Saturday 9 October 2010

MC History: 40 Years-40 Quotes (1980s)

The 1980s

We head now into the 1980s. There was much excitement and anticipation that something new and important was happening. People were doing things on their own yet also coming together intentionally and finding ways to contribute in practical ways to support mission personnel. Much of this was developing in the USA and in a mental health-professional context. Missionary kids and their education/families was a topic of particular emphasis. Some of the key publications included: the special issues on mission and mental health in the Journal of Psychology and Theology (1983, 1987) and the Journal of Psychology and Christianity (1983); the books Cross-Cultural Reentry (1986), Honourably Wounded (1987), and Helping Missionaries Grow (1988); and the compendiums of the first and second ICMK Conferences held in Manila (1984) and Quito (1986).

As a doctoral student in psychology and then later as a young psychologist, I remember attending six key events during this decade: the first of two conferences on Psychological Resources for Frontier Missions (1981); the fourth, sixth, and seventh Mental Health and Missions Conferences (1983, 1986, 1987); and the Member Care and Personnel Development Workshop at Missionary Internship (1988). This particular event introduced me further to the importance of a growth and developmental approach to supporting mission workers as well as to the term “member care.” The sixth event I attended took place in Nairobi, Kenya, at the United Nations Center—the Third International Conference on Missionary Kids (1989).

One major influence on me, shaping how I would link together my training in psychology and experiences in mission, was the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course that I took in 1981 at the US Center for World Mission. My worldview shifted as did my paradigm for mission an humanitarian work, pointing me clearly in the direction of wanting to provide and develop resources on behalf of mission/aid workers among unreached people groups.

When I think of the incredible decade of the 1980s and member care, I think of things like:
Increased visibility
Increased influence
Increased acceptance
Building credibility
Building foundations
Building competencies
Coming of age
Coming together
Coming front and center
in the mission world.
1980: Betty Jo Kenny
What it Takes to have Good Relations with Your Children
Evangelical Missions Quarterly. Volume 16, (pp. 97-1-102)
Because multiple roles demand our time as missionaries, it is imperative that we give proper attention to our role as a family person. It is a role we live from birth to death, yet it can still be a “walk-through.” Family interests can be obscured by the star billing given our roles as pastor, nurse, doctor, translator, theologian, printer, typist, evangelist, administrator, builder, or student. Or simply by boredom. Or lack of care…. In missions today we are “assuming all roles t o all men, that we might by all means save some” (I Cor. 9:22). When we give proper emphasis to our role as a family person we will not neglect to also save our own children, for whom we are most responsible. (pp. 97, 101)

1981: Stan Sharksten and Marion Morehouse
Critical Factors in Missionary Selection and Placement.
Paper presented at the Second Mental Health and Missions. Angola, Indiana USA
…many missionary organizations have started an assessment program of new missionary candidates. These selection systems involved interviewing applicants, filling in various application forms, and finally, a process of testing and some period of time at a candidate school where their behavior is assessed. One such program has been developed at the Institute of Family Living in Toronto, and is being used by a variety or missionary organizations, both in Canada and the United States. Before this program was established, considerable time was spent looking at the critical factors which needed to be evaluated in the assessment and placement of the individual missionary…After considerable discussion and some perusal of the available literature, it was agreed to assess the missionary candidates on the basis of the following four criteria: a. personality, b. mental health, c. vocational interests, d. marriage and family. (pp. 1,2,5)

1982: Stanley Lindquist
Prediction of Success in Overseas Adjustment
Journal of Psychology and Christianity, Volume 1 (pp. 22-25)
In the secular field this loss figure [related to the early return of mission personnel] is also confirmed by the statistic (Tucker, 1982) that of all overseas employees (non-mission), 33 percent return within the first year …A second major conclusion that Tucker (1982) came to after reviewing 245 studies of prediction, was that none of the selection materials reported on demonstrated, through research, the capability to predict success in an overseas assignment. The battery of instruments for this purpose is yet to be developed….The following conclusions appear relevant. The most important factor that must be considered is preventing the psychological damage to the early returning missionary. Realistic, pre-field assessment and orientation can make the difference in many cases. A corollary to the above is adequate facilities and programs for restoration. We, at Link Care Center, are only scratching the surface, and our caseload is increasing monthly…The cost to develop instruments and provide such services would be a fraction of [the financial costs for the early return of missionaries.] (pp. 22,24,25)

1983: LeRoy Johnston
Building Relationships Between Mental Health Specialists and Mission Agencies
Paper presented at the Fourth Mental Health and Missions Conference, Angola, Indiana USA
Note-included in Helping Missionaries Grow (1988)
There is a new openness today between the mission agency and those working in the area of mental health. Although the crack in the door might not be as open as some mental health specialists would like, there is plenty of room for exchange between these groups as well as room to carry on some very important work. The opening in the door came approximately 30 years ago when psychological assessment was initiated in the screening process with missionary candidates. Although it took a few years for this psychological screening to be accepted, virtually every major mission board now utilizes some form of psychological screening, including psychological tests, in the process of selection. With the growth of counselling courses offered at the seminary campus and the availability o trained pastors and Christian psychologists, mission leaders have recognized the value of the mental health professional. Mission boards have indicated the willingness to use appropriately trained mental health specialists to counsel missionaries who are experiencing some form of emotional stress. Psychological depressions, psychotic episode, etc. …In most every case where a mental health professional is used by a mission board, the person possesses "secondary" credentials which make him acceptable. (p. 1)

1984: Marjory Foyle
Missionary Stress and What to Do About It
Evangelical Missions Quarterly, Volume 21, (pp. 32-43)
Missionary life often is stressful. Of course not all missionaries feel stressed all the time. Many have very few serious problems, and adjust to their new situation quite readily. Others, however, feel really stressed by pressures of a new climate, language learning, unusual illnesses, and separation from family members. However it must be emphasized that the positive gains of missionary life are enormous. Serving God in obedience to his command, and integrating with peoples of another culture are enlarging experiences. This explains why many missionaries at the end of their service affirm that they are glad they did it. They have no regrets for how they have spent their lives. (p. 32)

1985: Kevin Dyer
Crucial Factors in Building Good Teams
Evangelical Missions Quarterly, Volume 21, (pp. 254-258)
Note-included in Helping Missionaries Grow (1988)
For the past 25 years I have been involved with International Teams in sending groups of missionaries to Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America…..When we began back in the early 1960s, we just went to the field and began the work. It wasn’t long before we realized that if teams were going to be effective, they needed to be trained together before going to the field. Merely bringing people together and sending them to the field wasn’t enough. They needed time for in-depth preparation and interpersonal bonding. They came from all kinds of sub-cultures and religious backgrounds and minor preferences in personal tastes became magnified when living and working in the team situation. So training became the indispensable key to success for building and developing our teams. Since we began a six-month intensive training program, our casualty rate on the field has plummeted to four percent. Many missionary groups have suggested that if we would reduce the preparation time they would avail themselves of the opportunity for training with us. But we have found that six months is about the optimum time. (pp. 254,255)

1986: Frances White and Elaine Nesbit
Separation: Balancing the Gains and Losses
Evangelical Missions Quarterly, Volume 22, (pp. 392-401)
Handling conflicting emotions is a difficult task. Yet it is something we all face at one. me or another. As we progress through life we inevitably encounter change, separation, and loss. In fact, these three words can be used almost interchangeably. Change is separation from the past, loss occurs as a result of separation. There are two basic types of change/separation/loss. The first type is developmental, or that which occurs naturally and predictably. These are the physical and mental changes shared in common by most of mankind as we progress from infancy to old age. For example, going through puberty, getting married and raising a family, and encountering old age. All these changes involve gains and losses….The second type is more traumatic, for example, accidents, natural disasters, and unexpected deaths of friends or relatives. An unexpected missionary evacuation often results in separation from meaningful [relationships with] nationals, loss of personal belongings left behind, possibly changing languages, and facing new schedules and pressures. (pp. 393, 394)

1987: William Hunter and Marvin Mayers
Psychology and Missions: Reflections on Status and Need
Journal of Psychology and Theology, Volume 15, (pp. 269-273)
Note-included in Helping Missionaries Grow (1988)
There may be few aspects of integration of greater practical value than that of psychology and missions. In both endeavours the human person is at the forefront of thinking and action….There is nothing to suggest that Christian psychologists and other professional helpers are exempt from cross-cultural responsibility in missions to persons for whom Christ died. The history of missions throughout the centuries suggests that each era has determined how learning and scholarship would serve adjunctive and supportive functions in Gospel proclamation. For example, both medicine and education have played important roles in mission strategy and practice for many decades. …it should be no surprise that a number of misconceptions and unfortunate practices have caused the Christian public (even more specifically, the more conservative element) to question the value and contributions of Christian behavioral scientists. … The involvement of psychology in missions is not altogether new. Daring and creative pioneers in the late 1920s began to use psychological and psychiatric services in the process of selecting missionaries for overseas service (Hunter, 1965). Those initial ventures were harbingers of what has been a slow but growing use of psychological services by missionary agencies (Johnson and Penner, 1981) and continuing efforts to create effective working relationships between mental health professionals and mission agencies (Johnston, 1983). (pp. 269, 270, 271)

1988: Kelly O'Donnell
A Preliminary Study of Psychologists in Missions
This study is an initial attempt to identify important factors which are needed to effectively work in missions as a psychologist. …Important preparation experiences included working on the mission field, receiving formal study in psychology, and having background counselling experience. Overall, the five most useful components suggested for training were overseas mission involvement, an academic background in psychology, training in missiology and anthropology, general cross-cultural experience, and supervision and/or an internship experience in mental health and missions. (p. 118)

1989: Ted Ward
The MKs Advantage: Three Cultural Contexts
Understanding and Nurturing the Missionary Family: Compendium of the International Conference on Missionary Kids, Quito, Ecuador, 1987, Volume I, (pp. 49-61)
Growing up overseas represents at least three kinds of head start: First of all..the intercultural experience carries with the kind of flexibility...that allows well-balanced young people to get a head start on coping with interpersonal relations...the overseas experience provide a concrete awareness of what the world is really like....There is an absolutely overwhelming trend toward toward an increased demand for internationally experienced young people to go into international careers, if they have broken the language barrier. International experience and multilingual capability are more valuable than degrees in today's marketplace....Growing up leaves scars..Life is like that. However we are after something far more significant than the reduction of scars. We're after the power in life that comes from disciplined resourcefulness. I will give you three to one [odds] any time on a missionary kid over anybody else in terms of disciplined resourcefulness. ...Another of the great positives we're after is culture learning skills themselves--the capacity to learn culture.....The beauty of growing up overseas is that ht ere is a third culture context that can come into clarity, and is actually looking forward into what I see as twenty-first century Christianity.(pp. 49, 50, 51, 57)
 What an amazing group of folks
who openly discussed issues and resources for mission workers
and helped to bring crucial matters into the core of missions.
Front and Center!

Enjoy the video.

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