Have you ever wondered what keeps some missionaries on the field for ages? Is it stubbornness or is there more? Researchers are discovering that certain clusters of qualities together make some people more resilient than others. “Resiliency” is a Member Care podcast that takes a dive into the world of grit and stretch-ability to help us better understand and grow in our ability to go through difficulties and come out on the other side better and stronger. Join co-hosts Silas West and Steve Findley in their conversations about resiliency with experts, field workers and those who support them.
A bi-cultural family in La Paz, Bolivia shares with us what makes them resilient. Learning to embrace one another's cultures and investing in the culture they live in has been key to making it work for Cara and Mache Contreras. But so has intentional prayer and valuing the role of their community even when community is not easy. They also share how important it is for them to let their investment in their community or team define their calling over letting a sense of external purpose define their calling. Though some technical difficulties resulted in the loss of the first ten minutes of this interview, this delightful couple challenges and inspires us that valuing what matters most in our relationships is one of the key factors that make us more resilient.
Melissa is a passionate education consultant for MKs and TCKs. She brings a wealth of experience to bear on the question so many of our listeners face: “What do we do about educating our kids?” From developing a philosophy of education, prefield education planning, to academic testing, Melissa gives insight and offers practical resources. This is a must-listen for every parent of a school-aged MK/TCK!
We ended our interview with Dayna sharing a small window into her experience of being imprisoned by the Taliban. Visions of angels locking arms and protecting her and the others imprisoned with her, praying for Afghan women's freedom while themselves in captivity by the Taliban, and how she and her friends worked through conflict together in prison. These are just a few of the things Dayna shares with us that are keys to resiliency in the most difficult times.
Twenty years ago this summer, Dayna Curry was among a group of Western and Afghan NGO workers imprisoned by the Taliban in Afghanistan. While that story made international headlines, the now 22 years of cross-cultural life and Christ’s love that Dayna has shared with Muslims in three nations hasn’t made the news. In this episode, Dayna shares about the four years in Central Asia prior to that fateful day not long before 9/11 in 2001; including identifying with Afghan women to the point of being whipped and having rocks thrown at her in the street. Be on the lookout for a Resiliency Special Episode one week from today when Dayna shares the account of her imprisonment.
Jim and Kay served for 30 years in Taiwan prior to reentering to the U.S. in 2012. They now serve as Directors of the Reentry Care System at Antioch Ministries International in Waco, TX. They share from their own (rough!) reentry experience and from insights gained from ministering to scores of reentered field workers through the years. They have a great desire to help returnees move forward healthily in the challenging - and sometimes seemingly endless - transition of reentry. In addition, they also share key elements needed in building out an effective reentry care system.
Having served as Reach Global's MK Coordinator for the past 20+ now, our guest knows a thing or two - well, let's make it dozens of things! - about nurturing and training up your kids from tender shoots to strong oaks. Heidi is joyful, tender-hearted, highly skilled, and incredibly well-read. Best of all, she's an MK care professional who was also an MK herself from age 2-18. You're going to want to pause the pod and jot down some of the wonderfully practical counsel, coaching, and encouragement Heidi shares during this insightful and engaging interview.
We were created for connection and belonging, even as we desire to be effective in ministry. As our guests in today’s episode share their stories, time and again we hear how their commitment to learning the language has led to a deeper experience of belonging, connection to local relationships, and effectiveness in ministry—all predictors of resiliency.
Studies show that the level of stress that global workers face during the first years of living overseas due to cultural adaptation is enormously high. In this episode, co-host, Silas West, normalizes that stress and provides some insight into how to overcome our hardwired responses to discomfort and embarrassment in order to adapt quicker and reduce the stress common to the early years of ministry overseas.
30 years is how long Jeff and Christine have lived, loved, and ministered in East Africa. They have a career that has spanned vocational transitions, tribal unrest, and malaria epidemics. Their resilience has been forged by drawing deeply from their Quaker roots that taught them at an early age to posture themselves to listen and to lay down their own agendas in order for God’s will to be known and done.
“Because God said....” These words sustained today’s guests to remain in the Middle East through 17 years of tumult. From the ups and downs of language learning to the tragic loss of a child all while their host nation turned from a peaceful place into a war zone, no matter how hard the external realities became, God’s word was what they stood on for each unique season. They learned to “pray on the ragged edge” of not knowing, not understanding, not seeing. For Micah and Cara, faith became more than an idea. It became a tangible reality whose name was Jesus.
Mike and his wife, Stephanie, were guests on our first ever (and most listened to) episode. Mike is back with us today to share how greater emotional awareness leads to increased resiliency. He reflects on how our emotions are with us but we are seldom with them - rarely attuned to what they are trying to say to us. Mike points out how teams and individuals who grow in their emotional awareness end up staying longer and see more fruitful ministry.
Clinton and Amber Garsee left Texas to live in southern Thailand because of one thing--they knew they were called. More than two decades later, they share with us how they learned from former missionaries like Amy Carmichael to "count the cost and then take your slate and add up the figures at the foot of the cross." Even as they share about their struggles, they reflect on how it is the cross that gives their suffering the perspective to keep going on. Still in Thailand, it's not the deep roots that they have put down that keep them there, it's because they were called by Jesus and He is worthy of the call.
Dave M. and his family serve in the Mediterranean region. He shares with us his keys to resiliency often involve getting to know ourselves and the meaning behind our reactions better. He notes that there are treasures hidden out there-even in the lockdowns and isolation of the global COVID-19 pandemic. What we choose to pay attention to creates the "me" (us) of tomorrow.
Join us for part 2 with our guest, Steve Brown from the Navigators as he unpacks the nuts of bowls of planning a meaningful sabbatical. He reminds us that rest was blessed and we are invited by God to embrace rest and learn to step aside from productivity as an act of trust.
Our guest, Steve Brown from the Navigators joins us today in a two part episode on the foundations and principles of sabbatical. He shares his organization's view of why sabbatical is an important rhythm without which leads to a life without margin, stress without recovery, exhaustion and spiritual dryness. He points out that rest was blessed and that hard toil was part of the curse of the fall. Somehow, however, we have turned that around and curse rest while over-identify with the blessings of labor. Sabbatical is part of God's plan to bring correct order into our lives.
An intense season with the loss of dreams and expectations of what ministry would look like became the bedrock of John snd Erin's resiliency. It taught them that their expectations, even ministry on the field is not the end goal. God's goodness and their willingness to obey was and continues to be what it is all about.
Trey Green and Silas have a conversation about the necessity of envisioning our global workers for suffering and the need for a theology of suffering that helps us get past unrealistic expectations that are both personal and cultural in order to thrive in a world where we are promised suffering.
It would be hard to live as a widow in the "Big Chicken" like Martha did for 18 years and not learn a thing or two about spiritual warfare. Martha shares with us how she learned through personal experience to live the things of the Spirit, not just learn about them. She took biblical truth and made it tangible, visualizing God's protection just how it is described in His Word. Martha took what she learned and used it to train leaders in the underground church movement in her country and she joins Resilience today to share what she has learned with us.
John Dekruyter, Executive Director of Alongside Ministry, joins us again to share how he has learned the importance of Sabbath keeping. "There is no end to what needs done and what we can do. Sabbath reminds us that our identity is not in what we do. It is in the one who created us". John shares how Sabbath is not an obligatory effort, but an expectant joy. He reminds us that Sabbath helps us listen to the One who shapes our identity as His beloved not in what we produce or earn.
Clinical Psychologist, Lauren Volpei joins us again for a special episode of Resiliency produced especially for MKs/TCKs. Lauren speaks specifically to MKs about identity, belonging, and the feeling of being misunderstood.
Lauren, a PhD in Clinical Psychology, took a deep dive into the world of Third Culture Kids/Missionary Kids and and discovered that, in addition to all the wonderful experiences and joys MKs receive from living overseas, they also carry with them a world of complex question marks about identity, transition, misunderstanding, and belonging. Join us in this episode as we ask Lauren how we can have meaningful conversations with the MKs in our lives that help them be even more resilient than they already are.
Humility and a posture of learning is what it takes to make team life work according to Sandy and Steve. They go on to say that the mindset that values TEAM is as important as learning language, evangelism strategies and your new culture. It shouldn't be just another box we check off, it needs to be a major commitment. But, they say, when we make that commitment, we are setting ourselves up well for effective synergy and long term ministry. They add that its not just practical, it's theological; "We cannot separate intimacy with Jesus with learning how to relate and grow in intimacy with one another." Join Steve and Silas as we interview Steve V and Sandy H on Episode 26 of Resiliency
Have you ever had a nice vacation and when you came to the end of it, you still felt like your weren't rested or replenished? You might have been experiencing burnout. Burnout is caused when our resources and our demands are out of balance. Limited Licensed Psychologist, Andrew Brown who serves at Alongside shares with Silas how following our God given design can help us to prevent burnout by learning to listen to and respond to the rhythms of work and rest that God built into creation.
Scott and Jenni have been working with people in ministry for 13 years. First in Germany and now in Portugal. They founded The Haven, a refuge for global workers in need of a place of rest. They share with us what they have learned about themselves and through many years of serving those of us in ministry.
Michele has nearly two decades of life lived in North Africa and the Middle East. Join our interview with her as she shares her keys to resiliency and how she took up the invitation to live a life of adventure with Jesus
Steve and Silas want to shamelessly give a plug for this incredible ministry. Alongsidecares.net has profoundly helped thousands of people in vocational ministry over the years, including some of our very own global workers. Director, John DeKruyter joins us in this episode to tell us more about the ways Alongside can help global workers develop resiliency for their lives and ministry.
Does contemplation always mean sitting in a cave in the woods far from people, devoted to a life of uninterrupted prayer? Apparently not! Steve Findley learns to see contemplation a little differently from Silas West, one of the busier people he knows.
Lynette Wilson is a licensed marriage and family counselor in Waco, Texas and a tremendous help to many of our global workers over the years. In this episode Lynette shares with us what anxiety is and gives suggestions on how to discern what the voice of anxiety sounds like.
Andy, Andrea and their four boys have made their home at the inhospitable altitude of 12,000 feet above sea level in El Alto, a town on the outskirts of La Paz, Bolivia. Sacrificing comforts for a calling, they share with us about the choices and the paradigm shifts that have made it possible for them to call this place home. Learn more about the Bakers and their ministry in Bolivia at https://wordmadeflesh.org/bolivia/ and also about their ministry of freedom for women caught in prostitution at https://sutisana.com/
Loss and disappointment is a part of life. But it is hard not to get stuck in the emotions of grief. Especially when loss accumulates. Lament helps us turn our grief into praise because it is an appeal to the character and faithfulness of God. Silas shares with us about his experience working with clients as they process loss through lament and helps us face our grief with greater resiliency.
Significant loss is "baked into" cross-cultural ministry. Clinical Psychologist, Bob Watson shares with us about the healing power of mourning our losses. When everything in us wants to run away from our feelings of pain and grief, Bob encourages us to embrace them. Like peeling away layers of sickness, mourning our loss helps us become more resilient. With direct application to our current COVID 19 reality, you don't want to miss this episode.
Today's guests, Tim and Kristi, share with us about how they stay grounded, maintain routines, and build traditions so that they and their family of teenagers can have fun, stay connected and live resiliently in one of the least stable regions of the world.
We don't have anything new to share with you about COVID19. But we know you are facing it and wanted to share a word of encouragement to all of our listeners. We are in this together and we will get through it by the grace of God.
We finish up our interview with Chris and Rebekah where they share how choosing intimacy with Jesus can even make you thankful for prison. Join us in part 2 as we talk with Chris and Rebekah about their journey of becoming stronger in the face of serving God faithfully through military invasions, intifadas, and even imprisonment.
"Gutting it out is not the same as thriving. Learning to meet God in pain instead of feeling I have to gut it out for God is how we honor God, not the other way around (Chris). Join us in part 1 of 2 as we talk with Chris and Rebekah about their journey of becoming stronger in the face of serving God faithfully through military invasions, intifadas, and even imprisonment.
Jim Marsh is the Dean of Student Health and Wellness, and Executive Director for Counseling Services at Baylor University. We asked Jim to share with us about some of his observations on the decrease in resiliency among incoming college students over the years. Though his work is not with Global Workers, he gives us some language to address areas of lack in Global Worker resiliency as well as helpful interventions that are just as poignant to us as they are to the students at Baylor.
Sometimes we have technical issues and sometimes its straight-up user error (its a fool who blames his tools...). The last episode had some recording problems that are fixed now so go ahead and listen again!
"C" and "C" have lived for years with their family in one of the most difficult countries for global workers. Listen as they share about their trust in God, their love of their country, and how they have made it for all these years by including their children in ministry, connecting intentionally with others including local friends, and finding things they love where they live.
LMFT Geoff Whiteman (linktr.ee/geoffwhiteman) takes us into his research on what makes global workers resilient. He briefly shares about "Kintsugi" a Japanese method of repairing broken pottery with gold and shares conclusive evidence that resiliency comes from Jesus Himself, the Resilient One, and makes us more precious for having been broken.
In this two-part interview, we return with Cindy, a veteran of over 20 years in Jakarta, Indonesia, who shares how finding belonging in her host culture was the foundation of her resilient cross-cultural life. In this episode, Cindy offers practical ways that we can develop our own sense of belonging wherever we are.
"Tim and Amy" (their real names have been edited out of the podcast for their security and the security of those they labor among) and their children served in one of the most repressive cities under very difficult circumstances. Yet they chose to press on. Why? Listen to this amazing couple share their keys to resiliency; simply how their passion for Jesus kept them and continues to keep them pressing forward.
We all know that exercise is good for us. But did you know that it actually slows down aging, reverses depression and restructures our brains? Listen as Rachel Keener shares valuable research and personal passion for exercise as she encourages us to "run for our lives".
Secondary trauma depletes your energy, keeps you awake, numbs your heart and fragments your thoughts. If you are caring for or exposed to people who have been traumatized or are in crisis then you are suffering with them vicariously. Empathy takes a toll. Join us in our conversation with Kimberly West who served for a decade among the most vulnerable of the poor in Nepal and Susan Peters who serves alongside victims of human trafficking as they talk about how they face secondary trauma without loosing hope.
Every family has their how-to secrets; secret recipes, secret fishing holes, secret short-cuts to the gym. In this episode, Steve and Silas are launching a periodically re-occuring series called "Keys to Resiliency" where long term field workers share with us their best kept secrets to making it for the long haul. In this episode, Stephanie shares how a posture of life-long learning has enabled her and her family to thrive on the field.
Guest Scott Shaum, author of "The Uninvited Companion" takes us on a journey into his own suffering through chronic pain and fatigue which he developed following a serious illness overseas and explores with us how his weakness has become his greatest strength.
Silas interviews Mike and Stephanie, long-term field workers who help us understand how the more you commit to language learning and adjusting to your host culture, the lower your stress will be and the greater your resilience will be on the field.