By Sue Weaver
There are mornings you never forget. On my first morning as a new missionary I strolled the pebbled walkways and rolling lawns of the Chateau de St. Albain in France. Though the chateau is stately and the surroundings are quaint, the beauty of the place is not what struck me. I was hit by an Oz-like sense that I was in a very different world.
Missionaries encounter abrupt changes in life patterns throughout their careers. With just a flight across the ocean, an individual discovering support in churches becomes a crazy foreigner in his or her apartment building. The worldview in a host country contrasts sharply with the beliefs of a missionary-that’s why he or she is there! But a prolonged sense of being out of sync with others sometimes fosters weariness or a feeling of isolation from the world.
Missionaries experience life’s stages in unfamiliar settings. Even when long-term missionaries integrate into host cultures they may experience frustration when old and new cultures don’t mesh. And for both beginning and long-term missionaries, trends in world economics that cause a need for increased fund-raising are discouraging.
These challenges can build to the point that a missionary fi nds it hard to keep on ministering. Grace Brethren International Missions (GBIM) has long desired to encourage missionaries as they face the challenges of cross-cultural living. The goal of the new Member Care Team, made up of Blaine Horst, Larry and Vicki DeArmey, and Sue Weaver, is strengthening our missionaries, caring for them, listening to them and providing resources for the challenges each one faces. Please pray for the team as they seek to encourage more than 110 missionaries in 20 countries. Pray for the support needs of Larry and Vicki DeArmey and of Sue Weaver as they launch this critical ministry.
Sue Weaver recently returned to the United States after serving 23 years with her husband, Marlin, as directors at the Chateau de St. Albain in France. They now reside in Lititz, Pa.