I’m often asking what questions to ask a missionary in a good field visit or debrief.
Here’s a key list of areas guiding my visits. Obviously, the concerns are pastoral in nature and may vary depending on the tenure of the missionary/ies you’re visiting, their type of ministry, the depth and scope of your or your church’s relationship to them.
- Spiritual vitality and consistency: including devotional life, fellowship with other Christians, areas of sinful temptation or weakness, relationship with local bodies of believers
- Physical/mental/emotional health: including typical local diseases or susceptibilities, check-up schedules, individual needs
- Marital relationship health, growth, problems, needs. Or, if single, relationship with the opposite sex, or issues of singleness. Whatever the man says, ask the women separately or even privately to confirm.
- Family relationships with children: stresses, concerns, practices, discipline, spiritual leadership’
- Schooling & ongoing education: for everyone in the family: concerns?, resources?, needs?
- Language & culture proficiency: diligence in growth, resources, a plan, continuing growth for the whole family
- Team relationships: learn who they work with, who they report to, how they relate to them; are there regular meetings?, annual field conference?, regional meetings? What spiritual input, pastoral care, on-site visits, do they receive from their team/organization?
- Relationships with nationals: neighbors, friends, hospitality, ministry partnership/s, participation in community, acceptance, etc.
- Housing & utilities: adequacy, appropriateness to the culture/environment, healthy?, water supply, septic, heat/air, electricity
- Security & contingency issues: appropriate training, physical security, location security, situational awareness???
- Transportation: needs, resources, alternatives
- Communication: phone/s, Internet, radio, other?
- Financial: support, projects, repatriation/furlough/home-assignment needs, retirement plan, insurances, long-term schooling (college) for kids
- How can we (our church) help? What can we do to do a better job of supporting and shepherding you and your family? How can we pray and partner better?