It’s common for missionaries who stay on the field permanently to work at several different roles, sometimes in different places. After gaining experience on the field, you may find that your gifts and interests point to different types of work. For example, one nurse who arrived to work in a mission hospital decided to work with teams that travel to remote areas to offer medical clinics. She later wanted to become more directly involved in church planting, and began translating the Bible into a local dialect. Someone who goes to the field to plant churches may determine that his gifts of service and hospitality lend themselves better to running the agency’s guesthouse in the capital city.
Other missionaries’ host countries may expel them, leading to work in a variety of places and roles to gain access into new nations. Still other missionaries prove to be natural leaders who effectively lead local teams, and become the agency’s leaders over the work in countries or regions.
While such transitions are natural, keep in mind that your sending church approved you to work in a particular place doing a particular kind of work. When considering changing fields or roles, first consult with your sending church. It should be a major voice in assessing such changes. Many sending churches will understand and agree with your rationale for changes, but don’t make the mistake of bypassing your church’s wisdom in the process.
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