The blessing of support ministries!

We’re new field missionaries. We’ve served for the past couple of years as support missionaries on the “homeside”, but now we are serving on the “field” in Taiwan for the next 18 months or so.

As new cross-cultural workers, we are in the midst of transitions. We’re dealing with culture shock, faced with the limited ability to communicate effectively, learning how to manage day-to-day life in a culture and society different to our own.

These last few days, we were faced with a frustrating situation. Sickness. As we struggle with all the challenges of transition, we now need to figure out the medical system of this country. It’s not like going to the supermarket and figuring out what’s fresh milk, soy milk, or yoghurt milk…

After a misdiagnosis yesterday, we contacted our medical advisor (who happens to be in New Zealand) for a second opinion. We were able to get the opinion of a medical profession who understands our home culture and our adopted culture. While Taiwan certainly provides excellent medical care, there are cultural differences which result into slightly different approaches to patient care.

Just the ability to speak to someone who “speaks our language” and understands our situation without getting things lost in translation is a huge relief. As a result, tomorrow we’ll return to the hospital to get one small detail adjusted to see if we can’t get an improved care plan as we deal with sickness in the family.

We’re fortunate we work with an organisation which believes in supporting its workers to enable long-term effectiveness and survival (it’s already hard enough to survive in cross-cultural ministry without the added stress). Our organisation enlists the help of various people with suitable gifts to support its workers. Some of these roles you would find in any typical organisation: finances, HR, IT, etc. Some, however, are unique to the cross-cultural sphere: language & culture, prayer, TCKs, etc.

There’s more which can be said about the importance of support ministries (check out this article). I just wanted to say thank you!

Psalms: Blessings renown

Cover to Cover

Reading: Psalms 66-69

Focus: Psalm 67

In Jewish theology, there is an aspect of their understanding of God’s blessing which is fascinating. However, even in Jewish thought, blessings are often seen as God’s gift and pleasure for the recipients. We are blessed because God sees fit to give us good things or grant us success in life’s endeavours. We praise and thank God for His blessing, but we often miss out on a key aspect regarding blessings reflected in Jewish theology (which should be ours, also).

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Deuteronomy: double trouble…

Cover to Cover

Reading: Deuteronomy 28:1-29:29

Focus: Deuteronomy 28:1-6, 15-19

When it comes to the issue of reward and penalty in life, they are polar opposites. For a job well done, there is one reward, for a job not done well, the penalty is often the opposite of the reward. For example, a child that cleans their room may be rewarded with extra helping of desserts at dinner. If the child does not clean their room, dessert is withheld altogether (and they still have to clean their room)! Employment is much the same, though the consequences are far worse.

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Numbers: representatives and ambassadors

Cover to Cover

Reading: Numbers 4:1-6:27

Focus: Numbers 6:22-27

When people represent an organisation or ambassadors represent a country, they carry the identity of their representatives with them. They share and represent the values and cause of their representatives. Further, it is not merely in their presentations and public appearances where these are shared, but it also in their private lives which come under scrutiny. Where high profile business representatives and ambassadors have fallen in their private lives, organisations and governments have often had to pick up the pieces…

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