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Healing In Community

“I’m afraid to dream.”

“I’m afraid to be disappointed by God again.”

+Compass home group for adult missionary kids
Dinner with Missionary Kids and extended community members

These were the sentiments of a young woman who served the Lord in the Middle East. Recently, I had the privilege of sitting with this individual and bearing witness to her story through the Debriefing Process. Debriefing gives a person time and space to share what they have been through with others. At the end of the debriefing, this young woman thanked the team for helping her have courage to dream and trust God again. There is healing that takes place in community settings. Rejection, fear, courage, victories, and tragedy – we hear these common elements from many missionaries who are serving overseas. But these things were also common to our Lord Jesus Himself. In Mark 6, Jesus had just been rejected in his hometown of Nazareth. Then, he sent His disciples out with the mission to preach and to heal. Then, their friend John the Baptist was brutally murdered. Not long after, a huge crowd was miraculously fed with just a few fish and loaves of bread. Incredible highs and incredible lows, all in one period of time.

How did Jesus respond? Jesus gathered his community to Himself in a type of “debriefing”: The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported all they had done and taught to Him. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6: 30, 31. Jesus and his disciples regrouped, reported, and rested. These are some of the principles that helped Jesus and his community recover after experiencing hardships and joys. They needed a safe place to share what they had experienced, to process it, and to rest. Jesus knew what his friends needed, and He provided it for them. They found healing in the context of their community. Scripture presents the benefits of being involved in the community, but mental health research also supports this idea. Longevity studies around the world have found that social engagement is one of the strongest factors for a long, healthy life. (Buettner D, 2016). Positive mental health is intricately intertwined with a strong sense of community. When counselors evaluate a person’s mental health, they assess the individual’s support system. It is well known that being part of a strong community is important to healthy living. Those who don’t have a strong support system or community may need help finding or forming one.

At Compass Ministries, we recognize that healing often occurs within the context of community. For this reason, we offer a variety of options for those who are looking for community. For those who are seeking out a general community, we offer social events and gatherings for missionaries and their families. For those of you who have served overseas and are looking for a more intense community experience, we offer Debriefings where you can spend two days with skilled coaches and counselors to share your story and find encouragement for the future. For those who want someone to talk to for support regularly, we offer Mental Health Coaching. Pastoral Counseling is also available for those who need more of a healing touch. We also offer a Grief Group focusing on processing losses and transition. We have a +Compass HomeGroup for Young Adults, which meets twice a month for dinner, fellowship, and Bible Study in the Tampa area. If you are looking for fellowship and a healing space, please check us out. Sometimes, a lack of community surprises us. It doesn’t always happen in the places where we imagine it should. Sometimes, we find a sense of community in unexpected places, with unexpected people. Wherever you find a safe community where you can be loved and find healing, embrace that space. If you are frustrated with a lack of community, keep pressing until you find it, or create it yourself. And know that you are welcome in the Community of Compass Ministries.

Join us on May 4th at 6:30 pm at Tampa Covenant Church (13320 Lake Magdalene Blvd, Tampa) for Compass Ministries’ World of Hope Banquet. This will be a great opportunity to gather with others who love missions and to be inspired by stories of God’s faithfulness. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to join our Community! You are welcome here! You can email for more information or to RSVP, and check out our website for more information:

(Buettner D, 2016 Skemp S. Blue Zones: Lessons From the World's Longest Lived. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2016 Jul 7;10(5):318-321. doi: 10.1177/1559827616637066. PMID: 30202288; PMCID: PMC6125071.)

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