I have been a missionary for 12 years. And one of my policies is to stay and eat with people. Sometimes it nice other times I just can’t wait to get out there. But the people I stay with always go above and beyond to make life as comfortable as possible.
1) Build Relationships
1 Corinthians 9:19-24 (NKJV Strong’s)
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.
A key factor in business, ministry and work is relationships. To be successful you have to build a relationship with people. People want to know if they can trust you and if you really care.
In order to connect with people, you have to come to their level to understand what they are going through. People want to feel appreciated and to be noticed. Often when I walk through villages people will greet you and often my people that is with will comment that the people feel loved. That is why you get on social media so many duckface selfies. In most cultures, they do value relationship and interactions a lot more than western culture.
This is also where I learn if I can trust people or not. People tend to pretend less when they are in the comfort of their own home. And it is a lot more difficult to pretend. And people will “gossip”. So you learn their shortcomings a lot quicker.
2) Open doors
Many years ago the Lord put into my heart to work with the Karamajong. The Karamajong is a warrior tribe in Uganda. And they still raid other tribes and steal their cattle at gunpoint.
I received a call one day from a pastor that said he would like to meet me. Because I sleep in the villages and eat what the people eat. He asks me if I don’t want to help him and travel to his area.
3) Set example
I travel by bus and minibus just like the locals do. It is cheap and keeps the cost down but it also takes away a lot of excuses. It gets hard to explain why you need a vehicle when the missionary travels by public transport. It also hard to explain why you are late when I arrive on time using the same transport system.
There is this myth that white people can’t walk long distances and can’t work physically hard. People have tried to use this to up prices. So when work needs to be done I am helping, from “digging” to walking and it is usually the other party that can’t keep up. 😉
4) Planning & Mentoring
This where we get most of our work done. It gives me an opportunity to speak into their lives and it is at their homes where we get most of the planning done.