Missionary Single Issues: Housing

  • Approximate Time Commitment: 20 minutes

These booklets cover those issues which are unique to or heightened by those individuals who live in a culture other than their passport culture. The author wrote it, not as one who lived as a single missionary, but as someone who has talked about singles issues with single missionaries.

Modern Western Culture presents serious challenges related to maturity, marriage, and family. Changes in the culture during the last couple of centuries have produced disturbing trends which relate to the singles (unmarried individuals) growing up in it.

Partner: MissionaryCare.com

Resource Description


When a family arrives on a field of service in the host country, there is seldom any question about housing.  The whole family lives in one residence, usually with no one else in the house or apartment.  However, when an unmarried person arrives, housing may be a question.  It seems to “make sense” to have two or more singles share a residence to save money, and also they are not as likely to be lonely.

However, although two people from the same culture may share cultural values, they may still bring very different family and personality backgrounds.  When two people from different cultures are serving on a multi-cultural team and asked to share a residence, even their cultural values will not be the same.  The more people, and the more differences between people living in the same residence, the more likely is conflict.

Following are some advantages and disadvantages of various housing arrangements, some suggestions to make them work, and a danger to avoid.

Living Alone, Your Choice

If your agency has no requirements or subtle pressures (or some not so subtle) about your living circumstances and you choose to live alone, that usually works well.  If you are enough of an introvert to be most comfortable when alone, do not like being disturbed, and your passport culture values privacy, you will probably be very happy living alone.

If you are enough of an extrovert to want someone around all the time or are from a culture that values togetherness/community, you may find living alone very stressful.  If this is your first time to live alone, you may not have realized how much extra work is required to cook, clean, do maintenance, care for the lawn, etc.  You may find that the extra funds needed to live alone strain your budget.  If so, find a roommate when your lease is up…


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