Following are some suggestions to keep in mind as you participate on your ministry team:
You are a team
The power of witness
The testimony of an eyewitness has powerful impact in a court of law. It can sway the decision of the jury and determine the outcome of the entire case. In fact, in life and death cases a witness may hold the power of human life in the truthfulness of his statements. Our legal system is built around the power of a first-hand report.
Obviously, your role as an international witness has some unique factors about it. You may have to speak through an interpreter. Your choice of illustrations will have to be limited to what your audience can comprehend. Most certainly the setting will not be what you are accustomed to back home; those aspects of cross-cultural witnessing will take some preparation on your part. However, the basic function of taking the stand as a witness is the same: you simply tell what has happened to you, by God's grace.
Quite often witnesses are tempted to believe that they have to persuade or convince their hearers of the truth of the gospel or of their need to accept it. That is not the work of a witness. In a courtroom, a witness has no responsibility to convince the jury or to argue one side of the case. He simple states what he has seen and heard as accurately as he can report it, and he leaves the convincing up to the advocates.
This is precisely your work as an international witness. State what God has done in your life in as clear a manner as possible; and leave the convincing to the power of the Holy Spirit. He is the only one that convicts men of sin and judgement, but he uses the straightforward accounts of sincere believers in the process.
Speaking through an interpreter
Protection of self and belongings
It is impossible to know when or whether hijacking, piracy, or kidnapping will happen. But just as we trust the Lord for our daily lives, we must trust Him as we travel to visit our OMS fields. We can take some steps to protect ourselves:
Your visit to the mission field
It is not "unspiritual" to sightsee on a ministry team. MFM may include some sightseeing in the ministry team cost. A translator will always accompany you. Ask questions; allow your guides to describe their country with pride. But be willing to see the country from the perspective of missionaries and nationals. Be ready to travel by bus, ox-cart, train, canoe, horseback, or on foot!
Missionaries enjoy having teams visit. You bring many good things: fresh news, new games, jokes and ideas, care packages, conversational English; eager, curious minds and open, burdened hearts.
Most importantly, though, you will bring encouragement. Many missionaries spend weeks at a time giving their time, talents, patience, experience, and spiritual leadership. Share with the missionaries your faith and how it has changed and is changing your life. Allow them to share prayer burdens with you. Spend time together in Bible study, prayer, singing, and worship.
Laugh together and perhaps share tears together. Allow the missionaries to be human. Recognize the difficulty of the work they are doing and encourage them to continue faithfully. Trust and respect the missionaries.
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