After twenty-two years in Africa seeing some horrendous stuff working with some of the most wonderful people in the world, a South African coworker, Dave, looked me in the eye and said, “Don, you are finished here. You are burned out buddy. You are worn out, grounded down, and empty. Go back home to the United States.”
Six months after our conversation, Dave, a younger man than me, dropped dead of a heart attack. This caught my attention. Convinced a change was needed to help me deal with my burn-out, we moved back “home.”
This forced me to abandon my dream of running our multimillion Rand Orphan’s Care Center we just finished constructing. Grudgingly, I spent the last eighteen months in South Africa building a board with South African professionals across the color spectrum to oversee the Care Center.
After much work developing and meeting all the legal requirements of South Africa, I turned over twenty-two years of work and ministry to South Africans. Looking back over my past nine years in the United States, I can say this. It was the best thing I could have ever done!
The Care Center is now staff by fifty-three professionals providing training and care for women and children in Northern Natal, South Africa!
But, my return to the United States along with the pressures of the American Pastorate did not improve my condition and disposition. In my private world, “burnout” reached new lows. Debilitating better described my condition.
After several years of pastoring I reached out to a pastor friend. Randy, saw my struggles, and offered his church to pay for specialized counseling. After eight hours of counseling, I learned I suffered with PTSD. I needed help beyond my Bible reading and prayer. Twenty-two years of traumatic experiences in South Africa took their toll. Unaware of the effects of “trauma,” I kept many events within myself to exist in my private world.
A year of counselling taught me to manage my PTSD. I began to return not only to my old self, but my new self! I thought, “Wow! If I’d had this help while I was on the field, perhaps I might still be there today.”
Serving cross-culturally in another country presents unique challenges, problems, stresses, and dangers. We’ve been there! God calls us now to help other missionaries through coaching and care so they can serve longer and stronger.
Numerous missionaries share their need for help in marriage, personal life, and finances. Conflict between missionaries is common and a major hindrance to the Gospel. Missionaries are extraordinary people who often experience high levels of stress, conflict, and danger.
Kathy and I are uniquely prepared to help missionaries struggling on the field. As we answer God’s calling for missions once again, we ask for your prayer and financial assistance. As missionaries of the Baptist Bible Fellowship International we, like all our missionaries, raise funds to support ourselves and ministry. Please prayerfully consider supporting Don & Kathy Mingo!