I remember coming home from the first date I had with Britton and thinking that I was going to marry him someday because over dinner, he said he was interested in foreign mission work. It was at that moment I decided we needed to be together. Five years later and married, Britton and I still talk about mission work and our thoughts have not changed.
Last semester I came home from class and Britton said he got a call from a christian who was wondering if we would be interested in being a part of a foreign mission team that was preparing to go to Latin America. We immediately inquired about the opportunity and now await the Lord’s will.
I write this article, not because I know a lot about foreign mission work, but through this opportunity, I have learned a few spiritual and practical things about foreign mission work. In addition, I write this because I want to advocate for and commend the christian women who do foreign mission work along side their husbands with their family.
First, I have learned that although things may seem impossible, nothing is impossible with God. More importantly, I need to trust and obey God in everything and do His will even though my plans may not be His plans. I am reminded of the Bible account when God told Abram to leave his country to go to a land God would show him. Genesis 12.1 “Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you”.
Second, I have learned that there are lost souls everywhere. When I have mentioned that my husband and I want to do foreign mission work, people wonder why when there is so much work to do here. There is a lot of work to do everywhere. Jesus stated in John 4.35 “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest? Behold, I say to you, life up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.”
Third, I have learned that if I am not doing mission work where I am at now, I will not be different in a foreign country. Mission work starts here; it starts with me. I must make the most of the opportunities God has given me here to plant seeds and lead lost souls to Christ. Each christian is commanded to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” Matthew 28.19.
I have had to consider a few practical things about foreign mission work too.
Everyday life abroad is not like every day life here. There are many placed that do not have central heating and central air conditioning. On a short-term mission trip, I remember wearing layers of clothes in addition to my winter coat all the time including around the house and to bed just to stay warm.
Things are not always convenient, like they are here. Things take twice as long or longer such as preparing meals, washing dishes, and doing laundry. There is no such thing as Hamburger Helper, dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers. Meals are prepared from scratch and chores are done by hand.
Not only do christians who leave to do foreign mission work have to work through culture shock when they arrive, but they also have to work through culture shock when they come back on furlough or when they come back to stay; they have to continually adjust to living life a certain way.
It is for these things that I commend christian women who work along side their husbands doing foreign mission work. There are times life is not easy physically, mentally, or spiritually, and the resources they have may be limited because they are far way from everything they are used to.
So I have to ask myself, “Am I cut out for this? Can I be effective in the mission field physically, mentally, and spiritually? Can I adjust to life once the excitement wears off?” I do not have an answer, but I do know that I will never know, unless I try.
By Kerstin Allison
Kerstin and her husband Britton were sent by the North MacArthur church of Christ to work with the Central Avenue Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They have committed to encourage the Christians there and to evangelize to the lost souls in the community there. Kerstin works as a nurse and is finishing getting her R.N. degree.