shepherd-sheep-12-585x365Our fi rst conversation over a cup of tea on our fi rst pastoral visit into this grey cold city with one of our missionaries went like this: "I have a problem with anger." It all poured out, marital tension fi lling the apartment. Within two weeks they returned to their sending country and separated...

...Same city, another trip, a cross-cultural marriage, children under school age, a multi-story apartment, no lift. "We have serious rows. She quite often throws plates and threatens to leave me." And yet they're clearly committed to each other and to the work of God in their lives and to their eff ective, growing and strategic ministry to an oppressed minority group...

...Same city, a skype call after a pastoral care visit and conversations at conference. "I've relapsed into watching porn on the net. I've told her. She's sticking with me, but she's really hurting. I want to be accountable to you"...

...Another much more pleasant city. An experienced medical missionary. An email. "I think it might be typhoid, or maybe just dengue. Can I stay with you while I have check-ups in Chiang Mai?"...

...Same city. "Our little boy is sick again. Please pray for him." The wee guy often seems to be sick. Why? Pollution? Wrong
kind of food? Not enough food? They're not well-supported fi nancially...

None of these dear missionary people, our people, whose pastoral care the Lord has placed into our hands, is from our Kiwi culture. They serve in a tough country, full of uncertainty, sometimes harassed, "the police literally know what we eat for breakfast from their informants in the market." Their health and the health of their children are constantly at risk from pollution. Medical services are poor, the education system and all bureaucracies are rampant with corruption.

...She's a six year old, the only white face in her huge school, trying hard to fi t in and do well, her parents concerned but so proud of her. "She's doing her best. The main thing she doesn't like is the little fat boy sitting next to her in class who tries to kiss her all the time" ...

...They're a young couple, newly married from India, located in one of the coldest cities in the world. "Our Friday night club for studying the 'Book' is going really well but some of them don't know anything about God or the 'Book' or spiritual issues. Can you suggest any 'Book' studies we could get in this country?"...

...They are one of two white-faced families in their whole city. Right out on the far edge of the 'empire', where all the locals
are from a hostile religion and there's no possibility of publicly sharing the good news. My neighbour asked me, "Why doesn't your husband beat you and go with other women?" I was able to talk to her about Christian values. And please pray for our friend who now believes and is 'going swimming' this week. There is joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner who repents. Praise the Lord that in this spiritually, politically, culturally, educationally, medically, environmentally, tough, tough location faithful missionary servants of God are shining the light of the gospel into seeking hearts and seeing many respond in faith, 'go swimming,' and start walking.

Do missionaries need pastoral care? You bet they do. And we're privileged to help our good people fi nd their sustaining, renewing, resource in Jesus. When you pray for missionaries just pray as you do for your own family, friends and church members. And pray that God will send out more to join them. You perhaps?

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