New Staff's Answer to the "Real Job" Obstacle

Editor's Note: A new gospel worker in Africa named “Z” secured an appointment for a fundraising appeal with a former employer, “Mr. X.” Here are his surprising remarks to Z as told in Z’s own words:


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Mr. X: “You are being brainwashed. You are not a real missionary. Real missionaries come from the West.” 

These were remarks from my former employer when I asked him to consider joining my MPD (Ministry Partner Development) team. His words hit me hard. I couldn’t speak. I cringed in my seat as I absorbed what he said about my decision to join the GAP (Graduate Apprenticeship Programme).

Mr. X wasn’t finished! “Did you go to university for four years just to put your degree in a shelf? Do you really think that God has called you to wallow in poverty as a missionary? I don’t think you understand what it entails to be a missionary.”

And finally, “Z, you are a making a huge mistake; come back to your senses before it’s too late,” he said.

I was shocked, and my entire body went limp.” This was a man I looked up to. Being a church elder, he spent most of his time sharing the gospel and talking to people about Jesus, especially his co-workers. He reminded me of Paul the apostle.

This is a real job, and it demands my full undivided commitment.

It made sense that I would put him first on my MPD list, right? But I got a lecture about why I couldn’t be a missionary. He added, “Why can’t you just get a real job and let the real missionaries do their job—not you!”

I felt a lot of things, but finally I broke my silence. I said,

"Sir, it is not I but God who called me to become a missionary. All I did was respond to His calling and am glad I did because that response has made my walk with Christ more real. This is a real job, and it demands my full undivided commitment. I am going to serve God regardless of what you say or feel."

The saddest part is that many people (even believers) have the weirdest idea that real missionaries only come from the West. They believe that missionaries are “born” and not “made.” They don’t regard people who have taken time to serve God either part-time or full-time as missionaries.

What does that tell us [about]believers? What message are we sending to non-believers? If a church elder has such misconstrued perceptions of giving and missions, what about a new believer or a non-believer?

We must challenge such kind of thinking. We are told in the bible that we should not “conform to this world, but we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds…” (Romans 12:2). 

-Z, a new missionary


Editor’s note: Let us thank God for Z, a bold new gospel-worker. And let us all prayerfully be prepared for that question when it hits each of us. Thank you for this wonderful story to honor the Lord, Z.