Dear Friends of The Antioch Partners (TAP),
Soon we’ll be celebrating Easter and affirming together, “The Lord is Risen! He is Risen indeed!” Our shared belief that in Jesus Christ, God has revealed Himself to the world and with his death and resurrection, triumphed over sin and death, forms the basis of our mission and our calling. We have Good News to share with the world!
TAP is committed to supporting our Partners (“Partners” is the term we use for missionaries) as they seek to share (and be) the Good News - as church planters, Bible translators, business people, community developers, teachers, language learners, pastors, friends and neighbors. Such support is often referred to as “member care” and reflects our desire to care for our missionaries so that they can be healthy and effective, and able to thrive in their cross-cultural contexts and ministries.
Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory
Missionaries are, after all, ordinary believers who seek to live in obedience to the call God has placed on their hearts. And while we all face stress wherever we are, serving cross-culturally generally involves increased stress levels by virtue of operating in a new and less familiar setting. The Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory assigns particular point values to significant life events like marriage (50 pts) or divorce (73 pts), gaining a new family member (39 pts) or the death of a spouse (100 pts). Significant lifestyle changes are also given a point value, e.g., changes in financial state (38 pts), change to a different line of work (36 pts), change in living conditions (25 pts), revising personal habits (24 pts), eating habits (15pts), change in place of residence (20 pts), change in church activities (19 pts), social activities (16 pts), recreational activities (19 pts) and number of family get-togethers (15 pts). Stress takes a toll on our overall well-being. Research indicates that a total of 150 to 300 points implies about a 50% chance of a major health breakdown within 2 years while 300 points or more suggest an 80% chance. Consider the typical first term missionary who moves away from family and friends to a new “job” in a new culture. He/she will easily clock up more than 200 points in that first year of adjustment! Additional stressors like pregnancy or miscarriage, interpersonal conflict or political turmoil in the host country can easily bring the total to 300 points or more.
TAP Member Care and 2018 Partner Retreat
TAP has a Member Care Team composed of men and women with cross-cultural experience and training in a variety of disciplines (e.g., pastoral care, counseling, missiology, the education of kids in a different cultural context, and spiritual direction). Through friendship, affirmation, encouragement, help, and fellowship as well as sharing, communicating, visiting, guiding, comforting, counseling, praying and debriefing, TAP’s member care team is committed to supporting and nurturing not only our first term missionaries, but all those who have been called to cross-cultural ministry including their children.
TAP’s commitment to our Partners also includes hosting a “retreat” every three years. Why come together as a TAP family? TAP’s Personnel Coordinator, Teri Adair, identified these reasons in her letter to our Partners encouraging them to attend:
- Living and working cross culturally can be challenging and exhausting. Having space to slow down, reflect, interact with other cross cultural servants is necessary and uplifting.
- It is a time to learn and grow. Much of our time spent in ministry involves us giving our time, talents and energy, to other people. The retreat is an opportunity to learn and be filled.
- It is an opportunity to connect with TAP Partners from all over the world, and collaborate and share ideas. None of us can function on our own. We need the body, the input from others, to thrive. The retreat is a unique opportunity to be surrounded by other cross cultural servants who can share and encourage us in our journeys.
- It is also a great time for Partners to meet with each other around similar topics and needs: Missiology, Education, Community Development, Singleness, Marriage, Parenting issues, Health, Business as Mission, etc.
- The opportunity for Partners to meet with pastoral and licensed counselors, and missionary kid specialists, who understand the unique stresses of living and working cross-culturally.
This coming May, the TAP family will gather outside of Budapest for five days. With opportunities for worship and prayer, Bible teaching and training, fellowship and fun, the retreat provides TAP’s Partners a chance to make connections, build relationships and be strengthened and encouraged in their vision and commitment to God’s global mission.
On behalf of the Member Care Team and the entire TAP family, I want to thank you for your partnership in the Gospel and for the ways you make it possible for our Partners to serve!
Following Christ Together,
Member Care Coordinator
The Antioch Partners