Member Care: Caring for global workers so they can remain healthy emotionally, physically, relationally, and spiritually so they can be effective on the field
Bahir DarIt has been an incredible first half of this trip that takes us both into Eastern Africa and Eastern Europe. The first week was spent in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia facilitating an Initial Equipping in the Healing the Wounds of Trauma program. To say our time there was blessed would be an understatement. We (myself and co-facilitators Sharon Batley and Joy Stevens) were hosted by missionaries Andrea and Jeremy Ireland. With permission from Sharon, here is what she has to say about our time in Bahir Dar:
"It is a big deal to be hosted by missionaries in their home… they open themselves and their lives to you. Not to mention that ministry demands continue even though they are hosting and coordinating the specialized training. I have organized and hosted many teams through the years and often it is an exhausting blessing to have people in your home, continue with the daily demands of ministry programs, give attention to your spouse and children and the list goes on. I truly appreciated that Andrea and Jeremy were willing to have us fold in with their family and include us in ministry activities outside of the training. I loved getting to know them and the children better, seeing where they live and minister and meeting national partners they work alongside. Experiencing all this gives me a better insight on how to pray specifically for them, for their ministries and the city they serve. Please pray for this wonderful family as the minister to boys of the Bahir Dar streets and university students.
One of my greatest desires is to be used by God to encourage, love, listen to and serve those He has called to ministry so that they know they are loved, supported, heard, valued and understood. If they know these things, they will thrive not just survive." I agree with Sharon, which is why last month my emphasis was on Missionary Care. It is exciting to see it lived out this month.
The Initial Equipping went really well. Even though this is a training to equip the attendees to be able to facilitate healing groups, we walk the participants through the lessons as a healing group. Our desire and prayers are that the participants would experience God’s healing in their hearts and lives. Through experiencing the healing of wounds on their hearts, they will be able to comfort and help others. At the end of our time together there was great conversations and revelations about suffering, how does healing begin, grieving, lamenting, and taking the pains of our hearts to the Lord, and finally forgiveness. Please pray for the attendees that God would continue to reveal to them His meaning of forgiveness. In many African cultures, the true purpose of granting and asking for forgiveness has been twisted and distorted into an obligation, expectation, and a way to avoid consequences of actions. At the end, it was a blessing to hear how God used our time together to bring awareness, correct false teachings, bring healing and freedom.
Testimonies from Bahir Dar
Please continue to pray for the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts and lives of these beautiful people. Pray also for how God would use the healing, freedom and fresh understanding of truth in their families, church, friendships, and community.
Again with permission from Sharon, here is her perspective on missionary care. "Following the training, we had the privilege of sharing a couple of meals and fun outings with the Ireland’s and their co-laborers in ministry. These were important moments of caring for the caregiver. The needs and demands of ministry do not fit into an 8-5 schedule. I understand well how hard it can be to make sure you are taking care of yourself in the face of continuous ministry demands. We took time to sit and listen, to hear their struggles and joys in daily life and ministry. This downtime revealed to me the love they have for the people and country. It gave them great pleasure to share with us the beauty of the Bahir Dar area, through a boat ride on the Blue Nile to an Orthodox monastery. Later a day outing to the spectacular waterfalls of the Blue Nile. It was a rigorous hike to see the power of God’s creation. During the hour hike to and from conversations were had, laughter shared, and I was able to see a more carefree side of them." I asked Sharon permission to share as I felt it may be helpful to hear about missionary care from another point of view instead of just mine.
The rest of our time in Ethiopia was spent in Addis. Ethiopia operates on a different calendar so we had the honor in joining in on a celebratory New Years Day Lunch with friends. We were able to spend time with several of the missionaries in the city as well as touch base with a few who participated in the Initial Equipping we held earlier this year. One of the challenges we faced in Addis was multiple protesting that was occurring, which limited our time out. Please continue to pray for peace and unity For Ethiopia.
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Misty Bodkins has a Master's degree in clinical psychology. She has worked both stateside and internationally doing counseling, training, teaching, and research. Her passion is working with people who are in crisis.