Good Questions to Ask Missionaries

What to Say to Missionary“How’s Africa??”

No, you did NOT just ask me how a whole continent is doing, did you?

I can almost hear the wheels turning as my fellow patriot from across the ocean scrambles to reach out to me–this person that they think they remember her name–or at least her country of service, actually uh, continent, rather.

So if it is your lot to have the missionary over for dinner, here’s a little primer, a (free!) printable full of welcome questions guaranteed to keep conversation goin’ for the duration of your visit.

Questions about personal life

  1. Lifestyle: How is your life similar to life in America? And conversely, just in case your missionaries are shy: How is it different?
  2. Occupation: What do you do each day? (Try not to over-emphasize the word “do.”)
  3. Language: Are you learning a language? How is it going? Are you discouraged? Rate your discouragement on a scale from 1 to 10. (Just kidding–leave off the scale remark.)
  4. Sins: What sins might a missionary be especially tempted with that another Christian in the U.S. might not? This is a great question, but may need to wait until you have established a more open, friendly tenor to the visit. You know, like, don’t open with this question, and a response, “Well, if you’re not sure, I could help you with that.”
  5. Devotion: How have you been spiritually? How has Christ become more precious to you? What verses or Scriptural ideas keep you persevering in ministry?
  6. Reading: What books have you been reading? Do you have any book recommendations?
  7. Friendships: Who are your closest friends? Do you have any close friends among the Africans?

Questions about ministry

  1. Success: Have you had any encouragement in ministry recently? Can you tell me two or three things that have encouraged you?
  2. Challenges: What is your greatest challenge in ministry? What other difficulties wear you down?
  3. Church: What do your church services look like? How are they like ours? How are they different? How is your church managing when you are not there? Will your church ever stand on its own? (Try not to emphasize “ever.”)
  4. College: (If they have a college) How is the college going? How many students do you have? What is the course like? Have any men graduated? Are they in ministry?


  • How can I pray for you?

About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and homeschooling mother of five children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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8 Responses to Good Questions to Ask Missionaries

  1. Keith Call says:

    Excellent list! Very honest. Now please tell me, what questions would missionaries like to ask the rest of us?

  2. “On a scale of 1 to 10, rate your discontentment.” I actually laughed out loud at that, funny!

    Thanks for the list, it’s honestly a good reference for the rest of us who aren’t always sure what to say. 🙂

  3. Tammy Doiel says:

    Hopefully I do better than I used to do after having missionaries in the family, but us Bogers have a hard time not getting too nosy and getting a little deeper!

  4. Christie says:

    So helpful. It really is hard to express the care and curiosity in your heart when you feel so far removed. Thanks! And the blog helps a lot. = )

  5. Pingback: Meet the Missionary Monday! | Ita Vita

  6. Pingback: Meet Missionary Me! (ahem) | Ita Vita

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