We are All in This Boat Together
We finally arrived after a grueling summer of ministry and numerous modes of transportation to our long awaited field assignment in a far flung corner of the world. The initial team reception was heartwarming and encouraging until the stark realities of glaring problems and personal issues threatened to tear our team and young church plant apart. The temptation to throw in the towel and leave them all behind like an unwanted nightmare was enormous. This was not the team we had signed up for!
Or was it? Had God in His love and infinite wisdom handpicked those who would labor alongside us? Had He known who would trigger our issues so hidden things could be dealt with and healed? Man, this was harder than we imagined! What seemed impossible at first became possible when we daily sought the Lord together for His heart and plans. We listened for Heaven's strategies declaring them in the earth and watched as God changed our hearts for one another. The team began to truly care for one another.
Each member of our team was vital to the success of our mission, and we had to learn to pull together through real transparent relationship, loving conflict resolution, and practicing true love for one another by looking for the gold instead of the dirt in each other's lives. When we learned to honor one another and truly listen our team became a powerhouse pulling together around dangerous shoals of strife, misunderstanding and false accusation. We became a cohesive force to be reckoned with, and, in doing so, the kingdom of God advanced and the kingdom of darkness lost souls and significant ground. If we had succumbed to the temptation to run from the difficulties and challenges our team presented we would have missed a God-given opportunity to grow individually and corporately. Instead, we became more than a team, we became family!
This issue is focused on what Member Care experts call Team Care or Mutual Care. Mutual Care means that missionaries on the field consider themselves their "brother's keepers" and therefore seek ways to mutually encourage, befriend, and edify their fellow teammates. Sending churches and agencies are often thousands of miles away and far removed from the daily struggles of life on the field. Therefore, loving care intentionally given to one another can mean all the difference in individual missionary adjustment, happiness, longevity and team cohesiveness. Mutual Care is vital on whatever mission field you find yourself today, because you are all in the same boat together.
Kathie Barousse - Member Care