Tuesday 19 October 2010

MC History: 40 Years-40 Quotes (1990s)

The 1990s

The 1990’s saw member care increasingly developed and appreciated throughout the mission world. The term “member care” began to be widely used to describe this emerging field, replete with its growing body of research, practitioners, materials, models, concepts. Many noteworthy books related to the broadening field of member care were written by authors from diverse backgrounds, including pastors psychologists, trainers, mission leaders, and physicians. Most however were still being written by people from the Newer Sending Countries.

In addition to the books quoted below, some of these books include: Serving as Senders (1991), Naturally Gifted (1991), Missionary Care (1992), Too Soon to Quit (1994), On Being a Missionary (1995), Raising Resilient MKs (1998), Thriving in Another Culture (1998), Building Credible Multicultural Teams (1998), and The TCK Experience (1999). Also noteworthy are the continuing stream of member care-related articles in Evangelical Missions Quarterly, the special issue on member care in the International Journal of Frontier Missions (October 1995), and the special issues on psychology and missions in the Journal of Psychology and Theology (1993, 1999).

The member care field went international and step by leap began to shift from being a field dominated by the Older Sending Countries. People from many regions were intentionally connecting to discuss issues and share resources regarding staff care, ranging from family adjustment to crisis care to team development to physical health to interpersonal skills/conflict management to organizational development to leadership training etc. Three key illustrations of member care’s international growth are: a) the number of member care consultations that occurred, held in regions such as the Middle East and North Africa (early 1990s), Europe, Latin America, and Central Asia (later 1990s) as well as many individual nations; b) the massive international study on mission workers undertaken by the World Evangelical Fellowship and published in the 1997 book, Too Valuable to Lose; and c) the birth of the Global Member Care Task Force in 1998 which would quickly develop into an international network of member care leaders/resources (MemCa).

Parallel to the growth of the member care movement in the mission community was the development of the human resource emphasis in the humanitarian sector. Three noteworthy examples among dozens are: a) the establishment of the Psychosocial Support Programme by the International Federation of the Red Cross (Denmark in the early 1990s) with its focus on staff (delegates) as well as survivors of conflicts/calamities; b) the 1997 launch of People in Aid’s Code of Good Practice for the Management and Support of Aid Personnel; and c) the ongoing influence of special types of resources such as those in travel medicine (e.g., health screening, briefings, check-ups) and in crisis/trauma care (e.g., training courses in debriefing).

Member care thus continued to travel deeply into the core of mission/aid as it continued to travel broadly around the world. The next major step –heading into the 2000s—would be for member care as a practice to become increasingly contextualized by sending groups/workers in different countries and organizations and as a field to become further organized, visible, and inclusive.
1990: Jo Anne Dennett
Personal Growth and Encouragement for Every Missionary
Those [previous four] years had been difficult, and devastating to my self-esteem and confidence. I had been the lone doctor, responsible for building and operating a mission hospital. It was in an isolated desert area…[The people there] grudgingly condescended to accept our Western medical care, but were very hostile toward the gospel, and youths often stoned our ambulance. The two nurses and I were constantly referred t o as “prostitutes” because we were unmarried, and all Christians were contemptuously called “deceivers.” Being continually denigrated is demoralizing even though we were not expecting anyone to throw bouquets…Memories of the first-term clamoured through my mind—trials in the medical work, personal failures, conflicts with others. At the mission headquarters, I looked forward to sharing my inner turmoil with someone who could understand and help. Sadly, during the first few days of tending to office matters, no one expressed any real concern about how I had coped on the field. The attitude seemed to be, and still prevails, that if you survived you must be alright. My inner conflicts f=remained unresolved throughout that furlough. This incident was not the only time in my thirteen years of service that I was in great need of personal encouragement and counseling. (p. 8).

1991: James Beck
Missions and Mental Health: A Lesson from History
Paper presented at the 12th Annual Mental Health and Missions Conference; expanded in the author’s book: Dorothy Carey: The Tragic and Untold Story of Mrs.William Carey, 1992; published also in the Journal of Psychology and Theology volume 21, pages 9-17, 1993)
The life of Dorothy Placket Carey comes to us through the pages of history as a sad chapter in the chronicles of modern missions. Her sacrifice of sanity, however, could lose all potential value to us if we fail to see her story as more than just a tragic biography. Her story is also very true, painfully true. In her train have come many others who have suffered from the ravages of mental illness while serving in the modern missionary movement. We have an obligation to learn from lives such as Dorothy Carey’s and thereby to reap some of the benefits that can emerge from the costly sacrifice that she made. She would not wish us to merely pity her. Perhaps she would want instead that we benefit from the example of her life so as to help others. (p. 1)

1992: Ruth Tucker and Leslie Andrews
Historical Notes on Missionary Care
Missionary Care: Counting the Cost for World Evangelization (pp. 24-36)
Mission societies held high the ideal of sacrifice. Strong faith in God, it was reasoned, was the prescription for a healthy mind and spirit…self-reliance was the mark of a missionary—tempered only by dependence on God through prayer. (p. 24)

1993: Greg Livingstone
Planting Churches…A Team Approach
Finally a successful church planting team is a group that is composed of people who are confident in their convictions to the point that they do not need others to conform to them in order to feel secure Thus, although it is important that they have substantial agreement in their theological stances, the team members need to be able to easily discus everything from formulas of sanctification to ecclesiology and contextualization in a non-censorious environment. …The team leader must have an understanding of the big picture and be prepared to tolerate ambiguity and inconsistency even steps backward, in order to assist the team to persevere without schism, in keeping with the goal or producing a congregation that will have the same kind of resiliency….All missionaries, like all other Christians everywhere, have blind spots, that is, areas where we do not recognize sin, selfishness, self-centeredness, or neurotic addictive behaviour and how it affects our colleagues. (pp. 114-115)

1994: Christine Aroney-Sine
Survival of the Fittest: Keeping Yourself Healthy in Travel and Service Overseas
In the early 1980s I worked briefly in the refugee camps in Thailand. The dirt and disease that surrounded me made my heart ache, and the pain and suffering of the refugees often made me ignore the health regulations I knew to be essential to my own good health. Water was scarce, so it was easy to rationalize my failure to wash my hands. Patients often relieved themselves on the dirt floor, and we had to ignore the smells and pollution. Inevitably I succumbed to the dreaded shigella dysentery that affected many in our team. For three days I battled high fever, severe diarrhea, and vomiting….How I longed for the convenience of a modern bathroom and a flush toilet. To me, in my dehydrated, befuddled state, that would have been paradise. This remains in my mind as one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life. (p. 15).

1995: Jeffrey Ellis
Stephanas: A New Testament Prototype of Member Care
International Journal of Frontier Missions, Volume 12 (pp. 171-175)
Call it member care, pastoral care, coaching, mental health and missions, personnel management, or simply missionary development; but regardless of its name, the Apostle Paul found himself on the receiving end of an innovative ministry, initiated by believers young in their faith but mature in their vision. In acting out their commitment to the Lord, they found themselves compelled to support Paul—a man on the frontiers of mission work—making him a more effective vessel for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. A closer look at I Corinthians 16: 15-18 will help us in understanding this first century example of member care in the frontiers and its implications for the modern missions community….There [in Ephesus] during his final missionary journey, Paul became the [beneficiary] of what we now call member care. It is heartening to read Paul’s response, “I rejoiced at their arrival for they refreshed my spirit.” Such “spirit refreshing” ought not to become a lost art. It is as needed today on the frontiers, as much as it was nearly 2000 years ago. Considering the demands and complexities of modern mission to the frontiers, it is needed more so today! (pp. 171, 174)

1996: Larry Ferguson
Individual and Family Interventions: Brief Therapy on the Field
Presentation at the 17th Annual Mental Health and Missions Conference
In 1986 the Link Care Center granted me a special assignment to serve in the Philippines as a missionary with Conservative Baptist International as a psychologist working with missionaries and families….Thus, from 1986 to 1991 my work covered a tremendous range of issues. Let me just identify that range: MK issues; family issues; marital concerns; spiritual problems (crises of faith); trauma and crises (robberies, hostage aftermath); personal problems (depression, bipolar disturbances, anxiety, eating disorders); organizational problems…. Since 1991, regular scheduled short trips of one month each have occurred to the Philippines and Saipan. These have taken place once or twice a year. The purpose of these trips is for maintenance of the family units and to serve as an “outside expert”, which allows people to talk about mission concerns with someone outside their agency. Building of relationships, exposure to the stressors that the families face in their setting ,familiarity with the work and living areas, and offering assistance when needed have allowed for serious questions to be asked. Sometimes unscheduled trips are needed when an emergency has arisen. We have learned that we are not able to deal with every problem, not to work with everybody. Cultural issues are at play even among expatriates, especially when they include everyone from Americans, Canadians, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, German, New Zealanders, and Australians.

1997: Belinda Ng.
Some Reflections on Pastoral Care: Perspective of the New Sending Countries
Too Valuable to Lose (pp. 277-286)
Before we embark on thinking about the caring tasks, we need to consider some misconceptions and views about missionaries and their work that exist in the Asian church today….The first misconception realities to who the “real” missionaries are. Many churches in Asia still consider only church planting ,evangelism, and training as the frontline ministries in which to be involved. Support ministries are low in rank….Too often, Christians do not understand why missionaries on home assignment need support or even a furlough….Missions takes more than missionaries an finances, but the value of partnership between churches and agencies has yet to be recognized to a great degree. A large number of churches still lack a vision for cross-cultural missions. These churches are often involved only in local ministries and in reaching their own ethnic people….Missions success depends critically on logistic support from the base….Missionary wives who leave career, home, an country for missionary service need all forms of affirmation and encouragement from the sending church. (pp 278-279)

1998: Pramila Rajendran
Mum, The Great Influencer
Indian Journal of Missiology: Care for the Missionary Family (special issue), Volume 3, Number 1 (pp.33-36)
One of the mother’s greatest assets is her power to influence her children. She has a unique way of leaving the impression of her character and words up in every life she touches….Godly grand-mothers can also exert great influence on their grandchildren. Timothy’s faith was outstanding due to the influence of his mother and grandmother. ..The goal of a Christian mother is to see that her children are guided to self-sustaining maturity in Christ Jesus….It may take a lifetime for her to see the results of her influence, but she will see it…may Christian mothers be a blessing to the nation and a witness for Christ. (pp. 33, 35, 36)

1999: M. Elizabeth Hall Lewis and Judith L. Schram
Psychology and Missions: The Role of the Mental Health Professional in Member Care
Journal of Psychology and Theology, Volume 27, (pp. 83-86), special issue on Psychology and Missions
...over the past 20 years, psychology and the behavioral sciences have been able to move away from a defensive role as the contributions of mental health professionals to the missions movement have become clearer....The pioneering efforts of many professionals have provided a foundation for the current trends in mental health and missions. Three such trends will be discussed: a trend toward networking and partnering, a focus on prevention, and a mobilizing of resources for crisis intervention....Mental health professionals have had a major impact on the field of missions and are attempting to mobilize their resources toward current missionary needs. However, certain important gaps remain to be filled. Although many could be mentioned and explored (e.g., the need to develop long-term member care team on the field, the need for cross-cultural applications for mental health resources, the need to focus on the internationalization of member care) we will focus on three of these: the need for more sophisticated ethical standards, the need for further research, and the need to expand the role of mental health professionals in missions beyond member care. We hope that [the readings in this special journal issue] will be a source of inspiration to mental health professionals contemplating involvement in this area and a valuable resource to those already in the trenches. (pp. 84, 85, 86) 
What a very special time it was for connecting together
and exchanging key principles of member care around the globe.

Enjoy the video.

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