In the spring we have several little sayings to aid us in describing the season. (In like a lion, out like a lamb, for instance.) We ought to have some for autumn, don’t you think. This season is so mercurial. Unpredictable in every way except its unpredictability. Sounds a lot like life on the mission field. All the more reason to be equipped with a wide variety of resources that will help us help others in any given situation.

Resources like these:

EQUIP YOURSELF

Thinking of visiting a missionary where they work? You might want to check these maps of dangerous countries. Political unrest, health risks, and more are rated.

If you spend any time at all with missionaries, sooner or later you ‘ll find yourself in a position to offer comfort in their grief. That is a skill that you can develop, and resources like The Book of Comforts: Genuine Encouragement for Hard Times can really help. It is currently on sale for half price (as of Thursday afternoon), so you might want to take a look and make a purchase. You could even buy several to share with your fellow missionary advocates.

PARTNERSHIP

Communicating with ministry partners is a vital aspect of missionary work. But it can be a waste of time (or worse) if not done appropriately. Amy Young, author of Enjoying Newsletters: How to Write Christian Communication People Want to Read, explains the right way to get the right information to the right people. Share this with your partners out there on the mission field—and pick up a few copies of Amy’s book to send as Christmas presents.

I’m tired of asking you for money. (How’s that for the opening line of a missionary prayer letter?) Erin Duplechin dares to say what so very many support-raising missionaries feel. Her honesty will give you many insights into what it’s like for global workers on support. How will you respond? How might you be able to take the edge off of the tension she describes?

LIFE ON THE FIELD

Grief is a gift from God that allows us to process our losses. What happens when it is outlawed? Jonathan Trotter addresses that issue in this article over at The Gottman Institute. Every one of your missionary friends needs to read this. And you need to think through how you respond to their losses so you don’t inadvertently outlaw their grief.

To everything there is a season…So said a very wise person a very long time ago. Many of us have been affected by our cultural expectations to be constantly adding more: more projects, more stuff, more everything. Except maybe that which we need most. K.C. Ireton reflects on lessons she learned while weeding her garden. When it comes to your own life, and the lives of those missionaries you care about, what necessary changes might come to mind as a result of her musings?

Ever hear of a 7-year itch? In ministry?? That’s when a field worker beings to fight boredom in their job. The major challenges of adjustment are behind them, and live settles into a routine. Amy Young (who went through an itchy period herself) explains more about it, and how “rusting” out can be as much of a threat as “burning” out.

TRANSITION

Adjusting to life on the mission field is compounded for couples. The dynamics of their relationship are affected in profound ways, as this piece in Eindhoven News highlights some of the major changes. (Look for the link to the previous article as well.) Besides boosting your prayers, you may want to share this with couples you know who will be going to the field in the near future.

Looking for some general information on furloughs and re-entry? The folks at Shepherd’s Staff have compiled a helpful list of links to articles on those subjects. You should have these on file.

MKs/TCKs

If there was one thing (just one) that you would want a TCK to know, what would that be? Recently Rachel Pieh Jones, mother to 3 TCKs, was asked that question. Here is her response. How does her response make you think about what your own might be?

EVENTS

It’s not too early to start thinking about re-entry programs for MKs—like Reboot. They have limited space for their program next summer, so early registration is encouraged. Who could you sponsor?

Debriefing is one of the best things a missionary can do for themselves while going through a transition. The folks at Barnabas, International will be hosting three opportunities in 2020. Interlude will be held in January, June, and July. Check here for more information. You may want to begin planning now to send your favorite missionary to one of these—your gift to them.

The 7th annual SE regional MK retreat, hosted by Compass Ministries, is scheduled for February 14-16. Register or get more information here.

Learn how to facilitate debriefing of children at differing developmental stages. The Kids In Family Member Care program (KnF CODAR) will accepting registrations for their December conference in Palmer Lake, Colorado. Having taken a condensed version of this, I can’t imagine a better training opportunity.

You might want to look into this soon for the m’s you know working in southeast Asia. Field Life will be hosting a Momentum Men’s Conference on Borneo in March of 2020. Looks like a great opportunity for you to bless someone with a soul-refreshing getaway.

A special getaway for a limited number of U.S. and Canadian women who live and work cross-culturally: Thrive retreat in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Now open for registration. Who could you send?

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!

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, emotional, 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.

As always, thank you for caring enough to stop by. And by the way—if you ever run across a resource that you think our readers should know about, please let me know in the comments section below.

New on my bookshelf:

  • The Voice of Jesus, by Gordon T. Smith
  • Managing Transitions: Making the most of change, by Wm and Susan Bridges

What I’m reading this week:

  • Mansions of the Heart: Exploring the seven stages of spiritual growth, by R. Thomas Ashbrook
  • Serving Well, by Elizabeth & Jonathan Trotter
  • Desiring the Kingdom, by James K.A. Smith

Recently finished reading:

  • Autumn: A spiritual biography of the season, Gay Schmidt, ed.
  • Souvenirs and Solitude, by Brennan Manning
  • Formed for the Glory of God, by Kyle Strobel

Up next:

  • Searching for God Knows What, by Donald Miller

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