22 June, 2010

The care of missionaries

Australian churches find it hard to look after missionaries. At least that is my observation. I am not about to write a "how to" document on it, but I did read something recently that puts the case for caring for missionaries very well:
"Service of the Lord in cross-cultural environments exposes missionaries to many stresses and criticisms. While acknowledging that missionaries also share the limitations of common humanity, and have made errors, we affirm that they deserve love, respect and gratitude. Too often agencies, churches and fellowships have not followed biblical guidelines in dealing with cross-cultural workers. We commit ourselves to support and nurture our missionary workers for their own sakes and for the gospel witness."
(The Declaration issued after a World Evangelical Fellowship conference on Missiology in Iguazzu, Brazil, 1999 quoted in "Honourably Wounded" by Marjory F. Foyle)

I don't want to comment on our own situation much, aside from saying that we've developed our own support group. Our Homeside Ministry Team (some of them are in the photo of one of our meals together). A group of nine who love us and who've been many things to us over the last five years. They've done a lot of practical things for us this last year, including find and furnish the house we're in. And help us now move out of it. They've welcomed us home with open arms, listened to our woes and funny stories. Who've met with us several times over meals during the year to listen and ask. Praise God for them and using them to hold us together!

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