Question about Daily Life Overseas for missionaries:

"What does day-to-day life look like on the field? What is a typical day for a missionary?"

"Expect the first year to be one of adjustment."

Answer from

The first year on the mission field presents a lot of challenges for a missionary. In this interview, a couple talks about how they navigated some of these challenges during their first year overseas.

"Find someone doing what you are interested in."

Answer from Steven in Argentina, who has served with Congregational Holiness Church in Latin America.

This is a really hard question to answer, because every day is different and every location is very different. My advice would be for you to find someone who does the same type ministry as you feel that the Lord is calling you to do. They will be able to tell you a little bit about day to day life. Like I said though, it will still be very different.

Editor's Note: While different missionaries' typical days vary a lot, you can get some ideas from reading missionary blogs. Some mission organizations host these on their websites. You can also find quite a few of them at Missionary Bloggers. You can get to know some missionaries and follow their lives through their newsletters, websites, and social media streams.

"Life as a missionary has routines, too."

Answer from Steve in Scotland, who has served with BCM International for eighteen years.

Life as a missionary can often mirror life in the secular world. It will probably consist of routines. There will be set things that have to be done each day and then some other stuff that is "added on" or pops up during the day or week. It is true that some missionaries never know what will happen next, but that's not the normal pattern. There may be things like language study and cultural orientation in the first years and then the regular work schedule kicks in.

For me, a "typical" day consists of getting up at about 7am. Quiet time. Breakfast. Get the kids ready and off to school. Study for the coming ministry. Off to ministry. Lunch. Ministry. Collect kids from school and make dinner. Dinner. Study for ministry. Ministry. Put kids to bed. Bible study with my wife. Off to bed at about 10pm.

"Find the routine that fits you."

Answer from Rev. Marty, who has served with Shekinah International Mission in Central America and Canada for ten years.

A typical day for us: prayer, then Bible study, followed by family devotion and breakfast. After the youth go to school we go into the community to visit with the local families and help meet whatever needs we can both spiritual and physical. We visit the hospitals, prisons, and various other facilities usually once during the week. Most nights there is a service in the Latin American countries. We close the day in prayer and reflection of what God has done in our lives.

Your day will be what you want to make it in the Lord. Humans like routines. Once you find the routine that fits you on the mission field perform it with all your might.

"A sample job description for a new missionary."

Answer from Steve, who serves with Mission: Moving Mountains.

Here is a sample position description for a first-term missionary with our agency.

Job title: Language/ Culture Learner

Purpose: To become familiar enough with the language and culture of the target people group to appropriately carry out the development/ discipleship process in selected communities.

To: Team Leader
With: Fellow team members

Team skills: Medical, agricultural, engineering, business, theology, social sciences

- BA or BS in professional discipline (advanced degrees depending on discipline)
- Mature faith in Jesus
- Experience in discipleship relationships
- Team player
- Teachability
- Passion for the poor, lost, and unreached peoples

Summary: Main task is to adapt to the new culture, learn the local language and culture with the goal of understanding ways your specialty skill and discipleship may empower people in this cultural context.

Review of job description: Bi-annually with team leader


1. Actively pursue a program of ongoing spiritual growth.
- Personal quiet time
- Corporate worship with team or local church
- Accountability group

2. Establish a healthy, nurturing home environment.
- Family time
- Home
- Spouse time
- Individual parent-child time
- Adoption of family (for singles), adoption of a single (for families)
- Hospitality
- Personal space
- Leisure time
- Communication with supporters/family

3. Plan and implement a language acquisition and culture learning/adaptation program for target people group.
- Methodology (academic time, learner time, structured/unstructured time)
- Time commitment
- Alone/group time
- Set language level goals
- Immersion/non immersion justification
- Research on specialty skill
- Community relationships
- Methodology
- Anthropology
- Culture stress
- Immersion/non-immersion
- Participation in community events (weddings, funerals, etc.)

4. Participate fully as a team member in creating a healthy team environment.
- Team meetings
- Rules of conduct (communication, conflict resolution, etc.)
- Worship/prayer
- Boundaries
- Recreation

5. Plan and implement activities for understanding regional applications of your specialty.
- Visit teammates and other teams
- Visit our ministry centers
- Visit projects conducted by other ministries.
- Discussion with local government and other NGOs
- Take training courses
- Reading

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