Hi, my name is John, and I am an introverted missionary
There I said it
Believe it or not, God calls many people with introverted personalities to share the Gospel in foreign cultures, and they win souls to Christ while planting Bible preaching Churches. It may not be a easy for them as an extroverted individual but the Gospel reaches beyond our weaknesses.
I’m sort of a mix between an extrovert and introvert. I won’t take the first step in a relationship many times (introducing myself) but once we are friends become very outgoing. People have it explained it by saying “when we first met you wouldn’t talk, and from that point on you didn’t shut up” 🙂
Obviously this can lead to some challenges with missions because much of it has to do with relationship development….but experiences on the mission field has taught me God will bring opportunities for Gospel bridges if I am faithful in connecting with others.
Since visiting Barrouaille for two-weeks in August it’s been a habit of mine to walk around town at 11:00 every morning after finishing sermon preparation. A goal is to pray, but the primary one is to learn where things are in town, and meet people.
This meant making eye contact with everyone and saying “good morning” whether they responded to me or not. For the first two-weeks this would be followed by an explanation as two why I was there since seeing a white-man in town was sort of a shock for them.
After returning last month those morning walks slowly became opportunities to greet one another by name, and recently we started having small talk about the weather (a HUGE achievement).
To be honest after being in Barrouaille about eight weeks total I expected to be past small talk relationships, but the truth is friendships aren’t developed overnight.
This morning I was walking by a shop when a man named Mack stopped to ask how the missionary I’m filling in for was doing. He happens to be a man who believes in many things (mostly Catholicism) and I had asked Mack to pray for the missionary last week if he was a “praying man.”
We talked about the missionary for a few minutes but ended up having about a forty-five minute discussion about sin, heaven and hell, what Adam and Eve did wrong in the garden, baptism, and salvation.
Mack and I don’t agree on these subjects (the fact that he uses the Koran and encyclopedia as a source instead of Scripture doesn’t help) but this first of hopefully man conversations was a wonderful opportunity to share the Gospel.
The thing is that relationship with Mack wasn’t created overnight…it took over a month to build. But being able to spend almost an hour answering his questions about God made all of that time worth it.
More than once while walking through town in the morning I asked God in frustration “Lord why don’t I see you working?” Honestly there must be something better for me to do with my time than say good morning to people and talk about the weather! But today it all started to make sense.
Each greeting is another brick for that gospel bridge I’m building into that persons life for God’s glory. And someday if I am faithful we will move past small talk about the rain, and discuss their need of Christ.
As someone who knows what it’s like to prefer a place in the corner and a good book instead of being with people let me assure you that being introverted is no excuse for not sharing Christ.
So make eye contact
And say good morning (don’t forget to smile)
Learn the persons name, and master the art of small talk
Then wait for God to open the door.