Honourably Wounded (Stress Among Christian Workers)

by Marjory F. Foyle

Someone has facetiously stated, "Christians are the only people who shoot their wounded." Marjory Foyle has given us an alternative to "shooting" Christian workers who are "wounded" in the course of their labors. The author holds qualifications as missionary, physician, and psychiatrist. She defines a missionary as one who serves long-term or short-term to expand the ministry of Christ.

It is a mistake to think of a missionary as essentially different from other Christians. He or she experiences physical, mental, and emotional problems common to all of us. Serving as a missionary sometimes exacerbates these problems. The church needs to be ready to support our missionaries who are experiencing these temptations.

What are some of these problems that missionaries face? A few are: culture shock in a new environment, language study, occupational stress, financial needs, childcare problems, spousal conflict (sexual and emotional), conflict with colleagues, and homosexuality.

Churches and mission societies need a professionally trained staff to carefully screen and select missionaries. Support personnel should be available at home and on the mission field to train and prepare missionaries for the challenges they will face. Finally, the mission society must provide the resources necessary to solve the missionary's problems before they overwhelm him.