I felt the call of missions on my heart 10 years ago at a Christian camp working as a counselor and JD Greear was the speaker that week. I remember he said something to the effect of: “many of us may say, ‘God if you close all of the doors and push me in, I will go into the mission field’ but how many of us will say ‘God I am going unless you stop me’?”
It struck me and I realized I couldn’t say that, but in prayer, within a few weeks decided to pledge 2 years after college to the Lord anywhere in the world he would take me. I was trying to figure out what that may look like and went as a tourist to North Africa for a summer and met my wife while there. After we were married and settled down, we still felt like one day God may lead us to the field full-time.
God has clearly led both my wife into biblical counseling, and me into psychiatry and now we can use our skills to care for many neglected across Europe for the sake of the Gospel. We have a desperation to see all people reached, especially those who are otherwise neglected by culture or society and help them see their place as children of the King. We plan to go and stay until he calls us home but anticipate retiring from the IMB. The Great Commission remains our calling to "go and make disciples" and I have been most influenced by missionary biographies, especially Hudson Taylor's but also people like my grandparents who served in Thailand 40 years, our mentors in North Africa who serve in Bosnia, and missionaries out of our church already on the field.
Most of our first term would be spent with community-based education, and training of nationals. One aspect of this role would be to train and teach European personnel and national partners in assessing and support for those in need and developing/coordinating tools for Entry/Evangelism/Discipleship that incorporate soul care and trauma healing. Additionally, we will maintain first-hand connection with those struggling with mental health disorders or trauma management through local engagement.
After a year or two, we will start doing more travel throughout Europe helping churches implement some of what we have set up in London locally as well as helping support those teaching counseling at the seminaries, working with refugees, and the member care staff of the IMB in Europe.
- Impacting local non-Christians struggling with mental health through counseling, support groups, education, possibly at some point medication management, and ultimately bridging these conversations to the gospel and seeing people come to understand the ultimate source of joy, satisfaction, and healing and discipling them along the way to grow in their relationship with the Lord and sharing their faith with others.
- Working to affect change with many Christian's view of mental health and to educate local and foreign pastors on how to recognize mental health needs in their congregations and what they can do to support them. Teaching missionaries how to use questions regarding mental health to bridge to gospel conversations.
- Ultimately to see change over the next several years to decades of service in how the IMB views mental health and implements ways to address needs in their local churches and evangelism efforts and expanding training of missionaries going to the field in doing practical trauma support for example