Women Missionaries

Single women missionaries

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Women Missionaries

Women MissionariesSingle women missionaries like Amy Carmichael (photo), Gladys Aylward, Lottie Moon and Mary Slessor shared the Gospel more, longer (Carmichael served in India for 55 years without furlough), and more fruitfully than most missionary men of their era or thereafter. Single women missionaries continue to arrive in the mission field today. If you are considering joining their ranks but also hoping to meet, marry and raise a family with a single male missionary, consider the following before you leave.

1.  The men are few. 

About 85% of all single missionaries in the field today are women; only 15% are men. In other words, for every single male missionary, there are six single women missionaries.

2.  Motherhood will decommission you.

Raising children is hard even back home. Raising them abroad, without care giving support from relatives, in a developing country without Western hospitals, amenities, child care products, etc., is much harder. If you marry and have kids with a male missionary, he will be out preaching, so you will be raising kids on your own. If sharing the Gospel was truly your calling, you will be out of commission until your kids grow up.

3.  Fatherhood may decommission your husband.

As your family expands, your husband will need to spend more time helping you at home, raising funds, and/or working for income to meet the rising expenses, which means he will spend less time sharing the Gospel. If the local schools are inadequate and international schools unaffordable, you may decide to return home when your kids reach school age, which will decommission your husband as well.

4.  Marrying a local Christian will lead to more challenges than you envision.

Even within the same culture and with similar backgrounds, marriage is hard at least at times. Cross-cultural marriages that straddle developed and developing worlds add cultural, linguistic, social, economic and other challenges that, while not insurmountable, make marriage significantly harder. And even in patriarchal third world countries, the expected wealth and earning power of an American is such that the poorer your husband, the more his family will expect you to provide, often for all of them.

5.  The Bible says it is "better" (1 Corinthians 7:38) to remain unmarried.

"There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world - how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction" (1 Corinthians 7:34-35).

Be honest with yourself.

If your heart's desire is marriage and motherhood, consider staying home, lest you end up disappointed - even destroyed (see Dorothy Carey) - in the mission field or pull a single male missionary off of it. If you truly have been called to spend the rest of your life sharing the Gospel abroad, have made the "better" (1 Corinthians 7:38) choice to remain single, will resist sexual temptations, and will ignore even other missionaries deeming you deficient as a woman for never having married and borne children, then you have a stronger case for becoming a missionary.

Prepare for loneliness.

Toward the end of their lives, Gladys Aylward confessed a lifelong yearning for a husband, and Lottie Moon wrote, "I pray that no missionary is ever as lonely as I have been." When a young woman who was considering becoming a missionary wrote to Amy Carmichael and asked, "What is missionary life like?" Carmichael famously wrote back, "Missionary life is simply a chance to die."

Why would anyone take up that chance?

People who truly believe in heaven invest this life for a better resurrection.

"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain" (John 12:24).