Vol 1 Description

The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places;

but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief,

it grows perhaps the greater. JRR Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
  Part One—Exploring Member Care in Mission/Aid
Staying sane—and alive—in unstable, crazy places is a serious challenge for mission/aid workers. In this section we’ll explore how the member care field helps workers manage such challenges. The topics include an historical overview, adjustment/research regarding workers, and future directions. We will look at how mission/aid personnel, like many of the people with whom they work, are exposed to malaria, land mines, natural disasters, debilitating relational conflicts, and the ongoing experience of human misery and poverty. We’ll examine how mission/aid workers and their sending groups must cooperate together in order to maintain a healthy work-life balance: adequate preparation, positive health behaviors, support for workers’ families, debriefing, crisis counseling, and training opportunities. We’ll review personal accounts by mission/aid workers from around the world. We'll also consider how best to practice member care in light of future realities, such as equipping member care workers with psychosocial/health skills to work in humanitarian emergencies.


Part Two—Promoting Health in Mission/Aid

Yesterday he prayed for me, today he preyed on me.” In this section we explore two important and overlooked areas for health in mission/aid. They are the role of human dysfunction (problems from significant weakness/wrongness, e.g., leadership abuse, psychological disorders, moral failure, harassment) and the role of discipline (correction to restore people/organizations which violate others e.g., independent reviews, counseling, recovery programs, remedial training, and dismissals). Further developing our capacity in these two areas is fundamental for safeguarding workers/senders and maintaining effective operations. We will look at five essential areas for personal/organizational health: interpersonal skills, conflict and discipline, grievances and whistle-blowing, organizational assessment, and human resources management. We also look at ways to upgrade friendships, /trust, and transparency as we review perspectives from Sirach, Francis of Assisi, and recent authors.


Part Three—Developing Guidelines in Mission/Aid
“I believe in discretion for sensitive matters, not confidentiality.” “We are too busy to deal with that difficult matter—others can do it.” “This mistake must not discredit us by coming into public view.” Member care is a broad field with a wide range of practitioners and perspectives on what is ethically permissible. As this field continues to grow, it is important to offer guidelines to further clarify and shape good practice. In this section we will explore several ethical principles and human rights commitments to upgrade the quality of the supportive care that we offer mission/aid staff. We consider five types of guidelines: member care worker commitments, sending group principles, ethical rationalizations, specific ethics codes, and human rights principles. Ethical care is a mentality, a practice, and a commitment, based on moral law.


Notes: Resources for Good Practice

“Go broadly and grow deeply.” Throughout each of the three Parts and especially in their final chapters, we provide materials for personal and professional growth. The materials include resources and readings plus opportunities for reflection and discussion.  These materials are a key feature and they come from diverse sources. They can help us to grow together as good practitioners who follow the Good Practitioner, Jesus Christ.


Photo/Image Credits:
Barriers w/o Borders ©2008 Deghati/IRIN
Doves in Snakes ©2006 Kelly O'Donnell
Shining Light on Rights and Wrongs © 2007Kelly O'Donnell 
Christ the Pantocrator (public domain)