Casual Dog Days of Summer Friday

Aug 9, 2019 | Casual Friday

As the dog days of summer settle in, many of us are also scrambling to get ourselves or our kids back to school. It’s also high season for harvesting and storing many crops. It would be easy to forget about our friends in some other country who need our care and encouragement as much as ever. Casual Friday can serve as a reminder each week to not only check on the latest missionary care resources, but to check in on your overseas friends as well.



Want to learn how to care for your missionary friends? Want some resources that you can point them to? Want opportunities to experience mission training along with your missionary friends? Grow2Serve is the place to go. Online courses for individuals and groups, printed resources, live training sessions—there’s a little of everything to explore on their site. See for yourself.


How does your missionary friend know that you value them? Eric Geiger has some ideas you’ll want to look at. While written within the context of team leadership, you’ll find plenty of thought-provoking concepts that you can apply in your relationship with sent ones.


How does God meet the emotional needs of his people? Often through other members of the body of Christ. Monica shares a story about one such provision—from a total stranger. How might you come alongside of your missionary friend in such a way?



One of the things that missionaries often miss in their country of service is the seasons they enjoyed in their sending country. Jenilee Goodwin offers some helpful thoughts on how to compensate the sense of loss that goes with that. Who do you know who would appreciate this?


Hurry up and wait. That is frequently the mantra when living overseas—and it can be very frustrating to the average American. Caroline Swartz’s post about “the waiting place” can take the edge off. You probably know some missionaries who would appreciate this.


Good-byes are perhaps the hardest part of missionary work—at least emotionally. Jerry Jones uses his trademark humor to take the edge off of this gut-wrenching topic. Probably every missionary you know would benefit from this.


We live in perilous times, and missionaries serve in perilous places. The truth, however, is that all of us always have. We have been translated from a kingdom that is dead-set against the kingdom in which we are now citizens. So how does a missionary cope with the unique realities of that where they serve? Jonathan and Elizabeth Trotter suggest this.


The mission field can be a lonely place, especially in the first few years. The folks at Velvet Ashes understand that. That’s why they created Connection Groups for women—to provide a virtual space for female global workers to enjoy the fellowship of others who will “get” them. Here is an invitation to join the next batch of groups that you will want to forward to the women you know on the mission field.



How does a missionary, who interrupted his or her career path to serve overseas, plug back into the work world in their sending country? How might the skills and perspectives they acquired on the field be an asset on their resume? The folks at TEAM have addressed that topic in this piece. And don’t miss the first installment of this conversation at the bottom of the page.


When everything around you seems to be changing, the key to surviving is anchoring: focusing on what does not and cannot change. Rosalie Duryee offers some great ideas for anchors in this post.



The vast majority of missionaries we’ve ever known—ourselves included—do not relish the fundraising aspect of their ministry. Asking for support can feel like an unpleasant task that is best done quickly and gotten over with. Aaron Babyar calls that “bulldozing” appointments, and it is most of the time counterproductive. Read what he suggests instead.



Sending and supporting the work of missionaries is complex and multifaceted. That’s why the folks at sixteen:fifteen will be hosting The Sending Triangle webinar on August 28. It’s free, and you can register here.


Many of us have come to appreciate the value of having a spiritual director in our lives. It’s a growing practice in missions and missionary care. Missio Nexus is hosting a webinar on the subject on August 22. I believe it would be well-worth the $25 fee (for non-members) to gain an understanding of this important topic. Maybe you can add spiritual direction to your list of missionary care skills?


If you’ve ever wanted to know more about missionary care in general; if you’ve ever wanted to network with those who have been doing the work for decades; if you’ve ever wanted to add to your own skill set in caring for sent ones—then PTM (Pastoral Training in Membercare) is for you. Coming up the first week of October, it’s time to register. This year they will be celebrating 30 years of this valuable conference, giving you all the more reason to be there.


Marriage counseling is not just for couples who are experiencing problems. Any marriage can be enriched and revitalized through a good marriage retreat, like the one offered by Alongside. Coming up September 30-October 4. Who could you bless with the gift of this event?


Are you working with someone in the early stages of determining their calling? The Journey Deepens offers a weekend retreat designed to help people discern their next step. You might want to consider attending along with the person you are mentoring. Coming up in September, in Indianapolis.


Also coming in September: Traction—a men’s retreat in Switzerland. “Traction is focused on helping men navigate their roles to regain spiritual footing and momentum to move forward.” Lots of opportunity for recreation and relaxation in a breath-taking environment.


Who could you send to this six-day retreat? ELIM Retreats is a ministry of Barnabas International and is devoted to caring for the hearts of global workers. September 15-20 in Eagle, Wisconsin.



Here’s a touchy subject (pun intended). How do we safely and appropriately incorporate touch into our care for others? Granted, it may not always be appropriate, but when it is…? Rebecca Reynolds offers “a few awkward thoughts” on the subject that are worth 3 minutes of your time to read, and at least ten times that amount to ponder.


Enjoy your weekend. Enjoy the Lord. Enjoy life. And enjoy using these resources to bless the global workers you know and love.


New on my bookshelf:

  • Love Well: Living Life Unrehearsed and Unstuck, by Jamie George
  • Innovation in Mission, by Jim Reapsome and Jon Hirst


What I’m reading this week:

  • Serving Well, by Elizabeth & Jonathan Trotter
  • Desiring the Kingdom, by James K.A. Smith
  • Formed for the Glory of God, by Kyle Strobel


Recently finished reading:

  • Summer, A Spiritual Biography of the Season, Gary Schmidt ed.
  • The Return of the King, by JRR Tolkien
  • The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown
  • Beloved Dust, by Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel


Up next:

  • Searching for God Knows What, by Donald Miller