The only time most people have ever been around a missionary is when one spoke at their church. They see missionaries in public settings and draw conclusions based on short presentations. Perhaps they sign up to receive prayer letters. Their understanding of missionary life is slightly expanded, but it is still fairly limited. The sanitized reports that missionaries send rarely give the whole picture.
So many people would be surprised to hear that loneliness can be a major problem for a lot of global message bearers. Sure, there is the sense of isolation that often accompanies living in a foreign culture or a remote location. We get that. But there is another form of loneliness that we need to understand if we are to truly care for our ministry partners.
Many missionaries I spoke to felt like there was no one who understood them.*
There are two main ways in which missionaries can feel alone: relationally and vocationally. To be an effective missionary advocate you must understand these and how to deal with them. We will unpack both of those in coming posts.
*Adam Mosley, Missions Unmasked, p. 11