Many people start their thoughts about going to the mission field focusing on what country they will serve.  This may be a surprise, but for people who are considering a life on the mission field I believe this may be the wrong place to start.  I would suggest the most important factor to consider for your first step onto the mission field is the missionary under whom you will serve, not the country you serve.

From my experience, the largest factor in people thriving when they go overseas is the missionary they serve under.  I have loved sports for most of my life, and I have discovered something over the years—not every good player is a good coach.  The same is with missionaries.  Many of them are great “players” but not everyone is a good coach.  That is okay and takes nothing away from missionaries who should be more focused on “playing” rather than on “coaching”.  We need them all.  But, when you choose the missionary you will serve under, I would suggest you look for not just a good player, but a good coach.

So, what do you look for as you look to partner with a missionary?  I would look for someone who has a heart to train and develop people, and not just someone who has a need and could use you immediately.  This will impact how their team functions and is structured.  The missionaries who seek to teach young missionaries how to thrive on the mission field and how to think on the mission field are going to be great hosts.  If you serve under someone who has a heart to teach you how to thrive and think, and not just what to do, you will return equipped for what God may have for you in the future.  Then, after you have learned how to thrive on the mission field you can hone in on the exact location where you feel like God would have you serve in the future.  

But, for your first step, I would suggest putting “who before where”.  May God richly bless you as seek to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth.

* You can find opportunities with good “coaches” in our section “Get Connected”