About Jonathan

Jonathan Trotter

Hello and Welcome!

I’m Jonathan and it’s a pleasure to meet you.

Since 2014, I have had the privilege of walking alongside of hundreds of people from (or serving in) dozens of countries. I’ve heard their many and varied stories, and I’ve aimed to faithfully hold those stories and gently walk with folks towards emotional healing and deeper relational well-being.

In Genesis, the angel of the Lord found Hagar, alone and scared, and asked two questions. He said, “Where have you come from and where are you going?” When I meet with folks, I try to ask these two questions as well.

First, what’s your story? Where have you come from and how has that shaped things for you? What’s your story? Second, where are you going? What are your hopes and dreams and plans? What is it you’re afraid of?

As the header suggests, my goal here at Seeing the Hearts of the Hurting is to provide “Pastoral care and empathetic coaching for marriages, missions, and life in the mud.”


Pastoral Care
My wife and I have been involved in local church ministry, in one form or another, since 2000. Before moving abroad, I was a youth and worship minister for about ten years. While we lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (2012-2020) I served as an associate pastor at an international church with folks from over thirty nations.

Empathetic Coaching
Since 2014, I’ve met with over 150 individual clients for various lengths of time. Clients have brought a wide range of painful stories or destructive habits or relational issues. It has been my absolute privilege to walk alongside of them towards healing and wholeness.

I’ve led trainings, seminars, or coaching sessions in China, Thailand, the Czech Republic, Italy, Cambodia, Laos, the US, and Myanmar.

For Marriages
Since 2014, I’ve had the privilege of meeting with over 60 couples who were trying to overcome unhealthy patterns in their relationship, boost communication, improve their sex life, prepare for married life, and more. I am trained to administer the Prepare/Enrich relationship assessment.

For Missions
From 2012 to 2020, my family and I lived and worked in Cambodia, in Southeast Asia. I continue to help lead the collaborative site, A Life Overseas, and I’ve contributed articles to the IMB, and Velvet Ashes.

In 2019, Elizabeth and I published a 400+ page “field guide” called Serving Well: Help for the Wannabe, Newbie, or Weary Cross-cultural Christian Worker.

We currently serve cross-cultural Christian workers through Team Expansion, a non-denominational church planting ministry.

For Life in the Mud
Life is hard. People are confusing. Ministry is exhausting. Burnout is real.

Over the years, I’ve met with many people who were walking through deep grief and loss, unresolved anger, unmanageable stress, family conflict, unhealthy habits, dysfunctional teams, and more.

I write monthly for A Life Overseas.

I’ve also written for…


Some of my musings have been mentioned/discussed in…


This song was our family theme song for 2009.  It’s based on Psalm 63:6-8.  God really used this Psalm to propel us into cross-cultural missions, asking us to Follow Close.  This version was recorded in 2010 in Phnom Penh in our friends’ backyard.  Here are the lyrics:

I lie awake thinking of you, Meditating on you through the night.  Chorus: I follow close behind you.  Your strong right hand holds. (repeat)  I sing for joy in the shadow of your protecting wings.  I think how much you’ve helped me, and because of this I’ll sing.  Chorus.  Holy, Holy, Holy.  I lie awake thinking of you, Meditating on you through the night.

7 thoughts on “About Jonathan

  1. Jonathan…loved the song. I love your passion for Jesus. It’s so evident in the song and all over your blog. It has been a blessing for me to read what you and Elizabeth have shared! May you continue to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” I will be praying for you and your family. I hope we can catch you next time you are in Searcy!

    • Thanks so much, Nick! I would definitely love to connect next time we’re around Searcy. And I know Africa’s your thing, but if you ever find yourself over here in SE Asia, give us a holler. : )

  2. Jonathan,
    I am a lawyer working in a mid-sized city in Washington state. And I married a lawyer too. My wife and I have three kids and have rather ordinary lives. I just read some of your posts, and they gave me some reassurance that what I’m doing with my career (representing CPS in child abuse/neglect cases) has some meaning in this world — even though I feel the tug of missionary work from time to time. Thank you.


    • Whoa! I’m late to the game here. So sorry! I’m so glad some of these musings have been helpful and encouraging to you and your CPS work. And yeah, that’s such vital work! Thanks for stopping by…

      — Jonathan

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