Should I, as a single person, go overseas now, or should I first find a mate?

“Go as a single, knowing God himself will supply your needs.”

I struggled with this issue. I didn’t want to go into missions single, so I decided to find a mate before going. But then someone told me once that if I wanted to find a guy who was committed to missions, I should look for him overseas, which made a lot of sense. After all, if he’s obedient to the Lord, then he’s already there, not at home, right? 

So I finally decided to go overseas. Mostly it’s great, and I don’t mind being single. But there are times when what’s ahead seems daunting, and a partner to help pursue the vision would be great. But I trust the Lord. He knows whether I can better do what he’s leading me to do with a partner or without one. And I believe he will equip me with whatever I need. Look to him alone for your fulfillment.

Answer from Monica, who has served for two years with Youth With a Mission.       

“Get on God’s path for you; then trust him for your future.”

Sometimes we forget that the God who leads us into missions also has our future planned. The biggest tools of a successful missionary are trust and faith in God. Trusting him with your love life is a great way to start.

Knowing I was going into missions, I graduated from Bible school. I also knew that the Great Commission was clear. So although I wanted to get married, I went to Honduras as a full-time missionary.

I found the man God had for me when I got on the path God had for me. He was serving in the same ministry. We met in Honduras and were married there. That was eight years ago. I am still here, serving the Lord with all my heart alongside the man God sent to me as I took the steps to obey and trust his path.

Answer from Kimberly, who has served ten years in Honduras.

“Get moving, keep your eyes open, and don’t limit God.”

My wife and I met overseas and married a year later. The biggest dilemma single missionaries talk about is whether God has directed them to stay single. When I left for East Asia, I was twenty-five years old. Many people close to me strongly questioned my decision, since I was single. But I decided to follow God first and continue trusting him for a wife. 

In light of my experience, I offer the following three pieces of advice: 

1. Get moving toward missions without waiting around to get married. God will honor your faithfulness and bless you greatly in every way. 
2. Keep your eyes open for potential spouses. If you feel that God has not directed you to stay single, then neither give up on getting married nor stop looking. 
3. Single missionaries often overlook potential love interests based on a petty, limited perspective about how perfect their potential spouse needs to be. We all have deficiencies that God works out as we grow in marriage. I know of several single men on the field who were a little quirky, but through the tender hand of a loving wife were radically transformed. Don’t limit God by overlooking his perfect choice for you because of small things that don’t really matter.

Having dated on the mission field, I have one final piece of advice for single missionaries. Dating can feel as if you’re in a small town, with everybody having his or her own special opinion about your relationship. The pastor who eventually married us gave us this great advice, “Find one mature couple you trust and can confide in, then tell everyone else to mind their own business.”

Answer from Kyle, who is serving in Asia with his wife and two children as members of Pioneers.

“Your love story is unique.”

You will. I’m sure. The question “how” is a bit hard to answer because other people’s experience won’t necessarily apply to you. Your love story is unique, just as you and your life partner are unique.

Answer from Cory in Malaysia, who has served with YWAM for two years.

“I waited, but eventually got married and never went back overseas.”

I never figured I’d be married, then I met an amazing person, got married, and never went back overseas. We were both very supportive and desired to, though. 

No easy answers. It’s different for everyone. I still mourn a bit not being overseas where I once felt I should be, but I pray and do not regret having met and married the best person ever… even if it meant I am in the States helping but not actually overseas now. Haven’t given up. Maybe someday we’ll go back.

Answer from Mark with Good Neighbor Insurance, who served eight years with Frontiers and OM and continues to serve in a support role in the US.

“Consider finding a missions-minded mate through a web ministry.” cares about singles who feel isolated by their commitment to God’s purposes: you are not alone. All over the world there are other godly singles like you, who are no longer living for themselves. Through this website you have the opportunity to encourage one another, persevere together, partner with each other, and possibly find spouses among one another.

Answer from AskaMissionary editor.

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