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Handling Rejection in the Mission Field: When Your Message is Not Received

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RejectionHeading out to the mission field, whether you are going to an area where people are familiar with the gospel or have never heard, does not guarantee that your message of salvation will be received and accepted by the people. You don’t send out surveys and wait for feedback before visiting uncharted areas, whether it be in your own neighborhood or across the sea. You go because Jesus told us to preach to all nations, and that is exactly what you are going to do.

Being rejected on a mission trip is disheartening. You might have had such great expectations for success. So, how do you handle this rejection? What is your next step?

First you have to decipher the rejection you receive. You have to decide if you made any headway, and if anyone showed interest in your message. If you helped even one person start the wheels turning, then you have had a successful trip. You may never see the fruit that you cultivated, but it doesn’t mean it is not there. Abraham never saw the multitude of descendants that God promised him, but he knew it would be as promised.

Reflection in the waterYou must also realize that sometimes it takes more than just one group of missionaries to reach people. When people who have never heard the name of Jesus first hear, it is hard to expect them to believe instantly. People are skeptical by human nature, and it may take a few mission trips and different folks to help them believe. So in essence, you did have a successful trip, even if you were the first person to introduce them to Christ and did not experience their acceptance. What great joy it is to go back to a place after a few years and see that people are reading their Bibles and welcoming you as a fellow believer

Missionaries have the task of spreading the gospel around the world. Do your part to be prepared for your mission field, as far as language and culture differences go, so you can do your best to communicate with people there. Take comfort in knowing that Jesus commanded us to tell the Good News, but does not hold us responsible for whether or not someone else receives the news. Take heart in the fact that you did what you were commanded, and let God do the rest.

If you need a good pick-me-up after a mission trip where you felt like you made no headway, try reading stories from other missionaries. You will soon find that many have felt the same as you, and some have made their way to other parts of the world only to find immediate success. You are never alone.

Rejection photo by Rodolfo Nunez
Reflection photo by Alejandra Mavroski

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