Living under this is hard. Awkward. Awful. Bewildering. Confusing. Depressing. (ha, I could likely finish the alphabet with descriptions!) It is just hard. We've got to heal from year of intense stress and several, several traumas at the same time as healing from an awful shock/betrayal of our immediate leadership. Besides healing from all that, we have to dance the tune our leadership who barely knows us wants us to dance - getting help they think we need although they never sat down with us ever to listen to what we need.
It is just a lot to deal with. We've found some paths through it perhaps. We're trying. But we have to report every two weeks to "Harry" that we have done what he wants us to do, and even that communication brings about two nights of troubled sleep. His letters verge on threats and bullying. We've been tense and nervous with him hanging over us.
But we had to connect with our home church. Hard to get a read on what they were thinking... hard because we've been through a pastor switch and are dealing with someone we don't know. Hard because Harry is telling us that they are behind the threats and if we do this or that or say this or that they will cut our support. So we've been tense. Hard for us to believe that people who have known us for 17 years would be that quick to dump us without ever hearing our side of the story. But Harry said it was that way..... so we were on edge....
Finally, this last week, our old pastor, thankfully still in the church phoned. And he didn't sound threatening and condemning. He asked how we were, and didn't tell us, "I don't believe you!" like Harry did. He agreed with our choice to get debriefing, something Harry reluctantly agreed to "allow", but told us it was not the help we needed, and we HAD to do the help HE thought we needed. Our home church pastor thought it was a good thing and supported it. We invited him to come, please, and visit us. He's a wise man, and intuitive man, and he will see us and know how we are. He likely will.
Please pray. Pray that he comes, and that he meets Harry and Tom, too, and sees and hears and senses what is going on, seeing this leadership for what it is, seeing how they write to and about us, seeing us. Pray that he comes and he supports us and defends us and gets us some breathing room from those attempting to bully us.
But after we talked to him, he sent us a letter. He said that it seems that we are operating out of fear, and to remember even though a team has placed expectations on us, we answer only to One. (Ah, if only he would tell Harry that... I think Harry thinks he has a direct line to God's will for our lives....). But what a relief... Because we are. We are operating out of fear. Fear of all these threats, of the constant working behind our backs, of hidden communication, and bullying, gag orders, and such like. In between dealing with that, we are attempting to get the help we need - debriefing, rest, trauma counseling, etc.
If only we had Tom, Dick, and Harry off our backs.... I think I would sit down and cry in sheer relief!
We will. One day. But we are trying to take a year sabbatical, and do it without losing our support base, and that means, sadly, that we have to dance to their tune until time proves our character and their actions.
We believe both will be shown in the light soon.
Keep praying. We're in a very difficult place, but doing better than ever before, even to be this much out of underneath that leadership. We're looking for new missions to serve with (we have many offers!), but want to take time to rest and heal before we really begin to look. As we look, we are most concerned with a few questions:
1. How good is their member care?
2. Do they have experience in very difficult situations and do they have an idea of how to respond after trauma?
Because we will continue, and unless there is some wonderful, surprising change, we are still going to be facing traumatic events and deaths regularly, and we need someone to have coffee with us and let us talk it out.... not ignore us and our pain and then blame us when we begin to show signs of stress.
If you feel like commenting, how does your mission do? Would you recommend it? Questions I have now as someone with experience are very different than the questions I had as a young "newbie". One day I may write my questions down so if you are new and looking for a mission to serve with, you know what to be asking and warning signs to be looking for.