All Podcasts > Relentless Pursuit > S3:E13 - Bonus Episode 1: Your Journey to the Field
Relentless Pursuit

S3E13: Bonus Episode 1: Your Journey to the Field

43 minutes

Do you have to take a test? Should you be fluent in a foreign language? Are you too old? Too young? In a nutshell, what does it look like to join Pioneers? In this bonus episode of the podcast, we talk with Kim, one of our Mission Mentors, about the process of joining a mission organization. Kim shares a bit about her personal story of being a “high maintenance” missionary serving refugees in Western Europe—as well as a bit about her current role, as she helps people discern whether God is calling them to serve among the unreached.

Listen and subscribe

Show Notes

Do you have to take a test? Should you be fluent in a foreign language? Are you too old? Too young? In a nutshell, what does it look like to join Pioneers? In this bonus episode of the podcast, we talk with Kim, one of our Mission Mentors, about the process of joining a mission organization. Kim shares a bit about her personal story of being a “high maintenance” missionary serving refugees in Western Europe—as well as a bit about her current role, as she helps people discern whether God is calling them to serve among the unreached.

BONUS Content Who stole baby Jesus? That’s what everyone was asking when a doll disappeared after a ministry outreach Kim was leading. You’re not going to believe where the doll reappeared, and how God used the incident to bring an entire family to faith in Jesus.

Check out our president, Steve Richardson’s book, Is the Commission Still Great? Steve’s book addresses many of the misconceptions people have about what missions is all about. We’ve got a free small-group curriculum and links to purchase the book at

Explore is the first orientation in the process of finding out whether Pioneers is a good fit. You can find out more about what the week looks like here.

Ready to chat with Kim or one of our other Mission Mentors? Go to to schedule a call.

Bonus Content

Who stole baby Jesus? That’s what everyone was asking when a doll disappeared after a ministry outreach Kim was leading among refugees in Western Europe. You’re not going to believe where the doll reappeared, and how God used the incident to bring an entire family to faith in Jesus.

Who Stole Baby Jesus?

Episode Transcription

Kim (00:01):

Delay is good. Learning to trust in God in America will help you to learn to trust in God when things get hard on the field.

Matt (00:10):

This is the Relentless Pursuit Podcast where we hear stories from cross-cultural workers on what it's really like to be a missionary, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Jess (00:20):

It's been really fun talking to so many different workers and different missionaries all around the world. But I don't know about y'all, but whenever I talk to someone, I'm always curious, how did you get started? Where did you figure out how to even do the missionary thing, right? And not just on the spiritual side of calling and feeling like the Lord is working that in your heart, but even just practically speaking, I mean, do you start Googling things and what did those first conversations with your sending organization look like? And so that's why I'm really excited about today's conversation with Kim.

Matt (00:50):

Yeah, so in this bonus episode, after 12 conversations with missionaries around the Pioneers world, we're going to talk to someone who not only served as a missionary, but also now serves on our mission mentor team. So her role is to help walk with people on the journey of discerning whether Pioneers is the right fit for them and whether missions is where God is calling them. And so we're just going to jump right in as Kim talks about her own journey and the first experiences that she had in cross-cultural ministry.

Kim (01:23):

Well, my journey into missions had a very interesting start. I was a kindergarten teacher at a Christian school in Annapolis, Maryland for many years. When I got invited over the summer to go on a short-term trip to Haiti with a singles group, I jumped on the chance they wanted me to lead the vacation Bible school. Kindergarten teacher, vacation Bible school. That sounds pretty normal. So when we arrived in Port-au-Prince Haiti, there was a huge malaria outbreak in the location where we were supposed to go. So we went to another location and I wasn't able to do the VBS. Instead, we built construction time, actually, we built an outhouse for the church. We slept on a dirt floor and there was a tarantula that crawled out that night. I screamed bloody murder and woke up the whole town. I was not made for construction, especially in the heat of the summer.


So at the end of the time, the missionary had us during our debriefing say, I want you to write a letter to Jesus. And in my letter I wrote and said, Jesus, I don't know anything about this missions thing, but I'm a high maintenance person and if I can't take my hairdryer, I am not going. Thought that was the end of my missions experience, unbeknownst to me the Lord who is just magnificent and even answers those types of prayers, the next summer I got invited because teachers get off for the whole summer. I got invited to serve in Vienna, Austria for six weeks with the organization that I ended serving with long-term. And the first question I asked the person was, can I take my hairdryer? And they said, oh yes, you can take your hairdryer. You just need one of those connector things cuz it's Europe.


And I gulped and thought, oh no, I means I have to go on another mission trip. So I asked a few other questions. Yes, they had electricity. There were no tarantulas in Austria. I didn't even know where Austria was. So that began my journey of being a high maintenance missionary. I served for six weeks there and I knew that the Lord was calling me. It was a beautiful place. My hairdryer did burn out. Unfortunately, the little connector thing didn't work like it said it was supposed to, but that was the beginning of my missionary career. So I always touted myself as being a high maintenance missionary. God used me to work with unreached people groups, but I lived in a beautiful place. In fact, down the road was where Beethoven composed the last part of the ninth symphony in the town where I lived in, a statue to Strauss, wonderful coffee, pastries, everything you can imagine, but yet I got to work with unreached people groups. So at the end of that six weeks gave up my teaching job and ended up serving in Austria for five years working with refugees. So that whole high maintenance journey, somehow God answered that. And I look back now and I'm very thankful. I still am high maintenance and that's okay. I can be high maintenance in our office.

Matt (04:32):

Yeah, so tell us a little bit about what you do now with Pioneers.

Kim (04:38):

So I have the privilege of being on our mission mentor team and it is a fantastic team and it's one of the favorite things I've ever done. Whenever someone contacts Pioneers through our website, we're the first voice that they talk to, and believe me, if you met some of the members of my team, they're so welcoming and so warm. We sort of dispel some of the fears that some people might have. So we just listen to your story, answer questions and offer best next steps for them. And so I love hearing people's stories. It's one of the favorite things that I do.

Jess (05:13):

That's awesome. Actually, it's been a little while, so I can't really remember very clearly my whole onboarding process, but I do remember that first conversation I had on the phone after I turned in that Start form online. And I just remember just this feeling of warmth and welcoming and people were just really interested in what's going on in your life and how was the Lord leading you? And so I can only imagine how kind of comforting almost it is and reassuring it must be for people to get to talk to a real person so early on in the process and just get a lot of their questions answered and be able to put a voice to this faceless entity online. So thank you for the work that you do, Kim. I'm curious, what kind of stuff do people ask when they first reach out?

Kim (06:04):

Well, at first they're put aside because I always start with, most of us on my team start with, tell me your story, tell me how you got to this place. And then that helps me to answer questions because I don't want to go off on a bunny trail that's something they're not interested in, and I think it helps them relax to say, oh, you want to hear my story? I'm like, oh yeah, tell me how you came to know the Lord. Tell me how you led to this time to come and call pioneers. I mean, that was pretty brave of you. And so then the questions will start to pour out. It depends on the age of the person. I've talked with people who are retired age and go, can God use me in my sixties? I'm like, oh yes, we can. Let me tell you, I got some great places. Gray hair is looked up to rather than looked down upon in certain parts of the world. If they're college students and 20 something, sometimes they'll ask me, I have no idea what to do with my life. How do I determine God's will? I'm like, oh wow, let me tell you about that. Sometimes questions are what are just some of the practical steps as I take my next steps. And some of the other questions might be, I don't even know where to begin, what do I do? So it really varies, but I think once I know their story, I can guide them a little bit better and answer their questions better. So that really does help to hear their story.

Matt (07:27):

Yeah, it sounds like people don't have to have it all figured out when they come and talk to you. It's not like they have to know their path in advance.

Kim (07:34):

Sometimes they do. They say, I want to do this work in this particular country. Do you have it? But probably 80, 90% they don't have an idea. And that's why we say we're mission mentors. We're not recruiters. We want to hear your story and mentor with you and walk with you through this process. There's some people we've been walking with for several years, some people we talk to and boom, they're into the application process. We're walking with you. We're not trying to force you into something that God might not be directing you to anyway. So there's times that we tell them Pioneers isn't right for you, or sometimes we tell them, you might want to look at maybe working on some things in your life before you take next steps. So it's all part of the process.

Jess (08:18):

So it's not just like one conversation you have. Sometimes you might be reaching out to the same person over the course of months or maybe even years.

Kim (08:27):

Sometimes we do something called a check-in if we know that they're several years out, I'll check in every six to eight months. How can I pray for you what's going on? We have recordings in a system that tells us a little bit about the person. So this year I contacted a gal: Hey, you graduated from college, what's your next steps? And she was surprised that I remembered. But it was in my notes that I had heard and written down that she was graduating or finishing up her degree. And so it's a touch point. Sometimes there's follow-up phone calls. I've talked to people newly engaged, what do we do as our next step? I mean, there's all kinds of things and sometimes people say, God's directing me in a different way. Missions isn't right for me right now. And that's good because part of our part process of helping them discern that.

Jess (09:15):

Yeah, that's interesting. I mean I think it's like you said, you're not a recruiter necessarily, right? But you really are doing that kind of mentoring role of what is God's next step? Let's explore that together. Let me ask you a couple of good questions and maybe that'll help you kind of think about it in a different way or in a new way. So I really love that. That's so cool. What would you say, and you kind of touched on this maybe from some of the questions that you mentioned people are often asking, but what would you say are some of the biggest fears that people have coming into this first step of the process?

Kim (09:49):

There's a couple I would say, they'll say, well, I don't know what I'm supposed to do and give my whole life for 20 years. I don't even know what I'm doing in six months. How can I make that kind of commitment? And my answer is, you're filling out a little information form that might be sent and will begin the process. You're not going into missions for at least 18 months to two years, and any way along the process you can stop that. So that's kind of a fear, and I usually tell them that all of our teams are helping you to discern God's will and helping you to clarify. It might be kind of broad and nebulous when you talk to us, but the candidate coaches might help clarify that once you go through our assessment process and then our prefield coaches really help you with really narrowing it down.


So that's probably one question I get a lot, and I think it helps dispell some of that, think they don't have to have all the answers right now. In fact, an undesignated is a great place to be. Let the Lord and help you and let us help you with that. The second question, or fear mostly has to deal with support raising and that really becomes what do I do with that? So I'll ask him a few questions. Did you go on a short-term trip? Did you raise support for that? How did that go? Tell me about your church. Is your church a mission-minded church? Have you talked with your pastor? Would they be willing to come alongside you? And I'll just share a little bit of my story of being on support for 20 years or so and how I only had one month that my support was negative, and so that God provided all along the way. The last thing I tell them is, believe me, we have a great team of prefield coaches who are trained and willing to help you. They'll give you all the tools you need, and so that will be something that down the road you can wrestle with. So some of those things kind of help dispel that for them.

Matt (11:52):

You mentioned the word undesignated. Can you explain what that means? That could be an insider word that only we're the ones who know what that means.

Kim (12:00):

It is. I always tell people who come to our explorer that if you have undesignated on your lanyard that all of the field leaders are making a beeline for you because they're trying to recruit you for their team. So designated just means someone who doesn't know where they want to go right now, they know they're called into missions, but they don't have any idea where. My story was, I knew where I was going and I didn't have that journey to go on. But really it is part of the process of us helping you discover where God might be calling you as you walk through the process with us. And believe me, if you're going in the good mission field, you have to go somewhere. So you have to know where that is, and that's what we do really well as an organization is help people with that.

Matt (12:41):

Right. Now you did mention there is an assessment process, and I'm sure that includes a lot of questions that are asked of people by yourself, by pre-field coaches, by candidate coaches, our different members of our team here. What are some of the questions? What are the kind of the things that we want to know about people as they enter into the process?

Kim (13:04):

There are some benchmark things that we look for right in the beginning. First of all, that there is a viable relationship with the Lord and that it's vibrant and growing. The second thing we're looking for is a really strong relationship with a local sending church because a core value of ours. We listen for at least in the mission mentor section, a sense of calling. And that word is so nebulous and I hate it. I don't know how to define it, but my pastor told me it was like a movement in your heart towards a certain thing. And so I'll use that vernacular at times, but it's hard to wrap around. But I just tell them, we want to see that you want to move along in the process and hear what God has to say. As we move closer in with the candidate coaches, there's some other more refined questions of asking about the growing up years or asking about their family of origin or asking about things that they struggle with or things that they're fearful about going on the field.


And we also ask them what kind of things, what do they do for a career? What are they trained in? Is it something that they could do on the field? The last thing is do you have a heart for church planting? Do you have a heart for unreached people groups? And sometimes they need definitions of that, and we're happy to provide that. I've had that question. Who are unreached people groups? What's church planting mean? Do I have to be a Bible teacher? No, you can be a nurse and be part of church planting. So those are some of the assessment questions that happen once they leave us as a mission mentor team.

Matt (14:46):

So Kim, it sounds like it's really more of a conversation than in a job interview. I think a lot of us have different definitions for what things like church planting are or what it means to be called or what missions looks like. And so in that conversation, there's an opportunity to bring clarity and for us to speak the same language in the process. So this is not like an application where you're just filling out a form and sending it in, but we want to learn about you. We want people to learn about Pioneers as well because they're going to have a lot of questions about how we function and what matters to us.

Kim (15:22):

That's true, and I think people don't realize that it is we're getting to know you and you're getting to know us. That's why it's called Explore, which is the week of training and interviews down here in Orlando. We want to make sure that we're right for you and you're right for us. And that process begins as a mission mentor, but also with the candidate coaches even before you come to Explore. So you're free. We want you to ask questions, we want you to explore. Sometimes people say, well, I have some theological secondary issue questions, or how's the field work once they start learning about missions? And we welcome those questions because we want the right match for you as you are for us. So there's times that we say we might not be a good match. We would prefer or go to another organization that might fit you better for that reason. So it's not just a job interview where we ask a bunch of questions and you answer them. You can ask us questions, you can drill us, you can ask whatever you need to make sure that this is the right organization for you.

Jess (16:30):

I remember someone was telling us stories about how when they interviewed with Pioneers, it was in a big conference room, everyone was suited up. They're getting grilled about theology and missiology, and what would they do in these kind of very specific, really difficult situations overseas. And so it's not really like that anymore, is it?

Kim (16:52):

No, we switched to the candidate interviews are actually Zoom the week before, but I have been on many candidate committees throughout my Pioneers career, and I don't remember anybody wearing suits. We sit pretty casually. We used to sit in a room, make sure they're comfortable, we let them know that we have all of their paperwork in front of us and we just have some clarifying questions. And then I always offer, do you have questions for us at the end? So we try to make it as relaxed as possible. Sometimes I'll start off the interview with something funny they might've written in their paperwork, so you really like cheesy pizza or something like that, and that kind of helps 'em relax. Or I know that you really like the Broncos or whatever, and they'll feel more relaxed. Sometimes they're just nervous and there's not anything that we can do, but we try to tell them, we're for you. We're not trying to make things difficult. We are on your side. And I don't know if that helps or not.

Matt (17:56):

Well, I think a lot of whether it's application processes or these kind of environments can give people the impression that it is a screening. So you're trying to screen out people, you're trying to exclude people in the process. And really that's not what this is about. It's we're trying to include people. We want to find people that align well with our mission and people that we can help enable in their journey to go to the nations, to go where God is calling them to go. So when we see those two things coming together, well then we want to make sure that relationship is cultivated and grows. What are some of the things that people find out about themselves in the process and learn? Because obviously it's not counseling, but there's a lot of questions that do probe and help people really discern. So what are some of the things you've noticed that people find out about themselves in the process of exploring Pioneers?

Kim (18:54):

I think that they're surprised sometimes that we do go into depth and we try to explain to them that cross-cultural living is not for the faint of heart, and so we need to make sure you're healthy. We want to make sure that you're strong in those areas. So sometimes we really ask them about their spiritual walk. What is your relationship with God? How are your quiet times? Are you reading your Bible? What's your prayer time? There's even a question about do you tithe just to see where are you spiritually? And I think sometimes they don't realize that cross-cultural living, just make sure you need to shore up those areas in your spiritual walk that might be weak or need to grow in. The second thing is sometimes we do ask 'em about their family of origin, and sometimes they don't realize that some of those things were sometimes hurtful and that we want to walk through with them with the healing process.


And that that's what our staff counselors and your pastor and our member development team and our training team are all helping you with that. And I think sometimes it's good for them. Many of them come through it and say, I'm so thankful that you helped me with this part of my life. I would've never even broached that subject. The last thing is really their relationship with the church. They don't realize how intently we want them to have that relationship from the mission mentor to say, go talk to your pastor after you've talked with us, get their input because we want them to walk alongside and many go, well, I don't really have a good relationship with my church, or I don't really know the people. And we say, go get to know them. And then they'll come back to us and say, thank you. They've been so helpful. They've been so supportive. So those are things that they've learned through the process that they might not have thought of before. And that helps also to see how they do these things as how they're going to be prepared to actually enter the field service down the road.

Jess (20:52):

Yeah, wow. I love how holistic you guys really look at the person. You're not just looking at this one tiny area of, have you evangelized a whole bunch of people or have you gone on however many short-term mission trips? But you're really kind of trying to get them to consider really their kind of Christian walk, not just in this one sense, but in terms of all these other different kinds of relationships with their family and with their churches. And so I love just how holistic that is and also how specific it is to each individual that you're walking alongside with. I mean, just going back to your own story of how, yeah, you're not built by the Lord to work in Haiti with tarantulas and construction and in the heat, but there are definitely some people who are right. And on the other hand, there are probably lots of people who never want to go to Australia or Northern Europe, or sorry, not Australia, Austria or Northern Europe or work with refugees or that kind of thing.


And so that sort of exploration of each person's sort of individual calling the things that they've got going on in their life, I think that's really, really cool. There was totally a question there, and I can't really remember what it was anymore, but what are some of the things that say for those people who do come and you're like, okay, maybe you've got a couple of things that you need to work on, just like you said about maybe you do need to go back to your church and start building that relationship with them. What are some of the other things that you're often telling people if they're just a little early in the process? You can tell they love the Lord. You can tell that, yeah, there does seem to be that sense of calling, but they've got a few things that maybe they kind of need to work on first. What are some of the common things that you're often telling people?

Kim (22:36):

Sometimes I talk to people who don't know much about missions, and I usually tell them to take the Perspectives class because I think that's a great way to open up the whole door of missions. I will often ask them to find a mentor in their church, maybe someone who was a former missionary who might be able to walk with them as they explore what missions might look like and talk with someone. I think the next thing I would say, if you've never been on a short-term mission trip, you need to go because sometimes like me, that opened up the doors for me and I know one or two weeks to start off with. Sometimes I'll suggest, and then I say, if you're a college age student and you've not been on an Edge trip, this is the opportunity that you have. This is the only time in your life where you have the summers off. Explore missions.


Our Edge teams do great, does a great job. Our Edge staff, our field workers are really helpful with our Edge students when they go for eight, 10, or 12 weeks. And so all of this is part of the process of exploring. The last thing I tell people is talk to people in your life. Talk to accountability, roommates, family, and say, Hey, what are things about my personality or the way I interact with people that you think I might need to grow in? The number three reason people come home from the field besides health and education of the kids is interpersonal conflict. So if you are developing bad habits, have people in your life speak into your life about that now, work on those issues now before you take steps in missions. And sometimes it's a hard road because sometimes people go, I didn't know that I had a problem with anger. I didn't know that I struggled with this issue, but only people in your local environment can talk to these things about these things in your life. So those are just some suggestions that I offer.

Matt (24:25):

Well, it sounds like what comes out of this is not always a yes or a no, right? I mean, which is typically what you get if you're in a formal job interview, you either get hired or you're offered a job or you're not. But it sounds like there's opportunities for people to go back and to kind of shore up their weaknesses or areas that they need further discernment and help with, and then it's not just about an in or an out result for this process.

Kim (24:55):

Well, I'll tell them too, our assessment process, it does bring up things I know it did for me. And to see that as a benefit that we want to assess you and bring to light things that you might need to work on, and then during your prefield time, then you get a chance to work on those and that it's all about we're for you. We want to help you. We want to walk with you. We don't want you to be afraid of what God has for you in your life, but we want to make sure you're as healthy, as strong as can be before you actually depart. So yeah, I think that there's nothing to be afraid of. We are really like you and we want you to move forward with us.

Matt (25:35):


Jess (25:37):

Love that. So I know that you've been kind of talking a lot about the people who are maybe still kind of figuring out what they want to do. They're not really sure where they want to go. There may be a few years off from actually departing for the field, but I'm sure you also get some people that are like, I want to leave yesterday. What are those conversations like?

Kim (26:02):

Oh, yeah. And I love talking to those people. I talked to the couple of college students that want to quit college and go right away. And usually what we need to talk with them about is what the timeline and the process would look like. Now, our Venture pathway, which is the one month to under one year usually is a shorter timeframe as far as getting to the field. And our Venture coaches are really good at helping people with that. But I usually tell people that it usually takes about, I don't know, Jess, your pre-field coach, probably about 18 months from the time that you join Pioneers to the time you're on the field. And so there's a lot of steps to go through to get you there. And so I talk with them about realistic goals of what that might look like. There have been people who've left in six months, and there's various reasons for that, but the process is just as much ministry to get to the field as it is being on the field.


So those things of raising support, building your trust and faith in God, building your relationship with your church, continuing to interact with Pioneers, interacting with your potential field leaders, with your team, going on a survey trip, all of those things are part of the process of your arrival on the field. And so I tell them that it's just as important to be prepared and be in the prefield process as it is on the field. If you're not sharing the Lord now in the US in your own language and culture, you're going to have a harder time on the field. Can you interact with international students or immigrants in your community to help grow your cultural sensitivities and things like that? So it's okay. Sometimes I like that excitement, but it's okay to help them see the timeframe may be longer than you anticipated.

Jess (27:51):

Yeah. Yeah. I think there's definitely sort of a sense where God's timeline is always a little bit different from our own timeline and it's often slower. I don't know if that's just because humans are impatient. I do remember my first conversation that I think I had it in April and I was saying maybe if I leave in September or October, and of course that did not happen. But yeah, people, I don't know. Do people get kind of disappointed when you say things like that and how do you sort of handle that?

Kim (28:22):

Well, I think there is somewhat of a disappointment. I just feel like you've got this gung-ho person usually I'll say, well, do you trust us as an organization? Are you going to trust the process of what, we've done this for years and we want you on the field, but we want you to be healthy and strong and survive for a long time. Church planting is not a flash in the pan. Church planting is to stay and thrive and plant yourself. So a lot of them do understand that. And I said, as you walk along the process, you'll begin to see some of the things you may not see now that we will see and point out to you. And I said, we want you there as soon as possible as well, but God's timing is perfect and ours is often not.


So just a quick story of some appointees that I worked with. They were struggling with raising support, and they thought they were going to go at one point in time, and they got a connection to a church in another city. They went up and that church was so excited about what they were doing, they filled in the rest of their support, but it was after was when they thought they wanted to go. So they saw that delaying connected them with a very important supporting church, and then they were able to go, but they didn't see that in the beginning, but they saw it as they took the process. So God reveals things to you as you're in that prep process that you're so thankful for and didn't realize until you actually encounter it. So delay is good. Learning to trust in God in America will help you to learn to trust in God when things get hard on the field and when you struggle on the field.

Matt (30:01):

Right. You've mentioned a little bit about Explore and Launch, which are the two orientations before people leave for the field. Can you explain a little bit more about what those entail and how what people can expect if they were to come to Explore or to Launch?

Kim (30:23):

When we talk with people as a Mission Mentor, we just tell them that this is beginning the process and that they'll talk with a candidate coach and fill out all the applications, and then they'll be invited by the candidate coach who walks with them through the application process to come to Orlando for a week called Explore. And during that week, we do interview them, we assess them, they get to ask us questions, but once you arrive in Orlando, the first part of the week is just telling you more about Pioneers. You get to see this around the world presentation about all the places where Pioneers works, get to hear about our core values. We will let you know that we've appointed you. And then about midway through the week, you get to talk a little bit more about your prefield journey about raising support and preparing to go and meeting with your prefield coach and then walking you through the rest of that process.


So it is really an Explore. You explore us and we explore you, and hopefully by the end of that time, you'll know that Pioneers is the right organization for you. So that's kind of what Explore looks like. I'm less familiar with Launch. It's been a long time since I've been part of it, but Launch is really Jess, you maybe able to talk more about this, but really it's the final week that you would try to come to Orlando for right before you leave for the field, and you're learning church planting techniques and team building techniques and maybe some cross-cultural things. Finalizing your time with your pre-field coach as you prepare to go. It's kind of like the last infusion of training and cheering you on that happens before you leave for the field.

Matt (32:05):

And when you come to Launch, that is when you'll have a chance to meet Jess. Well, you'll get to meet her at Explore too. Yes. Yeah, hopefully. So Jess can probably even tell more about what the process of Launch is like. But yeah, thank you.

Jess (32:18):

Yeah. You've mentioned kind of going back a teeny bit about a lot of, especially Explore, but the process in general is just people trying to decide if Pioneer is the right organization for them, if they're the right appointee member for Pioneers. What would you say are some of the distinctives of Pioneers that makes us a little bit different maybe from another organization?

Kim (32:46):

Yeah. I think I always share our core values when I talk to people just to make sure they're on board. And I know there's other organizations that focus on church planting. There's other organizations that focus on unreached people groups. The passion for God is something that I emphasize, and I know that most organizations feel that way too. I think one of the things that I usually list as a distinctive about Pioneers is just our innovation and creativity. And I'll talk about our innovation lab. I'll talk about some of the fun things that I've seen Pioneers workers do on the field, like a surfing team that once opened a surf shop, or back in the day, there was a Texas group that opened a Texas barbecue place in East Asia. And I said how creative. I actually went to the restaurant and actually it's pretty good food.


It doesn't exist any longer, but I say some of the creative things that our people do in the field. So sometimes people come to us and say, Hey, I want to do this. Can I do that? And we're like, listen, we'll try our best as we can to work with you on that. And I think that that opens up doors for people to think outside the box, but also if they have this out of the box idea, I think that we would consider it. Obviously it's field approval, but we give a yes initially, unless it's something that's totally against what we would even stand for. But I really like that about Pioneers, and I think the servant leadership is something that I've seen. I tell the story of our former US director back in the day that when we were just in the trailers, that the person who was supposed to clean the trailer that day didn't show up. And I see the US director emptying the trash cans for our office, and I'm like, wow, that's servant leadership. I would never have seen anything like that. So those are distinctives that I see within Pioneers that might make us set us apart, maybe not. I don't know.

Matt (34:45):

Yeah. I remember just a few years ago, we created an ad for a magazine and it said on it, there are 7250 unreached people groups, and there are even more ways to reach them. And so we love it when people come to Pioneers and have one of those ways they feel God is leading them in some creative way to engage a part of the world that does not have access to the gospel. So it's great to hear those stories and people come, and then to see it take root overseas when someone takes that idea and through the power of the Holy Spirit and their innovation, their creativity, their ingenuity, bring that idea to life, that's just so exciting to watch happen. And you get to be on the front end of that, Kim. So that's really cool.

Kim (35:34):

I love hearing their passions and love saying, Hey, let's look at this as a possibility. This might work,

Matt (35:40):

Right? If this might work. Yeah. I love that. Yeah. Well, thank you so much for giving us a glimpse of what the process looks like and what the journey could look like for someone who's listening to this. And our hope is that as people have heard the different stories from our guests over the last few months in the podcast, that their own imagination gets inspired to think about ways in which they could engage the unreached. And that's what we're here for, is to help them take those next steps and to help move the obstacles and to discern if the Holy Spirit is calling them into this type of a role. So thanks so much for joining us. Before we close, we do have some quick fire questions for you. And you don't have to think too hard about these. These are not complex questions, but they might give us a little glimpse into Kim's personality. So coffee or tea?

Kim (36:35):

Coffee all the way without coffee. It's painful to see in the morning.

Matt (36:39):

Yeah, yeah. Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Kim (36:44):

I'm a 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM I'm not either. Does that count?

Matt (36:49):

Yeah. No. Well, I like that. I like that some people would probably say that you're a night owl. Others would say you're an early bird. Depends on what their own habits are. If you're traveling some place overseas and you're on a long flight, are you window or aisle?

Kim (37:04):

Window all the way? Lean your head against the wall there and take a good snooze.

Matt (37:09):

Are you a dog person or a cat person?

Kim (37:12):

Oh, I could show you pictures of my little golden retriever Nazareth. And no, I'm definitely a dog person.

Matt (37:18):

When you visited different parts of the world and maybe even in your own time, what is one of the strangest traditions you've seen there?

Kim (37:29):

I think one time when I was visiting one of our workers in the Middle East, and we were sitting and it really was a Bedouin tent, and there were flies everywhere, and their flies were all in the tea, like those little glass teas. And they were still drinking the tea and tea. There was dead flies in it. And I wasn't sure, I didn't want to offend the host, but it was like I was trying to pick them out of my tea, but they weren't even paying attention to the flies. It was really kind of weird. Bless our workers.

Matt (38:05):

It's great to not be distracted by things like that, I guess. I think I would be envious of not being distracted by that and just being able to just like, Hey, I'm cool with it. Whatever.

Kim (38:14):

My high maintenance sensitivities were really kicking in that day. Yeah,

Matt (38:19):

I bet. I bet. Did you have any mishaps and language mishaps when you were living in Austria?

Kim (38:26):

Oh my goodness. I have many. I tell the story often of I led a kids club and they were Iranian children, a few Iraqi children, they didn't speak English. Sometimes they're German. So I had a translator, some spoke a little bit, and so they would sing a song or they would do something and I would give them a two thumbs up at the end just to kind of encourage them, encouragement. One of my spiritual gifts, and I kept looking over the translator and she was making funny faces, and I was like, what's going on? So the rest of the kids club continued and the kids left, and she comes up to me and says, Ms. Kim, she goes, I have to tell you every time you do two thumbs up, she goes, in my culture, that's like giving someone the middle finger. He went, I was flipping off a bunch of children as I was telling them about Jesus. Oh good Lord, help me please. And she said, it's okay. They understand it's your culture. And I said, so the next time there was a kid's club, I had to keep my fingers over my thumbs to not continue doing.


It's more of a cultural faux pas than it was a language one..

Jess (39:35):

That's a pretty good one though.

Matt (39:37):


Kim (39:37):

Yes, yes. So watch your hand motions when you're

Matt (39:39):

Another. Definitely. That is a rule for sure. What is your go-to late night snack?

Kim (39:46):

I'm a chocoholic. I love chocolate, dark chocolate, dark chocolate covered nuts is probably one of my favorites.

Matt (39:55):

Nice. One more question. What did you want to be when you were a kid?

Kim (40:00):

Yeah, I had always wanted be a school teacher. I was the oldest of three girls, and in the summertime I would make my little sisters and their little friends be my students in the summertime, and they hated me for it, but I was bigger. So they ended up being a kindergarten teacher for eight years. So yeah.

Matt (40:16):

That's funny. Great. Well, thank you so much, Kim. It's been great chatting with you and you've been really helpful, and I hope our listeners came away with a lot more inside knowledge on what the process looks like.

Kim (40:30):

Oh, thanks for inviting me. This has been really fun. You guys made me feel comfortable, so appreciate it.

Jess (40:36):

If you remember from the start of our show, Kim shared just a little bit about how she went to Austria and she was working with refugees there, and we didn't get a chance to hear a whole lot about that, but if you're curious to hear an extra special story that she shared about how baby Jesus got stolen, then definitely check out our show notes for the bonus material there.

Matt (40:55):

Absolutely. Yeah, and also, I want to encourage you to go to our show notes and check out some content that we've got there that really will help take the next steps in following through on the things that we talked about in this episode. One is a book by Pioneers president Steve Richardson. It's called, Is the Commission Still Great? And it really does help people get a big picture vision for what God is doing around the world and how you can get involved. And we also have with that a free small group curriculum that's on our website. And there are videos and activities and reflection questions and things that go along with that. And that's all for free, and you can check out a link to that in our show notes. Also, you can be sure to check out our show notes for links to articles and other types of information about Explore and Launch, which are the events that people come to as they're making the journey to join Pioneers and explore whether we're a good fit for them.


So although Kim talked a lot about that in the episode, if you want more information, you can go to our show notes and get that. And then ultimately, we would love for you to have a conversation with Kim or someone else on her team. And you can do that by going to and setting up very easily through our calendar system, a Zoom call or phone conversation with one of our mission mentors. So be sure to check that out. It has been awesome having you on this podcast as our listeners, and we hope to have a season soon that you'll be able to listen to, and we'll have a whole new set of people that we're talking to. So thanks so much for joining us for these last 13 episodes.

Jess (42:37):

Thanks for following us on this episode of the Relentless Pursuit Podcast. Our goal is to make missions accessible to show that it's not just reserved for elite super Christians. If you want to be involved, just go to and answer a few questions. We have a team who would love to help you discern your calling and what your next steps might be.

Matt (42:56):

At Pioneers, we love to partner with local churches and send teams to people groups with little or no access to the gospel. Keep up with what God is doing by following us on Instagram, Facebook, x, and YouTube, all at PioneersUSA, one word or visit Thanks for listening.