Posted by: calloftheandes | March 7, 2013

Is Mission Work A Calling or a Job?

Commentary by Roger Reimer

Commentary by Roger Reimer

What kind of process landed you your present job? Would you say you invested all of your formative years preparing for it? Would you consider it a calling? And do you see an element of the will of God in it?

Please consider with me what people go through in the process of becoming a missionary and recognize the distinctions that go along with that walk of life. Grab a cup of coffee and let me share my own experience with you while giving you some things to think about.

At a missions conference during my college years, I made a commitment that I would be willing to serve as a missionary if God called me to go. That initial response was an important first step in the process that God chose to mold my thinking.

In the ensuing years, the Lord continued putting people and events in my life that encouraged me to explore avenues of missionary service. I attended church events focused on missionary presentations and found it interesting to hear of people’s journeys to becoming missionaries.

Another step in my journey was responding to a recruitment advertisement in a mission agency’s magazine. Even though initially this was more of an expression of curiosity, God used this tool to move me along.

HCJB Global archive photo of Reimer,a cardiac tecnician,placing sensors on a patient.

HCJB Global archive photo of Reimer, a cardiac tecnician, placing sensors on a patient.

Once into the actual interview sessions with the mission’s candidate committee, my wife, Lois, and I faced questions about our sense of God’s calling in our lives. That key component was used as a determining point in our acceptance.

Soon after we were appointed by the mission, our home church planned a commissioning service with a longtime family friend and veteran pastor who encouraged us. With that step completed, we were ready to go!

Learning to depend on the Lord’s provision through the others—voluntary financial support rather than earning a paycheck—was and continues to be a significant adjustment. For us it’s a way of thinking that continues to this day.

Finally arriving on our field of ministry and becoming a part of the missionary community gave us a sense of arrival, joining a team, being a member of this adventure of God’s leading.

When I was appointed as director of healthcare in Ecuador, one of the mission’s board members talked with me as Lois and I dined together with him and his wife in our home. Had I been anointed with oil to serve in this leadership position? This was the question posed by this wise Christian man.

When I responded that this had not happened yet, right away after the meal he led in a time of prayer and anointing with oil. Even this simple ceremony in our home became another significant step in my formation as a missionary.

I am grateful for each of these steps along the journey that God has led us through. In reality, they have been foundational for us as we have served in times of testing, as well as some very positive and enjoyable years. This is an integrated view of all of the pieces that form a life of commitment, obedience to God’s calling and faithfulness.

At the same time, anything that appears to derail this journey requires handling it with real discernment and wisdom so that those involved can clearly see evidences of God’s hand and be at peace.

Finally, hear me clearly, for I in no way want to diminish the value of working in the marketplace and having a strong sense of ministry in that context. However, recognize too the process a person initially went through to become a missionary.

Then when you hear about a missionary coming back to their country of origin, pray that their adjustment would reflect that process and now needs to be dealt with in a way that shows meaning and God’s loving, caring, guiding hand.

Reimer and his wife, Lois, have served with HCJB Global since 1975. Twenty-eight of those years were in Ecuador, primarily in healthcare leadership and guesthouse hospitality. Now based in the U.S., they continue to serve by encouraging others to get involved in Christian missions. Roger is working on a book about his experiences at Hospital Vozandes-Quito.

Reimer instructing pastors on leadership in Guatemala

Reimer instructing pastors on leadership in Guatemala


  1. […] struggling in the early 1980s when she met John and Yvonne Gardeen in Minneapolis, Minn. As retiree Roger Reimer, then serving as healthcare director for Reach Beyond in Ecuador, put it, “They took her into […]

  2. […] Is Mission Work A Calling or a Job? ( […]

  3. Excellent article. I love the simplicity in which you describe becoming a missionary.

  4. […] Is Mission Work A Calling or a Job? ( […]

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