Casual Dead of Winter Friday

Jan 25, 2019 | Blog, Casual Friday

So I think this article deserves to take precedence over everything else in this week’s edition of Casual Friday. Not every missionary works in a dangerous place. Not every missionary comes back broken beyond repair. But most do encounter danger and hardships of a sort do indeed break them.

What kind of support systems are in place?

As this writer so aptly points out, we senders have a huge responsibility toward the wellbeing of those we commission. Those with whom we say we are partnering. Those who are so very precious in the eyes of our Lord. How do you so this article affecting you and your church?



Amy Young is conducting a survey of global workers for an exciting new project she’s working on. If you could, would you help get the word out? It would be great if she were overwhelmed by responses.



The folks at Open Doors has compiled their world watch list for 2019: “the 50 countries where it’s most dangerous to follow Jesus.” Watch the video. Download the report. Pray and prepare with an informed perspective.



Gratitude is known to be a key component in maintaining a healthy life. It certainly is vital to thriving on the mission field. But sometimes it is all too easy to focus on what is missing rather than on what is available.

The long, hard fight for joy comes from eyes wide open for the ways that grace comes wrapped up in pair or brokenness.

Sarah Hilkemann reminds us to be looking in the right places.


Sleep—good sleep—is a necessity for the management of stress and prevention of burnout. Unfortunately getting it can be easier said than done. Dr. Susan Biali has put together this help set of questions to get to the bottom of poor sleep. Know anyone who would appreciate this?


God is our refuge amid troubling times. That is the core message of Psalm 46, and it has profound implications for global workers. Share this reminder with the sent ones you know.


When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Right? Well, how about when life on the mission field gives you a chicken? Read how Emily Raan handled that. Her experience is common enough that it will help you pray with greater empathy and understanding for the missionaries you know.



The stress of transition can throw global workers for a loop. Every aspect of their being—physical, emotional, spiritual—can be affected in negative ways, especially for mothers of young children. Lilly offers 10 suggestions for self-care during such times. Read this for your own growth in empathetic prayer; share it with your friends on the field.


Katherine wants you to know the seven ways reverse culture shock is like an invisible illness. You should know these for those times when you are part of a returning missionary’s life.


All transition involves loss, and loss often involves grief. While not all losses are equal, the effects should be acknowledged and dealt with in a healthy way.

Recognising what we have lost, and mourning it, helps us to continue in emotional health and be resilient.

Here is a helpful article from the Syzygy Missions Support Network on the many form of loss and the importance of mourning them properly.



What if you aren’t really excited about your child becoming a missionary? What if you really rather they did not? Lori McDaniel has some helpful advice that may ease your distress.




For those who might be going or sending people to the mission field as marketplace workers, long-term training will not likely be an option. The folks at Upstream Collective are offering a weekend training experience designed just for such a case. March 29-30, in Louisville, KY.


Radiant Life Retreats are small group debriefing and wellness experiences “specifically designed for those who have lived cross-culturally for a year or more.” Hosted by the folks at Excelling Leaders, the next event is scheduled for February 26-March 7 at Twin Pines Manor, Lancaster County, PA. Who might you sponsor to attend this event?


Le Ruche is offering two debriefing events this summer in northern Georgia. (You can also contact them to ask about custom dates.) It is designed for people who have served five or more years on the field.


Compass Ministries will be hosting the 6th Annual Southeast MK Retreat February 15-17 on Saint Simons Island, GA. Get more information and register here.


Abba’s Tree is a new adult debriefing program being offered three times this year. Early registration discounts are available before February 15 for the April 14-19 event. Hosted at the beautiful facilities of The Hideaway Inn in Black Forest, CO by veteran debriefers George and Connie Blake. Every missionary should receive a debriefing like this when they are back in the States. Who might you sponsor for that privilege?


The 6th Asia Member Care Network Conference will be held April 29-May 3 in Penang, Malaysia, and registration is now open. The theme this year is Member Care in an Age of Accelerated Change. A great opportunity in a beautiful location. Who could you take with you?


The ReBoot MK re-entry programs for 2019 are now open for registration. These are for Canadians and are hosted in Canada. Know anyone who might be interested?


Barnabas Zentrum has posted their schedule of debriefing opportunities for 2019, beginning in February. If you know anyone who is returning to the U.S. between now and then, you might want to direct them to this site. Early registration is advised. Maybe you could cover the cost for someone? While you’re visiting their site, check out the other services they offer to cross-cultural workers.


There’s still time to register for the annual Midwest Conference on Missionary Care. Held in Minneapolis, on February 15-16, this year’s theme will be “Living in the Tension Between Rest and Risk.” This is a great opportunity for networking with other church members who are involved in missionary care.


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).



Technology is growing at an unprecedented rate. Missionaries have often been at the forefront of utilizing technological advances to enhance or speed up their work. And senders use all kinds of technology as they partner with sent ones. From communications to finances, technology is great for caring for missionaries. In this article, Jon Hirst identifies five tech trends that hold a lot of potential for mission work.



Want specific training in missionary care? The Nikanor Training Series may interest you. Each is a two-week intensive, with 30 hours devoted to teaching and 30 hours for supervised practice.“At the end of each training seminar, participants receive a valid, detailed certificate of completion, signed by Dr. Rodriguez, with his profession credentials.”


As always, thank you for caring enough about the sent ones in your life to equip yourself with resources like these.


New on my bookshelf:

  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel Pink
  • The Lost World of Genesis One, by John Walton
  • True You: Letting go of your false self to uncover the person God created, by Michelle DeRusha
  • Take Care of Yourself: Survive and thrive in Christian ministry, by Pablo Martinez
  • The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization, by Peter Senge

What I’m reading this week:

  • Winter, a Spiritual Biography, by Gary Schmidt, ed.

Recently finished reading:

  • Sojourner’s Workbook: A Guide to Thriving Cross-culturally, by Connie Befus
  • Dragging Baggage: A Guide for Those Struggling on the Mission Field, by Alice Young
  • Making Space for Millennials: A Blueprint for your Culture, Ministry, Leadership and Facilities, by Barna
  • Inspired: Slaying giants, walking on water, and loving the Bible again, by Rachel Evans

Up next:

  • The Bible Tells Me So, by Peter Enns
  • Formed for the Glory of God, by Kyle Strobel
  • Receiving Them Well, by Lisa Ennis & Lori Bryan
  • Desiring the Kingdom, by James K.A. Smith