Across our world, there are courageous, bold couples and families who have committed to going wherever the Lord leads to minister, to serve, to love. And while that willingness takes faith, these are still normal people like the rest of us. They deal with the same struggles in their relationships and in their own walk. The difference is, for many of them, they have nobody to turn to for support. For many, there simply isn't any good help in their geographic region. For others who serve under the umbrella of a ministry organization, there may be help, but even those in a support role are overwhelmed with the amount of need crying out to them. Others live in fear, sometimes real, sometimes perceived, that if their organization finds out they're struggling, they might be taken off the field and removed from those in whom they've invested their lives.
Imagine leaving your home culture and traveling to the other side of the world. Away from all that's familiar. Away from the daily touch of your support net of family and friends. Imagine learning a new language, being immersed in a foreign land and struggling awkwardly to try to fit in to all it's cultural idiosyncrasies. Because you aren't actually from that culture, it will take years, possibly decades to even begin to feel like you're beginning to mesh with the people. But it may never be home.
So you can't wait to get some leave so you can get back home - to the culture you know, the people with whom you relate. And when you finally get home, you find it's culture shock all over again. You see the things differently. People see you differently. What had always felt like home no longer does. And maybe you've had kids while serving in the foreign land. That land that is foreign to you, is their home culture. So when you take them back to your home grounds, they stand on foreign soil.
Add to it the possibility of having to live "under cover" in an area hostile to the Gospel where your safety is always threatened, or in a land filled with disease where your family's health is constantly at risk.
That gives you a very microscopic glimpse of the stressors imposed on missionary couples and families. And it helps you understand why Jeff & Debby feel compelled to help.
With the support of organizations like the WinShape Foundation of Chick-fil-A, Jeff & Debby are able to lead marriage and family retreats to provide these precious servants with the care, rest, pampering, encouragement and help they deserve. In addition to offering teaching and crisis counseling, they will often be accompanied by a team of people wanting to offer support - doctors, hair stylists, physical therapists, computer techs, dentists, massage therapists, etc. Whatever it takes to let those couples and families know they are loved and important.
If you feel called to help invest in this important work or would like to join us on a future trip,
If you are a missionary couple on the mission field and would like to know if/when a retreat will be in your area,
If you are a missions organization interested in having a retreat for your couples,
Please contact our office at (865) 769-2611 or email us.
For more information on other resources available to missionary couples, click here.