Congratulations on choosing to participate in The Longevity Project!
We are glad you're investing in your long-term health and wellness on the mission field. Now that you're officially a participant and have paid your annual program fee, you may begin planning to use your grant.
The activation date was July 1, 2023. Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org) will assist you with connecting to our service providers to set appointments and begin using their services.
Visit the Explore page to review the full details of The Longevity Project. For a quick review, see below:
We've created a drop down of all of the services and our partners who are offering their talents and gifts to support the program.
*These more expensive components are available for an added fee.
MedRefresh Retreat is designed to provide a safe, relaxing, and fun environment where you and your family can access the wisdom of those who have gone before you and understand the challenges of providing healthcare in low resource, high demand regions of the world. In addition, you will have the opportunity to schedule time with a wide range of mental health, pastoral, marriage and TCK specialists in a supportive and confidential environment. You will also have access to resources once the event is over, including, counseling organizations, webinars, and networking opportunities across sending agencies, global locations, and healthcare professions.
MedRefresh Retreat has been scheduled in Chiang Mai, Thailand for February 24 - March 2, 2024. Our second MedRefresh in 2024 will be held in the US in August 2024.
Your grant allows you to access several retreats which are designed to make the biblical narrative and your faith come alive. They are on-location retreats, typically in lands of biblical reference, such as Israel, Greece, Turkey, and Africa. Topics will include:
- The “healing ministry of Jesus” in Israel
- The “creation story” in Africa
- The “apostles healing journey” in the lands where they occurred
These events will be followed up with networking and webinars with guest speakers designed to allow for further spiritual growth.
*Adults only, transportation to and from the retreat location not included, other terms and conditions apply. Waitlist space is likely, first tour scheduled for the Spring 2024.
Escape for a weekend (four-day, three-night limit) of rest to identify your spiritual rhythms, hear God’s voice and rest in His love. Bring a journal, your Bible and carve out time for a virtual gathering with a spiritual mentor or trusted counselor. Allow them to lead you through Lectio Divina or offer guidance on how to just be still with the Lord. Our team will collaborate with you to identify the location and accommodation for this peaceful getaway.
Maximum three-night, four-day stay.
Sometimes all it takes to turn a situation around is access to a friend, family member, or child. Your grant will allow for one round trip coach airline ticket a year. It is your option who you will fly in to provide support and comfort to your challenging life as a healthcare missionary.
Will cover airfare for one return trip for one individual to you country of service, up to $1500 in a grant cycle, July 1 - June 30, 2024.
MedSend has retained the services of several organizations which can provide a wide range of counseling services:
- On-location counseling by flying in an individual to work with you, your family, or your team
- On-field services through one of our partners in locations like Thailand, Spain, Egypt, or Africa
- Online counseling, conveniently, confidentially and on your time schedule
- Short or long-term debriefing sessions, typically conducted in the US or online
A confidential network designed to support your children’s needs. These are individuals and organizations well versed in the emotional, spiritual, familial, and educational needs of TCK’s. Similar to counseling, services can be accessed on-field or online. TCK-designed retreats and online resources include stress management, trauma and grief counseling with the goal of raising up a healthier generation of TCK's.
Access is provided to a diverse range of offerings to foster spiritual growth in a challenging setting. These offerings include trained and experienced personal Spiritual Directors with missions backgrounds, spiritual retreats, and online courses.
as offered by Barnabas International
Definition of Spiritual Direction
Spiritual direction (SD) is a prayerful practice that focuses on the development of a conscious awareness of the relationship between a person and God. A spiritual director helps the other to become more aware of the presence, movement, and invitation of God in everyday life. SD helps to facilitate a healthy attachment to God that may result in greater intimacy with and love for Christ.
Rationale for Spiritual Direction
Spiritual formation is a lifelong process accomplished through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This ongoing transformational process can occur through a variety of means – discipleship, bible study, worship, pastoral counseling, mentoring and spiritual practices to name just a few.
Spiritual Direction is one such practice. It involves a trained Spiritual Director accompanying another over a period of time for the purpose of helping them notice and respond to the Triune God’s personal communication as He invites them to be transformed into the image and likeness of Christ. SD is primarily focused upon the development of that relationship. Although SD conversations will likely include talking about problems or conflicts, the focus will be upon how these issues provide fodder for deepening spiritual formation of the individual.
To this end, SD is one way that Barnabas International accompanies global workers in their spiritual formation journey as they are on mission in the world. As global workers grow in their awareness of God’s presence in their lives and His invitations to them through the practice of SD, they are freer to follow His leading in their lives and can more confidently respond to His calling from a place of deep love.
Services and our partners who are offering their talents and gifts to support the program.
Steve Wise, Spiritual Team Leader: Steve graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Physics in 1987 and worked as an engineer for 7 years. Steve met Deborah in 1999 after having completed a M.Div specializing in Cross-Cultural Ministry at Grace Theological Seminary. Upon marrying in February, Steve and Deborah began living in Battambang, Cambodia by October 2000. While planting churches, Steve began using TEE (Theological Education by Extension) to train leaders, and eventually served as a country director for TEE in Cambodia. Upon leaving TEE, Steve began establishing a new church planting team in Phnom Penh and began coaching other cross-cultural workers through a process of self-discovery, calling, and spiritual journey.
After leaving Cambodia, Steve & Deborah observed a one-year Sabbatical in 2013. In 2014, Steve & Deborah joined Barnabas International and continue to provide Member Care through pastoral ministry to those working cross culturally. Steve is trained as a Christian Coach (CRM Coach Mastery Certificate 2010), a Debriefer (MTI CODAR in 2015), and Spiritual Director (Sustainable Faith Indy—now known as Fall Creek Abbey, in 2018). Steve has been a member of ESDA (a Christ-centered Spiritual Direction Association) since 2019 and regularly takes part in the Spiritual Formation in Missions gathering of ESDA. Most recently, Steve completed certificate-level training in Crisis Response Debriefing (CRT in 2023).
In 2017, Steve and Deborah served as interim pastor of the International Christian Fellowship (ICF) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, while the pastor and his wife were on sabbatical (Steve and Deborah also served as their sabbatical coaches). Along with Deborah, Steve plans and implements Interlude Debriefing Retreats for cross-cultural workers multiple times each year. Steve also serves as the Spiritual Direction Team leader for Barnabas International.
Steve has been offering spiritual direction to cross-cultural workers and staff from various global sending organizations since 2016. He is energized through providing opportunity for directees to notice, explore, and respond to God’s invitations to go “further up and further in” their relationship with Him, seeking to find God’s transformational fingerprints within the events of their life’s journey.
Deborah Wise: Deborah attended Grace College in Winona Lake, IN, from which she graduated in 1997 with a B.S. in graphic design and a minor in communication. She was a librarian pursuing work in theater when she met Steve in 1999, and found her life’s direction drastically altered. Upon marrying in February, Steve and Deborah began living in Battambang, Cambodia by October 2000. She joined Steve in church-planting efforts, often using TEE (Theological Education by Extension) to train leaders. She eventually was blessed to use her graphic design skills to edit and publish TEE material from their headquarters in Phnom Penh. It was also here that she was introduced to life coaching and spiritual direction.
After leaving Cambodia, Steve & Deborah observed a one-year Sabbatical in 2013. In 2014, Steve & Deborah joined Barnabas International and continue to provide Member Care through pastoral ministry to those working cross culturally. Deborah is trained as a Christian Coach (CRM Coach Mastery Certificate 2010), a Debriefer (MTI CODAR in 2015), and Spiritual Director (Sustainable Faith Indy—now known as Fall Creek Abbey, in 2018). Most recently, Deborah completed certificate-level training in Crisis Response Debriefing (CRT in 2023).
In 2017, Steve and Deborah served as interim pastor of the International Christian Fellowship (ICF) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, while the pastor and his wife were on sabbatical (Steve and Deborah also served as their sabbatical coaches). Together they also plan and implement Interlude Debriefing Retreats for cross-cultural workers multiple times each year. Deborah also serves on the Debriefing Core Team for Barnabas International.
While still in Cambodia Deborah felt a clear call from God to create safe spaces where people can connect with Him in order to find rest, refreshment, renewal, and healing. She currently lives this vision out in her work facilitating Interlude Debriefing Retreats, writing contemplative devotionals, and offering spiritual direction. It is her life’s vocation to accompany people to the feet of Jesus, and hold space for Him to do His work.
Nancy Todd: My missions experience began when I spent a summer teaching English at a teacher’s college in China. Since that time, I have earned a M.A. and PhD. in Education and served in China for several years as an educator/administrator. In 2008, my husband and I joined the staff of Barnabas International (BI) as member care providers; and we have served with BI in a variety of ways for 15 years.
My interest in spiritual direction began in 2011, while we were serving at the Well Member Care Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand. During our 4 years there, we offered debriefing, spiritual direction, and a listening presence to global workers serving throughout Asia. In 2013, I began pursuing a two-year training program in spiritual direction through Spiritual Growth Ministries based in New Zealand, which I completed in 2015. Since then, I have been trained by Sustainable Faith as a supervisor of other directors and in accompanying people through the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises.
I’ve been practicing spiritual direction for almost 10 years and my directees are all cross-cultural workers from various organizations serving in multiple countries. It is a joy to accompany them as they notice, explore, and respond to God’s invitations to deeper relationship and formation in the context of their call to serve the peoples of the world.
Sarah Anderson: Let me introduce myself to you. My name is Sarah Anderson, and my email is: email@example.com. For twenty-plus years I have had the blessing of helping fellow Christ-followers deepen in their relationship with God through the practice of spiritual direction. My training was received from Christos Center for Spiritual Formation in Lino Lakes, Minnesota.
While serving in France as a global worker during the 80’s and 90’s, my longing was growing to have someone with whom I could explore my heart toward God, and His heart toward me. And I wanted to help others do the same. Hearing about spiritual direction during my studies in spiritual formation and exploring this practice, I became convinced that God was calling me to become a spiritual director. A spiritual director meets with the directee to listen to and to give attention to how God is inviting them to hear Him. Holding them in prayer, the spiritual director listens for discernment from the Spirit and asks questions to help the directee deepen in their understanding of God’s love for them. This gift of spiritual companionship helps strengthen their love for and intimacy with Christ.
Scott Richardson: Scott and his wife, Joann, joined Barnabas International in 2020 after serving in Lebanon, where they offered soul care to a cross-cultural ministry team, and pastored an international church. They previously served together in campus ministry at Colorado State University and pastored a church plant in Romania. His career also includes marketplace experience: Scott served as a software engineer for an integrated circuit manufacturer, as well as various roles for an instrumentation manufacturer. He holds degrees in Electrical Engineering and Management, and has training in Adult Learning Development, Coaching, and Spiritual Direction. As a shepherd with Barnabas, Scott serves as a spiritual companion for global workers and national leaders through online calls and on-field visits, retreat facilitation, debriefing, spiritual direction, coaching and training.
Contact information: +1-317-985-9481 (WhatsApp/Signal) firstname.lastname@example.org
Joann Richardson: Joann, along with her husband, Scott, joined Barnabas International in 2020 after living and working cross-culturally, most recently in Lebanon where they offered soul care to a multi-cultural ministry team and pastored an international church. Their initial ministry focus was in campus ministry at Colorado State University, followed by co-pastoring a church plant in Romania while raising and homeschooling their children on the field. Joann is trained as an Occupational Therapist with a specialty in early childhood intervention and sensory integration, a spiritual director, an Enneagram coach, and “The Way Between” transition coach. As a shepherd with Barnabas, Joann enjoys walking with global workers and national leaders as a spiritual companion through online calls and on-field visits, retreat facilitation, debriefing, spiritual direction, coaching and training.
Susan Powell, Trauma Informed, Ignatian Spiritual Director: Susan delights in accompanying others on their spiritual journeys with God. As a spiritual director, she seeks to hold space for others, listening and looking for the ways in which our Triune God may be moving, inviting and speaking into one’s soul through the everyday particulars of life. Because of her own healing journey, Susan is especially drawn to how life’s disorienting events can affect one’s relationship with God. Through contemplative practices, Susan encourages a more embodied relationship with God inviting a person beyond what they can know about God into how they can more fully experience Him and His healing touch. Married to Mark and proud mom to three, perfectly in process adult TCKs, Susan enjoys swimming, Pilates and learning about the intersection of faith/spirituality and neuroscience.
Susan and Mark began their overseas journey in 2008 by serving at Black Forest Academy in Kandern, Germany from which all three of their children graduated. After 5 years of TCK ministry, they moved into member care and continue in those roles today with Barnabas International. Initially trained as an educator, Susan began her journey in equipping herself to care for global workers in 2014 with a coaching certification through CRM. In 2016, Susan trained as a debriefer through LeRucher and then in 2017, she and her husband Mark entered a two-year Spiritual Direction training program through Sustainable Faith. Upon completing her spiritual direction certification in 2019, Susan was invited to join as a teaching assistant with a newly formed cohort and later in 2022 became a teacher with Sustainable Faith. She is currently leading a cohort of other member care providers through the two-year training program. Additionally, Susan is a trained supervisor of spiritual directors and is trained to accompany retreatants through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Most recently, Susan has completed two short courses on Trauma Informed Spiritual Direction through the Companioning Center.
Scott Shaum, Associate Director: Care for others is influenced by my extensive experience working cross-culturally and being a shepherd of souls by calling. Spiritual direction is an ideal means of both enhancing one’s personal spiritual vibrancy and navigating varied adversities that come at us in life. I’m married to Beth for 38 years and we have three married adult sons. I’ve lived overseas (church planting in Hong Kong), served on staff at two churches, and been with Barnabas International for 20 years, 15 years on the BI leadership team. I’m a certified spiritual director, as well as experienced debriefer, public speaker, author, and pastor.
Cheryl Warner, based in Ukraine
What are you asking God for right now?
How do you think God is inviting you to respond in this situation?
How is your view of God changing because of this experience?
These are the types of questions explored in spiritual direction that help a believer grow in communion with God. Directees are invited to notice how God is present and active in their lives and to respond to him. Fresh insights and a deeper sense of God’s love and care often come as gifts in this sacred space. Gently listening to a person’s story with compassion and without judgment is a high value for me. Receiving spiritual direction has helped me process life transitions, wrestle with grief and loss, and go deeper with God.
I completed the two-year certification program in the School of Spiritual Direction offered by Sustainable Faith, and I hold an MA in missions/intercultural studies from Wheaton College. My husband, Charley, and I have lived since 1987 in Ukraine, Austria, and the UK, and we have four adult daughters. After eighteen months of displacement from Ukraine because of the war, we plan to return soon to our home in Irpin, Ukraine. We are training a team of Ukrainian caregivers to help churches care for the cross-cultural workers they are sending around the world. I co teach a spiritual life course for Ukrainian missions students and love offering spiritual companionship to global workers on their journey with God.
Life as a healthcare missionary is challenging. We have taken ourselves to an unfamiliar land to serve in the name of Christ. The pressures are great. There are times when the stress and challenges manifest themselves in unhealthy team dynamics. Your MedSend grant provides access to a trained and skilled individual who can assist in addressing a wide range of issues, such as Change Management, Team Dynamics, Effective Team Leadership and Multi-Cultural Teams.
The Bible tells us that iron sharpens iron and there is wisdom in wise counsel. You have available, as a part of your MedSend grant, individuals who have been trained and prepared to help you maximize the impact of a coach/mentor. These relationships can take many forms but typically they are conducted online over a set length of time or are ongoing. Many of those affiliated with The Longevity Project are former healthcare missionaries who understand your challenges.
There are times when it may be difficult to self-assess how all the different facets of your life are progressing. You might sense something is off, but you are not certain what it is. MedSend has retained a service which allows you to respond to a survey to assess your stress and well-being. It can be followed up with anything from simple lifestyle adjustments to focused counseling.
The Longevity Project Costs
Here you'll find more details about costs and how to use your grant.
Our Explore page has all of the details about the costs, your fees and your grant amount based on your unit, or family size. This is a good reference page when you have questions or need a reminder.
The Extended Debrief, depending on the resource you choose, can be expensive and has an added fee on top of the basic program cost. This fee is meant to assist or supplement the payment, not cover the entire costs. The recommendation is to plan for or consider an Extended Debrief every four years, unless there is an extenuating circumstance.
For those of you who have attended, a MedRefresh Retreat is an experience like none other! The recommendation is to plan for you and your family to attend a MedRefresh Retreat every two years. Our goal is to host one in the United States in the autumn and one in Europe, Middle East or Africa in the Spring.
Below is a guideline for costs through our Service Providers:
Annual Check-Up with Valeo - 1 assessment is $100
Spiritual Director with Barnabas - 1 session is $75 per hour
The Longevity Project Toolkit
The place to find tools and resources for the journey!
Lament and Grief Protocol- Created by two missionary doctors serving in a restricted location where they routinely experience work-related trauma and loss.
Theology of Limits in compassionate ministry with emphasis on Jesus' examples- Jack L. Sorg, career missionary with ABWE.
Protect Yourself from Moral Injury! - Jim Ritchie