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How to communicate in a dry place

Ian Hsu Apr 15, 2024

One of the most common challenges mission workers face is how to communicate with ministry partners when you feel spiritually or emotionally dry.

On the one hand, you are dependent on the prayer support of your partners and have a responsibility to let them know how the ministry is going. On the other hand, communicating is hard enough, and doubly so when you’re feeling dry. You wish you could share beautiful testimonies but that wouldn’t reflect your current reality.

My wife and I have recently been in a dry place in our own lives and ministry, and I want to encourage you with some of what we’ve learned through our experience.

1. Get the help you need

You are not alone, and there are people with the desire and ability to help you. The best place to start is to identify these people and reach out to them. Maybe it’s a counselor, doctor, or member care professional. Perhaps it’s a spiritual mentor or trusted friend. It could even be a support raising coach, financial planner, or personal fitness trainer. The important thing is to ask the Lord if there are people who can help, and to connect with them as He leads.

For my wife and me, the Lord recently brought to our attention that we needed to strengthen our marriage and our connection with one another. Before we communicated with our ministry partners, we sought the help and guidance of a marriage counselor, psychiatrist, Prayvine’s board of directors, and a small number of trusted friends. Their support has been pivotal in how the Lord has cared for us through a difficult season.

Note #1: If you are a global mission worker and need care but don’t know who to contact, I highly recommend Barnabas International. I have personally benefited from their services, and they specialize in caring for global workers (often for free or at minimal cost).

Note #2: Like Jesus’ time in the desert, “wilderness” experiences are a normal aspect of any believer’s journey. The Lord often uses these times to refine, love, and meet us in powerful, transformative ways. This guidance is not intended to suggest that we should try to minimize or escape from these experiences. Instead, I want to emphasize that mission workers (who can often feel isolated and are frequently intensely-busy with ministry activity) can and should take concrete steps for their spiritual, emotional, and mental well-being.

2. Communicate honestly and with discretion

Even though it can feel daunting, it is critical to continue communicating with your ministry partners when you or your ministry feels dry. The key is to communicate honestly and with discretion.

When you communicate honestly, you honor your ministry partners by inviting them to participate in the most vital aspect of your ministry – your spiritual health and relationship with the Lord. Communicating vulnerably also honors God, because you are acknowledging His power, goodness, and ability to bring His light into your circumstance. Besides, the weight of not communicating can be heavy and isolating, and there is freedom and encouragement to be found in allowing people who love you to walk alongside you and share your burden

At the same time, seek the Lord’s wisdom on how to communicate with discretion. In particular, be mindful of how much detail is appropriate to share for each audience and whether you are being respectful to everyone involved. For my wife and me, it was important for us to work closely together on our communications to ensure that we were on the same page.

3. Ask for prayer – especially for your relationship with the Lord

Be direct and bold in asking for prayer. As the apostle Paul writes to the church in Philippi, “I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance” (Philippians 1:19). Paul understood that intercessory prayer is essential for spiritual breakthrough.

I’d especially encourage you to ask for prayer for your relationship and time spent with the Lord. Jesus set the pattern for us: His intimacy with the Lord was the foundation for His ministry. Recently, I asked my ministry partners to pray for the daily prayer walks I take with my dog; many wrote back to let me know that they were praying for me.

If you are a mission worker in a dry place, please know that we are praying for you. May the Lord bring living waters of refreshment to you and give you wisdom and courage as you communicate with your ministry partners during this difficult season.

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