"Local churches need to be at the centre of supporting, encouraging and helping mission partners in the day-to-day life of living and ministering in another culture."
We were travelling in North East Thailand heading for a Cambodian refugee camp and having set out rather late were keen to get to Surin before nightfall. It had suddenly got very dark and the unlit road-works appeared out of nowhere.
The accident was inevitable and the van I was in turned violently onto its side before hitting a post. Incredibly we had survived, but the pain in my arm was excruciating. The side window had broken and my arm had been pulled along the road, scraping off skin and fracturing bones. After five weeks in hospital and several operations and skin grafts, I was finally able to go home to my wife and family in the UK.
This was 1980, before the days of instant communications. I had travelled to Thailand as part of my role in the UK office of a small mission agency. They provided an excellent insurance policy and I had been well cared for. My wife Georgina back in the UK had probably had a worse time – how badly hurt was I really? Would I be able to fully use my arm again? Weeks of uncertainty with little chance to talk.
We had only recently moved church to a small Elim Pentecostal fellowship in Epsom. The pastor, Ron Stripp, and his wife Joyce had exemplified what pastoral care should be all about. Now in this crisis, they got alongside Georgina, prayed with her, and proved truly amazing and Godly people.
Member care for those working overseas is not just about responding in crises such as this. Local churches need to be at the centre of supporting, encouraging and helping mission partners in the day-to-day life of living and ministering in another culture. We hope the articles and thoughts in this magazine will help local churches to provide a long-term supportive relationship as they stand alongside their mission partners.
Director of Global Connections
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