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Mission Minded

I am sitting here at the airport waiting for the first of many flights that will take us to Mombasa, Kenya, our home for the next week! I am one of the strange few who look forward to the long flights, to the long days of travel as it means new adventures ahead. As exciting as the coming adventure is, the preparations for that adventure are tiresome. The long flights give me opportunity to get my head ready for the coming days. The last couple of weeks have been preparing all the personal details of leaving the country, making sure the team staying behind is equipped to keep going while we are away, buying and order the supplies we need and thinking about what needs to be done before we leave.

The details of life can keep us busy. When we are busy our minds get out of sync. When our minds get out of sync our focus can stray and then we miss the “thing” we were working so hard for.

Here are 3 focal points to help keep your church missions minded. When you are always thinking, planning and implementing these 3 areas, your church will stay focused, even when life is busy.

  1. Global Focus – in order to be a church that is outward focused, that is constantly thinking about ways to impact the globe, we have to have our focus on what is happening around the world. Beyond the updates you receive from your missionaries, you need to know what world events are going on, what people groups are being affected, who is serving in those areas and how (if any) you can make a difference there.

Studying people groups, staying up to date on world events, persecuted Christians and other organizations will begin to soften your hearts, show you where God is moving and begin burdening you or your church to get involved.

 

  • What can you do to exposure your church to what is happening globally or learn about unreached people groups?

 

  • How can you pray for what is happening around the world or people who have not heard the Gospel for the first time?

 

  1. Global Strategy – when we have a plan and a strategy on how to reach that goal and plan much more can be accomplished. Churches that have strategies to reach specific people groups, countries or regions often have greater success than those who just waited for missionaries to come to them. Global strategies help us identify specific targets, specific needs and specific goals. Although it seems like this would be limiting on the type of people that could meet those needs, the opposite is quite true. A strategy allows you to know what types of people, what types of resources to gather and look for instead of just making due with what you have and not accomplishing the real need at hand.

 

  1. Globally Focused People – If you want to make an impact on the globe, you must be preparing the people to make that impact. Training and equipping the next wave of missionaries from your church is a must if you intend to move the gospel out. We must make intentional measures to prepare the people we presently have to join our current missionaries or start new works amongst unreached peoples.

 

  • What classes can you teach that will train people to get ready to serve?
  • What programs can you create that will give people hands on experiences to get them ready to serve where they are or full time?

 

Stefanie Nicholson

Founder

“ Un” Necessary Returns

What comes to mind when you hear these words? Most of the time it has to do with a gift given us which we didn’t need or a garment that didn’t fit. If it’s at Christmas time you are wishing you didn’t have to say them as it means standing in long return lines explaining to store clerks why you need to return something.

To a Missionary these words are “Most Dreadful” as it means an interruption in ministry plans due to an unexpected reason or situation resulting in an unplanned trip home. Sometimes it occurs because of family needs, but most often due to financial issues.

Last week a Missionary friend of mine called to tell me they were having to make one of these “Un Necessary Returns” due to the loss of support while on the field. They were distraught at the situation and all the hassle and expense being caused by the situation.

But more than this, they were concerned for the future of their ministry, now having to return to the States to raise income. This truly is an “Un Necessary Return”.

Here2There Ministries is focused on a new concept for doing Missions called “Church Partnerships”. The main aim in this way of conducting Missions is to close the gap which exists between the Missionary in the field and all the Resources in the pews. We call it “turning ‘Supporters’ into ‘Partners’”. The idea of Partnership certainly isn’t a new one. It has been a part of our life fabric for generations, whether it comes in the form of a sports team, business deal, or friendship. The concept applied to Missions may be new, but the application is the same –  That is two (or more) coming together with common interests and goals for the accomplishment of a greater good.

Applied to Missions it is a Church and a Missionary joining hands “In Partnership” to reach others for God’s Kingdom. This idea isn’t new, but doing it as “Partners” is. You see “Partners” watch out for the others best interest; make sure each is working in harmony toward the common goal; provides needed assistance at all times; gives liberally to help the other; never does anything to hurt the other; is concerned about all the needs of the other (not just work related); stays in constant communication with the other; serves in any way to meet the common goal together; is concerned in every way about the well being of the other; sees the relationship as being deeper than a contract. We could go on and on with this analogy. You get the point – Partnership is more than just someone sending a check, reading a prayer letter, visiting every few years, sending a monthly newsletter. It is everyone becoming integrally a part of the ministries of all involved parties and truly engaged in relationships which have the others at heart.

Here2There conducts Training Seminars for both Missionaries and Churches to teach how this “Church Partnership” concept works. Our next Training opportunity is April 24th at Fort Caroline Christian  Church in Jacksonville. For more information about this and Here2There visit our website at here2there.org.

 

Wayne Dinsbeer

Church Partnership Lead

I followed God now I’m homesick

According to the Miriam-Webster Dictionary, the word homesickness was first used in the year 1748, but the concept dates back to the Old Testament.  Psalm 137:1, “By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion”. Homesickness means “longing for home and family while absent from them”. There is a couple of modern sayings about home. One is “home is where your heart is” and the other is “home is where your stuff is”. The second one is a try at humor, and although it might make us feel better that we can make anywhere we are, home, based on the fact that is where we live, and it’s where our “stuff” is, it doesn’t completely help when our heart is left elsewhere, or with someone else.

Homesickness may come in many different forms. It might be a longing for people that you left behind, such as family or friends. It could be missing something you used to have or enjoy, when you had to purge, or maybe a tradition or activity, or an actual thing that you can’t buy where you have moved. It could also be a certain food that you no longer can get, or it might be a culture, a familiar way of doing things, that now is so different in your new environment.

As missionaries or ministers in a church, you may feel homesick often. It may not be due to leaving and going to a foreign country, although that is a major cause for homesickness. But it could also be strictly ministry. Christianity is about relationship. So, in order to be successful in ministry it is important to develop relationships. Not only are relationships a very important aspect of bringing others to Christ, but we were made to be in relationship with others. So, when a minister or missionary is serving Christ in a particular area, one of the main goals is to make relationships with the people there. You will naturally grow very close to many people, and they will feel like family, which is what the Bible teaches, that our church is family! But, when it is time to leave that ministry and serve God somewhere else, then you can really miss the people that you used to commune with. It can be a difficult transition, one where you feel you have to start all over developing friendships, but also having to let go, in part, of the relationships that you had elsewhere. It’s a time of needing the energy to start again, but also being guarded in starting these relationships because of the pain and hurt you are feeling when you are not with those you love and have left. During these transitions you may have to learn a whole new culture and way of doing things. Some ministers may experience what is called “culture shock”- “the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes”. This can occur from city to town, from one city to another, state to state, or going abroad. On top of trying to mourn the loss of relationships, developing new friendships, adjusting to a new culture and way of life, you are also doing ministry, and don’t want that to suffer. This can be a lot to take on at once, and be the source of homesickness.

The Apostle Paul was also a missionary. There are several places in scripture where he talks about missing people close to him. Philippians 1:8, and 4:1 says “God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.”Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!” Also, II Timothy 1:4 “Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.”And, Romans 1:11-14: “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.”

 Paul knew what it was like to be close to people but then have to leave them. He knew the heartbreak of being away from his loved ones, and that being in ministry meant that he couldn’t be in two places at once.

Sometimes a person can get so caught up living in the past or trying to maintain former friendships and family relationships that it prevents them from doing ministry and making new relationships. If you are in ministry, are a minister, or head over missions at your church. Here are some things to consider:

1.) It’s okay to be homesick. It means that you made close relationships with others, which is what you were called to do.

2.) Grieve your loss. It’s okay to take the time to recognize what you are missing out on, who and what you miss, even if it’s something that seems small and trivial.

3.) Continue those relationships from afar. We now have technology that allows us to video, or instantly message those that live far away, even in a foreign country. But, we also have the good old pen, paper and mail carrier to send letters and pictures.

4.) Make new friends and new memories. Even while you are still in touch with those that you left behind, and are grieving their loss, take time making new memories, with new friends.

5.) Join a support group. Many ministries and missions groups offer support groups for people who are transitioning from one place to the next. Take advantage of this opportunity, or start your own group, if necessary.

6.) Try to separate work from life. Even though your life calling is ministry, try to take time with friends where you don’t talk “shop” but instead make it about having fun, or talking about other subjects rather than just ministry.

7.) Support those that are in ministry whether in the states or abroad. Send them letters, call them, or send them messages via e-mail or social media letting them know you are thinking about them, praying for them and that they are still a part of your life, even though they are far.

 

Another reminder, is thinking about Jesus and how he felt while on earth. We know that through is life and ministry, Jesus had very close friends. Not only was he close to his 12 disciples but he was also close to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. In fact when Lazarus died, Jesus was not there, and Scripture reports that Jesus wept. We also see how he spent most of his time with Peter, James and John. And, at the last supper he was reclining at the table with his 12 disciples, which paints a picture of how close he was to them. Jesus left his home and Father in heaven, to come to this earth for a short period of time. He knows what it’s like to leave someone behind, and he knows what it’s like to be in ministry developing close relationships and having to leave them as well. He went from place to place here on earth, but he was also only here for a little while.

Many people in ministry find comfort in knowing that they are in the will of God. They know that they have a purpose and meaning to why they are in ministry. Continue to seek after God, continue to make lasting relationships, continue to take care of yourself, and consider these wise words from Winnie the Pooh:

How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”

 

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.     y360.org/abrahamssonscape.org

 

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 (https://www.stress.org/ 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 here2there.org@gmail.com.

 

 

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: http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug04/survey.aspx), “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 here2there.org@gmail.com 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.