ml 06 health

Health and Rest

Before you enter your host country, make decisions about your health care. The area where you will be living may not be close to an adequate medical facility. Think about bringing some medical books, and other possibly needed medical/health care supplies.Interviews with missionaries

Interview with M and S P, March 2004, by AD
Setting family and rest time as priority was important for them. He stated that it is imperative that you take a day off every week and to find the balance between work and rest. He said that the Holy Spirit will guide you in finding this balanced rhythm. Emotionally, it was very draining as people would come, unexpectedly, knocking on their door. They tried to maintain a “date night.”

Both said that spiritual health was enhanced by the field site retreats, devotion and prayer time. Physical health is important to maintain as well. They said Dentist- facilities can be scarce.
She suggested being cautious of the food and to always boil the water. She Soaked fruits and vegetables in iodine water. Loneliness is often an issue that must be dealt with.

Interview with PG, April, 2004
Physical, Emotional, and spiritual health and Rest boundaries are very important to set in place while on the mission field (and in the States as well!). While on the field, it was a rule that each team member must take one day off a week and once a month the team would go on an outing. He said that it is very important to have time and space that is distinct from your everyday life and ministry. It is important to not make this lifestyle the norm though.

Their family protected their privacy boundaries by not answering the door, getting out of the house, or going out to eat. Physical health was kept in check with good doctors and his wife who was a nurse to their family and the rest of the missionaries. He stated that you will tend to get sick when you are working with sick people. It is important to be cautious, but not overly cautious.

Report on book Stepping Out by student AD, 2004:

Physical Wellness
Some important preparation steps to take prior leaving for the field are to find out what vaccinations will be necessary to receive and to compile a medical history list. The specifics for needed vaccinations can be found by contacting the mission or by referring to a global vaccination website A Health history should include all childhood and adulthood diseases, vaccinations, eye glass prescription, blood type, allergies, special conditions, etc (161).
The spread of diseases can be prevented by following general sanitation precautions. “Drink it boiled and eat it hot” (162) is a statement that pertains to the consuming of food and drink while in another country. Raw foods- especially meat and fruit should usually be avoided at all costs. A missionary wife in West Africa, would soak all of her fruits in iodine to kill off all of unsafe bacteria.

Maintaining a balanced diet is of the utmost importance while living in a foreign country. The missionary, in conducting a more active schedule, must have a diet which is complete in every detail, including the necessary vitamins (33). A proper diet is essential in the prevention of diseases and the maximum performance of the body for service. Regulating body temperature through adequate water intake can avoid dangerous effects of heat stroke. Salt intake should also be replenished as sodium chloride is lost through excessive sweating (38).

Physical exercise and relaxation are essential for maintaining the health of the body, mind and spirit. The missionary routine does not allow for an easy solution to the problem of finding the time to exercise. A physical workout routine must be deliberately planned and held to. Many of the missionaries who spoke to the spring 2004 Life and work on the mission field class, along with those interviewed outside of class were all in consensus that rest in the form of days off and vacation time were necessary and that boundaries needed to be set to protect that time. The opportunity for the body to recharge and relax empowers the missionary to serve Christ in a rested way.

The learning of a new culture is exciting and new, but the missionary must be aware of the mental stress that will occur in the process.
The entering of a new culture can be overwhelming enough on the body, but the stresses placed on a missionary during their first few months of service can be excruciating on their mind as well. One of the first tasks after entering a new country will be to learn the language of that culture. This is a very mentally draining process. Missionary CG, who served in Nepal, states that the missionary will be so overwhelmingly tired at the end of the day from the challenge of mentally translating and retranslating. Trying to adapt and understand a new culture is difficult and a change in language which affects nearly every area of one’s life is traumatic (74). When the language of one’s heart is not spoken in their surroundings, the brain must work at a higher intensely to make sense of the environment which envelopes them.

The mind of a missionary should be flexible yet focused. The mind should not be allowed to wander undisciplined through the day in what is called “holy puttering,” instead of being applied to duty. On the other hand, it should not be confined too strictly to one sphere, for it needs the tonic of new ideas. Good books and magazines should be read in addition to engaging in well-organized Bible study, so as to maintain a broad interest and various spheres of thought (39).

It is important to build relationships with and respect those whom God will place in authority over me. Stepping Out gives a pattern to follow when learning to serve those in authority.
Follow: Quickly learn how to best work with your leaders
Accept: Learn to respect the position of each type of leader
Learn: Get to know those you’re following
Initiate: offer suggestions and be available when work needs to be done
Pray: Make it a priority to pray daily and specifically for each of the people serving you as leaders. Bathe your relationship in prayer, committing the rough spots to the Lord. (102-103)

This area of wellness is essential to keep intact throughout a time of great changes and stress. Preparing for protecting and nurturing out emotional health may be the most important work we do before going overseas to follow the Lord’s call to our work in the Great Commission (1). Satan loves to attack our minds and our hearts and is actively on the prowl for every opportunity he can find to bring about thoughts of doubt or misbelief (1).
It is so important to protect one’s emotional health by trusting the Holy Spirit’s power to fight Satan’s lies and by having a plan of action against his schemes. It is crucial to endeavor to know ourselves deeply and to see if there are areas of particular vulnerability that can be addressed before going overseas (1).

The acronym RAM, which stands for REST, ABIDE and MOVE, is an important strategy to remember for the health of the individual in service to the Lord. It is critical that we Rest in all areas of our being, that we abide in Christ and then (and only then) will we have the true power to Move out and do ministry. It is also very pertinent that we are aware of our vulnerabilities and know that our identity is in Christ alone (2).

Wellness of the spirit is a crucial and vital part of proclaiming the Gospel. Satan is attacking. Are we ready to do battle? “Our struggle in not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph 6:12). Missionaries from a South American country told me the culture that I will be entering is one that is a major battlefield for spiritual warfare. There is also spiritual danger in the fact that I am a single young American woman who will be entering a male-dominated culture.

Chapter 31 of Stepping Out deals with the issue of staying healthy while overseas and gives practical advice on precautions that can be taken both before and during your stay to prevent diseases.
Find out what vaccinations are needed and continue to keep them updated.
Do not drink the water and avoid raw fruits
To adjust to jet lag it is most helpful to get on the country’s schedule as soon as possible- short naps are okay, but the sooner that you can get on your host’s sleep cycle the better.
If you do get sick, do not worry- stay calm.

From the book “Culture Shock”, summaries by AD
This book in chapters 1-3 deals with the stresses of the new experiences of living in another country. There are many physical outcomes of excessive stress upon an individual. These include ulcers, headaches, fatigue, accident proneness, mental inefficiency, and heart attacks.

A positive self esteem is necessary and those who want to love others- the golden rule assumes it. “Self esteem is a measure of How well one is living up to his expectations.” Culture shock is the point at which these stresses start to affect one’s self-esteem.
Cross cultural living imposes intense stress on the psychological being of the individual. The degree of stress varies in accordance with the degree of cultural difference between the home and host cultures. Because of significantly decreased achievement, workers tend to feel guilty for not living up to expectations (58).

Characteristics of those who Maintain Good Emotional health
Wide range of interests and friends from whom they draw personal satisfaction. They are able to ‘roll with the punches.” Their broad range of interests helps them to see alternative solutions to personal crises.
They recognize and accept their limitations and their assets; they enjoy what they are, and don’t try to be something different
They treat other people as persons; they have empathy for the needs and concerns of others.
They are active and productive, using their gifts to benefit themselves and others; they are in control of their activities, their activities are not in control of them. They do everything to the best of their ability, and know that God is in control.

There is something deeper here: Don’t take the opposite view either: Don’t put too much upon yourself. Since the fall of man, we know God cursed the ground; here will be thorns; this will be the normal condition.
Remember that you are Human: My body belongs to God- it is not my body. your body needs exercise, nutrition, and rest.

Don’t take yourself to seriously, 93; Reduce stress where possible, 95
Make your Culture change gradual: bring artifacts from home; bring your customs with you
If you could once make up your mind in the fear of God never to take on more work of any sort than you can carry on calmly. 68

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