Steve Fouch : 'Those already familiar with Marjory Foyle's seminal work on burnout and stress among mission personnel "Honourably Wounded", might have wondered where Marjory gained her insights and experiences. In "Can it be Me" she gives us further insight, but this time into her own story.
This brief autobiography opens up Marjory's remarkable story, from her childhood through to her conversion at medical school and her call to the mission field. She is open and frank about the heartaches, pressures, and frustrations she faced as well as the more positive and encouraging stories usually found in mission biographies. She candidly opens up about her own experiences of depression and burnout after two decades of service and how God opened up a new ministry, first in psychiatry and then in ministering to mission personnel with mental health problems.
At only 152 pages, this not a heavy tome, but in its straightforwardness and honesty offer hope and encouragement to anyone working in the mission field who is feeling stressed, unsupported or over worked. It is also a timely reminder that we are all human and frail, and that our mental health is as susceptible as our physical health to the challenges of ministering cross culturally.
Those who know Marjory or who have heard her speak will recognise her voice coming through these pages. Well illustrated throughout, the book also opens a small but fascinating window on how missionary culture has changed over the last half century.
I found this book very encouraging and eye opening, and would heartily recommend it to anyone involved with cross-cultural mission anywhere in the world.'
Debbie Hawker: 'Dr Marjory Foyle is well-known around the world as the author of ‘Honourably Wounded’, and as a pioneer in the field of member care (care for missionaries). ‘Can it be me?’ is her inspiring autobiography.
Foyle writes openly about her life, including her journey towards becoming a missionary despite her pastor’s reference which stated that she ‘should never be sent to India because [she was] a nervous person’ (p.22)! In retrospect, such a comment should make us all smile, as not only did Foyle spend over 30 years in fruitful missionary service as a doctor in India in Nepal, but since training in psychiatry she has also become a leading expert in how to make more accurate assessments of candidates than her pastor!
This book is fascinating on many levels. Historically, it paints a picture of life in missionary societies (and in society in general) from the 1940s onwards – including the long journeys by sea, which were part of early missionary life.
Foyle also provides useful insights into life as a missionary, which are as true today as they were fifty years ago. As few people now remain on the mission field for more than ten years, and attrition for stress-related reasons is an all too common problem, we might well ask how Foyle has managed to sustain her effective ministry for so long, despite some very difficult times which she describes honestly. This book provides some of the answers to her long-term effectiveness – including her strong faith and discovery that God can use us despite our weaknesses; her sense of humour (which shines throughout the book); her love for people of different cultures; her interest in life; strong relationships with family and friends; and her good self-care, including making time for walking and hobbies. She is a good model for missionaries to follow.
‘Can it be me?’ is easy to read, and difficult to put down. It will appeal to a wide range of readers. People who are not Christians have enjoyed reading it for its historical and cultural perspectives. Christians who are not involved with mission find it challenging and helpful for its general spiritual insights. And those of us who are already interested in mission (and especially with member care) will delight in learning from the wealth of lessons contained in these pages. Any reader who is wondering whether they might possibly be able to be involved with overseas mission might well be encouraged to conclude, ‘yes – with God’s help, it can be me too’!'