The busiest project with the least news.
The project you hear about (and in fact will hear) the least is the retreat for Christian development workers and missionaries.
That project also seemed to come to a complete standstill when “the blue house” was filled with refugees from Ukraine. But…. Because we now have our own building with room for guests, the project is definitely up and running!
Yes, in a different place, slightly different setting, but it is running. And full speed!
There is only one problem… we can write little or nothing about it…. Yes, we have guests, yes, we have conversations, yes we are quite busy with it, and it costs serious money to run it the way we do it… But writing about it is (sadly) complicated.
The mission world is not that big, everyone knows everyone, and the conversations we have with the missionaries are private. The subjects are often sensitive, and that they have taken the step to come here has often been quite a complicated step. And what we don’t want, is to betray their trust by putting their story online and that they can then be asked difficult questions (via a detour).
And that’s actually very sad. Christian development workers and missionaries are also people like you and me. And run into the same (mental) problems. Even more so because they “stick their head out”, move to other countries, work with volunteers which is really different from a tight commercial environment and the spiritual warfare is real.
But just like in the “normal” world, talking about problems is often a problem in itself. There seems to be a kind of shame about psychological issues.
This week we spoke to someone who had lost a good friend to suicide… nobody noticed and to this day, they don’t understand why… He never talked about it… not a word. And it seemed to be going so well… and now he’s gone…. Leaving wife and child.
And this is no different among the target group of missionaries and Christian development workers. Even worse… it’s even harder… because you left with God, didn’t you? For a good cause? You live in a beautiful country, don’t you? It’s a nice project, isn’t it? If you already find it difficult to talk about your mental health problems, those kinds of thoughts or even comments from others don’t make it any easier. On the contrary. The fact that these organizations often run on volunteers who do not necessarily employ a professional for these kinds of issues does not make it any easier either. Yes, there is always someone you can talk to, but it’s not always professionals… We often come across sad stories where the advice was well intended, but far from good / professional. With all the damage that entails… Dramas….
And if they already contact us, that’s often a big step for them. One, that we treat with a lot of respect, and so we can write little (or nothing) about it. But that the project is running. That’s for sure. A project in which we can use the financial support, but especially prayer and a phone call, email, app or card “how are you, we are thinking of you”.
And if you’re reading this and are thinking… “I’m actually not doing well either… and I’d love to talk about it, but how do I start and what do I say?” Give us a call… send us an email. We want to be there for you, whoever you are, however you got to where you are. You’re more than welcome.