ISM is gearing up for another training session in just a few short weeks. Our students have been fundraising, packing, getting visas and preparing for their internships. We have a few ideas about how you can prepare for the amazing things God has ahead.
1. Learn about the culture before you go.
Before you leave your country, do some research on the culture you’ll be visiting. You will be taught the basic do’s and don’t but come prepared by researching online or talking to a South East Asian person in your community if possible. Research the following:
What is the food like?
What should I wear?
What are some common sayings?
Are there unique ways you show respect?
How do you greet people?
What are some of the names of the food?
What is offensive?
2. Love people.
You are coming to help and serve – not as a super hero. Superman sweeps in and rids a city of the bad guys. You get to serve like Jesus – so foot washing is the posture you want to take. Come with an attitude of honour. Honour your fellow students, honour the people in the culture, honour everyone. Be a servant.
3. Follow the rules.
If you’ve been given specific instructions to minister in a certain way, follow the guidelines. We may not understand why certain organizations do what they do, but there is a reason why. Show honour and respect by doing it their way.
4. This is about Jesus.
Jesus is the only one who can change a life. You are not expected to save anyone. The problems you’ll witness are so big, you will feel overwhelmed. Remember, you can only do what you can do – love. Jesus saves, convicts and sets free. Also sometimes the people we serve may thank you, like your post on FB or Twitter and talk about you on social media. This all about Jesus – it’s not about you getting any glory – do it all for Him and you won’t be disappointed.
5. Look for ways to serve.
If you see something that needs to be done do it. Don’t stand on the sidelines all the time waiting for someone to tell you what to do or watch everyone else do something. A lot of the jobs are not fun or glamorous. Sweeping the floor or putting toilet paper in a bathroom might seem boring but it is a beautiful reflection of a servant and it blesses those you came to serve.
6. Think before you act or speak.
Not everything you think needs to be spoken. Usually we speak out of ignorance on a missions trip. There are reasons that things happen or are done that we can’t possibly know or understand. The little you do know about the culture, religion or people is nothing compared to those who live there. Be a learner not an expert.
7. Be all in.
Be a sponge! Listen to the people you’ll serve. Ask questions, be observant, take notes, eat up every bit of information you get. Listen carefully, work hard, offer to help all the time, smile, embrace everything, eat different food, talk to people, use a squatty potty, jump all in! This may be a once in a lifetime opportunity – seize every moment so you won’t have regrets.
It’s going to be a life changer! Are you ready?