Taking care of each other as God intended

Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Sarah Esala (left) and Ali Federwitz make up the Member Care Team for Lutheran Bible Translators in Concordia. They serve missionaries and other LBT staff members by establishing relationships on a personal level and connecting staff with logistical, spiritual, mental and physical resources.
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“When the Ebola crisis hit, we had to be evacuated from our post. We had no idea what to do or what was next.” … “I got through the ‘first time’ of doing all the important things. But it turned out that it took me six hours to feed my family three meals a day, every day, not counting planning, or shopping, or cleaning up! Can you say, ‘excessive culture stress’?”

These are not uncommon statements. A missionary family or individual who lives in the field may experience stressful situations. Potential burnout, medical evacuation, or a child’s unusual educational needs are just some possibilities. Missionaries have been oriented and prepared, but a situation may escalate to one the missionary is unable to handle alone. Ali Federwitz and Sarah Esala, missionaries themselves, form the Member Care Team and are available to serve both missionaries and other staff of Lutheran Bible Translators.

“Why are we sending people out, just putting them there, and giving them no support?”

Sarah heard the same sentiment over and over again as her path crossed in the field with missionaries of many organizations and other expats. Each person’s needs are unique, and this team has been trained to identify those needs and offer support. With compassion and respect, Sarah and Ali establish relationships on a personal level and connect staff with logistical, spiritual, mental, and physical resources.

“It’s hard to live there as well as work there. Nobody goes without any struggles,” Ali says.

Ali and Sarah walk alongside people to encourage them during the hard times and celebrate the good times, which may mean a good cry or a personal pep talk. The team advocates and educates through books and blogs. Sometimes counseling or attending a retreat to rest and refresh is the appropriate suggestion. In some cases, the Member Care Team calls upon specifically qualified professionals to help with some needs.

Lutheran Bible Translators promotes this service to care for all aspects of staff and missionary life. You can help by continuing to lift up in prayer the Member Care Team doing this important work.

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