June 21, 2024
Resilience, Hardship, Gospel

Does the spread of the gospel require a time of peace?

Many of our readers know that my wife and I were missionaries based in Ukraine until shortly before the war broke out in that country. In another post, I have written about how I realized that we were in fact refugees. Since then, I have been praying daily for the war to end and for the restoration of peace in this country. Although a few expatriate missionaries remain in the country, most like us, have returned to their home countries or relocated to another country, often to work with Ukrainian refugees. We think it would be better for the work of missions if the country was free from the suffering, destruction and loss of life that war brings. If the war would only end, we could once more focus on the work of the kingdom. Before the war, my mission organization focused on equipping and sending Ukrainians out as cross-cultural… Read the whole post
Cross-Cultural Living, Hardship, Resilience

I am a refugee: reflections of a missionary leaving Ukraine

I am a missionary who is also a war refugee. I came to that realization a couple of days ago. My wife and I are Canadian citizens but residents of Ukraine. Or at least we were until about a month ago. We have our Ukraine temporary residency cards, recently renewed. Our home for the past 12 and a half years has been in the city of Kyiv. This has been the longest we have lived in any country or in any home since we got married and left for the Philippines almost 35 years ago. Now we are “back” in Canada. Because of the current war in Ukraine, we do not know for how long. In the past week, I have experienced many different and sometimes conflicting emotions. I am thankful to God that we were given sufficient warning and were able to leave Ukraine before the fighting began. But… Read the whole post
Character, Hardship, Resilience

Suffering: God’s method of developing resilience

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Missionary resilience For several months now, I have been thinking about this topic of resilience in cross-cultural workers. I admit that I have been somewhat troubled by what the Scriptures tell me about God’s method of using suffering to develop resilience. As I have said in previous posts on this topic, the Scriptures do not use the word “resilience”. But the word “perseverance”1 in the Greek, “hupomone” is found repeatedly in Holy Writ. It seems to capture the idea of resilience. So what do I find troubling in Scripture? In my thinking, the logical way to strengthen a missionary’s resilience is to: provide them with good training to prepare them for hard timesensure that they have excellent member care when they go through hard times. From a human perspective, I struggle to see how suffering in any way contributes to… Read the whole post
Prayer, God, Character, Hardship, Spiritual Formation, Theology

Exploring Spiritual Formation: Grief – Part 2

This is the second of two posts that explore the subject of grief in the life of a believer. Part 1 presented the hallmarks and pitfalls of grief, along with a biblical perspective of grief. This month, in Part 2, the post will present ways we can prepare ourselves for, and respond to, grief.  Pandemic Grief I am an introvert. Actually, I’m a flaming introvert. Which means that, though I love people and find them interesting, I really, really, like to be alone. Fortunately, I married an introvert. And though we love being together, we’re also adept at making space for one another. Thus, you can imagine my surprise when I noticed myself suffering from loneliness during the COVID-19 lockdown and subsequent work-from-home state of affairs—a situation I thought was made for introverts. After some introspection, I realized I was missing my co-workers. Though we’ve seen each other over the… Read the whole post
Hardship, Spiritual Formation

Exploring Spiritual Formation: Grief – Part 1

This is the first of two posts that explore the subject of grief in the life of a believer. Part 1 presents the hallmarks and pitfalls of grief, along with a biblical perspective of grief. Next month, in Part 2, the post will present ways we can prepare ourselves for, and respond to, grief. Loss and Grief It’s a stunning number: over one million deaths worldwide due to COVID-19 in 2020—with untold millions grieving the unexpected loss of a loved one. Though loss of life is surely one of the most severe causes of grief, COVID-19 has fostered other losses, such as the loss of jobs, travel, meetings, conferences, businesses, relationships, human connections, gatherings of all kinds, ministry opportunities, and milestone celebrations. Add to this the loss of normalcy, sense of general well-being, and rampant uncertainly about the future, and we have the makings of a pandemic of grief.… Read the whole post
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