Month: July 2016

Season 2, Episode 6: Communication, Holidays, and Care Packages

When you’re on the missions field, communicating with family back home can be really tough, for more reasons than we could even try to list out. In this episode, Maggie shares her unique experience interacting with her family and engaging them in the Lord’s work overseas. We had a lot of fun recording this episode and believe it will bless you as you think wisely about this very important aspect of living overseas. Enjoy!

You can listen to this episode below or by searching for “Life on Mars podcast” on the iTunes store and Podcasts app. While there, give us a rating to help us know how we are doing.

We’re thankful for you!

-The Life On Mars team

Mastered by Resonate Recordings

Music by Citizens & Saints

3 Responses When Fruit Isn’t There

When I first came to the field, part of me expected it to be like planting a garden for the first time. The first section of time is a bit of a trial run, where you learn how to manage the garden. Mistakes are made, but slowly you learn what works. You invest in better soil, put up a fence and, by the end of that first section, you have some good flowers and vegetables to show for your hard work. Looking forward, the possibilities of what you could grow and harvest seem endless!


When I arrived on the mission field, I spent the majority of my first two years preparing my garden. I tried to learn the language and culture, while also accumulating tools to better share the gospel with people from different cultures. Now, I am in my third year on the field and expecting a fruitful harvest from all the preparing I have done. Yet, my ministry is still not bearing the type of fruit I was hoping for.

Even if I speak until I am blue in the face, no one quite understands why God would come down to Earth and “die for my sins” or why my God is any better than the god or thing they already worship. What happened? Did I do something wrong? Sure, everyone told me language and culture are hard to crack and that it can take 7-10 years to see a breakthrough, but I figured that wouldn’t be me! The problem was I didn’t have the right perspective on who was actually tending the garden.

With plenty of failures already past and plenty of failures to come for missionaries on the field, how can you have a better perspective on situations where God doesn’t seem to be bearing as much fruit as you would like?

The first thing is to redefine failure. Don’t call a lack of converts, a lack of positive responses or general rejection, “failures”. Isaiah 55:10-11 comes to mind when dealing with rejection here on the field.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

God always accomplishes His purposes. God’s idea of success is different than ours. When we are being faithful to do the work He has assigned, we do succeed! The idea is that He isn’t looking for success; he is looking for those who would be faithful.

The second is to have a desire for God’s glory and not our own. This is the question we should always return to: whose glory are we seeking in our work? Colossians 3:17 gives a simple reminder that is hard to follow. “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Am I really doing these good works in the name of Jesus and for His glory, or am I more worried about my own fame as a successful missionary? When I don’t have encouraging success stories to report back to my team or my friends back home, does insecurity come out? We need to continually remind ourselves whose glory we should be seeking.

Third, see all things as an opportunity for personal growth and sanctification. Oftentimes, more than the person I am investing in, I find that God does a work of growth in me. God can use a good friend who decides to shun me because of differing beliefs or adamantly lets me know he has no interest in the gospel to humble me with the knowledge of my inadequacy. God will use all my interactions with people from different cultures to grow me in wisdom and understanding of how to care for people well and ask them good questions. So much of the work here is humbling and reminds me of how dependent I am on our Heavenly Father for every aspect of life. Even in the three years I have been here, The Lord has used so many situations to make me realize how prideful, selfish and in need of a Savior I am.

If I have learned anything living overseas as a missionary, it’s that nothing goes as expected. You could have the best language and look the part, but everyone still rejects you. The next day, you could meet a total stranger on the street who shows a lot of interest. Our only job is to be faithful to the work and trust that God will be the one who decides how to use our ministry for His glory.

Keep investing in language, the culture, and friendships and be faithful to use the gifts and opportunities given to you by God to speak into the lives of the lost. Even when you feel like your ministries are totally void of fruit, remember that this is not your garden. Entrusting your work to the God of the universe will guarantee success because HE is the gardener and Lord of the harvest.

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