As I look towards employment outside the missions realm, there's a question I often get asked. That question, often in response to the statement that I'm looking for work, is this: "What did you do before you went into missions?"

I completely understand that the meaning behind that question is likely innocuous - or people wanting to help me consider what I could do. But there's at least 2 problems with it.

  1. For many missionaries, what they did 'before' missions may not be relevant today. I worked for the Government 17 years ago. Not many current employers are looking for a skill I gained 17 years ago.
  2. It implies (even though it likely isn't meant to) that all that I've done in the last 17 years has little or no relevance to what I'm going to do next. It might even make me feel that what I've done in missions has limited value.
    That's a pretty sad thought - and it's also simply not true. Missionaries are involved in hundreds of tasks that are inherently 'marketable' in jobsearch, and certainly tasks that are useful on earth and in Heaven. Not many missionaries I'm aware of solely spend all day with Bible in hand walking around like the guy in this blog's picture!

I'm glad that people care enough to want to help. I am incredibly thankful for the people God has put around me to support me - and others like me. But I hope that my musing can help you as you consider how best to support missionaries in every phase of their mission career - even at the end!

What Do You Think? Agree/Disagree? Are there other 'don't say this' things you've come across? Let us know below.