The word translated as “to bear witness” in the New Testament is the word martureo (μαρτυρεω) in the Greek. The English word “martyr” also comes from this same word. The early Christians were often called upon to seal their testimony (or witness) of faith in the Lord Jesus by shedding their own blood. Jesus himself serves as a model for being a faithful witness (1 Timothy 6:13; Revelation 1:5)
As a faithful Son sent by a loving Father (John 3:16) to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10) through the sacrificial shedding of his blood. . .
The Apostle Peter writes in 1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” God will give you ample opportunities to be a witness for Christ if you will only be alert to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The following are some suggestions for your consideration as you prepare your testimony for Jesus Christ while on your mission Trip.
Suggestions for Giving Your Testimony on the Mission Field:
Keep Your Language Simple: This is not the time to try to impress people with your vocabulary of difficult to understand biblical terms (propitiation, expiation, lasciviousness, etc).
Avoid Long Sentences: If a sentence is hard to understand in English because of its grammatical construction, clarity will not be improved in the translation process.
What May Be Perfectly Clear in One Language and Culture May Not Be Clear in Translation: No language can be perfectly translated into another language. Because of that, be careful whenever using slang, idioms, acronyms, acrostics, alliteration, plays on words, double entendre, jokes, poetry, song lyrics, etc. For example how would the idioms “let me give you a ball park figure” or “his face fell” be translated? What would those listening to you think if they weren’t already familiar with what those expressions meant?
Be Brief (3 minute testimony will be adequate)
Get to the Heart of the Matter: Don’t let yourself get tangled up in meaningless details (it takes up precious time and doesn’t move the point forward).
Write Out Your Testimony: Keep your written testimony to no more than one page. Writing will help you to be precise with your wording and will keep you from becoming sidetracked on “rabbit trails”. A written testimony will also help you to “stay on message” if you become distracted with the “interruptions” of a translator.
Be Focused (We want the focus of our hearers to be on Christ, the Savior and not on us, the servant)
Focus on Sin: Do not focus on your past sin. Referring to the unfruitful works of darkness, Paul reminds us, “For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret” (Ephesians 5:12). When a Christian spends time detailing all his past sin when giving his testimony, it tends to glamorize the sin instead of exalting the Savior. To the extent we speak about sin, let the focus be that in Christ our sin is forgiven, forsaken, and forgotten.
Focus on Sacrifice: The focus should not be on our personal sacrifice to get there. The focus of our hearer should not be on the personal inconvenience we may have had enabling us to sit on a modern plane as we traveled to our destination (Romans 8:17-18). The real sacrifice we want to focus on is that experienced by Christ as he left the comforts of heaven to dwell in our midst and be nailed on a cross hanging between heaven and earth.
Focus on Success: We need to be careful whenever we speak of success that the focus is on the goodness of God in giving it and not on our worthiness in receiving it. Remember for some, salvation and faithfulness to God will not be a path to material success but instead a doorway into persecution. Others will work 14 hours a day of hard grueling manual labor and still not own anything more than the shirt on their back. To be sure, God is so good and gracious whenever he blesses the works of our hands granting material prosperity. The primary benefit of salvation however is not the external comforts afforded by the world (John 16:33), but the internal heart peace with God (Romans 5:1) and the transformational change which takes place because of our new relationship with the Lord. Let our focus on success be that of glorying in the power of the gospel in transforming lives (Romans 1:16) and that the power of God’s grace to release and purify is greater than the power of sin to bind and corrupt (1 John 4:4).
Conversational in Tone: You aren’t preaching at this point (even if you are standing in a pulpit when you give your testimony). You want to connect person-to-person.
The Language of the People: If you begin your testimony by simply saying “hello” or “I bring greetings from (Name of Your Church)” and do so in the language of the country you are visiting, the people you speak to will appreciate your efforts to speak their language—regardless of whether your accent is perfect or not.
Be Evangelistic (Christ said that we were to be salt. Among other things that means we ought to make others thirsty for the “Water of Life”
Salvation Specifics: As Christians we enjoy a personal relationship with an incredible God. He has brought each one of us into the world as a hand crafted object of divine love. Salvation is intensely personal as God uses unique circumstances to bring each one of us to himself. Simply tell your personal story of redemption. What did God use to convict you of your need for a Savior? What prompted you to entrust your soul to Him? How has your life changed since trusting Christ? What personal spiritual need has Jesus met since coming in your life? As you relate specific needs which the Lord has met in your life, those who hear you will be drawn to the Lord in order to meet similar needs in their heart.
Salvation Hindrances: Men and women build strongholds of resistance against the gospel; ideas we cling to as true but are in reality lies that blind hearts and keep us entrapped in sin. Giving a testimony is a wonderful way to disarm and knock down these strongholds of unbelief.
o Personal Morality: “I guess I always thought that because I went to church and tried to be good that I would go to heaven when I died.”
o Religious Ceremony: “I assumed because I had walked forward following a church service and been baptized I didn’t have anything to worry about when it came to salvation.”
o Family History: “My granddad was the pastor of the church and I felt like I had always been a Christian ever since I was born.”
You need to be honest in your testimony. If these are thoughts you honestly had before you truly came to Christ, you may want to use similar expressions in your testimony to help those listening to you (who still feel the same way) to understand they aren’t saved either.