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Missionaries Are Real People: Surviving transitions, navigating relationships, overcoming burnout and depression, and finding joy in God.

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Are you struggling with real life issues but feel pressure to keep them inside because you are a missionary? Are you a family member or friend of a missionary who desires to better understand your loved one? Are you preparing to move overseas and want a more accurate picture of what to expect? Missionaries Are Real People takes an honest look at what life is really like Are you struggling with real life issues but feel pressure to keep them inside because you are a missionary? Are you a family member or friend of a missionary who desires to better understand your loved one? Are you preparing to move overseas and want a more accurate picture of what to expect? Missionaries Are Real People takes an honest look at what life is really like on the mission field. Ellen Rosenberger grapples with the real problems, needs, and emotions that missionaries experience. She brings to light the struggles that are not talked about but are very real. She writes openly about depression and burnout, exploring the difficulties of transitions and overcoming conflict. Ellen addresses abuse, struggles with faith, and grief. By talking about these normally overlooked issues, Missionaries Are Real People aims to bring clarity and healing to silent hurts. Maybe you are a missionary who longs for someone to understand your struggles and name your issues. You think, I can’t let anyone know I am struggling with this, especially because I’m a missionary! Perhaps you feel debilitated by the stereotype that “missionaries are perfect” as you are living in the reality of your own brokenness and imperfection. You might feel as though you cannot express the under-the-surface issues that you are facing on the mission field. Having grown up on the mission field and having spent most of her adult life there, Ellen knows what it’s like to have struggled to live under the pressure to be perfect. She’s felt the pain of hidden struggles and masked-over issues. And she’s experienced freedom and healing in being vulnerable about her imperfections as a missionary. This book is not about methodology or theory, but about real life stories and experiences. It’s about the multi-faceted dynamics of missionary relationships with all their joys and struggles. Missionaries Are Real People unveils the unspoken realities of missionary life. Not for the sake of shaming but for the purpose of restoring. The time is now to break down stereotypes, to speak up for what is really going on, and to seek solutions. Let’s not delay another day. There might be a missionary’s life that depends on it.


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Are you struggling with real life issues but feel pressure to keep them inside because you are a missionary? Are you a family member or friend of a missionary who desires to better understand your loved one? Are you preparing to move overseas and want a more accurate picture of what to expect? Missionaries Are Real People takes an honest look at what life is really like Are you struggling with real life issues but feel pressure to keep them inside because you are a missionary? Are you a family member or friend of a missionary who desires to better understand your loved one? Are you preparing to move overseas and want a more accurate picture of what to expect? Missionaries Are Real People takes an honest look at what life is really like on the mission field. Ellen Rosenberger grapples with the real problems, needs, and emotions that missionaries experience. She brings to light the struggles that are not talked about but are very real. She writes openly about depression and burnout, exploring the difficulties of transitions and overcoming conflict. Ellen addresses abuse, struggles with faith, and grief. By talking about these normally overlooked issues, Missionaries Are Real People aims to bring clarity and healing to silent hurts. Maybe you are a missionary who longs for someone to understand your struggles and name your issues. You think, I can’t let anyone know I am struggling with this, especially because I’m a missionary! Perhaps you feel debilitated by the stereotype that “missionaries are perfect” as you are living in the reality of your own brokenness and imperfection. You might feel as though you cannot express the under-the-surface issues that you are facing on the mission field. Having grown up on the mission field and having spent most of her adult life there, Ellen knows what it’s like to have struggled to live under the pressure to be perfect. She’s felt the pain of hidden struggles and masked-over issues. And she’s experienced freedom and healing in being vulnerable about her imperfections as a missionary. This book is not about methodology or theory, but about real life stories and experiences. It’s about the multi-faceted dynamics of missionary relationships with all their joys and struggles. Missionaries Are Real People unveils the unspoken realities of missionary life. Not for the sake of shaming but for the purpose of restoring. The time is now to break down stereotypes, to speak up for what is really going on, and to seek solutions. Let’s not delay another day. There might be a missionary’s life that depends on it.

30 review for Missionaries Are Real People: Surviving transitions, navigating relationships, overcoming burnout and depression, and finding joy in God.

  1. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    Hats off to a missionary mom with three young children who can pull off writing a book in 4 months. But not all self-published books have undergone the rigorous scrutiny that a published book demands. I am not even that much of a grammar nazi but the grammatical errors were glaring. One shouldn't have to read a book while bristling at the all the unclear sentences and incorrect grammar. As I read this advice-laden book for missionaries I couldn't help but wonder about her credentials. Yes, she i Hats off to a missionary mom with three young children who can pull off writing a book in 4 months. But not all self-published books have undergone the rigorous scrutiny that a published book demands. I am not even that much of a grammar nazi but the grammatical errors were glaring. One shouldn't have to read a book while bristling at the all the unclear sentences and incorrect grammar. As I read this advice-laden book for missionaries I couldn't help but wonder about her credentials. Yes, she is a missionary kid and yes, she has been on the field for eleven years, but that doesn't give you credibility to write a book of this nature. I would have loved to have read about her real experiences, even how she dealt with her serious bouts with depression because that needs to be talked about. But her treatment of her depression came off a bit hollow as it was just one of the many topics covered. Yes, you can write about missionary life with those credentials but this was like a missionary manual for those considering going to the field, those on the field and those who are close to missionaries. It lacked adequate organization and solid substantiation. Here are a few examples from the 28 pages that I bookmarked with unclear or undecipherable phrases: "Ask for prayer. You will need it more than ever during this time. And not only during this volatile time in your life, but from the start when you are preparing to move." Other than this being an obvious thing since no missionary to be would ever attempt this without a bunch of prayer partners, I struggled over the word, "volatile". That means something changeable and explosive. May be that could describe going to the mission field, but not likely. I disagreed with some of the advice she gave. She encouraged people who lived close to their passport country to go home for Christmas or the summer every year.... at least I think she did. One more unclear instance. She says, "If you are going to a country fairly close to your own, you may have an opportunity to go home...and this potentially only months after you have arrived on foreign solid. Don't underestimate what it will take for you to adjust to the changes in weather and a different way of life for only a few short weeks or months and then back again to the host country.... Now because of easy travel, those of us who are close proximity to the U.S. travel back more frequently...While this is a nice perk...a cultural transition still happens. However, all these little frequent adjustments throughout the years may in fact help a missionary stay connected to their home culture and experience less shock. One family I know went against the grain...and did not return the U.S. for three straight years. When they went back it was a big shock." Okay, missiologically speaking, this going back and forth continually, especially at first, is not advisable. And for the very reason she mentioned, that it helps the missionary stay connected to home culture, too connected. This very thing prevents one from bonding with their new home. Some mission agencies insist on waiting three or four years until the first visit home so that the heart attaches to those one has gone to serve. Any way the whole treatment left me wondering what she really wanted to say. Yes, realize their will be transitions but to say the more transitions you go through the better, is not true either. She was totally negative about fundraising. She did not even stop to consider that there is a positive side to this. In fact, if she is speaking to potential missionaries, she should have worked harder at finding a positive angle. She boldly said that no one likes to raise support. That is an unexamined statement. Raising support can be an incredibly rich time for all involved. This close contact with people is the basis for your prayer support and the opportunity to connect the field with the home churches. Even as a family this supplies occasions for lots of time together. With many hours on the road there is ample time to talk and experience the home culture collectively. She dismissed this issue too quickly. I found some of her perspectives shocking. She said some of her best friends from college turned out to be people from Indiana and Michigan. "How crazy is that?" she asks. "And yet I found in them deep joy, laughter, conversation, understanding..." Yikes. As if that would only happen to people who have lived abroad. How about this statement? "I'm not sure why some of my funnest moments have something to do with dangerous travel." How grating. I know the word "funnest" may be accepted in some arenas but I would hope that published books would hold to some understood grammar rules. Another grammatical irritation was her using numerals instead of writing out the number. She began a paragraph with the numeral "19". She really needed a tough editor to work with these issues and more that I didn't mention. I see a lot of good reviews so I am glad that many are finding her book helpful! I am sure I am hardest on my own kind as I am a missionary kid and a missionary on the field for over 20 years. I hope there will be a second edition with some smoother transitions, sub topic headings, clearer sentences and above all, correct grammar.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Janell R.

    This was a good, encouraging and thought provoking read! It’s written but a woman with a background very similar to my own as a third generation missionary (I say third generation because despite the fact that I’m not a married missionary with my husband, I have chosen to work in missions with my parents for the time being until the Lord shows me something different). It was refreshing to see written out many of the same thoughts and struggles I’ve experienced, yet I was challenged in many areas This was a good, encouraging and thought provoking read! It’s written but a woman with a background very similar to my own as a third generation missionary (I say third generation because despite the fact that I’m not a married missionary with my husband, I have chosen to work in missions with my parents for the time being until the Lord shows me something different). It was refreshing to see written out many of the same thoughts and struggles I’ve experienced, yet I was challenged in many areas that I hadn’t fully thought out in the past and it was good to be made aware of them. Perhaps all of the missions philosophies expressed weren’t those that we would necessarily adhere to but overall it was a book well worth reading and I’d recommend it to all who are either missionaries, interested in being missionaries and, not least, those who know, have close friendships with missionaries, or whose church is involved in missions (which should be all Biblical churches, I believe :-).

  3. 4 out of 5

    ov

    Wow!! After reading the book i can say that there is no better title that could have been given to this book. I am from south east Asia and as a person who is very much fascinated by the things that has been achieved by missionaries, this book was an eye opener and a good read, making it ever more so clear that how much more we should appreciate our missionaries. Personal, uninhibited, insightful and analytical depiction of missionary life. Its primarily for three types of perusers 1. People who Wow!! After reading the book i can say that there is no better title that could have been given to this book. I am from south east Asia and as a person who is very much fascinated by the things that has been achieved by missionaries, this book was an eye opener and a good read, making it ever more so clear that how much more we should appreciate our missionaries. Personal, uninhibited, insightful and analytical depiction of missionary life. Its primarily for three types of perusers 1. People who are missionaries, so that they can find motivation, solace and happiness to know that they are not alone in fighting their demons. 2. People who are waiting for "The call" to be missionaries, so that you will know what you are getting into. 3. People who are supporters of various causes, to cultivate that rare but noble character of empathy. I am of the opinion that this should be made a requisite read for the participants of short term missions. Finally, Thank you Ellen for having the patience, truth and courage to talk about not so fashionable things for the Glory on The One above.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    This book does a great job of making a case for the struggles missionaries face. I appreciated the brevity that allowed the author to cover a lot of territory without belaboring points that can vary widely with individual experience. I appreciated the depth she went into in the one section about depression...well after she had made a strong case for her expertise. Ellen is a gifted, clear communicator and the book is extremely well organized. I recommend this to anyone who wants a primer in what This book does a great job of making a case for the struggles missionaries face. I appreciated the brevity that allowed the author to cover a lot of territory without belaboring points that can vary widely with individual experience. I appreciated the depth she went into in the one section about depression...well after she had made a strong case for her expertise. Ellen is a gifted, clear communicator and the book is extremely well organized. I recommend this to anyone who wants a primer in what missionaries need and struggle with.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Degler

    Some great things for missionaries, churches, and supporters of missionaries to think about. As a missionary, I felt like parts were more relevant for my supporters or supporting churches to read, but there were many takeaways for me as well. I do wish Ellen had shared a bit more of the deep emotions and feelings related to being a TCK and missionary. Some things were skimmed over that I would have loved to process deeper. Overall, loved the book and hope to see another from the author!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Powerfully vulnerable It is something truly beautiful to feel a belonging and an understanding from another person. The life on the mission field can be so isolating and grieving. I grew up in Spain as an MK and now serve with my husband and family as a missionary in Africa. This book spoke to some deep places inside me. Ellen's transparency is a broken vessel that Christ can shine through beautifully. Powerfully vulnerable It is something truly beautiful to feel a belonging and an understanding from another person. The life on the mission field can be so isolating and grieving. I grew up in Spain as an MK and now serve with my husband and family as a missionary in Africa. This book spoke to some deep places inside me. Ellen's transparency is a broken vessel that Christ can shine through beautifully.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    This book is an encouraging and honest look at missionary life---the beautiful yet challenging dynamics of living cross culturally. From her experiences living overseas as a missionary kid, single missionary teacher, and now as a wife and mom, she insightfully tackles a host of issues such as depression, ministry, motherhood, friendship, transitions, and finances. This book would be a great help to anyone seeking to understand real life as a modern day missionary.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    What a great book! It discribes the highs and lows of missionary life with honesty.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Donna Partow

    A very needed book...that needed more work. This is the author’s first book and she has tackled important topics. What’s missing here are fascinating stories of real missionaries handling real issues in the trenches. I cannot recall even one compelling tale, which is hard to believe since the author has lived an inherently fascinating life as an Mk and now a missionary herself Instead, this reads more like an opinion piece or newspaper editorial. As a fellow missionary, I strongly disagreed with A very needed book...that needed more work. This is the author’s first book and she has tackled important topics. What’s missing here are fascinating stories of real missionaries handling real issues in the trenches. I cannot recall even one compelling tale, which is hard to believe since the author has lived an inherently fascinating life as an Mk and now a missionary herself Instead, this reads more like an opinion piece or newspaper editorial. As a fellow missionary, I strongly disagreed with some of her views. In particular, the basis of her attack on Bob Pierce (founder of World Vision) is not biblical but cultural. Jesus said “leave everything” and real missionaries beginning with St Paul obeyed that command. It’s a uniquely 1950s North American ethic that says “Put the Great Commission on the back burner and coddle your kids until they are 18.”

  10. 5 out of 5

    S. W. Jack

    A must read (listen) for anyone involved with missions or ex-pats ! This was recommended by a long-term missionary friend. Ellen speaks TRUTH in a gentle & easy conversational style. As a repeat short-term missioner, this book gives insights into how to serve your long-term host (both on the field and while at home). It helps by frankly talking through some of the challenges long-termers face and how to help without hurting. READ THIS BOOK & then share it with friends ! Be a blessing.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    I enjoyed reading this one. Sure, I know that missionaries are "real" people, but I really appreciated seeing life from the point of view of a missionary in the modern era. The chapter on short-term missions was very eye-opening and thought-provoking. Overall, I really appreciated the author's openness and honesty. I enjoyed reading this one. Sure, I know that missionaries are "real" people, but I really appreciated seeing life from the point of view of a missionary in the modern era. The chapter on short-term missions was very eye-opening and thought-provoking. Overall, I really appreciated the author's openness and honesty.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Jones

    Totally nailed several topics! This book was good from beginning to end but in some places it was just flat out excellent. Well written and easy to follow, the first three parts were very applicable and inciteful. Good stuff

  13. 4 out of 5

    Megan Smith

    This was a really quick read. It was a very basic book, outlining the modern missionary. It was clearly self published but it did have a lot of truth and heart behind it. I don’t think it added anything to my understanding of missionary life having been on the field but it could be useful to some.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kristi Thomas

    Great basic overview of some of the challenges of missionary life. I appreciated some of the topics she brought up and her thoughts regarding them. Easy to read, and a great first book for those with an interest in missions, or on the field looking for encouragement.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brandi McPeak

    Yes!! A definite must read for missionaries and sending organizations. touches on the realness of mission field life and dynamics at all facets..but in a very simplistic easy to understand way.. things not talked about ... definitely recommend

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amy E Patton

    Great resource for missionaries Very well written and thorough look at life on the mission field. Ellen covers topics, such as mental health, that many books on missions leave out. An excellent tool, and a remind that what you are experiencing is normal! Highly recommend!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Angela Weldy

    A good first book A little stiff at the beginning but lots of good information and encouragement. Keep reading to the end of this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I appreciated her perspectives, especially once she settled in later in the book. Pretty poorly edited though.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Natasha Brown

    I enjoyed this book. As a new cross cultural missionary, I found this book to be really helpful in helping me process and understand some of my own experiences and thoughts. Thank you!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cssekar Uspl

    Hi I m very happy to read this book.its was very much interesting and nice story I like this book v

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tina Zielke

    It's a good book to give some skim the surface info to those interested in full time international missions. But it just touched on things that many other books go much further in depth. It's a good book to give some skim the surface info to those interested in full time international missions. But it just touched on things that many other books go much further in depth.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    very good prep book for missionaries of any duration or for loved ones of missionaries to understand our struggles. will recommend to my church, agency and friends!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Harding

  24. 5 out of 5

    A Nelson

  25. 4 out of 5

    Charles Tidwell

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eliezer

  27. 4 out of 5

    Debra

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marcelo Barbosa

  29. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ri

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