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Archives for : Syzygy

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’.

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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:

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