Missions and mental health resources from MissionaryCare.com and CrossCulturalWorkers.com. Ron & Bonnie Kotesky are retired member care consultants with Go International who provide member care for missionaries in their home, on the field, through orientation and debriefing events and over the Internet and radio.
Brochures in this series contain self-help information for missionaries. Each brochure emphasizes practical things missionaries may do for specific problems in the absence of professional help.
Ideally, one ought to consult a medical professional before making any lifestyle change to ensure that the change will not be detrimental to existing conditions or treatments. However, some Christian workers have limited access to mental health professionals.
Christians are not immune to emotional disorders, such as depression. Although a clinical term that is not used in the Bible, depression appears to have been relatively common among early leaders of God’s people.
Early church musicians who wrote Psalms 69, 88, and 102 expressed the despair of depression in the context of hope. Moses, a leader of God’s people and well-known author, asked God to put him to death because he could not carry the burden of the people God had asked him to lead (Numbers 11). Jonah, a successful early cross-cultural missionary, also asked God to take his life when his anger resulted in a wish for death (Jonah 4). Elijah, a leader with the gift of prophecy, fell into the depths of depression. He prayed to die immediately after intense spiritual warfare and a great victory over the forces of evil (1 Kings 19). Therefore, even those actively involved in ministry can become depressed.