to help, but friends of mine have teams come regularly. They believe that each person that comes leaves changed, and if they don’t come back for further ministry, they at least leave with a new view of the world and of their own blessings and generally have an interest in missions that they can pass on to their friends.

      • Jean -

        July 11, 2014 at 7:54 am

        Thank you for you comments, Nancy. When I began reading the article, I thought I’d forward it to a young woman I know. Then I got to the part about what a burden visiting mission teams were and decided not to send it since she is in the second week of a mission trip. After a few days working at the orphanage her team is helping to repair, she wrote me and said she senses a call to missions.

        • Adam Mosley -

          July 11, 2014 at 8:06 am

          Jean, I appreciate your thoughtfulness regarding your young friend. Let me be clear. I think short-term trips can be incredibly valuable. In many cases, however, they are more valuable to the person going (like your friend) than they are to the missionary or the local population. That is not true in every case, but in many. Much of the issue revolves around a lack of communication, when missionaries don’t communicate the actual needs, and sending churches don’t bother to ask. Instead, 15 people show up to build a fence or put a roof on a house, when a local laborer could have done it for a fraction of the cost and with none of the logistical issues. The point here is to realize that hosting 15 or 20 people is a lot of work, no matter how good the intentions are. So, those who are sending should be mindful of whether they are actually creating more of a burden than they realize. The best way, of course, is to ask. Open communication is vital to healthy long-term relationships of any kind. This list was an attempt to help foster some of that communication between missionaries and their ministry partners back home.

      • Dawn -

        July 19, 2014 at 12:39 pm

        So, what you’re basically saying is, short term projects are more for the people experiencing them, not those they “minister” to? Maybe that’s why it’s so popular…it fits in with our culture more than sacrificing your entire life?

  • Aric B -

    July 10, 2014 at 11:30 am

    My wife and I are missionaries in Asia. My wife is an MK as well. While there are truths in this list, I don’t think it is reflective of everyone’s experience at all. Here is my response:

    Like most people, we missionaries have a job! Not everyone would consider it a job, but it is. It’s our profession if you will. And like most other people’s jobs it’s hard work, it can be stressful, it’s rewarding, it’s draining, we work overtime, we take time off to be with our family. Part of it is stuff we love to do and other parts are mundane and routine! Let us tell you some things about our job that you might not have known and hopefully will find enlightening.

    1. We write our newsletters for you!

    And we are happy to do it! Depending on the day it can be either really exciting or very mundane! Content production goes one of two ways: it writes itself (and we inevitably have way to long of a newsletter) or we slave hours trying to find something meaningful to say. Sometimes, it hurts when people don’t read our updates, because like everyone else, we like to be recognized for our effort! And we think they are important! There is no way we can get enough time one-on-one with everyone and so newsletters and updates are a necessary part of our communication. So, while it usually is a bit tiring to keep on top of it all, we think it’s worth it! We think you are worth it!

    2. We use Facebook like anyone else – to keep in touch!

    No, Facebook likes don’t pay the bills (news flash: they ain’t s’posed to!)

    3. We believe in having partners because we believe it’s biblical and it’s effective!

    Some call it support, some call it donations – We call it partnership! Paul says that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from it (1 Cor. 9:14). Jesus lived off of “support” (Luke 8:1-3). Even Paul ditched tent making in favor of full time gospel preaching (Acts 18:5)! That’s the biblical part in my mind (a little simplified).

    The effective part? We are not called to be mavericks and yet not everyone is called to go as we are! So that means we need people to partner with us through prayer, awareness, encouragement, and financial giving. It takes a village to send a missionary! Or… something like that. Partners allow us to fulfill our JOB of bring overseas, raising a family and transforming a society. Partners keep us there, keep us loved, and help advance the spread of the gospel directly through prayer and vicariously through us. There is no statement “truer” than this!

    4. We always try to be honest and open with you!

    Of course, we don’t tell you everything that happens! Do you tell everything about yourself 100% of the time? No! And it’s not necessary to tell you about how I stubbed my toe right before I got caught in a torrential downpour on my way to a church meeting. And guess what, I probably won’t tell you about that meeting either! Unless something awesome and unusual happens in it! We will tell you when we are struggling and have had a bad week, or when everyone is sick and we need prayer. And we will definitely tell you when we saw someone come to God or when we have just been blessed and are having a great week! Does it cover everything? No. Is it honest and an attempt to let you know what’s going on and how to pray for us? Yes! Always!

    5. If we’re taking family time or a vacation or even a DAY off, we don’t hide it!

    Because we’re human and we love to share about the rest we need or the rest we received – whether it’s through a vacation or through a sermon. God uses so many things to fill us up and we love to share from our overflow.

    6. We love teams!

    I can count the times on 2 fingers when I’ve had a bad experience with a short-term team. And I’ve been involved in and hosted more than 50 in my career. Are they always easy? No. Are they always rewarding? No. Do they add a dynamic of partnership to our work of furthering the Kingdom that we cannot do on our own? You bet your britches they do! Do we enjoy the fellowship? Probably more than the “Kingdom Advancement” they bring (since we’re being honest)! If you ask to bring a team, and I say no, you can guarantee that I’m being sarcastic. If I say, “that time might not work” it’s not a “no”, it’s a, “Heck, yeah! But can we find a better time?”

    7. “Going home” is not a vacation.

    Sometimes we take vacations while in the States, but our main purpose in returning is to fulfill a very important part of our job description. Being a partner to our partners. That includes updates on our work, traveling, new “marketing material”, more travel and lots of fast food (yuck – necessary evil) in the car. The other part is finding out what is happening here, what is going on in your lives and how we can help you – practically and in prayer. Sometimes, it’s refreshing, sometimes it’s draining but mostly it is rewarding and we love the opportunities to reconnect with people!

    8. My relationship with God is fantastic! (Mainly because He loves me so much)

    I like every Christian, experience highs and lows in my walk. I don’t always do my devotions, I don’t always pray and I do make mistakes! The fruit of the Spirit sometimes looks like the rotten fruit of self. Hey, guess what? I’m not perfect! But that is not what my relationship is founded on! Works? No. God’s love and grace! My relationship with God is good because His relationship with me is the best! All the rest, He’s training me how to walk in His righteousness and His faith. ‘Nuf said.

    9. We love people!

    Yes, sometimes people burn me and it hurts and we get frustrated. You know what we don’t do? Get bitter and stop trusting. People are well intentioned. So when they fail does that mean I shouldn’t trust them? No. I don’t always do what I say for my friends and guess what, as far as I can tell, they aren’t bitter and we’re still friends. So guess what? We love and trust you! Life is too complicated for me to make judgments about your life! So let’s go have coffee together (because coffee solves everything – if the founding fathers immediately pulled out the coffee after dumping the tea, I’m sure we could have gotten the British to see things our way… or maybe not).

    10. We experience certain human emotion.

    The same way everyone else does. Loneliness, elation, disappointment, exhaustion, depression, optimism, excitement and the list goes on and on and on. So, if you feel it in your life, we feel it too. But that’s why we are supposed to share one another’s burdens. It’s pretty simple!

    • Shelly Q -

      July 10, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      Beautifully said!

    • Dave -

      July 10, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      Very very well said.

    • Jpatterson -

      July 13, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      Coming from a background of a lay person who has been on numerous mission trips around the world, as well as the mother of two missionary children who are currently serving….I have seen it from both sides. Here’s the thing about “Teams” that I have experienced….are they hard…YES! And sometimes there are good teams that are open and flexible to do whatever the hosts need and sometimes there are not-so-good ones who initially don’t get what it means to SERVE. BUT, the best thing that comes out of this experience could be the fact that they HAVE experienced FIRST HAND many of the things mentioned and can share that with all those back home so they, too, might “get it”.
      My respect for all those who serve and host others on the mission field just gets greater as time goes on. It is a tireless endeavor….but one that changes lives for the better.

    • Gisel -

      July 16, 2014 at 9:48 am

      Wow. Thank you.

      I’ve only been a missionary for 5 years, but I don’t experience even half the things on this original blog post. Your version of this list is beautiful, Aric B.

    • Karen in France -

      July 22, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      Beautifully said! Loved your reply. We have been missionaries for 12 years and I agree wholeheartedly with your reply (except receiving groups LOL… I have to admit it’s so much work logistically that I still struggle doing it cheerfully). I think people have a myth of what they think missionaries should be. We as missionaries can become slaves of that myth, feeling that we need to fit the mold or lose supporters, or we can choose to be real, transparent Christians. It is a real question. We have friends who lost a big supporter because he saw a winebottle on their table in a facebook photo (keep in mind we are in France and the wine culture is nothing like the drinking culture in the US). The point is we can live to please our supporters, or live to please the Lord.

    • TG -

      August 2, 2014 at 8:38 am

      Much better attitude in this reply than the original post. I think the original poster needs to acknowledge that a lot of his struggles are personal in nature, not due to being a missionary.

    • CLY -

      August 4, 2014 at 12:26 am


      Perhaps I read your response wrong, but the tone I read warrants a response, even if the tone was not what you intended.
      As an MK myself, and someone who has spent the last decade as an adult ministering in Asia with my family, the attitude of your rebuke/rewrite is a large reason why many missionaries feel so completely isolated and eventually break down— they are not safe to share the exact things that were written in this original blog because their struggles will be denied, biblically barked at, and trotted over with “positivity”. The result, as I’ve seen many times, is withdrawal, confusion and shame. It is great if you genuinely just absolutely love what you are doing and do not find yourself struggling, but that is not the majority of missionaries. And the long-term effects of denial and isolation are.not.pretty. on individuals or families. There are seasons in missions (or life in general) when things are going great and smooth sailing. Then there are seasons of difficulty, doubt and pain. Both can glorify the LORD, in fact I dare to say that often the glory in the good seasons wrongly goes to the missionary who is “just having a grand time and loves God and everything is hunky dory”. What hurting person will feel safe in the shadow of that? Rather, safety is in the shadow of a weathered, time-tested and honest faith. Not a negative one. But a humble one that acknowledges the pains and difficulties of life on earth and life in faith, but presses on just the same because the love of Christ compels them. Here in their weakness, they find Him strong. Not in “having it all together”. Kudos to you for your optimism – you win. But careful who you isolate and condemn by being uncomfortable with the doubt and darkness that is just a part of life on earth for many — and that can be redeemed and beautified by Christ’s presence in our lives. Keep in mind this is a blog. It’s one entry. It is not an essay on the entire experience of missions — it never claimed that every single missionary experiences this. It’s just a window into struggles that many face, even if you do not — and that need care, compassion, a listening ear and love. The truth sets us free. No, let’s not just stop at the difficulty, let’s delve into God, but let’s allow each other to struggle to Him. To God be the glory, through the good seasons and bad. May we be transformed to the image of HIS SON and no idol of perfection of our own.


    July 10, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Wow that says a lot, there is a lot there that I can relate to already and I haven’t even left for my trip. And the parts I can’t relate to is because those experiences haven’t come my way yet. When I look into to the future I see that they are coming and even though I will be doing good work there will be hardships. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around it all every thing is happening so fast I will be leaving America in less then 19 days for five months, to go to two foreign country’s one that I have only been to for two weeks (Guatemala) and the other I have never set foot in(India) and its already taking a toll on not only me but the people around me that I know and love. Don’t get me wrong I’m so excited to go do God’s work and spread the love of Jesus and I’m very much ready to go but I can see and feel the hardship of a missionary already and I’m not even gone.. But there is one thing that beats it all.. It’s this amazing feeling that you get knowing that God is by your side the whole way and that going into these complications and hardships head strong and accomplishing them through God and knowing that anything is possible through the love of Jesus even though it’s hard work in the end it reflects and you get to see the effect of your love and the joy on other people and watch there lives light up like a candle in the dark because they have Jesus in there hearts.

  • Simon -

    July 10, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Being a missionary for 16 years. I understand where the author is coming from. But like anything else in life I have learned to navigate through each of these and have become more Christ-like in the process. To the author-Keep pressing on and in time it all gets better.

  • Pat -

    July 10, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Wait? Isn’t this just called “being a Christian who is alive in this world today?” With the exception of raising support, there is little else I have not felt living anywhere in the US. I don’t think it has so much to do with living overseas–everyone faces their own trials .

    And I am, by the way, a missionary overseas….

  • Sharon -

    July 10, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    I love Aric’s reply…I am no a missionary but have gone on several short term missions. I was always so excited to be a part of something so big, & came back with a better insight to what was going on in different parts of the world. So I guess I went for me & hoped I was helping in some small way. I felt a little sad at some of Adam Mosley’s comments. Where some felt he was spot on, I couldn’t help but feel he is going through a tough time & expressed the feelings he was having at this time. Sounds like he needs to come home for a period of time to re-evaluate & to be re-connected to the people that love him & love God. Sometimes I think we get so focused on the mission & feel we’re the only one that can do whatever it is we’re doing, when in fact the Lord may very well be saying, “well done good & faithful servant, I now have something else for you, and I have just the right man or woman, who I can trust to relieve you.” As I said before, I’m not a missionary, and haven’t experienced all these things and don’t want to sound judgmental, it’s just my thoughts…

  • Corrie -

    July 11, 2014 at 1:24 am

    We have had missionary friends for over 20 years.We see the hardship and the heartache as well as the joys they experience.I think most people do not think that missionaries may “be real!”. It is a shame that support for the mission field has dropped in the last 5 years.Support also drops for some of our friends around the December holidays (here in SA where we have our summer holidays). This is a hard time for missionaries in the Southern hemisphere who also want to have some fun with their children and spoil them a little.And January is so difficult for everyone here as the beginning of the school year is expensive!If we as supporters (senders)would at least pray more about the issues that our missionaries have, it would be a start, but let’s face it, how much time do supporters spend praying at all, let alone for those on the battle-front! I think this e-mail is amazing and should be a wake-up call for the church!let’s start praying! Let’s start giving and let’s start writing – all the time expecting NOTHING in return!It is only scriptural!And remember , the worker is worthy of his hire! Go and enjoy your holiday! I will be happy for you, not resentful! AND one more thing, I am not a go-er! So I am so grateful that you are! Thank you! This is for ALL missionaries! Thank you for the work you are doing for the Kingdom!

  • Corrie -

    July 11, 2014 at 1:28 am

    One more thing, it is no help to do something we think a person needs, it is helping to ASK what is needed, and then to do THAT VERY THING! If a big team arriving and expecting to be “seen to” is no help, ask what WOULD be a help! It is not a difficult thing to do.There should not be added burden on the missionary. If a team goes, that team should make their own arrangements!

  • Brandon -

    July 11, 2014 at 3:49 am

    I actually served in Mexico for 3 years as a missionary. I was a computer technician there. I was located on the baja strip and it originally was not my intention to help out with computer technology at all. What happened was that as people began to know me they realized my abilities and it ended up being my primary job there.

    Locals would come from all over the place, hearing from friends of friends and contacting me for help with their laptops, desktops, cell phones, anything and everything.

    Often times i felt like computer repair was not something that really “glorified God” but its what i was good at, so i did it anyway.

    During those 3 years, i got married to my wife, and had a son. We now moved back to the “states” but wish we could go back. We had to move because we were also blessed with a little baby girl.

    I guess im just rambling, but if I could leave with anything it would be this:
    Please pray for me and my family, since being in the states life is hard, it is not what we really want for our lives. We want to serve again and go back “home” to Mexico.

    Being a young couple with 2 kids, the stresses of life are difficult, and we could use all of the encouragement we can get. I feel more “lonely” and in need of assistance here in the “land of the free” then in Mexico.

  • Tom -

    July 11, 2014 at 7:14 am

    Both Adam and Aric have posted 2 sides of the same coin. We have been missionaries for 28 years and have experienced both sides at times. The only discouraging thing we still deal with is the lack of vision that our supporters have shown since we now work (unpaid) for our mission board serving our on-field missionaries – daily needs are still there. The truth is tho that God has been and will continue to be sufficient to meet our needs. Pray for your missionaries , get involved in their lives, and don’t forget that God uses YOU to meet their needs!

  • nicky perez -

    July 11, 2014 at 11:47 am


  • judy -

    July 11, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    my husband and i have the joy and pleasure of working in a mission house in El Salvador. we fix meals, help with the cleaning and any general needs of the teams who come and help serve. the organization we work with gets excited when teams come and help-they bring new energy, smiles and laughter!!! keep on coming because we love having you here!!! it is a pleasure to meet new friends and work together.

  • Rudy -

    July 11, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    So many of these very things rang true in my own life. Our family spent 8 years on the mission field in Asia. Bless you for your honesty!

  • Connie -

    July 12, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Thanks for this list. It is excellent. We had the privilege of adding on an apt. for missionaries & had our socks blessed off of us for years. I’m not by any means an expert but have had the joy of getting to know on a deeper level missionaries from all over the world. I have been a part of those over sized teams that have been a blessing and also ALOT of work for our hosts. I’ve also been on several teams that have gone to provide conferences for the missionaries to regroup, refresh & spend time with their “missionary families”. I leave in 3 weeks to serve on another team to provide for their missionary kids at their conference.
    What SG had to say was very true. However, sharing those truths with others is not natural for all missionaries. It’s definitely helpful for those couples on the field to have each other to lean on when support raising. Usually one or the other is gifted with “sales” which is basically what it takes to share the need financially. I know personally that some single missionaries find it extremely difficult to “write those letters” and come home to hit the ground running to try to raise money to remain on the field.
    Now that’s not to say that missionaries don’t trust God for their support….they do. But today is a different world than it was 20 years ago when Christians put missionaries somewhat on a pedestal , in awe of their commitment to give their lives in service to the Lord. Today they come home to most churches that don’t give them time to share what God’s doing and many less people willing to support on a monthly basis. My heart goes out to their need to have to raise support.
    I’m grateful for Adam’s honesty….and no it doesn’t mean he should consider leaving the mission field. It does mean that we need to do our part in truly supporting the missionaries we know in prayer, asking God how we can encourage them, provide for them, help them when they are stateside, and be a blessing to them…partnering in their work. And this top ten list doesn’t even touch the whole area of their children and their needs. May many read this list and be stirred to prayer and action. Thanks for writing it Adam.

  • Michael Stock -

    July 12, 2014 at 8:58 am

    I have been doing missions work Asian for more than 8 years now but only 2 years full-time. I agree 100% with this article. but I’m disappointed with some of the responses. I hope some of these people responding are not Christians because some of them are very rude and in my opinion inappropriate. Just because we don’t agree with someone it doesn’t mean you have a right to slam the author with negative and sarcastic comments. Just state your disagreement in a nice way and more on. I hear many people comment on number 8, “It’s easy for God to take a back seat.” People read this and think the authors a terrible person but what I’m wondering, are those people commenting truly being honest with themselves. It’s easy for us to get so wrapped up with others that we for get for a short time to take care of our own spiritual welfare. Does that mean we have turned from God? No it means we are human and missionaries, including myself, are no different than all the rest of God’s children who at sometime or other in their lives lost focus of God. Wither it be for an hour, a day, a week or longer it doesn’t matter. If we are truly honest we will admit that we all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God and we that will continue to sin and fall short of His glory until the time Christ returns or our time on earth is done.

    I think being a missionary is one of the hardest jobs. There is no school to teach you everything you need to know, there are no two cultures the same and no mater how much you prepare always expect the unexpected. I can relate to all the points she made but at the end of a hard day it’s that one lost soul we were able to reach that makes it all worthwhile. When I look into the eyes of someone who was lost and see that sincere response of knowing that God loves them and Christ died for them and that they have hope, it makes all the trials, suffering and hardships all worthwhile. I would not trade this job for another job in the world.

  • Lucy -

    July 12, 2014 at 9:18 am

    After reading the post and some comments it dawned on me that, perhaps rather than analyzing his/her post to bits trying to determine “what was the point” we need only ask ourselves are we truly supporting our missionaries out there on the fields. Are we asking them the deeper often darker and most definitely hard questions that face our fine people in the mission fields of the world. Do we send them continuous monitory support, are we making sure they are getting their bodies, souls and minds rested and nourished? Many do not have an understanding that there are much more complex issues facing missionaries and sometimes we (those not currently on the mission field) we those who purport to support missionaries forget to reach out with unsolicited support, real support , real encouragement – ask them real questions. Better still maybe by reading this post we, as a community of supporters can think about our own missionaries and ask ourselves are they feeling this way – how can we help them now. Perhaps that’s all this missionary was pointing out. I thank him/her for giving me personally the insight into reality.

  • Rebecca -

    July 12, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Thank you for sharing. I ,as a Christian, alaways admire those doing missionary work overseas (like those in Africa). I can imagine it is very hard work. I try not to be judgemental and have understood more about you missionaries. May God bless and keep you so that missionary work gives you more joy and less frustration.

  • Greicy Pinto -

    July 12, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Hello , im a missionary and this really touched me. I would like to know if you mind that I translate to portugues, for my brazilians missionaries friends?

    • Adam Mosley -

      July 14, 2014 at 7:12 am

      Thank you Greicy. Feel free to translate it!

  • Dori Ansah-Walker -

    July 12, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Thank you for sharing.
    I have to admit, seven of the ten items listed are things I’ve felt, but would never voice. Thanks again for being my voice.

  • Beverly Johnson -

    July 12, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    My son, and daughter ,as well as their spouses have gone to the mission field. Many do not understand what it is like. My son has written a book called “Resurfacing: A forty day study for returning missionaries.” By Chris Johnson

    You can buy it on amazon

    God bless you.

  • Miriam -

    July 13, 2014 at 3:33 am

    I understand. But as a missionary I am very disapointed by the way it portraits the missionary calling and it does not agree with what the Bible says either. Jesus said we would not be accepted by the world, the Bible warns us about those who look like they are part of the body of Christ but they are not. Jesus told us to seek His Kingdom first and promised everything else would be added unto us. Jesus also said it wouldn’t be easy but that we should not lose heart or our faith. He also said we shouldn’t worry about what to wear or eat and promised God would take care of us. Paul also wrote that he had learned to live content in every situation, having what to eat or not. Family is a blessing. Having a place to go back is a gift. If someone who is not even a missionary and lost family or had their home destroyed by war reads this, that person would probably thing it’s a text from someone who does not know God. I am now writing a text with my point of view on each topic. It is just impossible to be silent after reading this…

    • Anna -

      July 13, 2014 at 3:42 am


      I agree. I have also wanted to write a text on each topic. It has been really pressed upon me to do so.


      • MIRIAM -

        July 13, 2014 at 8:21 am

        I Just wrote it and posted it on my website. If you write something, please share. I’d love to read!


  • Miriam -

    July 13, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Here goes my response to this text, item by item.


  • Makena -

    July 13, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    I have been doing missions off and on for 15 years but currently in the states due to physical restrictions. My heart is missions, but I have faced each one of these things. I at times question have I missed his call cut I continue to have people tell me I don’t belong here but on foreign field but what they don’t see is the reality that when the needs are not met, you have no other choice to stand still, which normally makes people feel somehow we have missed God.

    • Makena -

      July 13, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      ….I am strong enough in my faith and relationship with the Lord that if it was his plan I would be there. I think the article has much truth and was thankful for it.

  • Sharon Aurets -

    July 14, 2014 at 2:09 am

    Oh this is SO spot on! Thank you! It made me laugh, which is medicine for my soul. I’m in South Africa working with orphaned, abused and abandoned children. Only those doing the same know what the realities are. May God bless you with His divine health, joy and peace.

  • Gessé -

    July 14, 2014 at 3:47 am

    Dear brother
    Peace be with you.
    I am a Brzilian missionary working in Africa since 1996. I appreciate this post. Every single point you made is absolutely true. My family and I have been through the same experiences. Congratulations!
    May a translate into Portuguese language for my blog?
    In Christ

    • Adam Mosley -

      July 14, 2014 at 7:14 am

      Absolutely! Also, see Greicy Pinto’s comment below.

  • Anna -

    July 14, 2014 at 7:39 am

    I have a question… Could it be that this list is how a person doing a certain kind of missions can tend to sometimes feel? It seems like it could be a result of the kind of missions in which people are registered with a para-church missionary group and they raise their own support and who probably do a lot of humanitarian aid. This is not the only kind of missionaries that exist. When I was growing up, it was the church the missionaries belong to that sent them out and the church supported them, along with possibly some other friends and/or family. Maybe there is a problem with this model of missions.

    I know of people serving God who do not tell anyone of their need and yet God provides. Some missionaries use only local resources and accept no support at all. There is a broader spectrum. The key seems to be God leading and providing. Some have the view that it follows that if God doesn’t provide, then He is not in it.

    • Anna -

      July 14, 2014 at 8:45 am

      “…then He is not in it.”

      i.e. Go where He leads and He will open the doors. Shut doors might be God leading someone away from something.

      “Maybe there is a problem with this model of missions.”

      Meaning, para-church missionary groups with missionaries raising their own support through donations.

  • Seth Taylor -

    July 14, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    My dad was a pilot in Kenya in the late 80s for Campus Crusdae for Christ. The thinking was that there are 2 ways to serve God: missionary or pastor – and there was no higher calling than this. My dad was a blue collar guy and wanted to give it all for the poor and for God. And so he did crazy things like fly into war zones. And he was shot down and left 4 kids and a wife to figure things out on their own. We didn’t change the world, we didn’t earn God’s favor. We just went there because we had to, tried to do some good, and then got left without a father.

    When I read posts like this, I just want to shout at the computer: COME HOME!!! You can have a job, have a vacation, and stop saving the world. All the guilt is so worthless. Just come home…..

  • Sean A -

    July 14, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Touchy subject. However, always two sides to this view… Maybe slightly out of context but like Joshua and Caleb and the spies… Faith or unbelief? As a missionary for 12 years it’s been difficult at times, as life can be, but as a full time volunteer missionary this whole time, I have no regrets answering the call to missions warts and all. Neither does my wife and two kids. It’s a privelege to serve an incredibly loving, gracious, providing, comforting, compassionate God. An article like this gives people leeway to not find their strength and comfort in God and to wallow in self pity. David had challenging times, as bad as it can get… But his example is that he always found strength in God, the same God of Psalm 23, who restores his soul, who is his shepherd, in whom he has everything he needs. God has been and will always be faithful. In those challenging times, look to God for the breakthrough. He is faithful and He will do it! Sorry for rambling… Be of good courage. He had overcome the world.

  • Sharon Waala Ronan -

    July 14, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    I found much to agree with. There were so many times when writing regular newsletters was a struggle. I am grateful for teams that visit. They are a lot of work, but I think overall both the local believers and the teams benefit.. I know many in Japan were touched by “non-professionals” that would come and give time and energy sacrificially.

    I do know that at times feeding the teams left us strapped for months. We should have had them contribute more to the local costs.

    The blessings of serving overseas far outweigh the costs and I know that I would do it again if at all possible.

    I think there is a new era of more transparency in misions about the mundane nature of much of the work and missionaries are freer to share how it really is sometimes.

  • Rebecca S. -

    July 14, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    Hey everyone, First I just want to thank you Adam for writing this. I have lived and worked in east Africa for 7 years and my experience is spot on with this post. I often feel like I’m living a double life because I can’t really explain all of what happens here. If I did you really would come rescue me or tell me to come back home. My first supporters who were a couple who fully funded my personal needs did just that. My 3rd year I had to go into hiding when one of the people I worked with proved untrustworthy and threats were being made against me to have me deported without legal return. I shared this with my supporters who told me to “come back home” and seek God for what’s next. The problem was God wouldn’t let me leave… So I lost their support! I learned not to disclose everything. And trust me there have been lots of crazy situations. Anyone who lives in east Africa for more than 4 years knows what I’m talking about! Also I do think long term really is 4+ years to understand this list. Also I do think this list is one side of the honesty coin. Of course in part we like sharing about what we do and the cool God stories and yes sometimes teams are a huge blessing but ….what we don’t say…. Is we are usually to busy and exhausted to write and teams are often extremely exhausting for us! This list is one side of the coin but its the things we feel like we CAN’T say! I love that someone had the courage to write it! Also I’ve never lived in china or any other part of the world … But for true long termers in EA I think this list is for real! I love the vacation comment too! Somebody send me to a beach in Mexico! Except I think I need a month instead of 2 weeks! 😉 on a more serious note, missionaries experience a lot of trauma. It’s important for people to understand that! Buying coffins for children, holding the dying in our arms, children who have been raped and infected with HIV, death threats and lies of persecution, suicide attempts from those they care for, nearby violence war and riots, betrayal after betrayal after betrayal… Just to name a couple. In my opinion, most missionaries do not get the care and attention they NEED because of a lack of resources or support system. To all my fellow missionaries out there, keep your eyes to the sky and always remember the really good days!!!!! Take care of yourselves! Thanks again to Adam for writing this! :) <3 Rebecca

  • Jenneifer -

    July 15, 2014 at 12:29 am

    I think this is a pretty good list. I don’t “despise” asking for money, but to say support raising is an “honor” and it helps people to invest in the only thing that truly matters makes it sound like all bunnies and flowers. It isn’t. It’s worthwhile and I appreciate the relationship I have with my supporters. They are awesome. I couldn’t do what I do without them. But, the truth is – just like with everything on this list – sometimes it’s just plain hard. I don’t feel these things all the time, if fact most of the time I don’t feel them. But, I have felt them all. Missionary life is great, but it’s also hard. That’s just honest.

  • […] This article bugged me:  “Ten Things Missionaries Won’t Tell You.” […]

    • Lyle Simba -

      July 16, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      I guess the only queston that I can ask you my firend is if you have been living and working outside of your home country for at least 5 years or more, in a different language, culture, worldview, currancy, politics, ethics, values and so on?

      This is not a judgment question just a positional one, thanks

  • G -

    July 15, 2014 at 5:08 am

    Paul, one of the first missionaries:
    ¨ We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.¨ – 2 Corinthians 4:8-12.

    Paul was stoned, put in prison, shipwrecked, and did not always have enough to live on…
    He says that he learned to be content in every circumstance, but that was only through the power of God:
    ¨I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.¨ Philippians 4:12-13

    Let´s not find it strange then, if missionaries find their work hard, or accuse them of being bitter or burnt out if they find it so. Paul says he was dying daily, so as to give others the gift of life. Probably, most missionaries will not have it as hard as Paul has, but still missionary work is a battle.

    Another thing we can learn from Paul is that contentment in the middle of hard things does not come naturally for people, but has to be learnt, and comes from God´s power alone. In that case, let´s not blame those who have not yet learnt this – or if people fall back. Our human nature is not naturally content in all circumstances.

    From this article, let´s distill understanding from missionaries… And let´s not blame the author if it does not give the idealized picture of mission life that we wish to hear.

    The truth is, Christian life involves struggle, blood and grime, and we have been redeemed through the sacrifice of someone who gave His all on a torturous device of sacrifice. Yes it is beautiful, but there is also suffering involved in it.

  • Heather Askew -

    July 15, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Holy cow, it’s like you have been spying inside my life. Every one of these is spot on. Of course, I don’t feel all of these all of the time, but i have felt all of these at more than one time in the past 4 years, so it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one. I think that is another aspect of the “lonely” one, is the feeling that I am a freak and a terrible Christian/missionary for feeling any of these things. Great, well thought and written post.

  • Lyle Simba Hall -

    July 15, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    I was three year old when I first went to Liberia W. Africa. Growing up without shoes just like the locals. The nearest road was three days walk. My first car that I remember seeing was when we went home on furlough to see grandma in New York City. I thought her garage was her chicken shed and she must have been rich because her shed was so big.. Now at the age of 48 and a whole life of missions most of those points are well understood. I think the one about the loneliness that one goes through speaks the most to me. Lonely both in my passport country and my place of serving.
    I have learned that if our most growing seasons in Christ are in those times of rejection, we must be. It is a requirement somehow. It is what we do with that rejection that deepens us in Christ and our identity in him.
    The one thing also through all my years around needs, corruption, death, poverty, boy have I wanted to quit a million times, but in the end when I keep my eyes on eternity and force my mind ,thoughts and heart on Gods Kingdom, I make it another day, another week.

  • Sue Dales -

    July 16, 2014 at 9:39 am

    As a mum of a new missionary this article is really helpful. She is still in the honeymoon period and stuff hat she has had to deal with puts me in awe of her. Thanks very much.

  • Russ Sharrock -

    July 16, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Excellent article! May I have permission to re-post this as a guest blog on my site? Will give you full credit. This is something I think more people need to hear. Thank you.

    • Adam Mosley -

      July 16, 2014 at 10:34 am

      Hello Russ. Feel free to repost!

  • Gloria -

    July 17, 2014 at 2:37 am

    Earlier I saw someone commenting that a Chinese translation of this article would be nice. I think I can help with the translation, would anyone like that? :)
    Truly eye opening article, it reminds me once again that missionaries are vulnerable people too. I pray for them whenever I remember.

  • lward -

    July 18, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Thankful for the local people who gave help, support, love, friendship, sometime money, encouragement, humbled us, prayed, forgave, and endured with us that made this not our list. They were grace for us.

  • Alison -

    July 18, 2014 at 10:09 am

    I think the fact that this post has so many re-posts, and shares and comments is because it is speaking the vulnerable voice of the real missionary experience in this day and age. Yes, we may all experience #1-10 in varying degrees, and some not so intensely as others, but still, each resonates in the hearts of missionaries. Until you leave a salaried job where NO ONE (outside of maybe direct family) questions how you spend your money, your free time, your work time (well, that is your bosses job), and step foot into a support-funded missionary job, you may never understand the intricacies and hardships and vulnerabilities and PRESSURES to have your life lived before the expectations of so many, who are scrutinizing (silently or not silently) your every move to make sure it lines up to their version of worthy missionary standards. It is as if the missionary has 100 bosses who have access to their entire personal lives (through relationship with the missionary, and through social media etc etc) instead of one boss at work, that doesn’t really access their employees’ personal life outside of the job. I would say it would probably be similar for the clergy in churches in which their salary comes directly from the pockets of the church members.

    Anyway, thank you again for sharing. You have given a courageous voice to missionaries.

  • Michelle -

    July 19, 2014 at 9:05 am

    10 *Other* Things Missionaries Won’t Tell You
    1. They love what they do and can’t imagine doing anything else. People expect them to be “suffering” and others can’t understand why they could feel so fulfilled and at peace in such crazy circumstances…but they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
    2. They are glad to be raising their kids on God’s global battlefield, and while this comes with its unique challenges, they are happy their children are learning about the power of God first hand. They also don’t feel their children are missing out. They are perfectly at peace not having them grow up in Western consumeristic cultures.
    3. They feel incredibly privileged and blessed.
    4. They love what relying on God does for their weak and self-sufficient hearts, constantly reminding them of their need for God and His amazing sufficiency.
    5. Overseas their bodies feel in danger, but their souls feel safe. In the West, their souls feel in danger and their bodies feel safe. They would rather have the former.
    6. Having many homes and being nomadic is tough, but they wouldn’t trade it for any multi-million dollar home as long as God has called them overseas as they are learning what it is that “the Lord is our dwelling place” Ps. 40. This opportunity to know Him in this way is worth more than any fixed home or belongings that won’t fit in a suitcase.
    7. They appreciate you way more than they express. Every gift, every prayer, ever y care package, every visit, every hug, every email is like water to a thirsty soul. They don’t think you realize how thankful they are for you…and they don’t communicate it enough.
    8. They don’t want your pity, but do want your prayers and passion for what they’re doing.
    9. They love having visitors, even if it’s a lot of work, it is life-giving.
    10. They want to talk about seeing Jesus and heaven all the time, but feel like weirdoes doing it. But it is the thing they look forward to and gives them joy to sacrifice in this life.

    • Kim -

      July 28, 2014 at 8:15 am

      Michelle, I really appreciate your list (and the attitude and spirit behind it) and agree 100%

  • tom worthington -

    July 19, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Much of what is written here is true no matter where one is ministering. Believe it or not, long-term missionaries are very active inside the US, and even Americans in America face many of the same challenges – even sometimes culturally.
    And we press on in His Strength!

  • Lynne -

    July 19, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    As a missionary to Nicaragua for the past 13 years I can understand many of the sentiments expressed here. The comments from Michelle on July 19th reflect my feelings more so than Adams though I can relate to some of what he said. If it is hard to be a missionary here it must be even harder in Africa. G’s reflection on July 15th about the hardships that Paul endured is also good. Being a missionary is very hard but it is also very rewarding. If we find that our negative responses become overwhelming and we are not able to get over them and move forward in a positive way ; and if they are getting in the way of our being effective in our role as missionaries and being a positive witness to those who need to know God ,then we should get into deep prayer and ask Him if we have come to the end of a season and need to be doing something else.

  • […] The following is stolen from Trinity Kenya. […]

  • Missionary Somewhere -

    July 22, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    All points well-spoken in truth with a broken heart. Many comments written with little or no real understanding of what missions is really all about and sadly unwilling to accept the truth when it hits them right smack-dab between the eyes. God bless you for fearlessly compiling this list; the Lord knows the heart and yours has been opened without reservation for those wanting to open theirs, also, out of love for Christ and those who have “left it all behind” to faithfully serve Him in another land. Keep on keeping up the good fight of faith.

  • John Ruffle -

    July 25, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Mission is about presence, not profession. That means relationship with Jesus must remain #1 priority. Without Him, I can do nothing. And the mission field is everywhere. However, I do relate to the article. Bottom line is, pray. Everyone needs a life of prayer, sent or sender in mission partnership. John in the Philippines.

  • John Ruffle -

    July 25, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Keep me posted! Great blog… I think I got my email address wrong on my previous post. God bless you! John.

  • Weekly Thoughts #6 | Further In, Higher Up -

    July 26, 2014 at 9:01 am

    […] Next time you think you know everything about what missionaries go through, consider some of these things. […]