Karen and I have learned from our 20 years of missionary life that those who struggle to live an authentic Spirit-filled life at home will not suddenly morph into super-Christians by the granting of a visa.
As Missionary Care Providers for our YMI team, it is our desire to help our team to understand the stresses and pressures that come from living and ministering cross-culturally and from “spiritual isolation”.
Our number one priority is to help feed the souls of our YMI teammates from God’s Word and to hold them accountable to feed themselves, as well.
We also want to help our YMI missionaries to navigate smoothly through the “waters of transition”. There are various phases of transition. Leaving one’s “home country” to minister in a “host country” after the arduous journey of support raising can feel like the end of a LONG journey. Not so! It is only the end of Phase One.
Missionaries may feel like they are prepared to engage in cross-cultural living and ministry, but that is NOT the case. Phase Two begins with the learning of culture and language, finding a suitable and affordable place to live, adjusting to new teammates (that becomes even more complex if some of their teammates are nationals), settling children into school, learning where to shop, finding a church and a host of other challenges.
Then, there are those unexpected or unplanned for times “when life shatters in the midst of it”. As one missionary family recently wrote to their Missionary Care Provider: “We need help to negotiate through ALL of these changes and challenges.” During this Phase Two process, that will last through a missionary’s entire first term (4-5 years), missionaries need extra care, encouragement, support and prayer. Karen and I are honored to be able to play a part in helping to meet our YMI missionaries’ needs in “soul care” and with their transitional phases of cross-cultural life and ministry.