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"Finding Rest and Support: The Importance of Member Care for Cross-Cultural Workers"

After 70 years of futility, exiled in the land of Babylon, far from God’s presence, with God’s temple in ruins back in Jerusalem, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah. He prophesied that God’s people would return to Jerusalem and that they would rebuild the temple. This prophecy seemed impossible to Zerubbabel, the exiled king of Israel.

God often calls us to do difficult things, goals that take years to come to pass. Many cross-cultural workers labor for years, loving the people they were sent to reach, building trust and relationships, and sharing the Gospel's good news when they can. Yet they often do not see any results for all that work until after many years. Has God ever called you on a journey that required “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction”? If so, you know how seasons of discouragement are common on such a journey. This is one reason why cross-cultural workers need Member Care from someone like our counselors and coaches at Compass Ministries.

God gave Zerubbabel encouragement as he faced this task. He told him not to “despise the day of small beginnings” (Zech 4:10) because God will take a very small start and make it into a great city with a beautiful temple. He reminded him that it is “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zech 4:6). In our debriefings and counseling sessions, we give a similar message to tired and discouraged missionaries.

It was a very small ministry when I started Compass Ministries 12 years ago. It was me reaching out to missionaries who were passing through St. Petersburg, FL. That very small beginning has blossomed into a ministry that has served 750+ missionary families over the years and today has nine counselors and mental health coaches serving global workers worldwide. It is by God’s power that this was accomplished, and because all of us at Compass, and all of you who pray and give, continue to exhibit a Long Obedience in the Same Direction. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.” (Gal 6:9). Something my father often said was, “Do not doubt at Midnight, what God made plain at Noon Day.” So keep following God’s leading, relying on his power to finish the job.


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