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If you are a missionary (or care about someone who is), then you’ve come to the right place. Being a missionary is the best of times and the worst of times. That's why resiliency--our ability to bounce back--is so important. The good news, and what this site is all about, is that resiliency is a skill you can learn. Let me flesh this out a bit.
Missionary service is an awesome privilege—you serve God and love people for your vocation. You connect your daily work with the resources and prayers of the global church. You play a vital role in advancing God’s Kingdom!
It can also be a significant burden. Living cross culturally is stressful. It’s normal for that stress to accumulate and take a toll on a missionary’s health, relationships, well-being, and sense of purpose. It’s compounded when missionaries are assigned roles they’re not well trained for, or face a tidal wave of needs and opportunities with limited resources. It’s intensified when they find themselves isolated from their support structures like family, team members, and self-care routines. its common for all this to lead to feeling spiritually dry and burned out.
I know the joys and the challenges because I’ve been there.
I grew up as a missionary kid in Papua New Guinea, so I’ve experienced first-hand the unique stressors that missionary families face. I’ve also worked in ministry all of my adult life (since 2000), at the para-church and parish level; locally and internationally. I’m grateful for all of those experiences (though not all of them were great) because that’s what fuels my passion for missionary care.
This is where resiliency fits in.
Resiliency is our ability to bounce back from the bumps and bruises of life. I believe it’s foundational for anyone who takes the Gospel seriously and seeks to pick up their cross and follow Jesus daily. How much more for ministers and missionaries? Don’t we get knocked around a lot! Here’s the thing: when we experience resiliency we participate in Jesus’ death and resurrection.
That’s a point worth repeating. Jesus’ resurrection is the ultimate act of resiliency. So when we are resilient, we actually put on Jesus’ resurrection. For the resilient missionary, the Resurrection is not some historical commemoration; rather, it is the very core of hope and resolve that propels us forward in participation with the Triune God’s redemptive mission in the world.
Furthermore (and what I think is some really good news), resiliency is a skill you can learn. And there’s a growing body of research to help guide the way.
You can become more resilient. That’s what this website is all about helping you do.
We want to help you grow in your resiliency. We believe as you invest in your wellbeing and resilience you will find more fulfillment and fruitfulness in your ministry for a very long time. In other words, resiliency helps you not just survive cross-cultural ministry but thrive.
By way of introduction, there are a few things I want you to know about me right off the bat.
First, I work in missionary care at OCMC, a small missions organization where I’m starting their missionary care program. I’ve been blessed to raise financial support for this ministry—and have learned a great deal about living in God’s flawlessly perfect provisions.
Second, I’m a marriage and family therapist, and I maintain a small private practice working with missionary and ministry couples. I’m also completing my ThM in missiology at Asbury Theological Seminary and researching the role of resiliency in the life of missionaries for my thesis (which I hope to complete in May 2017). My resume is available at LinkedIn.
I’ve been married since 2003. My wife is a PhD candidate in missiology and works as a birth doula. Together we raise our 4-year-old son and lead marriage enrichment workshops. Here is a link to our promo video.
Being in ministry as a family, to families in ministry, is a core value for us.
Our journey led us to find our spiritual home in the Orthodox Church in 2004. We hunger to see greater unity in the Church--the kind that Jesus prayed for (John 17:21). We're passionate about working together with other Christians toward that unity within diversity that’s been a defining mark of the Christian community from the very beginning. We see this as particularly important in the era of Global Christianity when the majority of Christians are no longer western.
That’s our motivation for this website.
We pray that these resources will especially benefit missionaries who don't have access to adequate missionary care. This is our humble offering. Our "fish and loaves" that we offer to Jesus in faith. Our prayer is that He would multiply it, as He sees fit, to feed His many servants and through them His Flock.
I typically post here a few times a month. My post are short (~500 words) and aim toward being encouraging and practical. As a missionary you are busy, and you need perspectives that enrich you and resources you can put into practice quickly. Think about this site as providing you a refreshing glass of water while you’re laboring in the Lord’s vineyard.
I'm currently working on a number of series that I'm pretty excited about:
- The developmental task of missionaries across the decades and career stages. The intersection of these factors impacts many of the questions you might be wrestling with.
- A sacramental model of marriage—how do two become one?
- Perspective on missionary care and resiliency.
- Misc. post about productivity, well-being, family, counseling, nonviolence, and other topics I'm led to post about.
- Finally, I invite guest bloggers regularly so you can hear from other missionaries and missionary care professionals. So, let me know if you have something you’d like to share.
If you’re as excited about this site as we are, then I’d like to invite you to join us in this journey and subscribe. You won’t have to worry about missing a post.
Plus, you’ll receive my 7 Days to Less Stress and More Peace. You’ll get short, easy to digest lessons that will:
- introduce you to the science of stress,
- give you tools to assess your current stress level, and
- teach you some research-informed techniques to quickly reduce stress.
Invest a few minutes every day, and by this time next week you’ll have less stress and more peace.
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DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed on this site are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent OCMC, Asbury Theological Seminary, or any other entity associated with Geoff and Kriss Whiteman. Furthermore, the opinions expressed here do not constitute professional therapeutic advice. Some of the links on this site use an Amazon affiliate code, or other affiliate link. This means we recieve a small amount of money for some products and services you purchase through this site. These funds are nominal and help offset the cost of maintaining this website. We never recommend products or services we do not personally use. We invite you to take what helps and leave the rest.