Casual early summer Friday
Well, we’re back. Our trip out west was enjoyable and fruitful. In particular we were blessed to spend a few days with our coworkers in Colorado as they went through a trying time. (It ended well, by the way.) So now you have to deal with an extra-large batch of resources this week to make up for the two weeks we missed. I trust you will find plenty here to challenge, motivate, and equip you in your efforts to care well for the sent ones God has placed in your path.
LIFE ON THE FIELD
Perpetual foreignness. That’s a pretty good way to describe how it feels to live and serve cross-culturally. Sarah Hilkemann will help you understand a little better what that means so you can interact with your missionary friends in an understanding way. And it won’t hurt your prayer life, either.
Sometimes a couple goes overseas but only one spouse has a job description. Does that mean the other one has nothing to do? Far from it, as Anisha Hopkinson explains in this humorous piece. How would you come alongside an accompanying spouse?
Paradox is a major theme in the life of cross-cultural workers. Your friends on the mission field will appreciate this post from Christie Chu, who understands well what it means to be an expat.
Insurance of every sort can be a confusing and frustrating experience for those who work overseas or who travel overseas frequently. This newsletter from Good Neighbor’s Travel contains multiple entries pertaining to topics your missionary friends probably want to know about.
L.H. says there are five levels of existence for people living cross-culturally. Do you know which level your missionary friends are experiencing? How would you encourage someone at each of these levels?
Many people have discovered the benefits of silence and solitude. Few missionaries seem to make room for them in their hectic, overwhelming lives. The hectic and overwhelming part is exactly why they should purposefully set aside time to be alone with the lover of their souls. Lois Sapare doesn’t write from a Christian perspective, per se, but she does make a good case for the concept. See if you don’t agree.
Many professions provide for periodic sabbaticals. Many pastors are expected or even required to take one. Missionaries seem to be a bit behind the curve. Michael Hyatt has dedicated an entire issue of his online magazine to the topic. Every article is worth reading. And don’t miss the audio file from Michael himself. As missionary care providers, we need to constantly nudge people in this direction. These articles will equip you to do that well.
RISK ASSESSMENT & MANAGEMENT
This is an event and an opportunity for you to equip yourself AND a way to bump it up a notch. It is the Risk Assessment and Management Training (RAM) coming up in early August in Minnesota. It is led by Dr. Anna and Neal Hampton. “It was developed by Neal and is based on Anna’s recent book, Facing Danger: A Guide Through Risk. Both the book and the training are quickly being utilized by global workers all over the world. RAM addresses the challenges of the emotional, psychological, relational, and spiritual preparation all staff need for times of risk and crisis. RAM is designed for anyone who supports cross cultural workers through times of risk and challenge, including church missionary caregivers as well as mission home office, field and security personnel.” For more information contact Dr. Hampton email@example.com, or you can simply register here.
Leaving well should be every missionary’s goal. But sometimes that seems all but impossible. Jerry Jones has some great advice for how to deal with less-than-ideal circumstances and turn things around. Who do you know that needs to read this?
The person who is returning to you from overseas is not the person you sent out. Amy Young explains why you should not be surprised. She also includes some good advice on how to welcome your friend who is coming back for the first time.
We had a saying on the field where we served (though we did not always apply it in kindness): You’re not a real missionary until you return for your second term. Why would we say such a thing? Because going back can be harder than going in the first place. Elizabeth Pflederer will help you understand why. Forward this to those you know who are preparing to return for their second term on the mission field.
It’s the question that most MKs dread. It’s the question that is most difficult for them to answer. And the most confusing. Annabelle Humanes offers ten alternatives to the query “Where are you from?” You should bone up on these yourself, for the times you surely will meet a third culture kid and want to know more of their story.
Rachel Pieh Jones recently took her two older children on college tours in the U.S. They were all a bit surprised, as you might be when you read what they encountered. Know any missionaries with children starting college soon? You’ll want to forward this to them.
Once an MK, always an MK. That’s Bethany Brummitt’s way of describing her experience and the way it affects her every day. Read this to understand what the MKs you know deal with.
Trying to integrate the multiple pieces of their life story, MKs often struggle with figuring out who they really are. Each culture they’ve experienced asserts itself in an effort to predominate.
The result is more Picasso than Da Vinci. Beautiful, but more than a little decomposing.
Dr. Rachel Carson has some good words for those who are currently working through that process.
Coming up in September: Orient, hosted by Train International. “This two-week pre-departure training aims to equip people headed overseas with skills to help them navigate transition, stress, culture shock, and relationships who they can be more prepared and stay effective in whatever surroundings they find themselves.”
There are a couple annual gatherings of care providers that you may want to consider attending. They are great opportunities to build upon your skill set and develop a network of like-minded people for the enhancement of your ministry to missionaries. The CareGivers Forum is one event. It will be held October 21-24 at the Green Lake Conference Center in Wisconsin. The other event is PTM: Pastoral Training in MemberCare, to be held at the Ridgecrest Conference Center in Asheville, NC October 2-5.
The folks at Interaction International are offering a transition seminar for TCKs returning to the U.S. It will be held in Colorado Springs, CO from July 21 through July 27.
Barnabas International will be hosting Interlude, a debriefing retreat, July 24-27 in Indianapolis, IN. A chance to share your story and reflect on God’s work in your life. More information and registration are here.
Registration is now open for the Thrive retreat to be held in the Philippines October 29-November 1. Did you know that you could apply to be a volunteer to help facilitate Thrive retreats? You can find more information for attendee and volunteers here.
The sandwich years. That’s what they call the time in mid-life when your kids still need parenting and your parents also need your help. It can be a particularly tricky season for global workers. This article will give you a better idea of why. It will also challenge you to find ways to help your missionary friends who find themselves in this situation.
The role you play in the life of your missionary friends may surprise you. It is almost certainly more important than you think. Renette reminds us how much we need each other to become who we are meant to be. After reading this, how do you think you might view your relationships a bit differently?
Listening well is closely associated with asking good questions. Michael Hyatt offers seven suggestions for asking more powerful questions that you can adopt for use with your missionary friends.
BUMP IT UP A NOTCH
Want to get an advanced perspective on missionary care issues? Are you looking for a place to network with professional care providers? The Mental Health and Missions conference may be for you. Hosted by Barnabas International and held in northeastern Indiana, registration is now open for this November 15-18 event.
OK, that’s enough. Gotta stop somewhere! Catch your breath and I’ll see you again next week.
New on my bookshelf:
- Insurgence, by Frank Viola
- Desiring the Kingdom, by James K.A. Smith
- Sojourner’s Workbook: A guide to thriving cross-culturally, by Connie Befus
- Christianity at the Crossroads: How the second century shaped the future of the church, by Michael Kruger
- Innovation in Mission: Insights into practical innovations creating kingdom impact, by Jim Reapsome and Jon Hirst
What I’m reading this week:
- New Seeds of Contemplation, by Thomas Merton
- The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, George Long trans.
- How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth, by Gordon Fee
- Emotionally Healthy Leaders, by Peter Scazzero
- Winston S. Churchill: World in Torment: 1916-1922, by Martin Gilbert
Just finished reading:
- Finding Home, by Rachel Pieh Jones
- Home James, by Emile Steele Jackson
- Missionaries are Real People, by Ellen Rosenberger
- Imagination Redeemed: Glorifying God with a neglected part of your mind, by Gene Edward Veith and Matthew Ristuccia
- Scripture and Cosmology, by Dr. Kyle Greenwood
- The Bible Tells Me So, by Peter Enns