I have been pondering: how long after a missionary arrives on the field, it is still ok for them to call themselves a “new missionary”?
“I am a new missionary as I just arrive yesterday.”
“We are a new missionary family, we come to Japan three months ago.”
The above two parties can definitely call themselves new missionaries. However, after a year or two, can a missionary still call themselves “new”? And how about after someone in the field for five years, eight years, ten years—then “experienced” may be a better description to describe that missionary rather than “new.”
However, when I look back to the nine years that I have served with OMF, I find that I seem to be “new” all the time. I was new when I started language learning. I was new when our family moved into our training designation to work with a church to plant a church. I was new when I had my first home assignment, as I tried to connect with different churches in my home town and mobilizing more people to pray for Japan.
Then our family moved into another new stage when we came back to Japan and needed to have Japanese language refresher for three months and were doing full-time home schooling with our son at the same time.
After that, I was new to our second-term designation, another church plant. And then our family was called to do another role, so we moved from church plant to the new role. Although now we are in that role for more than two years. We find that we are still new to the role.
In the last nine years, our son has been to seven schools and we moved house five times. We have been new to each of those schools and new to each neighbourhood.
Now, I think we are an experienced “new missionary family.” We are looking forward to the Lord doing more new things through us to be a blessing to the others day by day. We are thankful that the Lord always give us new challenges, at the same time the Lord renews us day by day.
By Edwin, an OMF missionary