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The role of AIM’s mobilisers is extremely varied. As well as seeking to share prayer information and opportunities to serve, a large part of a mobiliser’s role involves member care. As part of her commitment to caring for our missionaries on the field, last year Ruth Box, embarked on a trip to Kenya. During this trip, Ruth noticed the impact that technology has on member care. Here she discusses the pros and cons of using technology to keep in touch, and the things to consider as we seek to best support our missionaries.
Ruth Box, AIM’s mobiliser for Scotland, recently had the chance to visit RVA and Titchy Swot, AIM’s schools for missionary children in Kenya.
Daniel is also from Scotland and attends RVA. His mum (Katy) teaches at RVA and his dad (Peter) is principal of Titchy Swot. Find out more about the Wilsons.
Finding their feet
I’ve often heard it said that in ‘olden days’ missionaries would leave our shores with their belongings packed into their coffins, having said final farewells to their loved ones, knowing that they would probably never speak to one another again. How times have changed. With the advent of such technological marvels as Skype, Facetime and the now-humble telephone, today’s missionaries can have face to face conversations with family and friends anywhere in the world at any time of the day or night, as long as they have an internet connection.
However, whilst it is wonderful to be able to connect so tangibly with loved ones, I’ve also become aware of some of the downsides. During the first few months of settling into a new environment it is crucial that both missionaries and those back home work hard to help the missionary to settle into that new location. Whether serving as part of a Training in Ministry Outreach (TIMO) team or finding their feet on a more individual placement, our missionaries resolve to live fully in their new home, head and heart engaging in the African environment, which sometimes has to mean reducing the amount of time spent connecting to life back home.
Whilst I was away in Kenya I spoke frequently to my parents on Skype and wrote in my journal; “For me this contact is a lifeline, but for those who have to bring their hearts as well as their bodies to the field, technology might have to become less life support and more an occasional doctor’s appointment.”
Thriving & growing
Once this has been achieved, technology can be a treat, bringing joy and connection rather than becoming a trial that feeds homesickness and a longing for familiar people and places. Please pray for our missionaries adapting to life on the field, and for ourselves ‘back home’ too, that together we may be able to discern the best levels of contact and member care, to support our missionaries, and enable them to thrive and grow.