Church leaders aren’t the only ones responsible for preparing single women for missions. The church’s lay women can be an integral part of the missions journey for a single woman. I’ve noticed that women often wait for the single woman to ask for help, but for various reasons, many of them will not. Take the initiative and reach out to her. You never know how your counsel might bless a single woman.
Pray for Her and with Her
The easiest way to prepare your single missionary is by walking with her in prayer. From the moment she expresses a desire to go, add her to your prayer list. A commitment to prayer is one of the greatest gifts women can give to the missionary and to the church body. Pray for her and with her. Model what being a prayer warrior looks like and teach her where the true battle lies. Prayer is the best defense against spiritual warfare.
“A commitment to prayer is one of the greatest gifts women can give to the missionary and to the church body.”
Research Her Place of Service
As the missionary prepares to go overseas, she will have her eyes on the field and her heart with the people she wants to serve. What a gift it would be to have someone both curious and knowledgeable about her destination and its culture. Look for books and articles about the country. Research the people. Check articles on world news sites such as BBC. Learn about the major religions.
Don’t just learn about the destination. Talk to her about what you learn. This research develops a heart in you for the people with whom your missionary will serve and gives her a much-needed conversation partner as she prepares.
Don’t be surprised or fearful of the differences and dangers you discover. God’s light is for dark places. This calling will be difficult, perhaps painful, and maybe risky. But she is going because she loves the God of the nations and desires to make him known.
Offer to Teach Her Basic Skills
Preparation, both spiritual and practical, is a huge part of the sending process. Before she goes, teach her the skills she’ll need on the field. Here are a few suggestions to consider.
- Teach her how to walk with Jesus and love his Word, his church, and the lost.
- Model evangelism and discipleship.
- Teach her some of your favorite recipes, especially if they are made from scratch.
- If she is going to an area that still predominantly uses standard vehicles, teach her how to drive a stick shift.
- Teach her how to sew on a button.
- Help her think through a budget and learn how to convert money.
- Give her basic housekeeping tips and life hacks.
- If she is answering a job that requires her to hike or camp, teach her basic survival skills.
- If she will have limited exercise options, teach her how to do a comprehensive workout in her home with minimal equipment.
- Offer to be a resource when she needs one.
Remember that missionary preparation is a church-wide endeavor. Do not feel the pressure to teach her everything. Instead, find other women in the church who can also walk with her as she prepares.
Ask Intentional Questions
Single women going overseas often experience a smorgasbord of emotions, and no two women experience the same struggles as they prepare. Some women are terrified. Others are excited. Some feel prepared. Others don’t.
Don’t make assumptions about her feelings and concerns. Ask and ask often. Her replies will change as she continues the journey. Fears and struggles will be magnified as she lands in her new home, so she needs people who know her specific fears and struggles before she goes.
“Her life is no less valuable or important if she never marries. A life lived in service to the King’s mission is never wasted, and her identity rests in Christ.”
Here are some questions to consider.
- How is your relationship with God?
- Why do you want to go overseas?
- How does your family feel about you going overseas?
- What are some of your biggest fears as you go overseas?
- What sins do you struggle with?
- What do you do when you are lonely?
- Do you have any specific fears about being a woman in the culture you are going to?
Give Space for Conversations about Singleness
Because going overseas forces many single women to grapple with emotions concerning their marital status, the single woman in your church may need a safe space to talk about singleness. Follow her lead as you have these conversations. Some women are at peace with their singleness and/or weary of the topic. Others need space to explore their fears and struggles before they go. She might be afraid of a lifetime of singleness or heartbroken over unfulfilled dreams. Again, don’t assume you know what she feels. Ask and listen.
There is no one-size-fits-all way to talk to single women about their relationship status. Each woman wrestles through this reality differently. Refrain from platitudes like, “Someday your prince will come.” The truth is, he might not. Many single women have remained both faithful and single to the end. And the greater truth is that her life is no less valuable or important if she never marries. A life lived in service to the King’s mission is never wasted, and her identity rests in Christ. Instill this truth in her as she prepares to go.
Single women preparing for missionary service may seem like they have it all together and need nothing from you, but don’t listen to that lie. Don’t rob yourself or the single woman of the blessing your service to her could be. Take the first step. Reach out to your sister. And watch how God uses your offerings of time, intentionality, and love as part of his big mission.