“How Are You Getting Along with Your Co-Workers?” — Questions You Can Ask a Missionary, Part 8
Our friends (and fellow missionaries) Keith and Lori Doster recently linked to an article about stressors that missionaries face. The original article is called 12 Questions You Can Ask a Missionary to Help Them Stay on the Field. Missionaries are not unique to these stressors; however, they do face them in situations where they often feel vulnerable and lonely.
If you know any missionaries, I encourage you to support and encourage them by asking one or more of these questions (but not all 12 at once!). For the sake of our friends, supports, and blog-readers, I wanted to proactively answer these questions over the next few months. (Of course, feel free to ask us these questions personally.)
Question 8: “How are you getting along with your co-workers?”
Short answer: Great.
Of course, you can never really know what someone thinks behind your back, but I guess everyone else could say the same about me, right? So, putting aside my paranoia, I’ll remain confident that my co-workers like me. We really do all get along wonderfully.
Who Are My Co-Workers?
As you may know, I have two official paid jobs in Allendale:
- I work for USC-Salkehatchie Leadership Institute as a STEM Workforce Development Coordinator. With this part-time job, I have lots of flexibility, as I seek to help children get and stay interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
- I also work for Allendale County School District as an Assistant Football Coach (wide receivers and defensive backs). The small, end-of-year stipend is a nice bonus, but none of us do this for the money.
I only have a few co-workers at Salk. One of them ribs me that I never sit down to chat. It’s true; I’m usually in my office working on my sloooooowwwwww computer, or I’m out in the schools or other meetings. But with a small team atmosphere, we have lots of teamwork and mutual support.
I’m amazed and encouraged by how my fellow coaches have accepted me and welcomed me to be a part of the coaching staff. There is no doubt that I am the “odd one out.” I come from a different background than most of them, and do many things differently. But they put up with my quirks and idiosyncrasies, and they’ve helped me become a better coach.
And they’ve also become my friends. Which is really cool, because outside of coaching, I would have never thought to hang out with these men. So, not only has coaching football helped me connect with teenage boys in Allendale, but it has allowed me to connect with some talented, funny, inspiring, and caring men.
If you want pray for anything regarding my work relationships, pray that I would be a better worker in my jobs and a better friend to my co-workers.
My Favorite Co-Worker
Although I love most of this list of missionary questions, I find it odd that it doesn’t include any questions about one’s marriage. Since Joanna and I are partners and co-laborers, this is the most important work/ministry relationship I have. If our marriage is not going well, neither will our ministry go well.
So, to answer this unasked question, yes, Joanna and I are doing well. We don’t have nearly as many date nights as we used to have. And I let us get caught up in routines too much, instead of regularly leading us to have meaningful conversations. And if you think the coaches have to put up with my quirks, you can imagine what my wife has to!
But at the least, we are on the same page and of the same mindset. We are glad to be serving together. Though we are far from perfect, we hope our marriage can be a model to others of how much Jesus loves His bride, the church. We love the reaction from Allendale kids when we tell them that we’ve been married for almost 14 years, or that we did NOT live together before we were married. We hope it shows them a picture of what their future relationships should look like.
Edit: You can also read about my relationship with my leadership.
- Life Lessons Through Football
- Friday Night Lights . . . Are Off
- My Much Better Half
- Celebrating the Past Year (August 2013)
**image courtesy of Colin_K via fotopedia