It’s been a crazy week in the news for many in the U.S. Surprises, paradoxes, disasters and pending disasters—very similar to everyday life for many of the missionaries with whom you partner. Challenges are always easier to face when resources are available. That’s why we sift through hundreds of books, blog posts, and other online articles that might equip you to care well for the global workers in your life. Here’s the latest fruit of our search.
Speaking of curating resources—here’s the latest list from Shepherd’s Staff of articles related to missionary care. Thank you Bryon Mondok.
Want to help your missionary friends gain confidence and reach significant milestones? You might want to consider learning how to coach. Keith Webb offers a proven model that “isn’t about providing answers, it’s about asking though-provoking questions.” Isn’t that exactly what you’d like to do? Check out this overview of Keith’s approach.
The best thing you can do to help your missionary friends stay spiritually healthy is to maintain your own spiritual health. This resource can help you do that. Come Home, My Soul: 31 Days of Praying the Living Word, by Stephen Macchia, can inspire your soul as it satisfies your heart. Pick up a copy here. And while you’re at it, pick up a few extras to give to those global workers you love. Why not suggest that you go through it together?
One of the ways in which you keep yourself spiritually vibrant is by spending time with Jesus. Scott Shaum reminds us of our need to routinely engage with the Living Word as well as the Written Word. Might be something you’d like to pass on to your friends on the mission field.
Missionaries can become lonely and discouraged. Really. This piece by Scott Sauls looks at the life of a pastor, but you can learn much from it in regard to global workers.
Finding purpose and satisfaction and hope in work that appears anticlimactic can seem impossible.
How would you come alongside a missionary who is feeling these things? Do you know anyone who would benefit from reading this?
This advice is helpful for us as well as for those for whom we care. It is vital that we invest in our own health and growth if we are to have anything to offer others.
Make conscious space to enjoy your own company.
Dr. Rachel Cason asks, “How much time have you invested in your relationship with You today?”
LIFE ON THE FIELD
Resilience. It’s a key concept in missionary care. Now you can play a key role in helping a missionary cultivate resilience. Just sponsor them for the Sustainable Resilience online course offered by the folks at CIT. The value of such an investment would be hard to beat.
How does one grieve the loss of a friend from thousands of miles away? How does a missionary honor their memory when they cannot attend the funeral? In the words of Theresa Bloom, it’s a strange dance.
This cross-cultural dance I’m in is one that I just can’t quite seem to figure out.
Not only will this post help you understand what your missionary friends have to deal with, it could be just what they need to read as well. Pass it around.
A huge part of being able to persevere on the mission field is knowing how to adequately care for oneself. And it is impossible to do that without addressing the question, ‘What does my soul long to do?’ In this post Barbie Perks muses on what for her are four key aspects of a healthy soul. As one who provides care for missionaries, you should ask yourself this question, and you should ponder the answers. Then you can share it with those you love out there at the ends of the earth.
Missionary work requires outgoing, up-front people, true? Not really—but much of the expectations placed on missionaries supports this myth.
Living in community and sharing in the paradox of life as foreigners can be painfully, unequally stacked against the introvert.
Jerry Jones, the most entertaining expert on all things expat that I know, tackles this touchy topic in this post. You really need to digest this, and you really need to forward it to any introvert global workers you know.
How important is silence to spiritual growth? How difficult is it to achieve—especially on the mission field?
Quiet is a think tank of the soul.
Amy Young encourages us all to pursue silence in spite of the challenges, internal or external. Her thoughts in this post will help you.
Many of us may think that life on the mission field is one long series of challenges punctuated by moments of incredible breakthrough. Reality is often very different, and reality can be boring.
Our feet are readied for the big moments by the small, ordinary practice sessions.
Maria Mullet muses on the mundane which is such a huge part of most missionaries’ lives. Remember this as you pray for the ones you know.
God designed our souls to respond to beauty. But sometimes beauty is hard to spot on the mission field. This global worker, who serves in central Asia, shares how she has learned to find beauty in a desolate place. Know anyone working under similar circumstances? You know what to do…
Pre-field support raising is a soul-stretching experience for many global workers.
The time when missionaries learn they are much worse humans than they ever thought possible.
Stephie takes an honest look at what she regrets about the way she went about it. Her experience, and her admonitions, might be useful to someone you know who is trying to raise support.
An entire web site dedicated to fundraising letter templates? Yes, please! They are all free. Surely there is something here that your missionary friend would find useful.
Do you provide care for MKs and TCKs? Would you like to? Interaction International will be hosting a training seminar November 17-20 in Muskegon, MI. You may want to look into this.
This looks like a phenomenal opportunity to gain an overall education in missionary care. Frontiers will be conducting a five-day conference next April called CareCon, “designed for pastors, church staff, family members, ministry partners, and anyone who wants to support global workers.” I want to go!
“The number one felt need among missionaries and global workers, is to be back in community with others who understand them.” With that in mind, the folks at Intermissionary will be hosting The Gathering, a weekend retreat to be held in Nashville, TN. Check it out. Know anyone you can sponsor?
Well, it’s too late to register for PTM. But maybe you’d be interested in this alternative: CareGivers Forum, to be held October 27-30 at Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina. Join a wide spectrum of practitioners to interact, network, encourage each other, and develop your skills.
Are you concerned about friends who will be working in high-risk areas of the world? This security training may help you be more at peace. November 18-20, in San Diego, CA. Could you maybe sponsor someone to attend?
Want to sharpen your interpersonal skills? Well, there’s a workshop by that very name, and the folks at Alongside will be hosting one October 27-November 1, in Richland, Michigan. More information is available through this link.
Who do you know working in Europe or South America? Who would you like to bless beyond belief with the gift of retreat? The folks at Thrive know how to provide spiritual, motional, and physical care to field workers, and there are three upcoming retreats you should know about: one in Estonia, in October one in Croatia, in February of 2020; and one in Brazil, in April of 2020. You could pay someone’s way. Or—check this out: You could be a volunteer at one of these retreats and bless many people! Get the details here.
Coming up October 20-25: ABIDE, from Train International. “ABIDE is a six-day debriefing retreat that provides time and space to process your experiences, be refreshed and renewed, connect with other cross-cultural workers, and prepare for a healthy transition.”
Burnout is much too common among cross-cultural workers. The stakes are high in mission work, and the laborers are scant. That is a perfect recipe for burnout. According to the Berkley professor who pioneered the term ‘burnout,’ there are six factors that contribute to it.
We’ve all been fairly warned of the increasing prevalence and consequences of burnout, but actively preventing it isn’t easy.
Ponder this piece carefully. How will you know if these factors are present in the life of your missionary friend? And what would you do about it if they were?
So…this is getting a bit long. I better leave some for next week. Hope you can make good use of these carefully curated resources.
New on my bookshelf:
- No More Dragons, by Jim Burgen
What I’m reading this week:
- Serving Well, by Elizabeth & Jonathan Trotter
- Desiring the Kingdom, by James K.A. Smith
Recently finished reading:
- Getting Started: Making the most of your first year in cross-cultural service, by Amy Young
- Formed for the Glory of God, by Kyle Strobel
- Searching for God Knows What, by Donald Miller