The Laureti family are staying a bit longer in their home country in order to better prepare themselves for the next term in Papua New Guinea. There are many different reasons for that and one of them is to help out Lourens’ parents. Another one of them has to do with stress. Some may say, “Christians do not stress and especially pastors or missionaries, because they all just cast their anxieties on Christ”. But the fact is that Christians and missionaries also get nervous, stressed out and anxious and they also cry and have burdens that they like to share, etc.
Lourens never thought he would have any problems with this until he moved into the hot and humid jungle environment. And without doubt those first years were by far the most stressful years of Lourens and Marie’s entire lives. They really tried to hide it because of their image of being “super heroes”. But they knew themselves well enough to know they were struggling. This quickly became evident due to the way they acted towards each other, within their family but also between co-workers. After about nine years on the field, Lourens and Marie thought they had learnt to handle these kind of situations but then furlough came up again which is not a paid holiday but actually can turn out to be a very stressful time for missionaries. And Lourens and Marie have found themselves struggling with some of the same issues all over again.
So Lourens did some research about stress and the average missionary’s stress levels. The first years are typically around four to five times more stressful than is safe to health. So, it’s clear that there is evidence for missionaries having to stay longer in their home countries in order to recuperate as they “accomplish” less and grow more tired each day. Apparently, missionaries can be a stressed-out bunch. Please remember to pray for missionaries.
Lourens and Marie are glad that they are aware of some of these issues but also know that they should not be using a stress scale as an excuse. Lourens has learned during these last months that their real problem is actually a heart issue. And he is not talking about high blood pressure but rather a sinful heart issue. Lourens and Marie are thus thankful that they can humble themselves under God’s mighty hand and cast their anxieties on Him, with the emphasis on the humble part, so that they can seek Him to see them restored into His image.
Lourens and Marie are thankful for those who pray for them and support them financially and for those who are building into their lives at this time of being back home in South Africa. Lourens and Marie feel they are doing much better. As Lourens looks around at other people in their home country, he can see that Christians in South Africa also have great challenges, more than he imagined, and he is humbled by their faith. Lourens and Marie see it as a great privilege to pray with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and help carry those burdens!

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