This is a topic that many missionaries are uncomfortable with. Many missionaries feel that there is an expectation for missionaries to be able to work at a continuous pace, unless on furlough. They feel accountable to their supporters to judiciously watch their spending, and not show any signs of frivolity or unnecessary spending.
Depending on the country the missionary is serving in, not resting or taking vacation days can be hard for the locals to understand. Some cultures are serious about their vacation and days off, and believe it is necessary for good health. When these locals observe a missionary never getting time off they may wonder about their health and express their concern.
In other cultures vacation is seen as superfluous and the locals work 15 hour days, six days a week. To these locals a missionary taking weeks of vacation may be very difficult for them to understand.
Then, there is the fact that, as a missionary you have a demanding job. If you live in a foreign country you are likely communicating many hours a day in a language you are not fluent in, and that in itself takes great mental effort. You are away from your creature comforts, family, and friends, and have to pace yourself.
The general consensus of experienced missionaries is that every missionary needs some time off on a regular basis. You must refresh. This doesn’t mean that you regularly need extended vacations, but you do need time to unplug from your work regularly. If your work is very busy, you may need to get away to a different location for a few days each year, minimum.
The amount of time you spend off, how much your vacations cost, and how regularly you take them will vary from missionary to missionary. But, one thing is certain; you must take some time off. Even Jesus had to get away from the crowds sometimes. If you do not take time to rest, relax and restore you will not last over the long haul. Problems will emerge in your health, personal life and ministry.
Some missionaries are uncomfortable talking with their supporters about taking days off. If you have questions about this you should speak to your organizations leadership to see how to present your needs and the needs of your family to your supporters.
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