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The Importance of Sacred Rhythms- Part 2

Rob and Shini Abraham lead Soul-Care retreats internationally with Sonscape Retreats. They have lived and served with YWAM on 3 different continents  and have over 26 years of international experience as missionaries. While including American missionaries serving abroad, Rob and Shini focus much of their efforts on the several often forgotten missionaries that God is raising from Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America. Many of these “forgotten missionaries” have little if any support systems, resources, and soul-care training opportunities in their nations. Rob and Shini are based in Colorado where they enjoy the outdoors, hanging out with friends and experiencing as many cultures as possible.


As missionaries, we multiply what we stand for in the fields we serve in. What are we multiplying? Are we multiplying exhaustion, workaholic patterns, driven behavior, maybe even death? Or are we multiplying life, the way our Creator meant for us to live?
We are sons and daughters of the Most High God. We are His beloved. Learning to make rest and renewal a part of our everyday lives is acknowledgement that we are His sons and daughters. Not slaves or servants that are driven by a difficult task-master. God’s heart for us is to be whole and to serve out of wholeness, not to burn out.
May we truly learn to set healthy rhythms for ongoing rest and renewal in the midst of the busy currents of life! And to sit guilt-free sit at the table God sets before us, as His rightful sons and daughters as we understand His heart for us.
Matthew 11:28-29
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Practical Steps to Take:
Ask, “What is rest for me?” Most of us struggle to answer this question but knowing what our specific needs will help us determine how to get the rest we need.
Learn to read your body, to recognize when you are operating in exhaustion and when you’re operating at “optimum mode” (ie. you’re well rested, are thinking clearly, are functioning in healthy ways). And learn to stop when you’re exhausted and to take the time you need to for rest and renewal.
Schedule in times for rest and renewal during the day and week. Protect these times and do not let anything take them away from you. Do not think of these times as “free time.” They are not!
Think of these scheduled times as essential “margins,” in your life.
Establish rhythms for rest and renewal. Go to bed on time and get the sleep you need. Make sure you eat on time. Take time on a regular basis for exercise, outdoor activities, etc. Make time for silence and solitude.
Set aside time for a weekly Sabbath. Not in any legalistic way, but in away that honors God’s intent for the Sabbath.
Talk to your sending agency, church or donor base about rest and renewal being a part of your life and calling. Cast a vision for member-care and help the church to grow in understanding this area that is often ignored or overlooked.

The Importance of Sacred Rhythms- Part 1

Rob and Shini Abraham lead Soul-Care retreats internationally with Sonscape Retreats. They have lived and served with YWAM on 3 different continents  and have over 26 years of international experience as missionaries. While including American missionaries serving abroad, Rob and Shini focus much of their efforts on the several often forgotten missionaries that God is raising from Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America. Many of these “forgotten missionaries” have little if any support systems, resources, and soul-care training opportunities in their nations. Rob and Shini are based in Colorado where they enjoy the outdoors, hanging out with friends and experiencing as many cultures as possible.
The Importance of Sacred Rhythms
“I love God and love serving Him. But I’m always overwhelmed and exhausted…” is something we hear pastors and missionaries say frequently. Try getting together for a meal with someone in ministry – a pastor or missionary. “Our schedule is full this summer!” or “Let me look at my calendar to see when there is an opening and I’ll get back to you.” or “We are so exhausted and really need a break!” are all common answers.
Having served in missions for over 25 years and having travelled all around the world, we have learned firsthand that people in ministry are some of the busiest in the world. They are also the ones that are most likely to burn out in their line of work.
According to the Holmes-Rahe statistical prediction model ( holmes-rahe-stress-inventory/) when an individual scores 150 points or less, the score implies that the individual is currently experiencing a relatively low amount of life change and has a low susceptibility to stress-induced health breakdown. However, 150-300 points imply a 50% chance of major health breakdown in the next two years and more than 300 points raises the odds to 80%.
In 1999, Drs. Lois and Dodds studied the levels of stress missionaries faced. Using a modified version of the Holmes-Rahe scale, they discovered that the typical missionary scored over 600 points and often lived long-term with sustained levels of over 300 points. Missionaries in their first term had levels that peaked at 900 points.
Note: the Holmes-Rahe scale does not include stress factors that long-term workers face (such as learning a new language, adapting to a new culture, raising and maintaining financial support, raising children in a foreign culture, etc.). Add all these factors and the points scored will climb even higher!
What does this cumulative stress do to long-term workers? The statistics are scary. 80% of missionaries face burn-out. 46% face emotional health issues and 87% of those are diagnosed with depression.
There are many factors that cause us to ignore the seriousness of this issue. Maybe we were raised in a Christian culture that taught us to “burn out for Jesus.” Maybe, practicing godly rhythms of rest and renewal in the midst of a busy ministry life are judged as laziness or frowned upon by supporters. Maybe we are trapped in performance-mode, seeking to satisfy the expectations placed upon us by our churches and supporters. Maybe our sending organizations do not make member-care a priority and soul-care is not a part of our ministry culture. Maybe responding constantly to urgent demands in ministry have displaced a life in which regular intimate times with God are the norm. Etc.
Most of us have a “calling story,” a glorious account of that moment when we felt called into ministry. It would be fair to say that we deeply value God’s call to serve, and have no problem obeying His call on our lives. But, do we obey God’s call to rest and renewal with equal vigor?
We see God’s call to Sabbath rest from the very beginning of time. He created the Sabbath as a rhythm of rest and renewal for us. A pause in the midst of the busyness of life. To rest from work. To reflect on everything that was achieved in the past week. To celebrate accomplishments. To tweak and reset goals, if necessary. To search our hearts and make sure we continue to stay in alignment with our Creator. To savor time with Him. He modeled this for us by resting on the seventh day after creating our world and everything in it.
Exodus 20:8
“Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
Jesus reiterated this invitation and holy call to rest and renewal in New Testament times. Most of all, He modeled this well for us.
Mark 6:31
“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
If we are honest, the truth is that most of us have trouble obeying God’s call to rest. We have trouble embracing it as part of His plan for us. As a part of the goodness He extends to us: His heart for us, His desire for us, His best for us. As a part of His plan for us so we can thrive and not just limp through life. His intention for us to live the abundant life so we represent Him well in the midst of life’s challenges and hardships.
We struggle to see times set aside intentionally for rest and renewal as sacred space.
God’s invitation to rest is clear. And it requires obedience on our part. A willingness to stop. Intentionality in setting aside time for rest and renewal. The discipline in committing to this on a regular basis so it becomes a steady rhythm in our lives.
A rhythm is intentional, steady, predictable and consistent. It sets a dependable foundation for everything else. We are surrounded by examples of rhythms God has set in place for our good: day and night, seasons, etc. We see nature follow these rhythms. Bears hibernate in the winter and then emerge in springtime to have their young ones. Birds follow migration rhythms. Planets maintain unique rhythms of rotation and revolution. We human beings seem to be the only created beings that seem to have a problem with embracing and establishing these healthy, god-ordained rhythms!
And the consequences for not resting are serious.
Is 28:12-13
“This is the resting place, let the weary rest”;
and, “This is the place of repose”—
    but they would not listen.
So then, the word of the Lord to them will become:
    Do this, do that,
    a rule for this, a rule for that;
    a little here, a little there—
so that as they go they will fall backward;
    they will be injured and snared and captured.”
We cannot ignore what the statistics reveal. Stress is a normal part of life. It cannot be avoided but it can be managed well. Experiencing stress does not mean we are weaklings, or not spiritual enough. We are limited beings that need consistent fellowship with God as well as other human beings. We require work as well as rest. As we take on the challenges that come with our calling, let’s ask God for wisdom in establishing healthy rhythms in our lives!

Too Much Compassion?

Do you ever feel physically and emotionally exhausted, have a loss of hope or a difficulty sleeping? These and many other feelings and actions can be warning signs that you have compassion fatigue. My husband, Stephen and I came back from 2 years of doing mission work over in Uganda, Africa. After 10 months of being back in the U.S we became licensed foster parents. During our 6-week training for foster care we learned about compassion fatigue. This was the first time I had ever heard about it and I thought to myself, this is something every missionary needs to know.

What do you think of when you hear these words? You’re probably thinking to yourself that you have never experienced compassion fatigue before. You might even say that you have never heard of compassion fatigue before. Let me tell you, compassion fatigue is real, and most missionaries experience it and don’t even realize it. It’s not something that just missionaries experience, but it can happen to anyone that helps to take care of other people. We are going to talk about what compassion fatigue is, the warning signs of it, how to prevent it and what you can do when it happens to you.

Compassion fatigue has been explained as a “Profound emotional and physical exhaustion that helping professionals, missionaries, and caregivers can develop over the course of their career as helpers. It is a gradual erosion of all the things that keep us connected to others in our role: our empathy, our hope, and of course our compassion, not only for others, but for ourselves.” (The Compassion Fatigue Workbook) Like the definition says it’s both an emotional and physical feeling. “Compassion fatigue is caused by empathy”. A lot of people mistake compassion fatigue as burn out when really “It is the natural consequence of stress resulting from caring for and helping traumatized or suffering people.” According to Portnoy, burnout and compassion fatigue can overlap.

Like I said earlier some of you might say to yourself that you have never experienced compassion fatigue before. Let me share with you some of the symptoms and warning signs caused by it:


  • Anger and irritability- difficulty controlling mood swings
  • Exaggerated sense of responsibility- “I can’t stop, people need me.”
  • Shifting blame; taking out stress on others in personal relationships
  • Susceptibility to illness
  • Somatization: tension headaches, low back pain
  • Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or food to self medicate stress
  • Feeling like avoiding work or specific clients
  • Reduced ability to feel sympathy or empathy “I know where this story is going”
  • Resentment- “Why are all the demands on me?”
  • Hypervigilance- feeling that you’re always “on” even when on break
  • Difficulty separating personal and professional life
  • Failure to nurture non-work related aspects of life
  • Affects many dimensions of your well-being
  • Nervous system arousal (Sleep disturbance)
  • Emotional intensity increases
  • Cognitive ability decreases
  • Behavior and judgment impaired
  • Depression and PTSD (potentiate)
  • Identity, worldview, and spirituality impacted
  • Beliefs and psychological needs-safety, trust, esteem, intimacy, and control

As you read over the list, do any of these sound familiar in your daily life? Some of the warning signs and symptoms may overlap each other. The key is to know what the signs and symptoms are so that you can listen to your body. You are the only one who will know best what your body is telling you.

There are many things you can do daily to prevent compassion fatigue. The most important thing you can do for yourself, is self-care. The basics of self-care are sleep, rest, proper diet, exercise, and vacations, nourishing activities and a regular debriefing process. You will want to make sure you do at least one nourishing activity per day. Some nourishing activities include: 30-minute bath/shower, Long evening walk, read a novel, A bicycle ride, go out to a restaurant with a friend, watch a movie or TV, get away for the weekend to a Safari lodge or capital city, Soak to worship music, sit outside on your porch and breathe deeply, Play with your dogs or children.

I remember being in Africa and enjoying our days off sitting on our back porch reading and studying. We also took time to go on walks and play with our dog. We would relax at night with watching an American TV show which we had on DVD. It’s the little things that you think you can do without in another country, but it’s those little things that keep us grounded. Terry Thompson, pastor at Rock Point Church said, “If we fail to “secure our own oxygen mask first”, we will be of little value to those around us who need our assistance”.

As a missionary I think one of the hardest thing to do was, take a vacation. Our minds are focused on doing our job which is taking care of other people that we forget about ourselves. Also, it’s hard to justify spending supporter money on ourselves. As hard as it is, I suggest you make it a priority to speak with your sending organization or Board and let them know that you need to raise money specifically for a vacation. You can talk to your biggest supporters about this need as well. Set aside the time on your calendar to do this. If you are back in the states, there are also plenty of missionary retreat places for those of you who don’t have the finances.

The other important to remember is to not forget about your own spiritual development. Missionaries especially, are so focused on sharing the gospel and ‘feeding’ other people with the word of God, we often forget that we need to be fed as well. Whether you find a local church to attend or watch your home church online, make sure you continue to grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Lastly, this is a call to all churches, now that you know about compassion fatigue make sure to check in on your missionaries. Really listen to what they are saying and use this as a reference to truly partner with them physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially and through prayer. Missionaries have a big task at hand and they are going to need us to make sure they stay healthy in all these areas! If you have any questions about this. please contact us via e-mail at



Here is a graph that explains the process of compassion fatigue:


Personal Reflections on Fundraising… stop asking for money

Here2There recently sent me to a Missions Funding Conference put on by Support Raising Solutions. It was a rewarding week of workshops, networking , and learning about the importance of funding from some of the top trainers in the country. I was privileged to hear speakers like Steve Shadrach, author of The God Ask, Steve Douglas, President of Cru & Campus Crusade for Christ International, Scott Morton, International Funding Coach for the Navigators, and others. It was truly a blessing.

My purpose for attending was to learn keys to being successfully funded, both personally and organizationally, to do the work of Missions to which God has called us.

It was an experience that will certainly help me with my work with Here2There and I trust will help others as we share basic truths and principles discovered. Since most Mission work is conducted by people needing to raise their support, these lessons can be invaluable to all of us.

A priority the truth that came out in every message and workshop was that we are not asking people for money, but giving them an opportunity to join us in The Great Commission Work to which God has called each believer. This was certainly a new way for me to look at this vital task of fundraising. One gentleman, with whom I shared several meals, expressed the same regarding his own fundraising presentation. He starts his conversation by telling the person he is seeing that he is not there to ask them to give to him today, but to share an amazing opportunity with them. When you think about it, isn’t that the truth we all should capture? Those to whom God leads us to approach about becoming a Partner in Ministry with us are being invited to do so much more than just give money.

At the opening session of the conference, Todd Ahrend, International Director for The Traveling Team, gave a dynamic history of the Missions Movement in America. Much of modern day missions in the US started with Student Ministries on college campuses.

Todd shared a quote from one of the pioneers in missions from the 1800’s, Routh Rouse, first women missionary to travel. She said, “Finish the statement, I so love that I am willing to give_________  what?  A little money, a little time, a little strength – or My Life? Your gift will be the measure of your love.”  What a telling truth for all of us.

As we meet with people to whom God has led us to share our ministry, we should remember that we are giving them an opportunity to express the measure of their love for God by joining us in His Great Commision work.

One thing Here2There teaches is the need for Church Partnerships between Missionaries and Churches. Both need so much more than just the sharing of finances. The relationship requires much greater connection than that. When these Partnerships are formed the benefits to each are so great. The same goes for the connections each of us desires to make as we seek Ministry Partners to join our team in doing God’s Great Commission Work. Fundraising is about so much more than just money. It’s about Partnership in Ministry.

Wayne Dinsbeer

Church Partnership Lead

Help! I Need Help Asking for Help! Part 3

In the last two blogs of this 3-part blog series we discussed WHY it’s important to get help, and HOW to ask for help. This time we will be discussing WHERE to find help. If you’ve been reading these blogs, then maybe you, or someone you know realizes that it’s time to get help, but you aren’t sure where to go for help.

First, it’s important to recognize what kind of help you need. If there is something you need to continue to minister, then it’s okay to ask for it. My dad works construction and my mom is an AMAZING cook. She is always cooking and baking for everyone for any reason. One time my mom and dad were out shopping, and my mom came home with a nice mixer. My dad said that he knows that having the right tools makes all the difference in the world when it comes to getting a job done right. It’s true you need the best tools to do the best job! Sometimes it could mean needing more staff. If you need an assistant, then ask for one. The only sure time you won’t get what you need, is if you don’t ask.

Sometimes the needs are far greater than an extra hand, or needing a vehicle, new building, or other material items. Sometimes going into ministry doesn’t have the affect and fulfillment that was expected. When wearing so many hats and having so many people rely on you the stress can be too much to bear. Depression and/or anxiety can set in and it can feel like your world is closing in. You may lack energy or have too much energy. You may not know how to begin, or if you even want to begin doing anything at all.

No matter what you have seen or heard about therapists, in America, according to the APA (American Psychological Association website:, “an estimated 59 million people have received mental health treatment in the past two years”, “48 percent of those polled reported a visit to a mental health professional by someone in their household this year”.

Although the numbers are growing of people that are reaching out for professional help, it still can be difficult to recognize that you need help, and even more difficult to seek out a therapist to ask for help. When asked in the poll above, one of the reasons why people did not seek help was due to their lack in confidence that treatment helps. Also, although the stigma is decreasing, “nearly half of those polled–47 percent–said that the stigma surrounding mental health services has decreased in recent years”, yet “30 percent of respondents were concerned about other people finding out if they sought mental health treatment, and 20 percent said that stigma is “a very important reason not to seek help” from a mental health professional.”

Depending on which study you look at, either 1 in 4, or 1 out of 5 people that need mental health therapy aren’t receiving it. Part of the reason is because they don’t have access. Other reasons include cost, and privacy (the stigma).

In instances where you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, overly tired, anxious, or depressed, it’s okay to contact a licensed mental health therapist. Therapists are trained to help people find techniques that will allow them to either discover where these feelings are coming from to decrease or eliminate triggers, or they will help you to find ways to cope with these feelings and still be able to continue the work you are doing.

I would recommend that if you are going to make a life change, such as moving yourself and your family to a foreign country, where you are going to learn a new language, a new culture, a new way of life, where you don’t know anyone, that it would be a good idea to see a therapist first. Think about and discuss what changes you are about to encounter, get some ideas and tools of what to do when you run into any of these scenarios. That way you are prepared. Even though it will still be an adjustment, you may not be caught as off guard, and even if you are, you’ve got the tools to fight it.

 If you are already on the mission field and you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious, it’s never too late to contact someone and ask for help. Having someone that is not in the situation, that doesn’t have a bias one way or the other, who can listen to your concerns and offer some skills and Biblical advice to help you get through it can be very beneficial.

 We have a great example of this from the scriptures, it comes out of Exodus Chapter 18. When we read this story previously we saw that it was too much for Moses to be the only judge. We saw the importance of Moses asking for help. This week, we see that Moses took the advice of his Father in law. You see, if Moses had continued to be the only Judge at that time, listening to all the people he would have been burned out. His father in law saw that. Moses had a choice. He could have kept doing what he was doing and told his father in law he had it “handled”, but he didn’t, he listened to the counsel of his father in law, and things ran much more smoothly.

If this series on asking for help has been beneficial for you and you want help, please don’t hesitate to ask. If you need to talk to a licensed therapist, you can e-mail Here2There ministries at and they will put you in contact with someone.

Take Care, God Bless, and remember, there are many people who want to help, they are just waiting to be asked!!

Christy Paul, M.Ed, LMHC

God Doesn’t Live In Your Comfort Zone

When I finally decided to give up control of my life and live for God I had a revelation. You see, before that happened my whole existence pretty much predicated on my comfort. Every thing I did was to ensure that I was comfortable. I worked at a job, one that I didn’t even really like that much, so that I could make money to get stuff that I wanted. I was involved in church but only to a certain degree. I served in a ministry where I didn’t have to go too much out of my way or be challenged spiritually. I didn’t dig too deep in the church’s affairs. I also never really let people get close enough to me that they might actually see the real me. Even in the misery of it at times it was a misery that I knew and felt like I could control.

I was comfortable.

When the Lord finally broke through to me I had a very hard time and very real revelation about being comfortable. It occurred to me that God doesn’t exist in your comfort. Don’t get me wrong, He’s always there but he’s not likely to show up in any meaningful way. I don’t believe God wants us to be too comfortable. In comfort there’s no need for him, we can rely on ourselves and take care of everything. It’s only once we get out of our comfort zone that we start to seek God.

Here in America we have the ability to be comfortable all the time. I was never really in a situation I felt like I couldn’t control. It wasn’t until I went on a mission trip that I was asked to do something way outside of my comfort zone. In that moment there was sheer panic. I had no idea what to do or how to do it and there was only one thing left to do: pray. Then, something incredible happened, God said, “I’ve got this.”

I have experiences where God has shown up in my life. When I look back there are times where all I can say is God was there because there’s no way I could have done that on my own. If you want to see God show up in your life you have to give in the opportunity and he is far less likely to do something and we’re far less likely to notice in the comfort of our day to day routines. Find out what God is asking you to do that is outside of your comfort zone. If you want to see God do something amazing you have to let him lead you to something crazy. If Peter never steps out of the boat he never would have walked on water. What “boat” is Jesus calling you to step out of?

“The 5 Must Haves”

The new year, particularly February and March, means that it’s Missions Conference Time for most churches!!! This is such a vital vision time for churches to see what they are a part of globally. This is a great time for your church to better connect and get acquainted with the ministry partners you support and catch up on what’s going on. BUT, this year, don’t just go through the motions of “how’s it going?” type questions, really get down to the nitty gritty with your missionaries. Make this conference the best year yet by digging deeper, being more intentional in connecting and long term-planning with your missionaries.

NO DOUBT, if you take these 5 ways and implement them into your already planned conference you will see greater responses from your church body and from your missionaries. You will see relationships deepen, initiation from your church body, greater care and concern, and a fire only the Holy Spirit can bring.

Please let us know how we can assist you with your upcoming conference. We want to be available to volunteer, teach, train, clean… so your conference is the best!

And check out our new resource page to see what tools your church can use during the conference.


6 Areas Missionaries Need Partnership

When talking about “Partnerships” our mind most often turns to some kind of business relationship or a film duo like “Batman & Robin”. It certainly does not go immediately to the relationship between a Church and her Missionaries… but it should.

Both Missionaries and Churches need a  “Partnership” relationship which impacts each in so many areas.


Here are the six areas missionaries need partnership and why they are important.


  1. Financial and Physical: Missionaries are dependent upon the generosity of supporting churches, but that is often where the “partnership” stops. While funding is a critical part, Missionaries and Churches need the Physical partnership which enables each to experience the positive impacts of the other.
  2. Short Term Journeys: They are an awesome boost for both Missionary and Church. Longer Term Relationships keep the benefits of STJ’s going day after day.
  3. Relationships: Closely related to emotional, they are two basic needs each entity has. Missionaries and churches are inclusive of peoples with feelings, emotions, needs, hurts, joys. It is inherent in all to want to share these with others. Those sitting in pews need the contact a relationship brings with a Missionary in order to share the rich experiences of life.
  4. Emotional: The same is true for the Missionary in the field who often experiences great depression for feeling like they are all alone on the island of service for the Lord. The advent of Social Media has made this aspect of Partnership much more feasible to accomplish.
  5. Intellectually: Consider ways you can regularly pour into your missionaries to sharpen their skills, and increase their resources. Each time your church provides a training for your staff, volunteers or church body think of ways you can get those resources to your missionaries too.
  6. Spiritually: Constant giving can drain us, and missionaries need refilling from a new source. Spiritual encouragement can only take place through communication and connection between believers. In this example, between those in churches and those on a Mission field. The sharing of spiritual and intellectual truth is a great relational need which should be a consideration in every “Partnership” relationship.


As you think about “Partnership”, remember the “Partnership” Relationship needed between Churches and Missionaries and these six areas of connection. The impact to each is both needed and can be one of the greatest joys either can experience.

Wayne Dinsbeer

Church Partnerships

Help! I need help asking for help. Part II: How


In our last blog we discussed the importance of asking for help. There were many statistics that showed that everyone, regardless of what they do, needs help at certain times in their lives. If they don’t get the help they need, when they need it, then they can get burned out, or do less of a good job and productivity suffers.

Compassion fatigue is another reason why people, especially in the helping field, often give up or want to quit. Compassion fatigue is when you are unable to end suffering. When you feel like there is just too many people in need, and you can’t help them all. This differs from burnout which is when you don’t have the support you need in your work environment and become overwhelmed . Compassion fatigue can come on rather quickly, where burnout may come over time.

This also holds true for missionaries and pastors. They too can feel compassion fatigue and it’s hard to minister.  Not only people within the church, but also those outside of the church, will call the local church asking for help. This can come in many forms, and it doesn’t take long for a pastor to realize that there is a great need, and of course he wants to meet all those needs. The problem is that it is impossible for one person to meet the needs of all. But, often pastors may feel the burden to meet all those needs, and try and do so alone. If you do a google search of pastoral compassion fatigue, you get About 55,400 results (0.44 seconds), that’s a lot of talk about pastors (and missionaries) getting burned out, or fatigued when it comes to serving others.

According to the website Charles Figley, a  psychologist, describes it as this when talking to someone who has experienced trauma, and then shares their experience: “We have not been directly exposed to the trauma scene, but we hear the story told with such intensity, or we hear similar stories so often, or we have the gift and curse of extreme empathy and we suffer. We feel the feelings of our clients. We experience their fears. We dream their dreams. Eventually, we lose a certain spark of optimism, humor and hope. We tire. We aren’t sick, but we aren’t ourselves.” This could be an experience for many, but the missionaries working in third world countries that come in contact with disease, poverty, and famine on a regular basis, maybe easily lose “optimism, humor, and hope” and I’d like to add, their reason and purpose for being on the mission field. Even mother Teresa made part of the plan, that her nuns would take 1 year off, every 4-5 years in order to rest.

When you google “what kind of HELP do missionaries need?” here is what you will find, in order:

  1. According to this website, LDS living: (

Missionaries need: a new Bible, a new tie, a new bag, a new journal, belt, watch, towels, etc.


2.) According to this website, The Gospel Coalition  (


you can help missionaries by: praying for them, financially supporting them, sending care packages, help them acclimate on their “furloughs”, be helpful and flexible when visiting them overseas, sending people to work along-side long term missionaries-for longer than a short term (1 week-2 week period)


   3.) According to this website


you can help your missionaries through knowing the best things to send in a care package.


(note: If interested, you can also check out what Google says about helping your pastor here:


 This is not bad advice, and I am sure many missionaries would agree they LOVE getting care packages from the States, especially of things they don’t have where they are serving. Missionaries may need supplies as well such as a new Bible, new clothes, new accessories, we know that missionaries need more than that. They wouldn’t be able to accomplish what they did if it wasn’t for us praying for them, financially supporting them, staying in contact with them and providing them with their material needs and wants.

During Hurricane Season the last couple of years, we were hit with a Hurricane twice in one year. When floods have hit your home and you don’t even know where to begin, it’s very difficult to think. It’s a lot easier in moments of stress and even panic, to accept help, even from strangers. When everything you own is laying on your front lawn and you don’t have any idea what to do. That is a time where it’s easier to ask for help. But, why is it that we wait until things become way too big for us to handle before we feel comfortable asking for help? Why is it that we can accept the help from strangers during a traumatic time, but we have a hard time going to friends, and saying I need help with something specific, before it becomes unbearable? God made us for relationship. There is a reason why friends and family are important. We are here to serve and help each other.

I know a missionary woman, living out of the country, who is a friend. She took to social media stating that she needed a very specific feminine product sent to her that she couldn’t get in the country that she was living in. There were two thoughts that came to my mind as I read her post. 1.) Wow, this must have been really hard for her to have to write without feeling a bit embarrassed 2.) Shame on me for not going to her ahead of time and asking her what I can do for her, so that she didn’t have to make something that could have been private, so public.

For missionaries/pastors. How can you ask for help. First, be aware that it’s okay to ask. Sometimes it might feel strange to ask people for something of material value because of how it may be perceived, but people won’t know what you need until you ask. Or, you don’t want to “overstay your welcome” and ask too many times for something, or ask the same person/people over and over for their help.

Moses who learned this important lesson from his father-in-law Jethro, in Exodus 18, was serving as judge at that time. He had people coming to him the Bible says from “morning till evening”. In verses 14-18 it says, “When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?” Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.” Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.”” The story continues with Jethro saying “Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to Him. Teach them His decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. But select capable men from all the people-men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain-and appoint them as officials.” Jethro recognized that the work was too much for Moses. Moses needed to ask for help, and delegate to other trusted men.

How can we help our missionaries from getting burned out? How do we help our missionaries when they are feeling compassion fatigue, to keep on going, to know that they are doing a great job and that we support them? Those who support missionaries need to be ready and willing to help out in any way possible, not just saying “I will pray for you”, but “I will either be there for you, for what you need, or find someone that can”.

If you are a pastor or missionary and you recognize that not only do you need help, but you want some help, you may be wondering, “how do I do that”? “How can I get help? Some reasons why it may be hard to ask for help, is because either you don’t want to let people down, or you don’t know where to go for help.


 Here are a few examples of how to get the help you really need:


  1. Finding people who are trustworthy and capable, and delegate work to them.


  1. Have a core group of diverse friends. Being able to turn to one friend for help in an area where they are most knowledgeable, rather than turning to the same friend or few friends over and over again for each situation you need help with, have a list of friends that you can contact, and be specific who you choose.
  2. When asking for help from a friend, instead of expecting that friend to help you, ask if they have any friends who might be willing to help out. Instead of expecting this person to help, you can see if they can reach out to someone that can.
  3. Be specific with what you need, no one will know how to help unless you share how they can help you.
  4. Material things are important because you need to take care of yourself. It’s okay to ask for them, there are plenty of “givers” out there who would love to organize and send out care packages. Or to give in other ways needed.


  1. Have a close friend or a couple of friends that you can trust to talk about things when they get tough. People you can rely on to not only encourage you, but validate you and your feelings.
  2. When feeling burned out, or fatigued reach out to a professional to talk about it. It’s common to feel depressed or anxious and it’s important to talk to a professional about how to handle those emotions. Usually you are the one that people turn to when feeling down or depressed, but as the old saying goes, you can’t fill a cup from an empty pitcher.


Christy Paul, M.Ed, LMHC

Are You Living By Faith?

Are You Living By Faith?

Paul writes in the beginning of Romans, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes, the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’”

 When I read that last part I am forced to ask myself two questions. First, do I consider myself righteous? Second, am I living by faith?

To the first question my initial thought is to say yes, I am a righteous person. I go to church, I read my Bible(maybe not as much as I should), the people around me know I’m a Christian. I try to avoid sin as much as I can. I pray and do my best to honor God.

But now, when I ask myself the second question, my whole response to the first is now not so clear. Am I living by faith? In a lot of ways I’d say yes but I know that there are definitely some areas off y life where I struggle to live by faith. Now according to Paul, “The righteous shall live by faith.” So, if I’m not doing the second then I’m not doing the first either.

Some years ago, the Lord wrecked my life with this very question. I was happily trucking along in my job. I was making money and able to take care of the things in my life that needed taking care of. I was able to buy the things I needed and in many cases most of the things I wanted. What I came to realize though is that I wasn’t happy where I was in my life. I was comfortable. My job was actually making me miserable. I had gotten to the point where I dreaded going to work most days but the money, which really wasn’t all that much, gave me the ability to control my circumstances.

Then God drew closer to him. I had reached my “pit of misery” and when I looked around the only thing I saw was God with his arms open saying, “Come to me”. It was literally the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life but I decided to finally give up control of my financial situation and step into the unknown. I honestly didn’t know if God would be there to catch me but I knew he said he would. So I jumped.

The truth is that I gave up a lot that day. The temptations are still there. The uncertainty at times is still there. But God has been there. He has not failed me or forsaken me and I continually pray for the strength and patience to live by faith.

So, do you consider yourself righteous? Are you living by faith? The question you have to ask yourself is, “What in my life am I unwilling give up control and hand over to God?” God’s plan for our lives is much better than our own. Where are you comfortable? If you are comfortable you have no need for God in your life. He doesn’t want comfort. He wants faith.

Bryan Nicholson

Media and Marketing Lead