08 November 2017

My trip to Cape Town, South Africa: Christian Hospitality Network Missionary Get-Away

Paul Cowell (1941-2016)

Since 2002 the Christian Hospitality Network, founded by Paul Cowell, has hosted over 20 Missionary Get-Aways in 4- or 5-star hotels all around the world. Over 4,650 missionaries have been given four days of rest and regeneration near their fields of service.

A hospitality team from the U.S. including doctors, chiropractors, hair stylists, counselors, and a worship team pay their own way to take the message that these front line workers are appreciated and not forgotten by the body of Christ.

The mission of the Christian Hospitality Network is to give missionaries the rest, esteem, and honor they deserve. CHN GetAways not only keep missionaries refreshed and ready to continue their work, they also cover all the expenses.

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What I wish I’d known about missionary burnout
1. Stress is not something to be ignored
2. Treat myself
3. Inner healing is a priority
4. Listen to my body
5. I cannot meet every need or solve every problem
6. What I do is not who I am
7. Take myself less seriously
8. I need friends

The statistics are scary:
80% of missionaries burn out and don’t finish their term.
46% of missionaries have been diagnosed with a psychological issue.
87% of those diagnosed with a psychological issue suffer with depression.

[by Sarita Hartz, at www.saritahartz.com/what-i-wish-id-known-about-missionary-burnout/]

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Narramore Christian Foundation

Every year more than 5,000 U.S. missionaries leave their fields of service for preventable reasons like depression, marriage and family difficulties, unresolved interpersonal conflicts with team members and nationals, and inadequate spiritual and emotional support.



This was my second CNH Get-Away, having also attended one in Kenya in 2010. I loved it and was excited to attend this one in South Africa! There were 170 missionaries and children, with a hospitality team of 30 that came along to serve us.

The structure is simple, giving us a lot of time to do our own thing. We can explore the city, rest in our rooms, get acquainted with other attendees, or take advantage of the services provided by the team members. For instance, I saw a doctor about my recent injuries. We were also given many gifts, including a very nice piece of carry-on luggage for me. And we had a bountiful selection of delicious food at each breakfast and dinner. This picture is a small section of our breakfast buffet.

The gentleman in the red shirt was our speaker at one of the evening services. After speaking, he led all of us in praying for Jean, Paul's widow (also in red), that she would have the energy to continue this much needed ministry.

It was great to visit with several of the other missionaries and hear stories from their work in various parts of Africa.

Kathy, who works for CHN, and I met at the Get-Away in Kenya and have stayed in touch for the intervening six years. On the last day, we hopped on a Red Tour Bus and headed to the beach at Hout Bay for a stroll along the ocean. After that we had a delicious lunch of fresh fish at Mariner's Wharf.

After the Get-Away, I spent some time with friends that live in South Africa, who I know from my church in Nairobi. I spent a few days with Tina (orange vest) and her husband. On one of the days, she and I had lunch with Jonathan and Sandra, seated outside at Groot Constantia, the oldest wine estate in South Africa. It was lovely to see all of them again and pick up the conversation right where we left off a few years ago!


Grandma Mary said...

What a blessing! Glad you could go and "mingle".

Anonymous said...

The country is so full of beauty; I am so glad you got to go on this retreat.
Sharon R.