Generally (except in the case of emergency relief) a minimum of 12 months' preparation will be necessary. This allows for information gathering, correspondence, interviews, obtaining visas and necessary certificates, immunisations, registration, raising financial and prayer support, arranging future employment and allowing enough space for alternative arrangements if plans fall through. It can take time to make the necessary arrangements for renting or selling a property.
If God has placed in your heart the desire to serve him overseas, the sooner you start the better, so that you are free to go when the time comes:
- Choose to live a 'missionary' lifestyle
- Aim to limit your debts
- Beware the acquisition of 'things'
- Buy only what you can afford to pay cash for, without borrowing
- Hold lightly to material things
Food for thought
- The sooner you step out of the boat and onto the water, the sooner you will hear God's voice leading you on to the next step
- The longer you stay put the harder it will be to uproot
It is often family commitments that hold people back eg a partner's career plan, children's needs, a mortgage and the needs of elderly parents etc. The older you get the less flexible you become and the harder it is to adapt to conditions in another culture.
Don't be distracted by the disapproval of peers or worries about career prospects. God guides and blesses those who are 'sold out' to him and your future life and career (and that of your family) is in his sovereign hands.