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What happens when your church has never sent a missionary before?

That trip back to Thailand changed everything for Xavier* and Florence*. They were now certain. God was calling them to reach the Hmong in East Asia. They had become all too aware of those who have never heard of Jesus. Xavier’s previous view of Thailand had been out of a plane window on his way to Paris as a 13-year-old finally leaving the refugee camp that had been home for the last eight years. As soon as he and Florence returned from their trip to Thailand, they registered at Bible College and started seriously exploring options for going to Asia.

They have had frequent opportunities to share their vision with their Hmong church in Paris, receiving encouragement, but perhaps not enthusiasm. Now, three years later, they are approaching the end of their Bible College course and ready to apply for a mission agency in order to serve in East Asia. They very much want the support of their church and they know that mission agencies will not accept them without the support of a sending church. But their church has never sent a missionary before. They haven’t even contemplated doing so. They have no structures for the selection or endorsement of a missionary. They run on a very low budget and know that they could never support a missionary family in East Asia. Some of them have ambivalent feelings about going back to Asia, from where many of them escaped forty years ago.

The Church Council has met in order to discern how to proceed. And now the case of Xavier and Florence will be presented to the church General Assembly to vote on the sending of the couple. They don’t even know how to vote: is 51 per cent enough, should they seek 66 per cent? And this is all before the couple even start the application process or learn the English they will need to be part of an international agency.

*names changed

Will you pray for those on the journey to long-term missions?  

There are particular challenges for people on the journey to long-term missions from churches that have no previous experience of sending members to serve cross-culturally for the long-term.

Pray for those who feel called to mission but whose churches simply do not now how to proceed with them. For wisdom, flexibility and courage for church leaderships.

Pray for those who are working with passionate and inspirational Christians to help them to set up agencies and structures to enable the sending of missionaries even from the most unlikely of places.


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