Casual First of February Friday

Feb 2, 2018 | Blog, Casual Friday, Missionary Care, Personal Issues, Thriving, Transition

Happy groundhog day – if you’re into that. Believe it or not, some people are not eager for winter to be over. What if, at the end of this day, you had a chance to do it again? Would you do the same things?  When it comes to caring for the missionaries you know and love, your intentionality today could affect their tomorrows for a long time to come. Get started with resources like these.



Trudging through a swamp. That’s how Abby Martin describes her current life as a newbie on the mission field. Know anyone in a similar situation? Abby’s words will encourage them to keep on trudgin’.


Former missionary Mike Gaston talks about the importance of Sabbath and offers a unique idea for enjoying it. Check it out; pass it on.


Motivation can be a tricky thing. The root of much missionary attrition can be traced back to improper reasons for being on the mission field. Zach Bradley addresses that problem in this potent piece.

An obsession with merely doing all that God commands may be the very thing that rules out being the kind of person that he calls us to be.

Very thought-provoking stuff for any of us, and especially for those we know on the field.


What does jazz music have to do with learning a language? More than you might think. Your friends starting out in missions would probably appreciate this article.




Anna Hampton talks about how to find security analysis in high-risk situations. If anyone you know works in such a place, you need to read this. Might as well go ahead and bookmark her site while you’re at it. She’s a gold mine of useful information.




Repatriation is a long-haul flight. Emily Jackson uses that analogy to great effect in this well-written piece on re-entry.

You’re supposed to feel happy. You’re supposed to feel sad. But you’re not sure you feel anything.

Reading this will help you know how to come alongside those you know in transition.


Ever heard of disenfranchised grief? You need to know about it if you plan to interact with repatriating missionaries. Craig Thompson offers this excellent overview.


Helen Watts is offering an online course for “how to prepare for re-entry to your home country.” Looks so good I think I’ll take it myself just to see what it’s like. The price is right, too (about $27 U.S.) – and she offers a free trial.




Tightrope walker, elephant, or swing. Those are the metaphors Dr. Ruth Cason employs to talk about that elusive thing called balance. While this article particularly applies to TCKs, anyone who has experienced multiple transitions would benefit from it.


Dr. Cason also wrote this article on “vision boards and joy jars” – identity props that help TCKs find their place in the world. If you work with third culture kids, you’ll want to read this.


Here’s a very-well-researched article on TCK marriage, from the “Third Culture Mama.” These are great statistics to have on hand if you work with TCKs who are about to get married or already are.




There’s still time to register for the annual Midwest Conference on Missionary Care to be held February 23-24 in the Minneapolis area (registration closes on February 12). The topic: The promise and peril of team life. An excellent opportunity to rub shoulders and compare notes with them that’s doin’.


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.


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 familes 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.




Know anyone who could use a break in a beautiful setting? A listening ear, perhaps, or a word of encouragement from another missionary? Oasis of Peace might be the ticket, in Montrose, Colorado (a ministry of Paracletos).


Here’s a nice list of resources put together for the recent MissionsFest conference in Vancouver. Covers a variety of topics and includes web sites, book recommendations, and more. Many of these are specific to Canada, but all of them are useful.




Have you ever flown on an airplane? Plan to? You’ll get a laugh out of this parody – a little too close to reality.



I hope you are well. I hope you are thriving spiritually, emotionally, and physically. And may the overflow of your joy infect those missionaries that God has put in your path.


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.
  • Moving Far Away, by Esther Abbott

Just finished reading:

  • 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
  • Living Far Away, by Esther Abbott