Casual Autumnal Friday

Nov 9, 2018 | Blog, Casual Friday

Thanksgiving day is not far away. I am thankful for everyone who cares enough about the wellbeing of missionaries to avail themselves of resources like these each week. And I’m quite certain there are many, many missionaries out there who are thankful for them as well.



Is it possible to talk too much about the need for sleep? I thinking not—at least until we start to get the message and do something about what the CDC has labeled a public health epidemic. Life on the mission field can provide all kinds of excuses for bad habits. Insufficient sleep affects every aspect of a missionary’s health and, as a result, their ministry. Maintaining adequate sleep habits is one of the easiest ways to contribute to the well-being of global workers—and yet one of the most neglected. Encourage your friends on the field to read this article. Exhort them to do something about it.


What would change if you worked with a coach? That’s the question that Beth Eckstein, missionary in Taiwan, answers in this post. Not only should you consider sharing this with your missionary friends, you should think about whether you could be a coach for someone.


The first level of missionary care is self-care. Routine spiritual check-ups, regularly-scheduled down time, habitual Sabbath and retreat cycles—all of these play an important role in maintaining good spiritual hygiene. Angela Blycker describes how that looks for her. Her thoughts are likely to be helpful to the global workers you know.


Hope. Everything depends on hope. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, scripture says. Ah, but hope realized…that’s a different story, as Maria Mullet discovered. Forward this article to anyone you know who might be struggling to keep going in their missionary work. Hope is available.




Returning to one’s sending country to begin a new chapter in life can be daunting. Oftentimes missionaries are unsure of how to find their place, how to plug back in, how to find or what type of employment they should investigate. Career and Transition Coach Ruth Corlett talks about a tool that many will find helpful in such circumstances: the Natural Ability Assessment. Who do you know that would benefit from this?


Leaving the field—even for the best of reasons—can have a lingering effect of loss. M’Lynn Taylor understands that well, as she testifies in this post.

Every brush stroke in the masterpiece is there because the master painted it that way.

If you know someone who is still healing from such a loss, you might forward this to them.




Know anyone working in Southeast Asia that wants to learn more about missionary care? The Well International, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, will be hosting a three-day seminar entitled “Member Care in Creative Ways.” Learn more here.


Far too many missionaries are driven by shame, and many more suffer from its effect on their ministry. Potter’s Inn is sponsoring a one-day seminar by Dr. Curt Thompson, author of The Soul of Shame, January 25, in Colorado Springs. You may be interested in expanding your understanding of this topic and learning ways to deal with it.


The folks at Thrive have opened registration for their July, 2019 women’s retreat in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Who could you host for the exceptional deal? Want to volunteer to help at the retreat? There’s opportunity for that, too (scroll down a bit on the page).




One of the best ways to prevent missionary attrition is to help potential missionaries think through their motives. Amy Medina’s article can assist you in that process. Going for the wrong reasons will more than likely result in a painful experience and disillusionment.


Grief and loss are part and parcel of missionary life. Of course, everyone experiences them. But global workers deal with more than the average person. Sooner or later you are likely to find yourself coming alongside someone who is going through the pain of profound loss.

I wish we still practiced lament with sackcloth and ashes instead of putting on a brave face.

Grace P. Cho offers some very helpful thoughts on how you might do that effectively.


Roy Yanke talks about a situation that you may encounter: people who have been forced out of ministry. Though written in the context of pastors, it applies equally to missionaries.

Those who experience a forced exit take a minimum of 18 months to return to an active role, and 40% never return.

The experience can be traumatic, and if you ever do find yourself coming alongside someone going through this, Roy’s insights will provide you with understanding that will enhance your care for them.


Many global workers minister in honor-shame cultures. What do you know about such cultures? If you know a missionary working in such a context, the more you understand about honor-shame, patronage, and related topics, the more effectively you will be able to pray for them and encourage them. This collection of recorded messages from the recent Patronage Symposium would be a great place to start educating yourself.



Missionaries are not immune to mental health problems, or even to substance abuse. How do you know if the missionary you care about is suffering from these? Mental Health First Aid USA wants everyone to be equipped to recognize and respond to this challenge. (Note: This is in no way meant to be an alternative to professional help. But early detection can go a long way toward preventing the damage that comes from unaddressed issues.)


May God continue to enhance your effectiveness in caring for the sent-ones he has commissioned.


New on my bookshelf:

  • The Sacred Echo: Hearing God’s Voice in Every Area of Your Life, by Margaret Feinberg
  • Marching Off the Map: Inspire students to navigate a brand new world, by Tim Elmore
  • Sacred Pathways, by Gary Thomas
  • Moving from I to We, by Paul Ford
  • Knocking Over the Leadership Ladder, by Paul Ford
  • Dare to Lead, by Brene Brown
  • Coaching Financial Support Raiser in Ministry, by Jordan Smith
  • Arriving Well: Stories about Identity…, by Brubaker, Watts, and Cumberford
  • Invitation to Retreat, by Ruth Haley Barton
  • The MarketSpace, by Larry McCrary
  • Souvenirs of Solitude, by Brennan Manning

What I’m reading this week:

  • Dragging Baggage: A Guide for Those Struggling on the Mission Field, by Alice Young
  • Inspired: Slaying giants, walking on water, and loving the Bible again, by Rachel Evans
  • Formed for the Glory of God, by Kyle Strobel
  • Winston S. Churchill: World in Torment: 1916-1922, by Martin Gilbert

Recently finished reading:

  • Autumn: A Spiritual Biography, Schmidt & Felch, eds.
  • Under Our Skin: Getting Real about Race, by Benjamin Watson
  • The Garlic Ballads, by Mo Yan
  • Receiving Sent Ones During Re-entry, by Zach Bradley

Up next:

  • The Bible Tells Me So, by Peter Enns
  • Receiving Them Well, by Lisa Ennis & Lori Bryan
  • Desiring the Kingdom, by James K.A. Smith