Battle Wounds

Battles hard-fought on the front lines of spiritual warfare sometimes leave their mark on the body and soul. In the middle of a war, you don’t take a soldier out and send him home when he’s been injured without first assessing the damage. Sometimes just removing the soldier from the front lines, giving them some much needed R&R, and focused care is enough to heal the damage done. Then, they can be sent back to finish the job they came to do.

But too often when it comes to ministry, we take those wounded soldiers who’ve given every ounce of their strength to the fight, and ship them home at the first signs of injury. There, they often feel like they let people down, and they struggle to let go of the guilt and despair they feel as they watch their fellow soldiers struggle on in the fight without them. They become the walking wounded among us, and not only do they suffer, the work they left behind often crumbles without someone to continue it.

The answer to every struggle in the field of missions isn’t, “Maybe it’s time to come home.” As a matter of fact, we are weakening the ministry of God, as well as those who minister, when we encourage families to give up too quickly and abandon the work God has begun in them. We can do better than that, church. Much better. Instead, let us surround them with love, and the resources they need to heal. Let’s reassure them that we are on their side, that we want them to be healthy, and strong, and continue running the race God laid out for them to run.

Some time away from the front lines, a little R&R, and an invitation to share their burden with those who understand are all simple treatments that can strengthen a weary heart. Private counseling with someone who is experienced in helping families work through the issues that are holding them back can be life-changing. In the past, it was almost impossible for missionaries to find counseling resources without having to travel back to their country of origin, and even then, counselors seldom had experience with the unique challenges of life on the mission field and how it affects a family.

Restored & Renewed Ministry is honored to be a place of hope for families in the field of mission work. Our counselors work with missionaries around the world, and thanks to modern technology, they can be available to help almost instantly. Video conferencing makes it easy to reach your personal counselor from the privacy of your own home whether it’s in India or Mozambique, and our counselors have ministry experience, so they understand how it can compound normal life struggles in unexpected ways. 

Chateau ClaireFontaine is another tool for healing that we are glad to have available now year-round. Our guests find time to be together as a family without the distractions of work, and enjoy a lot of precious quiet time in the French countryside. It’s not glamorous, but it is often the ideal solution to a heart heavily burdened with care. Quiet, rest, and time to refocus. It’s a simple prescription to heal even the most battle-weary soldier.

To learn more about how YOU can help support a missionary in the field, visit our Take Action Page, and help us offer hope and healing to missionaries around the world.

Share Your Story

“It’s really heartbreaking,” she said, shaking her head. Her eyes were filled with sadness, and something else…frustration.

The noise of the café hummed behind us as we sat talking over our lunch of deli sandwiches and iced tea. I hadn’t seen her in a very long time, and her unexpected house guest had kept her busier than usual, making it hard for us to find time to get together and catch up. A missionary friend of theirs recently moved in, finding their home a safe refuge as he tried to put the pieces of his life back together and return to the work he’d left behind overseas.

“I wish I knew how to help him,” she continued. “It’s so hard to see him like this, and know that it probably could have been prevented.”

She was right. There was a good chance it could have been prevented, but it’s hard to help someone avoid a painful trial like divorce when they won’t share the pain they are going through before it’s too late. That was the case for her friends, a couple ministering overseas as missionaries…until it all ended in a surprise divorce. The wife hadn’t been prepared for the reality of life overseas, or on full time mission. The pain and resentment built up until she couldn’t take it anymore, and left. He came home to try to win her back, but it was too late. The divorce papers were already on their way. She was done.

“If only she’d said something before…” my friend lamented.

If only she’d had a counselor available, I thought.

A good marriage counselor, or family therapist could have helped this young woman work through her feelings and difficult emotions. In counseling, she could have explored her alternatives with someone who could help her find ways to give words to her painful emotions. Learning to communicate with our spouse is difficult in the beginning, but even more so when the two of you are on mission thousands of miles away from your support systems. Add to that the stress couples in ministry often feel to pretend everything is perfectly wonderful between them in order to set a good example, or to convince those who pay their paycheck each month that everything is fine, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Even if they wanted help, who could they trust to be both helpful and discreet as they work through their issues thousands of miles away from the closest Christian counselor?

You might be surprised how many missionaries leave the field because of trouble in their marriage, or with their family. It’s frustrating to think how many of those families could have been spared that pain, and remained in the work they loved if only they’d had the help they needed. R & R Ministries was created to help missionary families find the resources they need to keep doing the precious work they were called to do. Help us help more missionaries stay in the field by sharing this post, and tell us your story of how a ministry like Restored and Renewed could have helped you, or someone you love. When we speak the truth about our situation in love, it inspires others to speak their truth as well. So, by having the courage to share your story, you could help another family out there see themselves in your story, and reach out for the help they need.

Use the hashtag #RandRmatters when you share this link and your story on your favorite social media, and help us tell the church that a little R & R could save a family. Together, we’re helping those who share the good news around the world.