Types of Missionaries – Seminary Teacher

As you can imagine, there are not enough missionaries to care for and disciple all of the people that have newly trusted in Jesus as their Savior. Some of these new believers have a desire to continue to spread the good news about Jesus, and some even want to become pastors. But where do they get training to do this? Many are very poor and there are not enough seminaries or theological colleges close to them.

One kind of missionary that many people do not think of is a seminary teacher. There are some people that travel from the United States to another country to teach for a few weeks each year. Most of these missionaries go to another country and live in that culture and environment. They learn the language and cultural nuances by immersing themselves in the local culture. Instead of being a pastor of a local church, they spend their time teaching people how to become a pastor and how to study the Bible and explain it to others.

Some of the goals of a seminary teacher are:

  • Provide quality theological teaching
  • Equip local people to teach the Bible
  • Answer questions about difficult passages in the Bible
  • Train local pastors and teachers
  • Teach people to recognize false teaching
  • Provide scripturally founded local teachers for new believers in Jesus

One location that has seminary teachers is Harare Theological College in Zimbabwe, Africa. You can read more about it here.

There is also a seminary in Puebla, Mexico (where I grew up) called Seminario Biblico de Puebla. They have a boarding school and evening class options, and many local Mexican people have trained there.

 

Activities to do with your kids:

  • If you have young kids, let them set up a podium or desk and pretend to be a Bible professor.
  • Read more about Zimbabwe and being a Bible professor. Check your local library for great books on travelling to Zimbabwe.

 

 

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Types of Missionaries – Printer

Many people live in parts of the world that are difficult to get to. And many people do not have money to buy books or literature. Some don’t even have any available for purchase due to their remote location or government controls. So, when they receive a Bible, book, or pamphlet, they treasure it and read it many times.

One type of missionary work that is near and dear to my heart is printing because this is what my dad did as a missionary. Although my dad did not have a seminary degree, he had a servant’s heart. When he heard that there was a ministry that needed someone fluent in Spanish that also knew how to design and layout documents for printing, he knew that he had to help. Eventually, he learned how to run the 2-ton printing press by himself. Printing Biblical tracts and parts of the Bible were not what he had gone to college to do, but he learned how and he spent many years of his life serving in this capacity. He always loved hearing the stories of how people had read the literature he printed and came to believe in Jesus as their Savior.

Some of the steps traditional printing might involve include:

  • Translation of a document into another language
  • Creating artwork
  • Layout of the document                                              
  • Making a negative or plate to use in printing     
  • Running the printing press
  • Checking printed papers to make sure they are being printed correctly
  • Cutting the large paper into smaller sections
  • Folding the document
  • Compiling the document with pages in order
  • Stapling, gluing or binding the document

Here are some finished tracts and the Gospel of John in Spanish:

There are many ministries that use printers and people that know about laying out documents. The Bible is constantly being translated into more and more languages. And someone needs to print those new Bibles! Maybe you could help with this someday! You might even be able to get an apprenticeship somewhere local to learn more about printing.

Another new exciting development in recent years is P.O.D. (Print-on-demand). This is revolutionizing the ability to get the printed Bible to people as fast as possible. They don’t have to wait months or years after the translation is finished to actually get a paper copy anymore! Programs like Wycliffe Associates are raising money to buy more P.O.D. systems around the world to facilitate this. A full-scale P.O.D. system costs around $15,000 USD, and there are smaller systems available for remote areas that are less expensive.

Want to find out more about printing ministries? Check out these links:

How can you get your family interested in this?

  • Watch a video about how a printing press works or this one
  • Talk about the first printing press: Gutenberg
  • Fold and staple some papers together and have your kids write their own book or tract to tell others about Jesus.  Make sure they include some artwork.  🙂

 

I’ll leave you with this interesting quote I found:

The Printed Page is a Missionary

The gospel in print is a “missionary”. It neither flinches nor shows cowardice. It is never tempted to compromise. It neither tires, nor grows discouraged. It travels cheaply and requires no hired hall. It works while others sleep. It never loses its temple. It continues to minister long after the present generation has passed on. The gospel in print is effective. It gains entrance to both the lowly hut and the lofty palace. It speaks to a man at the right time, only when he is reading it. It sticks to what it says and never answers back. It reaches those who otherwise might never be reached. It carries the only authoritative answers. It points the way to eternal life through Jesus Christ. The gospel in print is far-reaching. Through reading a tract, Russell H. Conwell was led to Christ. A pamphlet . . . fell into the hands of John Bunyan, and by this means he was converted. Pilgrim’s Progress came from his pen, and through that excellent work thousands were saved. This missionary – the gospel in print – should have the prayerful support of every Christian. Those who make it possible become Missionaries of the Printed Page.

– Author Unknown

 

Types of Missionaries – Medical Missionaries

Imagine… people lined up before dawn, waiting for their turn to see a doctor. Some of them standing in line for hours on end. By noon, those able to see the doctor that day have been signed up and the rest are sent away to try again tomorrow. Some have simple problems like a skin disease or ingrown toenail. Some have large hernias or female problems that require surgical correction.

I have participated in several short-term, medical mission trips, and I am always amazed at the amount of people that come for help. I also am amazed by how “simple” some of the “cures” are.

There are millions of people around the world that have medical needs that are not fixable in the area where they live. There may be a lack of doctors in their area or they may not have money or transportation to get to one. Many people suffer pain or disability with no relief in sight. Sometimes this interferes with their ability to make a living and work.

One important type of missionary that requires some training ahead of time is a medical missionary. All different kinds of people can do medical missions.  Some are full-time missionaries and some do short-term mission trips:

  • Doctors (surgeons, pediatricians, family doctors, ob/gyn, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, etc)
  • Physician’s Assistants
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Medical assistants
  • Pharmacists
  • Physical therapists

Many of these people have spent years in training to learn how to diagnose and treat patients well. Medical missions can also use people without training, though. Many people can be trained to weigh and measure a person and take a blood pressure. This can be vital for checking a patient in.

In my opinion, for a medical mission trip to be the most successful it can be, it needs to have two main components:

  • A team of people, some of whom are not medical. People are needed to manage people in line or waiting to see the doctor, entertain children, fix food for the medical team, clean the operating room, organize supplies, and count medications in the pharmacy.
  • A local missionary or local church as a partner. Healing and fixing medical problems is very rewarding, but unless it is combined with telling the people about how Jesus can be their Savior it is missing the most important part of missions.

There are many medical mission organizations, but not all of them have a goal of telling others about Jesus.  You can go to the following websites to read more about some that do:

Want ideas for how to get your kids involved?

  • Get out the toy medical kit and help them play doctor or nurse with their stuffed animals or dolls. Let them “doctor” you. Pretend you live somewhere where there are no doctors.
  • Read stories (age appropriate) from missionary blogs or websites about doctors and medical professionals overseas.
  • Find some books to read about medical missionaries.  Check out: Ida Scudder, David Livingstone, or On Call (for older kids).  Here are some images to help you as you search.  (This is not an exhaustive list…there are many more books available as well.)
  • On Call (Jaffray Collection of Missionary Portraits) by [Thompson M.D., David C.]    Ida Scudder: Healing Bodies, Touching Hearts (Christian Heroes: Then & Now) by [Benge, Janet, Benge, Geoff]        David Livingstone: Africa's Trailblazer (Christian Heroes: Then & Now) by [Benge, Janet, Benge, Geoff]

 

(This post contains some affiliate links.  If you click on some links and make a purchase, familiesformissions may receive a small compensation.)

 

Types of Missionaries – Missionary Pilots

I was recently talking about different types of missionaries with my kids because I want them to know about all different types of mission work. I realized that there might be parents out there that are only familiar with a few types of missionaries. So, I have decided to write a series of posts that will help grownups and kids both learn more about the types of mission work being done around the world. I will try to include links to websites where you can find missionaries with these jobs. I will also try to include activities that families can do that tie into that type of work, when possible.

First up…

Missionary Pilots

(Photo from http://ntm-aviation.org/photos)

There are missionary pilots serving all over the world. They normally fly in countries where there are people groups that are difficult to get to (like Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Philippines, etc.). They usually live near a base, where the planes or helicopters are kept in a hangar, and they fly out to villages and remote areas when needed. Many times, they can do a flight in an hour or two that would otherwise take days. They help all kinds of people:

  • Doctors taking vaccines or medicines to remote locations
  • Local people who need emergency care or transportation to a hospital or clinic
  • Missionaries that are working to translate the Bible into local languages in villages
  • Local pastors that are traveling and preaching in different villages
  • Missionaries that need supplies

Here are just a few websites that include information about missionary pilots. Take some time to read about a few…some have their own blogs or newsletters that you can subscribe to.

(Photo from http://ntm-aviation.org/photos)

Want some activities for your little aspiring pilots?

  • Look up countries like Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Philippines on a map or puzzle of the world
  • Make paper airplanes and watch them fly. Have a competition to see which one goes farthest.
  • Look up take-off and landing videos on missions websites like the ones above. Imagine landing and taking off from the small, slanted, grass runways!

(Most of the links in this post are to direct you to another source of information.  There are, however, a couple of affiliate links and Families for Missions might receive a small commission if you click on those and make subsequent purchases.)