Question: What have you been doing in the past year?
Answer: I’ve taught the gospel and provided trauma recovery training for 60 Lebanese and Egyptian nationals working with Syrian refugees. I travel to Beirut at least twice a year where I have conducted a seminar on domestic violence and sexual assault. I have trained 55 peer trauma debriefers throughout North Africa and the Middle East, and recently led a men’s retreat on the Camino de Santiago. Here, I invited struggling missionaries to receive in-depth care and direction, and to join me in walking part of the Camino (in Northern Spain). In general, I lead a crew of therapists, pastors, spiritual directors, and teachers. Our team, Selah, has ministered to hundreds of missionaries here in Malaga, where the missionaries live in holistic and, at times, life-transforming ways. Love this work!
Question: What surprised you about being a missionary?
Answer: Initially, it was extremely difficult to leave a well-paying job to live on support. We sold our home, used up all our savings getting to the field, and eventually surrendered any financial cushion we used to enjoy. Now, after 10 years of living on support, we live month-to-month, completely dependent on the donations of those God has chosen to support us … and it’s been a blessing, not a burden! We have seen God provide in marvelous ways. Our children have witnessed His faithfulness and goodness to us time and time again. Although I hate to admit it, this was a big surprise for me.
Question: What unforeseen struggles have you experienced?
Answer: At times I feel as though I have lost my identity. In the past, people knew me as a psychologist, missionary, trauma expert, strategic planner, or “Dr. Galloway,” and now I’m probably best known for talking like a six-year-old as I’m struggling to master the Spanish language. Also, I had no idea of how impatient I am and how much I, as an American, value efficiency – which has become readily apparent when I’m the only one fidgeting and exasperated in the line at the bank or the market.
Question: Have you encountered any demonic activity? If so, what did you do? How did you handle it?
Answer: I was working with a missionary who had witnessed the gruesome murder of one of the men he had been discipling. We were doing a three-day intensive, and by the second day I was exhausted and felt like we weren’t getting anywhere. I began to question whether I was of any use to this guy or anybody else for that matter, and wondered if I was just fooling people in thinking I could help anyone through counseling. I asked Amy to pray for me and suddenly, the thought came to me that this might be something other than psychological. As I talked with the Lord about it, it was like the fog lifted. Later, I told the missionary that I thought we were encountering some spiritual interference. We prayed together and eventually he confessed some internal vows he had made, renounced the demonic oppression, and things dramatically shifted both in him and in our interaction together. Before this, I had never encountered, nor directly dealt with, such obvious spiritual warfare. Since then, I have had many similar encounters. I am so grateful for our multidisciplinary team which includes spiritual directors and pastors from whom I continue to learn how to address missionaries holistically, not just psychologically.
Question: Tell of a time when God came through for you in an amazing way.
Answer: I’d have to say that this story about Sunridge stands out as one of the top! At the beginning of our whirlwind furlough, we were looking at a seemingly insurmountable financial need, the bulk of which was tuition for our girls to attend the international school here. Both Amy and I sensed the Lord asking us to step out in faith with the expectation that He would provide the answer to our schooling problem here in Spain. In fact, on the flight over, Amy turned to me and asked, “If we don’t get the money, what’s our Plan B?” to which I replied, “We have no Plan B.” This response was not due to my procrastination (which some might assume), but a deep sense that God wanted to do something remarkable for us, and for our girls. About halfway through our furlough, with very little progress made toward the girls’ tuition, we asked if we could make a presentation at Sunridge, the church we used to attend when we lived in California. We were hoping for a few more supporters and prayer partners at best. During our time there, we were asked to do a short Q & A time in front of the congregation. Near the end of our five-minute update, Pastor Greg Caruso said, “Well, we’d like to pray for you all as you go back to Spain but before we do, we want to tell you that we as a church are going to cover the tuition for all three of your girls for the coming year.” We were floored! As Greg began to pray over us, Amy let out a “WHAT!?” This was such an unexpected provision from the Lord. The surprise in this was not so much that God provided, but the WAY in which the Lord provided. All three of our girls were up on stage with us when the pastor made this announcement. They had been praying for this provision and were scared about the prospect of returning to the Spanish public school. Like us, they have experienced the hardships of living in a foreign land and the sense of being disconnected from friends and family, and at times, feeling forgotten. It wasn’t until after the service that I realized that Sunridge was the last church our girls attended in the U.S. – and from this day forward, they will never forget God’s overwhelming provision through this, their church back home. You can see a quick video of us in front of the church at this link: http://vimeo.com/46826771.