Calls for Papers

Failing Faithfully in Global Health Service: A Call for Papers

The picture of Christian Global Health workers’ history is painted with success, and viewed as transforming the world spiritually, socially, and physically. Undoubtedly God used these faithful servants to be his hands and feet to the poor and afflicted and improve the world. Great pioneers of the healthcare mission movement used their training to heal individuals and the multitudes, establish healthcare systems and educational institutions, advocate for justice, and at times even witness miracles all whilst teaching and transforming entire communities.  Basically, to be just like Jesus!  Some healthcare missionaries thrive on the field for full and rewarding careers.  They have learned the godly principles of engaging the realities of a deeply fallen world.  Many new healthcare missionaries expect to emulate these amazing feats.

But this is only half the story.  Since the beginning, healthcare missionaries have suffered, and many have failed to make progress in their mission goals.  When we do not understand our limitations, we can fall into the despair of unmet expectations and reversals of progress.  Such struggles may lead to high-level burnout, moral injury, family dysfunction, depression, early departure from service, and even loss of faith.  Few books or movies tell these stories, nor are they found in the scholarly literature. 

In this special issue we wish to highlight and analyse this reality of trauma, stress, and failure not to discourage the reader but so that we can learn from such evidence and bring a realistic expectation and Christlike approach to the global health service space.  We need to learn how to care for workers and minimise their trauma, to learn to identify stress and prevent catastrophe, learn from our mistakes, and promote sustainable service in areas of great need.  We need to learn how to love ourselves, each other, and God even when we cannot see him or the transformation promised.  We need to learn how to “fail faithfully,” understanding that our worth is found in our sovereign and loving God who treasures each life, including our own, and is still at work to reconcile all things (2 Cor 5:12).  Perhaps we need to send global health care workers out knowing that, even through our “failures,” God will succeed whether or not we see it this side of eternity.

We call for papers including but not limited to the following:

  • Commentaries on the ethical conflicts faced in cross-cultural service.
  • Case studies of moral dilemmas of working in countries where there are great needs, but also risks of supporting an unjust government regime.
  • Case reports of attrition and learning from failures in cross-cultural work.
  • Systematic literature reviews of moral injury in conflict-affected and low-resource settings.
  • Commentaries on the ethics and practice of agencies sending workers to high-risk areas.
  • Studies on member care by sending agencies for cross-cultural workers.
  • Case reports of dealing with catastrophic events and post-traumatic stress
  • Analysis of attrition of cross-cultural health workers. Aetiologies, prevention, and treatment.
  • Field reports of ethical dilemmas, risk mitigation, or resilience training.
  • Field reports and analysis of the impact on children and families of cross-cultural workers.
  • Commentaries on “de-colonizing” global health from a Christian perspective.

Deadline for submissions Feb 29, 2024


Fleming, W.H. (2023). The Moral Injury Experience Wheel: An Instrument for Identifying Moral Emotions and Conceptualizing the Mechanisms of Moral Injury. Journal of Religion and Health, 62, 194-227.

Paltzer, J., Ritchie, J., Lindberg, D., Toppe, M., Theisz, A., Van Brocklin, T. Moral injury among healthcare missionaries: a qualitative study. Christian Journal for Global Health, 10(2): __

Ritchie, J. V. (2017). Death in a Mission Hospital. Christian Journal for Global Health, 4(3), 53–59.

Ritchie, J. V., & Woods, P. (2022). Why are MedSend Grant Recipients Leaving the Mission Field? An Internal Review. Christian Journal for Global Health, 9(1), 117–121.

Ritchie, J., Toppe, M., Lindberg, D., Paltzer, J. Protecting against moral injury among healthcare missionaries. Christian Journal for Global Health, 10(2): ____

Strand, M. A., Chen, A. I., & Pinkston, L. M. (2016). Developing cross-cultural healthcare workers: content, process and mentoring. Christian Journal for Global Health, 3(1), 57–72.

Strand, M. A., Pinkston, L. M., Chen, A. I., & Richardson, J. W. (2015). Mental Health of Cross-Cultural Healthcare Missionaries. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 43(4), 283–293.

York, H. (2019). Understanding Treatment-Resistant Depression: A Missionary’s Autobiographical Case Report. Christian Journal for Global Health, 6(1), 43–50.

York, H. (2019). A Biblical Reflection on the Passion of Jesus Christ as it Relates to 20 Years of Treatment Resistant Ministerial Depression. Christian Journal for Global Health, 6(1), 51–58.

Ongoing submissions on other topics within the scope of the journal are always welcome.