Caring for Those Who Serve

Budapest, Hungary

Dr. Michael Tallman and Billy Ray at the Budapest Zoo
Dr. Michael Tallman and Billy Ray pause and reflect while at the Budapest Zoo.

On September 30, 2018, a team from Crosspoint Church in Niceville, Florida, traveled to Hungary for a week long mission trip that would be unlike most mission trips. Crosspoint team members, representatives of the Soul Care Project, and missionaries from various countries gathered in Budapest for a missionary care retreat. This retreat provided a time of renewal and refreshment for those serving on the mission field, leaving them better equipped to care for others.

Because statistics reveal that 75 percent of those in service ministries experience burnout within five years, caring for those serving on the mission field is a key concern. The Budapest retreat offered Crosspoint team members the opportunity to focus on and care for the missionaries in attendance.

How did the mission team provide care? One way was to allow missionaries down time. Crosspoint team members cooked meals for the missionaries and provided programs for their kids, freeing them from domestic and parental responsibilities. Missionaries were treated to foods they enjoy but do not get to experience on the field. Bacon was served at several meals to the delight of a missionary family living in a Muslim nation where pork cannot be eaten. Missionary kids were gifted with favorite cereals and candies that are available in the U.S. but not on the mission field.

Team worship time in Budapest
Team worship time in the ministry center in Budapest.

Recreational activities were an additional way for care to be given. Adults and children alike enjoyed a trip to the Budapest Zoo. Separate outings were also planned for the men and for the women. Each group enjoyed a trip to one of Budapest’s famed thermal spas. The ladies followed their spa visit with lunch at a restaurant where they could sample Hungarian cuisine, such as goulash soup.

The missionaries received spiritual care during the retreat as well. Daily group gatherings offered a time for Christian fellowship, including singing and prayer. While these are regular activities for Christians, in this case they meant a great deal more to those serving on foreign fields. As one missionary tearfully explained, these gatherings provided a rare opportunity to worship in English. Presentations and counseling by members of the Soul Care Project offered educational and practical care for the missionaries.

Diane Hoelter and Melissa Brinley in Budapest's Central Market
Team members Diane Hoelter and Melissa Brinley are amazed at the paprika in Budapest's Central Market.

Bonding between team members and missionaries was obvious at the end of the retreat. Hugs were given, smiles were exchanged, and tears were shed. Missionaries returned to the field having been renewed and uplifted. Crosspoint team members returned home with a better sense of and appreciation for missionaries. While the retreat ended, the connection between these two groups continues. Crosspoint members support these missionaries on an ongoing basis through their prayers, finances, and continued communication. Missionaries are encouraged knowing there are people back home who love them and support their efforts. As a result of the missionary care retreat, the missionaries’ supporters are now their personal friends—people they know truly care about them as they serve others on the mission field.