"Francis Schaeffer used to say that if he had only one hour with someone, he would spend fifty-five minutes asking questions and five minutes trying to say something that would speak to his or her situation, once he understood a little more about what was going on in in his or her heart and mind."
(Quote taken from The Heart of Evangelism, by Jerram Barrs)My friend Jonathan Dodson and my brother Doug have had some good thoughts on this topic recently.
I personally think this is one reason why God makes most missionaries clueless, both linguistically and culturally at first. As I (Mark) was deep in language and culture study, I began to learn so much FROM my Japanese friends; and that has continued to today. I am grateful that I can say so many positive things about the people who I am here to give my life to. They are not projects, they are friends for whom I expect to not only teach, but to learn a lot from.