Do Missionaries Actually Experience Stress?

When Sheri and I moved to Vienna to start our ministry behind the Iron Curtain in 1974, we had our first furlough four years later.

I thought we had done a great job of adjusting to our cross-cultural work until we got back. Then I didn’t want to visit any church for deputation, see my relatives, or give one report to a donor.

I wanted to sleep, sit in a chair, read a book, and forget about engaging in real life! I was on the edge of burnout.

If you’re a missionary, you are facing stress factors you don’t even know about. Here’s an interesting article highlighting some of those from a discussion on the subject by a group of missionaries doing their jobs around the world . . .

Five Types of Stress Missionaries Face
by Cheryl Flores, serving with MTW in Spain

The DAR debriefing retreat I attended last week was a wonderful time with 36 other missionaries and 25 children to consider the common joys, challenges and stresses we face serving cross culturally. I left very encouraged, more relaxed about how I’m adapting to life in the States, and with some new tools to help me take good care of myself.

Three topics we discussed really grabbed my attention: Stress, transitions, and identity. We talked about five categories of stress that missionaries face. When we made a comprehensive list of the stress experienced by my group, I was sobered by how much stress missionaries experience on a daily and cumulative basis. I gained a renewed appreciation for how much stress I’ve experienced living in Spain (even though I really enjoy being there). I realized my attitude has been “just do it” (common to all missionaries) and I’ve failed to appreciate how accumulated stress impacted me.  (Read more . . .)       (places of rest for missionaries)         (tools for funding your work)                 (my cancer story)

About Dave Grissen

David & Sheri Grissen spent 44 years in mission and humanitarian aid work. In 2003 they established Life Impact, a ministry of strengthening Christian workers in hosted centers, called Oases. Presently 12 Oases are functioning. In 2016 they started Fund The Ministry to help missionaries create new funding for their ministries. They have five married children and fifteen grandchildren.
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