What Makes Care-Giving Truly Caring?

Responding to part 1 of our Postings series on “In-Person Care,” one person questioned whether receiving visits from different care-givers would interrupt rather than benefit a missionary’s work. A valid question! Here are some suggestions for making care-giving truly valuable:

  1. Send the right people. Ask the field workers if there are particular care-givers they would like to receive. Repeated visits by the same person are sometimes most effective; at other times, people with different types of expertise are needed.
  2. Send care-givers at an appropriate time and for an appropriate length of time. Make sure that the visits are timed to best serve your workers.
  3. Agree on how much the missionary will need to detach from ministry to receive care. Sometimes care-givers serve best by accompanying the worker through their usual activities. In other circumstances, caring well requires that the worker detaches from their normal schedule to focus on processing the input and ministry of the care-giver. Whenever possible, determine this in advance with the agreement of all parties. Try to limit the amount of extra work required of the missionary because of the visit.
  4. Practice active listening. Even if the care-giver is a professional counselor, it is essential to enter the missionary’s world with a humble spirit. Every culture and context presents unique challenges that require a teachable spirit on the part of the care-giver.
  5. Follow up afterward. Making a field visit obligates the care-giver to return home and inform the church about the field visit (respecting confidentiality to as great a degree as possible). Also, the care-giver should check back to see how well the missionary is doing on the areas you discussed. Remember to fulfill any promises made to the worker.

Have you been a care-giver or recipient of on-field care visits? Share below what you would add to this list. If you are reading this via email, submit comments here.

Don’t miss the two-part Postings series on In-Person Missionary Care. Part 1 and Part 2.

Subscribe to this blog here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *