In some churches, especially larger ones, the pastor will want you to only give a testimony. Sometimes he will give you only two or three minutes. Sometimes you’ll have as much as twenty minutes. You should be prepared to tell what you plan to do on the field in these various amounts of time.
Prepare several different length testimonies. Your testimony should be from the heart, but it should also be prepared. I prepared a three minute, a five minute, a ten-to-fifteen minute, and a twenty minute testimony. Sometimes the preacher will ask you to present your work in Sunday school. If he gives you any longer than twenty minutes, ask to share your video along with your testimony. This will make your presentation more interesting.
Here are a few things you should have in your testimony:
1. Your salvation experience
2. Your call to the field
3. Your burden for the field
4. If you visited the field, tell stories of people you led to the Lord on the field.
5. Information about the people and their customs
Churches are interested in the customs of the people you will be ministering to, but not too interested. You must find a balance between enough information and too much. Don’t spend too much time on statistics of the country. Many missionaries do this, and it gets old after a while. Remember people are interested in people. I know statistics represent people, but the only way to burden Christians about the great number of unsaved people is through stories of individual people.
I used to tell a story about a custom they had in the Philippines. They have an unusual habit. They shake hands and wave, like we do, but there’s something else they do. They raise their eyebrows at you! They also have a name they call American men—I mentioned this previously—they call them “Joe” because of the G.I.’s that were in the Philippines during the Second World War. I’ll never forget when I arrived in Manila. I didn’t know this custom they had. The people in the Philippines are outgoing and friendly and like Americans for the most part. As I was walking down the hallway of the airport with a suitcase in one hand and suit bag in the other, there were several Filipino young men standing against a wall. All of the sudden I heard several of them say, “Hey Joe! Hey Joe!” I looked over at them and they all started raising their eyebrows at me. I didn’t know what to think.
What was really funny was when I flew back to the U.S. I had been in the Philippines for three weeks and had learned how to raise my eyebrows and made a lot of friends. I was still in the habit of raising my eyebrows! People probably thought there was something seriously wrong with me!
This is the type of story that you might tell in your testimony to explain the type of customs they have in the country where you are going.