When I was in Bible college one of my missions professors said something that NOW makes a lot of sense. I was talking to a friend the other day and she reminded me of the quote, which is:
"When you go to the mission field, expect all of your issues and unresolved gunk to rise to the top."---Dr. Elizabeth Lightbody
I remember hearing the quote and thinking "uggg! THAT sounds like fun." Now of course we all know I meant that in sarcasm.
But it's really true--it's why a missions agency with an accurate understanding of proper member care and a concern to keep it's workers on their fields of service for as long as the Lord wants them to is going to take the role of member care seriously.
I would have forgotten the quote completely, but when my friend mentioned it, I remembered and thought, "yeah I didn't like it when she said that in class--reacting to all of my own unresolved stuff."
So here is some practical insight for any perspective future cross cultural workers for the Kingdom of God.
Don't be surprised of you get to your assignment and find stuff rising to the top that you maybe even thought you had dealt with----and your life doesn't necessarily have to be filled with a "traumatic ugly past." But be willing for God to use your team members, your missions agency or others in the Body of Christ, whatever your case and situation is, to work on those areas and deal with them.
And YES----Missionaries DO have issues----and the glitz of "being on the mission field" is often over-portrayed--even in Bible colleges.
Do it for Jesus and Jesus alone--if you are doing it for any other reason but HIM---you will run into problems.