While you can’t guarantee permanent personal security on the field, you can do a good deal of preparation that will maximize a reasonable safety overseas.
When you’re in the process of choosing a mission agency, an important question to ask a mission agency regards its security policy on the field. Ask prospective mission agencies questions such as:
What is their crisis plan in the event of a political coup, a natural disaster, a personal medical emergency, or a kidnapping. How will the agency communicate with you? What will you be expected to do? How will the agency interact with the government? How quickly does the mission agency tend to pull people off the field? How does the agency interact with your sending church?
What experience does the agency have in dealing with crises, particularly where you’re going? How many field leaders trained in crisis management will be relatively near you in a crisis? Some agencies have individuals whose full time job is to lead the agency’s preparation for a crisis that might occur. If you’re the first person to go to a particular place with a mission agency, you likely will be the “guinea pig” for the agency’s crisis management in that city, country or region. The mission agency will likely have no field leadership near you. Is that acceptable to you?
Learn how other missionaries deal with daily issues that could escalate into larger problems. A great example of this would be how women deal with Muslim men. Islamic culture would generally assert that if a woman is not constantly modestly dressed, any harassment or violence from men is her fault. How do the women missionaries in your area dress, deal with eye contact, walk the streets (alone or with others?), and converse with men, if at all. Western women are frequently the objects of marital proposals from men who want a green card or a third or fourth wife, as a western wife is a “trophy.” How do women deal with such proposals?
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