Explore panel: ‘What opportunities has God given you to use unique skills, abilities, or passions in serving him overseas?'
October 2021
Sometimes we have a very narrow view of the education and skills needed for missions work. But mission takes all kinds of people, using skills they learned back home or pick up on the field to engage lost people from all backgrounds.

Lights, cameras, YouTube 

Headshot of Debbie in SpainThe pandemic has brought us the opportunity to all become YouTubers.  These are skills which I was very much lacking in, but ones which I wanted to get a grip on since we move in the youth-ministry world.  Well, God allowed Covid to happen, and especially the lock-down time was the perfect time to learn!  Final Cut Pro, audio recording, lighting, editing, etc, etc. The Lord provided some donations which covered some basic but important equipment.  Lord knows that a tripod can go a long way!  Anyway, a word to anyone who says they are NOT technically savvy—  you CAN BE. It just takes time!    

Photography, writing, and reading maps

Headshot of Hannah in JapanServing overseas has actually brought out the discovery of finding those unique skills, abilities or passions, not the other way around. 

I’ve had some opportunities to use photography and develop writing that I don’t think I would have otherwise. The first two years are dedicated to language learning and with that comes a period of time of learning new abilities while simultaneously slowing down. For example, the complex train system in Tokyo requires some knowledge that I didn’t have or need in the US, and it took both time and making mistakes to learn how to navigate it. Give yourself time—explore, and see how these skills, abilities and passions grow and change over time.  

Bringing physical and spiritual healing

Headshot of DK in Southeast Asia

I am a registered nurse and have a passion for facilitating healthy livelihood and healing both physically and spiritually. Nursing has the ability to open doors into relationships very naturally. For example, just taking blood pressures gives me a reason for walking into a random community and meet people I have never met before, without it being inappropriate or awkward.  In addition, meeting physical needs often opens the opportunity for deeper spiritual conversation and prayer. 

Coachability and humility

Headshot of Jake in Czech RepublicIf learning is a skill, I've certainly tried to use that one! We have to be willing to learn, and understand our expectations will often not be met. Also, humility and learning are two sides of the same coin. So we need humility too! 

Food, sports, and childhood experiences

Headshot of Leif in SiberiaI always tell people that my missionary gift is the ability to eat just about any food, but I'm not sure if that is what is most helpful to share here.  
Maybe my childhood of growing up in a rural area in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest helped prepare me for life outside the city here in Siberia, and gave me a special place in my heart for those who do manual labor for a living and aren't particularly rich. Hiking was also a part of my childhood, so using that experience and going out with locals to the mountains here has also been something God has used as the locals can enjoy seeing wonders of nature and even be proud of the homeland God has given them, while providing great opportunities for deep conversations and deepening relationships. 
Beyond this I would say that God does use our interests to build relationships with others. For example, I love to watch and play sports. Through this I have had opportunities to participate in and watch sports that are more well known here such as soccer, volleyball and basketball as well as teach people to play and watch sports that are new to them such as Ultimate Frizbee and American Football. Doing this has created opportunities to make new relationships and build others. 

Other than that, I think the passion God has given me for seeing people from minority cultures have true access to the gospel and a voice in the church when they recieve it, has been what has been most used by God. He has given me opportunities to share this passion in local churches and through inter-denominational conferences and I see this passion growing in others!  

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