“See, I am doing a new thing…” Isaiah 43:19
“As long time missionaries, we immediately gravitated to David and Joyce’s willingness to share together in person and on Skype as we struggled with concerns we had about our ministry. We came away enriched, enlightened and affirmed in our time together. When we first started out as new missionaries there was nothing like this available, and I think we suffered without it. We can’t say enough how important the ministry of Spiritual Care is to those of us who sometimes feel like “empty vessels” in our world of need.”
Steve and Nancy James, Global Servants to Haiti, 36 years with IM
THE NEED FOR SPIRITUAL CARE
We served for 16 years in Southern Baja, Mexico. During those years we began to understand the need for the spiritual care of global servants. Isolation, loneliness, exhaustion, and cross cultural fatigue are constant companions in cross cultural mission. After twenty years with IM, Dwight Bolick, Regional Consultant to Iberoamerica and the Caribbean said:
“Many could look at the life of a missionary, especially after reading their newsletter or hearing them speak, and think they’re spiritual giants going from victory to victory. They’d never guess that they may be barely hanging on. Whether a missionary enjoys success or failures, acceptance or rejection, in a cross-cultural mission context, sooner or later they will find themselves in a wilderness, either thrust upon them or one of their own making. That’s just the nature of living and working cross-culturally.”
GLOBAL COORDINATORS OF SPIRITUAL CARE
In August of 2019, we celebrated 20 years as IM missionaries. This anniversary came and went quietly, but it represented so much of our life’s work! Two weeks later we officially stepped into a new mission calling with International Ministries as Global Coordinators of Spiritual Care. It is a new missionary role for IM. For us, it is an authentic expression of God’s work in us over the past 10 years. It whispers deeply of God’s dwelling in us and purpose for us. It’s Jesus life incarnation. It’s like waking up, eyes opening, breathing deeply and feeling alive! It is a sacred “yes” to God’s invitation.
For the past year, we worked with a small group from the IM board exploring the facets of spiritual care for missionaries. This committee developed a model for Soul Care, Self-Care, and Community Care for IM missionaries. We are beginning to implement the model and weave it into life for our colleagues and the IM global servants you know.
WHAT ARE WE DOING NOW?
Our intent is to assist our colleagues to . . .
Slow down and listen to God.
Build spiritual and self-care practices for healthy, long term cross cultural service.
Develop safe and trusting community in answer to the isolation and loneliness.
WE ARE MISSIONARIES TO MISSIONARIES.
A needed and welcomed spiritual care role.
J.D. Reed, global servant to Bolivia shared: “As a pastor for 15 years before being a global servant with IM, I know too well how easy it can be to get so busy doing the work that you forget to take care of yourself and your own spiritual health. That is doubly hard for those serving in another country. I am so thankful that IM doesn’t just ‘put us to work,’ but that they provide care-givers to make sure we know we are loved and supported as we seek to do God’s work around the world.”
We are excited and thankful that God has expanded our ministry to walk beside spiritual leaders around the world! Thank you for your constant support and for being part of this new mission to care for IM’s global servants.
U.S. ASSIGNMENT AND INCREASING SUPPORT
In August 2019, we began our year of U.S. assignment which is a time intentionally set aside to reconnect with donors and supporting churches. This past fall, David spoke in churches in PA, KS, CO, and WA as we seek to increase our donor base. We covet your prayers as we are undergirding our financial support. We hope to reach 90% by next summer. If you would like us to speak at your church in 2020, then please email us at email@example.com. Thank you for praying about this with us. Many of you have been supporting us our entire 20 years with IM! Your faithful presence sustains us body, mind, and soul.
PRECIOUS FAMILY NEWS
On November 29, 2019, while we were leading a spiritual retreat in Rome for global servants who serve in the Middle East and Europe, we received the news of the birth of our first grandchild, a girl, Luthien Joy! She was born to our son Aaron and his wife Madeleine. She is named after an elven princess in J.R.R.Tolkien’s Silmarillion. Already, she lights up our lives.
Grace and Peace,
David and Joyce
Global Coordinators of Spiritual Care
 Many mission agencies are now using the term Global Servant or Global Worker to replace the word “missionary” as the latter term often has negative connotations of imperialism and paternalism. The term missionary may also place individuals at risk depending where they serve.