Tuesday 28 September 2010

MC History: 40 Years-40 Quotes (Introduction)

Getting Ready
Over the next several weeks we want to meander through the past four decades of member care history. We have a remarkable foundation of solid thinking, articles, and practice for our interdisciplinary and international field. Let’s explore it!

There will be 40 quotes. We start in 1970 with a citation from the landmark article by Joseph Stringham, “The Mental Health of Missionaries.” We will conclude with an excerpt from a 2009 article on staying healthy in diffiuclt places. It is our sincere hope that these selections can collectively help us better understand and provide member care as we launch us into the next decade of the 21st century.

Want a head start? Then in addition to the forthcoming 40 years of quotes, have a look at the Memory Lane section of the Member Caravan web site. Enjoy!

Background and Reflections
What was happening for you in 1986-1987? Where did you live, what were you doing, and how were you preparing for or connecting with member care? Or…were you even alive yet?

I was teaching psychology then at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles California. Michele was teaching a developmental psychology course at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California and working at Camarillo State Hospital as a child psychologist. Even though we loved our positions (and for me above all the students), we decided to move to Europe and work in mission full-time as psychologists. So we paid off our university loans, raised donor support, and somehow managed to bypass a very appealing offer to work as psychologists for the National Health Service in the UK. We ended up arriving in January 1988 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, working on staff at one of the two international headquarters for Youth With A Mission.

In preparation for the upcoming move, I assembled every article I could find that was somehow related to “mental health and missions.” Much of my free time was spent in libraries looking over journals, magazines, books and dissertations, searching for materials that could help orient us to our upcoming work with mission personnel. I photocopied and photocopied, dropping nickel after nickel into the mouths of huge metallic machines, not wanting to miss out on one important piece from my colleagues who were helping to lead the way in missionary care.

I placed these materials in three large loose ringed folders. If you ever visit our home in France we can take you to our library and show you these thick, bulging folders. They are total keepsakes! It was from these folders that many of the 50 articles were chosen for our first edited book, Helping Missionaries Grow (1988). Most of the articles in these folders seem to be forgotten and seldom referenced. At some point it would be helpful to make note of them and do a short one paragraph summary of each article.

Many of these materials are listed in the Bibliography at the end of Helping Missionaries Grow (available on the Member Caravan web site: https://sites.google.com/site/membercaravan/test/helping-ms-grow-book). In addition see the extensive, annotated list of articles and books related to member care at the database section of the Missionary Care web site--http://www.missionarycare.com/)

Anyway, I was delighted to pull out these three notebooks again recently and have a look. I have also scanned through our files and bookshelves to uncover some real gems over the past 40 years. There are so many additional quotes that can be included of course from so many incredible colleagues. So really, these 40 entries are only just a sampler.

What an amazing group of people
who have influenced the member care field.

Enjoy the video.

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