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Overseas missionary work takes years of training and fundraising, but many leave the field after a few years because they can't find a spouse.A new website launching today hopes to tackle that problem by placing missionaries and Christian expatriates into a network that enables them to find spouses in the field.
Although many leaders saw its potential, Patton said that without a fulltime advocate the project wound up on the back burner.Now, Called is gaining momentum with the help of Gerin St. Prior to meeting his fiancée, he hesitated to move overseas without a spouse—even after taking five short-term mission trips.Claire, a 2013 graduate from Covenant Theological Seminary who works as the site's operations director. "I was afraid that leaving America would sink my hopes, so I waited," he said. I decided that tackling this bigger issue was more worthwhile than trying to kill my desire to find a spouse." According to a Pioneers International report, singleness is the fourth reason appointees don't make it to the mission field or take a long time getting there.And Patton said, "Missionaries leave the field for various reasons, but some of the biggest obstacles are financial support, team dynamics, loneliness and hopelessness for single person's desire to find a mate, getting married to a non-missionary, and leaving ministry to find a spouse." In the 21st century, the number of singles on the mission field has doubled, said Rhonda Pruitt, a missions professor at Columbia International University.Over 13 percent of the 4,915 missionaries serving with the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board are single.The same is true for nearly 21 percent of Pioneers' 2,700 workers.
Past studies show that single women vastly outnumber single men on the mission field, and St.Claire concluded that men are especially hesitant to go overseas without a wife.Pruitt agrees: her research shows that 85 percent of single missionaries are female.Pruitt, who spent 15 years as a single missionary in Europe and Asia, said isolation drives many single missionaries to consider marriage."An individual spends a lot of time alone when living abroad," said Pruitt, who endorses the site."When they are with other host nationals, there may be lack of deeper understanding or emotional connection if they are not fluent in the culture and language, which take between five and eight years to learn." The original proposal talked of an "e Harmony for missionaries," but St.