Ask a VOM Worker: Advice for Future Missionaries
Bethany H., a VOM volunteer, would like to be a missionary someday. For a school project, she interviewed VOM’s Jason Peters. Dr. Peters often travels to meet with persecuted believers around the world. You can read Bethany’s questions and Dr. Peters’ answers below.
Bethany: Did you go on a mission trip as a youth? If so, what impact did it have on you?
Dr. Peters: No, I was not able to go on a mission trip as a youth. I would have welcomed the opportunity, but was not aware of all of the options that I am aware of today.
Bethany: What do you enjoy about mission trips?
Dr. Peters: I have now ministered in 40 countries, and I really enjoy meeting our brothers and sisters face-to-face. It has changed my faith to see the faith of others, especially those who are in very difficult life circumstances.
Bethany: What are some helpful things to know before going on a mission trip?
Dr. Peters: Go as a humble learner. We sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that we are the experts who are coming to help these poor Christians, but in reality, they are often more mature than we are spiritually. They may not have much materially, but many of them have deep faith.
Bethany: What advice would you give a new missionary?
Dr. Peters: Take the time to learn the culture. There is a gradual, long process of maturing as a cross-cultural worker. Trust God to place you where He needs you and to equip you for what He has called you do to!
Bethany: What are some things you have learned from your mission trips?
Dr. Peters: That God is touching lives in every corner of the world. Our God is SO big that it is impossible for us to even begin to see all the wonderful ways that He is at work!
Bethany: What are the differences (to the missionary) between short-term and long-term mission
Dr. Peters: They are totally different. To be honest, I believe that the greatest benefit to short-term missions is what happens in the life of the participant. It really takes long-term missions, and ideally indigenous leaders, to really begin to make a lasting impact on a community.
Bethany: What do you know now that you wish you would have known before your first mission trip?
Dr. Peters: So much that I can’t even begin to capture it! By God’s grace He teaches us each step of the way.
Bethany: How has your relationship with God changed since going on mission trips?
Dr. Peters: I have grown in dependence upon Him. I am confident serving anywhere in the world as I walk with Him.
Bethany: What countries have you gone on a mission trip to?
Dr. Peters: Mexico, United States, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Peru, Bangladesh, China, Diego Garcia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Austria, The Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, England, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain, Wales, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Egypt, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan.
Bethany: Is there anything else you think would be helpful for me to know for my research?
Dr. Peters: It will be exciting to see how God uses you in the years ahead. He has a great plan for your life. I encourage you to develop character and competencies that are based on solid scriptural principles. God bless you, Bethany!