“The Rest Initiative is offering a big missing piece in development work. I believe in what they are doing because I know what their help meant to me in Africa for a year and then reintegration back into Western culture. The need for staff care among development workers cannot be overstated. We need staff care in order to survive mentally more than six months in the field. After that a barrier rises that causes most people to shut down, dry up, or leave. More importantly, staff care honors the God-formed souls that serve the vulnerable and hurting.”
IJM Legal Fellow

“Let’s face it. The transition from one culture to another is downright terrifying. It’s much like a those people in a circus who fly in the air, releasing one trapeze and hoping someone will meet them in the air on the other side. When life got rough abroad, (TRI) was that person for me. I found it difficult to quickly establish friendships with depth and that’s just what I needed to process the curve balls in living abroad. (TRI) graciously met me on the other side; he met me with compassion, understanding, and truth — just what I needed to transition well.”
IJM Aftercare Fellow

“Most always, experiences are double-sided like a coin. One side entails the experience itself with all the people you met, how you lived, what you witnessed, and personal transformation. The other side represents integrating your entire experience into home where the only common factor from one side to the other is personal transformation. Not only did (TRI) help me acculturate to my new “home” abroad, they understood the dissonance I encountered at home when sharing with my closest family and friends. Instead of shutting down and assuming people would never understand, they helped me not to be given to bitterness and instead, to meet people where they were by sharing about my time abroad even though most people could not relate on a personal level.”
International Aid Worker

“Every individual needs a safe place in relationship with another person in order to grow and thrive personally and professionally.  In fact, I believe that no one can grow or heal emotionally, spiritually or professionally outside the context community.  Therefore, I believe that staff care is a necessity for our internationally based staff to grow and thrive.

Good staff care has a two-fold purpose: to create well being among staff and improve the quality of their work.  Well being and productivity are influenced by external and internal factors.  Often times in an overseas context, many of the external factors cannot be controlled, yet the individual must learn to adapt.  Culture shock is one example of an external influence that most international staff experience and often find it hard to talk about and work through.  The emotional impact of culture shock is an example of an internal factor; a person’s emotional and spiritual health and well being, which are often left unattended, as a person in a new culture are simply trying to survive.  Many times a person feels lost, unable to explore and identify the hurdles that impact their day to day emotional and spiritual heath and well being, therefore causing a downward spiral in the direction of despair and poor quality of work.  It takes a community or a team to keep each other afloat in an international context; this is why good staff care is imperative.  Staff care needs to take place prior to leaving for an overseas assignment, during the assignment, and then following a person’s return home. Providing good staff care in an investment in the whole person, not just for the assignment at hand, but for their long term health and productivity.”
Dr. Nancy A. Johnson, EdD, LMHC