Casual February Friday

Feb 9, 2018 | Blog, Casual Friday

Ah, fickle February. One day we bask in pre-spring sunshine, the next day we are encased in ice and a wintry mix. You never know around these parts. One thing I do know, however, is that the need for your involvement in encouraging missionaries never diminishes. So here’s the latest resources I’ve rounded up to enhance your efforts.



How do you know if that person who just told you they want to be a missionary is ready to go? Amy Medina has some potent questions that will guide you.


Train International offers a pre-field program that addresses spiritual formation, personal identity, stress management, and interpersonal conflict (among many other topics). All vital for those heading into cross-cultural work. Their next event will be April 23-May 6. You can find more information here.




Marilyn Gardner knows a thing or two about living overseas and multiple transitions. She thinks that one of the keys to thriving on the field is related to “a theology of place.”

In truth, I believe that one of the most important things we can do overseas is create place and home.

This would be excellent reading for your friend who will soon (or has recently) arrive in a new cultural setting.


One of the major reasons missionaries develop spiritual anemia is that they become disconnected from their source of life. MJ Almdate speaks candidly about her own slow slide away from the nurturing presence of Jesus.

Coming back to Christ is not a feeling; it’s a practice.

She also talks about the remedy. Every missionary needs this at some point (perhaps at many points) in their career.


What’s the difference between bearing fruit and producing fruit? Dr. Scott Rodin sees the answer as a key part of being successful in ministry. How about your missionary friends? Are they trying to produce fruit or bear fruit? Scott’s article may help them think through this.


Oftentimes life on the mission field can feel like swimming upstream—a stream with a very strong current at that! The effort put into trying to make life like it was back in their sending country can exhaust and demoralize global workers.

There is a huge opportunity while living overseas to reorder and re-rhythm our lives.

Elizabeth Spencer has some advice: learn how to go with the flow. Be sure and share this one.


The mission field is full of unsettling, disorienting events. The Bible is full of reassuring, anchoring promises.

The Psalms encourage me to speak freely with my Creator and find strength in the surety of His promises.

Jenilee Goodwin talks candidly about maintaining a healthy walk with God in the midst of discordant circumstances.




Wayne Simien over at Support Raising Solutions contends that this is one reason missionaries do not receive the support they seek.

Hinting communicates an internal fear.

I know I’ve been guilty of this more than I’d care to admit. Know anyone else who might need this admonition?




Not every TCK uses the term to describe themselves, as Craig Thompson notes about singer Alice Merton. But once you listen to Alice’s song (No Roots) there is no doubt. The TCKs you know will appreciate this.




The Upstream Collective has put together a one-day, one-weekend, and one-week batch of training intensives for “How to Think and Act Like a Missionary.” To be held in Louisville, KY in April and May. It would be great training for anyone who wants to care well for missionaries, as well as those who are exploring the possibility of being one.


The women at Velvet Ashes have been steadily enhancing their virtual retreats. Only $15 ($10 if you register early), this experience is easily worth five times that price. Why not gift your female friends on the mission field with this incredible opportunity?


ReBoot is a re-entry program for MKs 17-35. Two opportunities to choose from, and a special wilderness experience option. Spread the word to any Canadian missionary families you know.


LeRuche debriefing events will be held in North Georgia three times this year: once in May and twice in August. Check their web site for dates and more information.


Debriefing is a key component in healthy transitions. If you know someone serving anywhere near Chiang Mai, Thailand, who will be leaving the field soon, you may want to let them know about this debriefing opportunity hosted by The Well.


The Radiant Life Retreat is a debriefing event for those who have live cross culturally for a year or more. The next program will be held in Grand Rapids, MI February 27 – March 8. After that they have one scheduled in Orlando, FL April 27 – May 5. Excelling Leaders, the hosting group, also offers individualized debriefings on request. Check their web site for more information.




We talk a lot about the need for resilience on the mission field. But do we really know what resilience is? Dr. Christina Baird fears that we don’t.

There is a belief being shared that resilience is an inner quality that is built through the experience of difficulties.

She suggest six spheres of resilience that all of us who provide missionary care should know. Read her article on Page 17 of this newsletter.


Are you spiritually up to the task of caring for missionaries? How about your missionary friends – Are they spiritually adequate for their job? Scott Shaum’s thoughts (and penetrating questions) will help you grapple with this topic.




What does loneliness do to the human body? If loneliness is highly possible during a missionary’s early years on the field, how might that show up in his or her physical health? Ashley Fetters explores what medical science has discovered about the effects of loneliness.



Whatever the weather is like where you are, I trust you are enjoying the warmth of relationship that Jesus has given you with himself and the Father. Out of the abundance of your heart will your mouth speak.



What I’m reading this week:

  • The Emotionally Healthy Woman, by Gerri Scazzero (reading with my wife)
  • Winston S. Churchill: World in Torment: 1916-1922, by Martin Gilbert
  • Winter: A Spiritual Biography of the Season, Gary Schmidt, ed.
  • Living Far Away, by Esther Abbott

Just finished reading:

  • Moving Far Away, by Esther Abbott
  • Ali and Nino, by Kurban Said
  • The Uninvited Companion, by Scott Shaum
  • Messianic Christology, by Arnold Fruchtenbaum
  • Those Who Wait, by Tanya Marlow
  • The Case for Christmas, by Lee Strobel

Up next:

  • Consider Your Calling, by Gordon Smith
  • Emotionally Healthy Leaders, by Peter Scazzero