19 Good Summer Time Investments
by John Holzmann
Summer time. And the living is easy. Or so says the song.
For those who are intent on pursuing Gods will, summer time is much like the rest of the year: its time to be invested for Gods glory and the advancement of His kingdom.
So lets say Im a sophomore in college and I want to invest my summer wisely in preparation for a lifetime of service on the mission field. What should I do?
I asked that question of a number of people I thought would have some worthwhile opinions on the subject. Heres what they said.
John Hannah, director of the Caleb Resources traveling mobilization teams, said the first question hed ask a person whos wondering what to do with his summer: Whats your financial situation? If theyre in debt, they should
1. Stay home and work and earn money to get out of debt. If you graduate with a bunch of debt, chances are you wont make it to the mission field.
Annette North, administrative assistant to the general director of Caleb Resources, said she encourages people to
2. Take the Perspectives course (see p. 12)especially if (the person with whom Im speaking has) had a short term experience.
A short term exposes a person to cross-cultural realities, but Perspectives is a world-view transforming experience.
A short term can give a burden for needs; it will challenge you to DO missions; Perspectives gives you the completing-the-task viewhow to use your life strategically.
With any program, you come back feeling, yes, someone should be involved, but with Perspectives, you sense, Yes, I need to be involved.
John Hannah added, Perspectives helped me see beyond the NEED of the lost people, to Gods glory. The motivation for missions is to glorify God. Thats more biblical and lasting than need alone.
Carrie Kulp, director of personnel, U.S. Division, Wycliffe Bible Translators, said,
3. Take some courses in Linguistics. They could (even) apply to your (academic) program.
4. Take Quest (the one-month Wycliffe orientation program). Wed rather not have people lower than about a Junior, but thats a possibility. Some students have even gotten academic credit for it. At Biola, for instance . . . .
5. Any kind of short-term mission service. Why? Because they get away from home and family, and get into dire circumstances compared with Southern California. They live in the mud.
If a person came to Wycliffe and said theyd had a summer missions experience, wed ask for references. Wed find how they behaved as a team member.
Another reason for getting involved in a short term: Most short-termers have to be involved in raising their own money; we get an idea of whether they can hack that or not.
Further, a short term gives a lot of confidence. If theyve been successful, they have a lot of self-confidence. Theyre much more goal-oriented.
Finally, most people when theyre sophomores have a chance to change curriculaa short term may help a person find out new (different) courses he can take to better prepare himself for the field.
For those who arent sure of what they want to do long-term:
6. Get involved in inner-city missions. There are something like 130 languages in the Los Angeles area. If theyd work with minority groups in the inner city, it would be cheaper (than a short-term experience), and they could still develop cross-cultural skills.
7. Be a guest helper at a mission. Just come and work. Help in the art department. Go to chapel. Youll meet missionaries coming through and get a flavor of who we are and what missions are all about. You cant be here without getting to know a lot.
Michael Pocock, former director of personnel with TEAM, now professor of missions at Dallas Seminary, said,
8. Id shy away from paint-up, fix-up, baby-sitting kinds of (short-term) experiences. You want to have an experience with a certain parallel with what youre going to do in the future.
If I dont know the language, and I end up merely painting and fixing things up, maybe Id find out far more about whether ministry is my calling by staying in the States and working in a summer camp.
9. Have a cross-cultural experience/ministry in this country.
A. Get involved with International Students Incorporated (see p. 14).
B. Get a job (at home) in Los Angeles, New York, or wherever, but have a ministry among Muslims. Align yourself not so much with a mission, as with a local ethnic church.
Richard Whitmire, director of Information Service, Wycliffe Bible Translators, said, If you anticipate work in translation, literacy, or linguistics,
10. Take SIL (the Summer Institute of Linguistics sponsored by Wycliffe), and follow it up the subsequent two summers. That way, by the time you graduate, youd have three semesterswhats required to become prepared for translation/literacy work.
11. Work at home with your local church.
12. Get involved in support work. Visit a mission field. (Write directly to the field of your choice.)
Warren Day, director of personnel for AIM International, recommended
13. Make contact with internationals where you live.
14. Take a course. He recommended Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, the Toronto Institute of Linguistics, and SIL (see pp. 12-14).
15. Find a cross-cultural context and write a report about your feelings; what you observe; how comfortable you are after five visits as compared to when you first went.
16. Get into unfamiliar surroundings and minister there. Rescue missions, Christian servicemens centers: they need staff who can minister.
17. Be involved in ministry.
18. Be accountable to someone. We have area representativeskeep in contact with them. If youre uncomfortable being so closely tied to a particular agency, then be in contact with Caleb Resources.
Finally, Steve Hawthorne, executive director of Caleb Resources, said,
19. Dont limit your thinking about missions to summer. Summer is a weekend in the annual calendar. If thats all you have for missions, youre talking missions by convenience, missions when I have the chancerather than giving up my chance at everything else in order to fulfill Gods purpose in my life.
If we end up with that mentality, he said, well become like Buddhist monks in the rainy season: In Thailand, almost all the men check in to the Buddhist monastery at one time or another during their lives. Its supposed to earn them merit or something. But when do they do it? During the rainy seasonwhen they cant do anything else anyway.