Missionary or tourist—what’s the difference? I would like to suggest that the primary difference is your level of sharing. It’s the heart of missions, right? Sharing the liberating truth of our risen Savior? Yes, but sharing has even broader implications for AFM missionaries, and each facet is vital to their calling.
Sometimes sharing can be fun and gratifying. For example, hearing the testimony of a young woman whom Jesus Himself saved from an attempted murder and then getting to share about your Lord with her entire eager family (p.11). Or what about helping a frightened girl overcome her superstitious fear of graves? (p.14) That is rewarding, too!
But, as a committed missionary, you can’t stop there. Sharing means so much more. First of all, you must daily share in the lives of your people, often struggling to operate in a culture with values very different from your own (p.26) You must make their pain your own, sharing in their weeping as much as in their joy (p.14), and going to battle for them on your knees in their spiritual struggles (p.25). Until you can truly live in their world, taking the bad with the good, sharing their brightest joy and blackest despair and seeing the circle of their horizons from the inside, you are a tourist.