Quiet Time and Missionary Life
By Helen McCormack
“When I arrive on the mission field, I’ll be more consistent with my quiet times.” Have you ever thought that? I did before entering the field. We would agree that if Jesus spent time in prayer and communion with His Father, sometimes all night, we are to do the same. Christians, whether they are missionaries or not, frequently confess, however, that finding the minutes for a consistent quite time can be challenging.
What are some of the reasons for this challenge? First, we have many valid demands on our time; children, jobs, housework and church. From my experience however, if quiet time is not a consistent part of life before departure, it will not be any easier in another culture. Part of the reason for that is that in addition to the usual time demands, we will encounter differences in shopping, laundry and cooking, as well as searching for stores on unknown roads with unknown driving rules, in an unknown language. That takes time. I’ll confess a personal example of a challenge I faced shortly after arriving at our destination country.
I was supposed to pick up someone at a train station. The round trip should not have taken more than 90 minutes. However, I got so lost that I wasn’t sure how to get back to the city in which I lived, much less find the train station! I barely managed to ask directions in the local language but the answer was not given in English! Desperately I watched the gentleman point and then sandwiched between many unknown words, I heard “left” and eventually “right”. That wasn’t much to go on but obviously I found my way to the station and home again even though it took twice as long as it should have. At the following site you will find a compilation of some challenges missionaries face which in turn can affect our time with the Lord. . https://www.askamissionary.com/question/525
Second, one sad reason for inconsistent quiet time may be that we’ve lost our first love for the Lord and His Word. In spite of committing to follow Him to the mission field, we may neglect to nurture the foundational love and trust we need in the one who leads us to that very field. We need to challenge ourselves to run the race well (Hebrews 12:1-2) now since it will be vital as we walk into the unknown with Him. Habits take time to form but if Susanna Wesley could find time for the Lord in the midst of her 19 children, there is a way. For encouragement in developing a stronger habit of consistent quiet time, consider the advice found in the following site. https://verticallivingministries.com/tag/common-problems-in-establishing-a-quiet-time/
Helen and her husband David confirmed God's first call to missions at a MissionNext Conference in 2002. After three short-term (2-4 month) projects in Lithuania, they joined Wycliffe Bible Translators. They then taught for 7 years at Black Forest Academy in Germany. Black Forest Academy serves mostly US passport missionary families who work in over 50 countries throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. Now, back in the States, David continues to serve Wycliffe in a human resources capacity.