Anisha Hopkinson wrote an article this week on her blog alifeoverseas.com entitled “newsletter code words” that I found both funny, and an important read.
Before getting to what I liked about the article let me bring up two concerns:
- She is sarcastic and being overly pessimistic about the missionary situations. While this is done to be funny, it can give a very negative view of missionary life.
- More importantly, she uses a word that in England is used in the place of profanity
With those concerns I still believe her article is needed because it points out a problems missionaries often face. Taking a negative experience on the field, and describing it in a positive, or less discouraging light 1.
Let me say right now that all experiences on the mission field (both good and bad) are under the control of God. So when things go wrong (and they will) a Missionaries response isn’t to complain either on social-media or in a prayer letter, but trust the goodness of God.
However taking this too far can lead to someone who says everythings alright, when it obviously isn’t. This can lead to bitterness, discouragement, and ministry burnout.
This is why every Missionary must have relationships where they can share what is really going on….friendships where they can admit that everything “isn’t okay.”
But how can we develop these relationships?
- This is first and foremost done through face to face conversations with fellow missionaries, or National Pastors 2.
- Secondly, this can be done through a small group text using iMessage, or WhatsApp. I personally use a group text with family members to share struggles, and am working on getting a group text of missionary friends together.
- This can also be done through a hidden Facebook group that people cannot find or join without being invited by you. Be careful to choose only those who you want to have as part of an inner circle of friends.
- FaceTime or video chat is a good way to connect on the harder days, especially since it allows you to see one another facial expressions and emotions during the conversation.
- And finally a phone call can go a long ways towards bring peace in troubled times.
Though I am not going through a tough season of ministry right now, I’ve gone through my share of them. And know from experience that while keeping a positive outlook publicly, your going to need that shoulder to cry on sometimes.