BLOG: Single on the mission field – All the single men

There are a range of people serving in mission today: married couples, families and singles. Each of these has its own opporunites and challenges! Here’s Ben’s* experience of serving as a single in the Arab world…

What are the opportunities of being a single worker in the Arab world?

Availability and flexibility. Singles have just as many needs as married people, and they need rest just as much as married people, but it’s still true that they can choose to make themselves available to people’s needs and to a team’s goals more easily. They can also change direction much more quickly. I myself moved to North Africa only a couple of months after deciding to go. In a separate instance, I left my previous paid position to pursue an (initially unpaid) opportunity within a couple of months. It would have been harder for me to do those things if I were married.

What are the challenges of being a single worker in the Arab world?

Certain forms of ministry are harder as a single person, such as hospitality, or mixed gender ministries. Young women can encounter unwanted attention, and sometimes married couples with children, can assume you are more time flexible than you are.

What does community and team look like for you?

My community are my family; my housemates, my church, my Church-Planting team, my team in a translation project, and other friendships where I live. I live in a city where there are enough believers for me to experience so much community with other believers; I actually wish I spent more time with non-believers!

What is dating like as a worker in the Arab world?

For those who desire to be married, as I do, the process of dating and engagement can be tricky. I’ve found that both Arab and missionary culture leans on the side of caution, to avoid scandal and/or sin, (which are legitimate concerns), but can mean arranging matches is more of a community effort. This might not always be appreciated by the singles! As well as this there is often an imbalanced gender ratio, meaning in most cases women contemplate higher odds of staying single.

I was actually hesitant to get married before going overseas, because whilst the dating pool is small, it is much easier to meet people who have a similar heart for mission and who are genuinely up for serving God overseas! Ultimately, our call to serve God comes first, and we trust the rest to him. And you might even find yourself liking singleness more than you expected too!

To find out more about short-term or long-term opportunities get in contact with us here. To see a female pespective of singleness in mission, see our article here.

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