Posted by: macahajo | May 31, 2016

Stress, Cross-cultural living, and Jesus

The Holmes-Rahe Scale measures stress in people’s lives. A certain number of life events can build up the level of our stress until it gets dangerous. In the original study, they found that if you reached a level of 200 on the scale in a year, the cumulative stress would have consequences for some time to come.

In 1999, Drs Lois and Larry Dodds (of Heartstream Resources) studied the levels of stress of missionaries, using a modified version of the Holmes-Rahe Scale. The Dodds found that the average missionary’s stress levels for the first year are typically around 800-900, and the sustained stress levels of a cross cultural worker stays around 600. 


This has been such an amazing year. We have been so blessed and sensed God using us daily. Yet in the midst of such blessings, this year has been hard. Culturally, I am tired. Speaking French is taxing to me. Dealing with cultural conflict and assumptions has worn me out. Driving through the city is stressful and tiring. I sense I am ready for a break.

But in the midst of feeling my own weakness and limitations, God continues to faithfully encourage and bless me.

This past Saturday, I went to a school for the blind here in Yaounde. I entered a meeting room at the school and found Papa Pierre, a Hope Social Action volunteer, leading a Bible study for the young people there. Boys and girls, ages 5-20, were seated at school desks listening and answering questions. The lesson was about the dire consequences of sin, and how Jesus came to cleanse and forgive us for all of our sins.

As I listened to the lesson, I could sense the stress and weariness leave me, and the refreshing presence of the Holy Spirit encourage and bless me.

To top it all off, seven students gave their lives to Christ at the end of the Bible study! All I could do was thank God for letting me be present to see these new believers confess their need of Jesus.


Please be praying for me and Cathy. Cross cultural life is not easy. The stress and challenges of life will not go away. We will always be aliens and strangers here. Our earthly home is still thousands of miles from here, where many of you live.

But we are resolved to be here as long as God wills. We are resolved to set aside our comfort and ease, for the sake of more and more people being evangelized and discipled. Pray with us that God would use us as He wills, for the sake of His Kingdom. May we will grow more and more aware that our only true home is in Heaven.

In Christ, Mark


  1. Praying for you guys—often.



    Sheryl Gasser
    EFCA ReachGlobal
    Africa Division
    Field Base: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    Field Phone: +255 785 202 902
    Phone from USA: 616-878-4976
    Ministry website:
    Personal website:
    [ReachGlobal-Africa-RGB small]

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