Rss

Archives for : Articles

Answering THE QUESTION!

RomaniaOh, how I dread the question! I literally would prefer to do anything else than answer THE QUESTION! And by “anything else”, I mean I would even rather fill out ministry reports to churches and sending agencies! Yes, that is how much I still dread THE QUESTION.  Everyone knows THE QUESTION:  when a friend or supporter passes you by and asks,   “Mihai, how is life in [insert country of service here] Romania?”

It really is a simple question.  No harm is intended, no ill intention.  It’s almost like someone asking “how are you?” in the store check-out lane.  Still, many missionaries would rather face the fire again than ever answer it.  Why? Because they have absolutely no idea how to answer it.  “Wonderful!”  “Incredible!”  “Challenging!”  “Life-changing!”  How does a missionary even begin to formulate an answer?

Continue Reading >>

Integrating the training of new recruits with Member Care

“I can’t bear to watch, I need to leave!” This was a frequent statement from anxious moms who had brought their infants into the medical clinic where I worked as a nurse before serving overseas. Their infants were about to receive routine immunizations against childhood diseases. Though the infants received several injections throughout their early months, there were significant strides made when several of the immunizations were combined into one injection. These combined or “integrated” injections reduced trauma to the infant and the mom while accomplishing the intended purpose.

Immunizations prevent serious diseases rather than trying to cure them. Could we also not do more to prevent tragic fallout of valuable personnel by investing more in prevention? By integrating member care concepts into field training curriculum of new folks we can stretch the prevention dynamic.

Continue Reading >>

Reverse Culture Shock

It seems to me that every time I come back from a trip abroad, a new shop has opened on my local high street.  I don’t know if they wait for me to go away, in the hope that I won’t notice, but it’s a regular occurrence.  Since I travel quite frequently, this adds up to quite a turnover of stores.  Over time, the character of the high street changes, but most people wouldn’t notice, as the change is gradual and incremental.

But if I were to come back after a year or two away, the difference would be much more marked.  I would still recognise the high street, but I could clearly see it’s different.  The supermarket has changed hands (again!).  The post office has gone.  The bank has turned into a posh restaurant.  The greengrocer’s is now a charity shop.  We grieve (just a little bit) the loss.  This is a small example of what is called ‘reverse culture shock’.

Continue Reading >>

Further thoughts on why we need Member Care

Following on from Tim Herbert’s helpful December 2014 article “What is Member Care?”, in which he underlines not only the biblical basis for Member Care, but also the fact that people need more psycho-social support the further they move away from their home environment, let’s consider another factor that demonstrates the importance of providing adequate Member Care for those involved in cross-cultural ministry. Back in 1997, the ground-breaking research in Too Valuable to Lose suggested that on a world scale, 5% of missionary personnel leave the field every year, and that 3% (representing 12,000 per year) of the attrition was deemed to be permanent, premature and preventable. That was before the turmoil we have experienced since 9/11, plus the economic crisis in recent years. My guess is that attrition rates have significantly increased since then.

Continue Reading >>

What is Member Care?

Mission workers experience a continual stream of stressful incidents which can affect their health and their efficiency in carrying out their God-given mission.  ‘So what?’ you may ask.  ‘Don’t we all?’ Indeed we do, but most of us have support mechanisms in place which help us keep on top of the stress.  In other words, although we experience situations which cause our inner batteries to run down, we have ample access to supportive relationships and resources which help us recharge the batteries.

To understand how need for support increases, let’s look at a scale of cross-cultural mission which clearly demonstrates why certain roles require more support.  It recognises that all Christians are called to mission, but shows how the context can vary:

Continue Reading >>

Copyright © 2015 Member Care Europe.