Monday, October 3, 2016

Help! My Halo's Slipping

This little book was on the required reading list for SIM new missionaries who will be serving long-term. As an avid reader, I looked forward to digging in. I found myself alternating crying, laughing, and sighing as I read about the first couple years the author's family spent in Thailand serving with OMF (formerly China Inland Mission.)

I was hooked after the first three chapters! I loved the candid nature of the story the author and would-become wife sensed God's calling to missions during college at Oklahoma University, picked a mission organization, went through the various stages of the application and interviews, sold all their possessions and packed up a few unused wedding presents, said goodbye to family at the jet bridge in the airport, went through language school (at #2 Cluny Road in Singapore, of all places!), and finally made it to Thailand.

I just might have purchased this book for all of my family members and my mentors! I found that Larry Dinkins' words portray the mixed emotions I'm feeling right now much, much better than I can.

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes:

"No experience can prepare you adequately for the mission field." - Introduction

Regarding the necessity of language learning: 
"Those who hope for immediate ministry in a foreign country will be disappointed. Once we asked a veteran nurse what advice she would give to first termers. She said, 'I would have spent much more time listening and understanding the culture and people, and would have been less earnest abut immediate ministry. People will forgive a first termer but are harder on a second termer who should know better.'" - pg 35

Regarding suffering on the mission field:
"The son of Adoniram Judson wrote, 'If we succeed without suffering, it is because others have suffered before us. If we suffer without success, it is that others may succeed after us.'" - pg 44

"...missionaries are made, not born." - pg 57

Regarding the impact of medical missions on church planting: 
"[In Thailand] to become a Christian is to become a social outcast. But as leprosy sufferers are already outcasts, they tend to stand better. Unlike other Thai, they have everythng to gain and lttle to lise by becomng Christians... over fifty percent of the Christians in central Thailand had their first contact with the gospel through medical work." - pg 77

Regarding the first months on the field: 
"I am convinced... that Satan attempts more in that first year or so of acclimatization  in a foreign country that ever after."--Doug Abrahams & "It is the love of Christ that constrains us, There is no other motivation for missionary service that is going to survive the blows of even the first year."--Elisabeth Elliot - pg 83

Regarding stress and culture shock: 
"During difficult times [my wife] was fond of quoting out loud, 'For this I have Jesus...for this I have Jesus...' At times of stress it was also helpful to reconfirm God's call." - pg 102

Regarding identifying with the local people:
"How far do we identify? As far as it takes to communicate Christ clearly!... Elimate the unneccesarry, minimize on the differences, capitalize on the similarities." - pg 136

"I have observed that those missionaries who are unable to laugh at themselves or giggle along with others don't usually last." - pg 149

"Missionaries have no hidden halos." - pg 157

"The field must work on the missionary before the missionary can work on the field." - pg 158

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