Missionary Member Care

We spend a great deal of time and energy training up Pastoral Counselors and Clinical Chaplains via CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) and CPO (Clinical Pastoral Orientation). Sometimes it dominates our activities that we fail to note that we do other things as well.

One of those is Missionary Member Care. We focus on counseling for those involved with missionary work. Occasionally, we work with missionaries who are from other countries serving in the Philippines. Far more commonly, we work with Filipino missionaries serving in other countries— in short-term, medium-term, or long-term work.

The group we work most commonly with (although not the only one) is OSB (One Sending Body). Some of us will be attending their annual missions conference in Koronodal City this August (2022). This will be the first time in several years that a representative from our group was able to attend the annual gathering.

Additionally, we have been investing a fair bit of time in training missionaries to be competent in pastoral counseling. In some cases, they intend to us that as part of their ministry in their target population. However, some are intentionally being trained in hopes of providing member care services for fellow missionaries.

Missionary member care has not been taken all that seriously in Southeast Asia. Back 8 or 9 years ago, our group led a training in basic missionary member care principles. Our host, while introducing us, noted that what we were going to be teaching was “controversial.” This was not because of host disagreed with our topic. Rather, it was because our host knew that some of the hearers would be tempted to react negatively. I had been to trainings where problems in the lives of missionaries was seen as a moral failing or on some level “being weak.” Could that be the problem? Of course, but when one assumes that is always the answer, problems will never get solved.

Looking forward to finding new opportunities to support more missionaries in Asia.


Three Days in February

Three great activities in three consecutive days.

Day 1 (February 20). Asia Vision-STM invited us to Wood Nymph Restaurant for a planning dinner. AV-STM is a Philippine-based organization that trains Filipinos in missions through training and Short-Term and Encounter missions. AV-STM is committed to proper missionary member care for those who go. We have been working with them with personality evaluation and training. We are presently working with each other to develop a program that meets the needs of AV-STM. Thanks to Jehny and Fhey for taking the lead on developing this program.

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Day 2 (February 21). At the invitation of Serving Neighbors Network, we were invited to do a training in Intentional Conversation. We did a similar training at Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary a month before. SNN trains children in Baguio through the ALS (alternative learning system) program. Attendees were teachers and barangay workers. There were approximately 20 in attendance. Bob led the primary training, with roleplay and group discussion work by Celia, Becky, and Cori.

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Day 3 (February 22).  We carried out another topic in our series of Mini-Workshops. This training is in Conflict Mediation, led by Dr. Sim Dang-Awan. Doc Sim is an expert in mediation and tribal confict resolution. The training was held at Philippines Baptist Theological Seminary (PBTS) , to a group of around 25. We had a very positive response to this and discussion is underway for follow-ons to this important topic.

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Missionary Member Care Trainings

Member Care Class 2

Dr. Bob Munson (Administrator of Bukal Life Care) is finishing up teaching of Missionary Member Care at Summer Institute of Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary. There are 13 in the class.

Arquillano Training 1

Ptr Arnold Arquillano is shown here at Missionary Member Care Training done with One Sending Body. He and his wife Rose, friends and partners of Bukal Life Care, learned a great deal about missionary evaluation and training. We hope to grow our expertise in this context to improve our help of missionaries and other ministry professionals.


Supporting Missions by Supporting Missionaries

One of our growing areas of work has been in the area of Missionary Member Care. For those who do not know, Missionary Member Care (MMC) deals with the logistical, emotional, mental, physical, social, and spiritual aspects of mission work. As a pastoral care and counseling center, we don’t have much to do with certain aspects of MMC, but have much we can do in other areas.

One organization we have been assisting is Asia Vision Short-Term Missions (AV-STM). AV-STM was founded back in 2003 and sends out teams of Filipinos and Asians on short-term and mid-term mission trips in Southeast and Central Asia.

For 2013, we have been able to assist in a few ways:

  • Jehny has been able to do personality evaluations to assist members in self-understanding and team dynamics
  • Celia provided training in basic first aid and health issues while on mission.
  • Joyce provided training in conflict resolution
  • Our team provided First Aid kits and vitamins for the mission teams
  • If needed, we will provide post-trip debriefing

Bob will be teaching Missionary Member Care at Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary this May. It is our hope that we will gain greater competence in the myriad of challenges associated with missions work.

Those who commit to serve in a missions capacity are “too valuable to lose.” For information on AV-STM, Click Here

Missionary Member Care Class at PBTS (Baguio City)

A growing area of work at the center is Missionary Member Care, so we are excited to be able to teach a class on the topic at Philippine Theological Seminary. It is two weeks long (3 hours a day) from April 29 to May 10, as part of Summer Institute. Go to http://www.pbts.net.ph/ for more details or contact us and we’ll try our best to be helpful.
MI 377 – Missionary Member Care
Teacher: Dr. Robert H. Munson (Administrator at Bukal Life Care)
Description: The course is an intensive classroom-based training to introduce the participants to philosophy behind, and the principles of, missionary member care. The course will look at a broad range of concerns including, but not limited to, logistical, cultural, psycho-emotional, social, and spiritual concerns.