surviving the mission field as a single

just in time for valentine's day!

just in time for valentine's day!

a friend had passed on to me an entry from the blog Stuff Christians Like called “Surviving church as a single” and i laughed to myself as i read through the list and saw how many of the items on the scorecard had happened to me.  i mentioned that there needs to be a “surviving the mission field as a single” version, and since nobody’s made one, i’ve taken the liberty to do the spin-off.  🙂

note: a couple of these overlap from the “surviving church as a single” post.

The Surviving the Mission Field as a Single Scorecard

1. you’ve been told you have the “gift of singleness” after you’ve been in the field for couple of years. = +2

2. you’ve been told you have the “gift of singleness” even before you go out into the field. = +3

3. you don’t even know how someone else would know if you have the “gift of singleness.” = +4

4. you’ve used the mission field as a bargaining chip with God to help you find someone (in a “you scratch my back, i’ll scratch yours” kind of way).  = -3

5. your supporters and friends keep asking if you’d marry a local. = +1

6. people keep asking you when you’re going to marry a local. = +2

7. the locals ask you to marry a local. = +4

8. you try to imagine yourself marrying a local. = +2

9. (if you’re a male) your supporters keep asking to set you up with a single gal who’s going into the mission field as well. = +2

10. (if you’re male) the girl you’re interested in/being set up with ends up not wanting to go to the same mission field as you, so people ask you to consider switching locations. = +3

11. (if you’re female) your supporters keep asking to set you up with pastors, deacons, elders, or just christians in general, who are “quite possibly” interested in missions. = +2

12. (if you’re female) the guy you’re interested in/being set up with ends up not wanting to go into the same mission field as you (or at all), so people ask you to consider your call as a “wife.” = +3

13. you’ve had people not want to introduce someone to you for fear you might drag them into the world of long-term missions. = +4

14. someone pays you the world’s most backhanded compliment: “i just don’t understand how someone as great as you isn’t married yet.” = +1

15. someone tries to assure you you’ll find someone because “you’ve given your life to serving Him.” = +3

16. people tell you that it’s easier being single on the mission field. = +2

17. in an effort to “console” you about your single status, people start quoting stats at you, like how single women are the 2nd most content group of people on the field.  (1st being married men, 3rd being single men, 4th being married women). = +2

18. you make sure your apparel does not shout “old single female/male missionary.” = +1

19. (if you’re female) you try not to think about ending up as a cat lady.  or bird lady.  or dog lady. = +1

20. your married friends try to tell you how difficult marriage life is and how it’s all amplified on the mission field, all in an effort to tell you that you’re not missing out in case you don’t get married. = +2

21. married missionaries get you to come babysit their kids so while they’re away doing ministry with the locals. = +1

22. supporters/churches assume you have a lot of time because you don’t have a family to care for. = +2

23. even your single friend supporters assume you have a lot of time because you’re single. = +2

24. in any of the pictures you show your supporters, you always get asked who any opposite sex person is and whether they are a “special” friend. = +2

25. you go through seminary/bible college with heaps of single people lookin’ to get hitched before they go out to the mission field. = +3

26. you thought seminary/bible college was your last stop (and last hope) for getting married. = +4

27. people remind you that Jesus was single.  so was Paul. = +3

28. people tell you that missions work will be easier if you “have someone by your side.” = +2

29. short-term teams always ask you what it’s like being a single in the mission field. = +1

30. people ask you if you’re glad that you’re “away from all the weddings/bridal showers/bachelor/bachelorette parties/baby showers” so you don’t have to be reminded all the time that other people at home are going through those things. = +3

31. when your friends’ children ask you who you’re married to, your friends tell them you’re super special because you’re “married to Jesus.” = +3

32. churches tell you that they are supporting you with less money because you’re only one person, as opposed to the family being sent out. = +2

33. the only speaking engagements/panels you’re asked to do during your church’s missions month has to do with being “single in the mission field.” = +2

34. you get really nervous when a single female/male joins your field because field members automatically assume you’re going to marry them. = +2

35. you are your field’s (country) token single male missionary. = +3

36. you’re one of the many single females in your field. = +3

….so?  how did you pan out?  i’ve probably missed a lot of stuff in there, but those were some general ones i could think of, having had this conversation with plenty of other single missios.

i assume that most of you reading this aren’t actually missionaries, but it’s all good.  now you have an idea of what we hear.  all.  the.  time.

while i’m content being single, it still leaves a stench when there is a feeling that other people assume you’re unhappy being a single missionary.  but no worries.  having lived through many of those things above, i’ve developed some replies to the question “how come you’re still single?”

“my organization doesn’t allow people to get married if they’ve joined as a single.”
“the tribal people that i serve told me that it takes 2 years before the potion starts working.”
“do you know how much two plane tickets cost?  support-raising would be crazy.  i’m trying to save you money.”
“i’m waiting until i’ve converted 50 natives here.”
“when underground churches stop being persecuted, i will marry.”
“because God told me my life would be more fun dealing with you people and your questions.”
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5 thoughts on “surviving the mission field as a single

  1. This is great; good humor, and I’ve gotten most of them. I’m off in a few days to do #33 at a Bible college missions conference. But hey, if it gets some single dudes or chicks to be a part of the Great Commission rather than waiting around for their special someone, I’m cool with it. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Ally says:

    ahahahaha, that is so funny!!!

  3. VL says:

    #16 vs #28 Haha…even better if the people who say this to you have never been on a mission trip longer than 2 years

  4. shar says:

    Dang, these are so true. I’m 27 and single. Before I came to Europe, people joked about how I’d marry a handsome Spaniard. Now they joke about how I need to keep my eyes open for a handsome Spaniard. When I get home, I’m sure I’ll hear questions about why I didn’t find a handsome Spaniard. I think maybe I’ll just stay here until I’m 30 and everyone gives up hope on my behalf. 🙂

  5. “the great commission isn’t fulfilled by going on missions trips; it’s fulfilled by seamlessly integrating a global lifestyle.” daggggg

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