Casual First of June Friday
As I type this, people all over the world are remembering and commemorating what took place on this date (June 6) 75 years ago. Regardless of your perspective on war, there’s a reason why that generation is known as “the greatest.” People who lay down their lives for the sake of others are indeed remarkable. Like the missionaries you know who lay down their lives every day for the sake of those who need the gospel. You honor them whenever you come alongside to encourage or exhort, to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Resources like these will help you to love them well.
What does it mean to care well for the ones you send out as a church? What does good care entail? Ellen Livingood reflects on that question in this very practical piece on good practice for sending churches. How many of these is your church employing?
Would you like a concise overview of what is involved in missionary life? Would you like some insights from missionaries about how to care for them? Well, you should listen to this podcast interview. In less than half an hour, Jonathan and Elizabeth Trotter share their own story. They also get a chance to say a little bit about the book they recently published, Serving Well.
And while we’re on the subject, here’s another interview with the Trotters conducted by missionary/author David Joannes: Do missionaries thrive or just survive on the field?
Ever wonder about the history of the current missionary care movement? There’s no doubt we’ve come a long way, and there’s no doubt we have a long way to go. Here is an article from back in 1992 in which Kelly O’Donnell lays out an agenda for member care in frontier missions. How do you think our current efforts compare with Kelly’s projections 17 years ago? What do we need to improve? How can you continue to grow your caring skills? Then read the update that Kelly penned in 2015. How does your heart respond to the seven commitments he lists at the end of the article?
LIFE ON THE FIELD
How did Jesus manage to continually give of himself without burning out? What did it mean to him to be beloved of the Father?
In our heads, we know that being is more important than doing.
The truth is, it is all-too-easy for global workers to drift into a performance –based relationship with God. In this podcast from Potters’ Inn, Stephen Smith describes the only sustainable way to live in ministry: as the beloved. Pass this one around.
Taking care of our soul is basically a stewardship issue. And missionaries often have a thousand reasons why they can’t afford to care for themselves. The truth is, they cannot afford not to—if they want to continue in ministry
Is the way that I am living sustainable?
Stephen Smith, from Potter’s Inn, clearly lays out the rationale for preventive care as part of life’s routine. Every missionary you care about should read this. (And it’s not a bad idea for you, either.)
What is your concept of rest? What do you suspect is the average missionary’s idea of rest?
Don’t get caught thinking that in order to rest you just sit in a hammock and mediate…
Timothy Willard offers a refreshing perspective that your missionary friends would probably enjoy.
Are you really spiritually healthy? That’s not a question most people would ask during the fundraising process, but it’s an important one. This podcast from Support Raising Solutions explains why spiritual health is such a key component of support raising. Know anyone who would appreciate this?
Missionaries usually head for the field with a clear sense of calling and direction for their lives. But when they return to their sending country—not so much. That’s when the services of a good coach can be invaluable. Tim Austin presents a regular podcast, where he says, “in each episode, I’ll bring your strategies and tools you can use to effectively navigate seasons of change.” Who do you know that could use his help?
Of all the issues that TCKs must face, those related to identity are the most prevalent. “Third culture kids need to be reminded of who they are, why they are special and how valuable their life experience really is.”
In their amazingness, TCKs still need reminders of faith, hope and trust.
Jenilee Goodwin shares six such reminders in this helpful post. (Don’t assume that only the parents can contribute to this conversation; you may have opportunities to speak into the lives of TCKs as well.)
Want to learn what personal debriefing is all about? Want to learn how to do it? If you live close enough to Providence University College in Manitoba, you might want to attend this one-day workshop sponsored by the More Network on June 22.
Resilience is the buzz word these days in missionary care. How can missionaries develop sustainable lifestyles and ministry habits? The folks at CIT (Center for Intercultural Training) are offering a 2-week online course that your missionary friends can take later this summer (August 28-September 11).
CIT has put together a one-week online course on culture shock that may be useful for someone you know. “Survival is not the goal; rather, the goal is to allow God to grow you in a way that prepares you to understand and love others around.”
CIT also has an upcoming online course on marriage that is geared toward long-term field workers. Sounds like it would be particularly helpful for those who are experiencing new challenges in their marriage since arriving on the mission field.
It’s not too early to begin making plans to attend PTM – the one event we personally are determined to make every year. Join a few hundred member care people ranging from multi-year veterans to newbies. One of the best and most practical events of its kind.
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.
Interaction International will be hosting a transition seminar for MKs/TCKs who will be re-entering the U.S. this summer. July 20-26 in Colorado Springs. You should consider sponsoring someone for this event. Research has shown that re-entry events are the most helpful resource available to young people transitioning back into their passport culture.
I have often mentioned the importance of listening skills. A close parallel might be observation skills. Communication is much more involved than spoken words. If you want to care well for the missionaries in your life, you must constantly be growing your listening and observational abilities.
To develop the powers of observation you need to watch with an active mind.
This piece will only take you three minutes to read, but hours to ponder. How might you begin to hone your observational skills?
What is really required of us if we are to provide the kind of care that field workers need the most? Scott Shaum challenges us with this post about abiding relationships. In a day when we are all spoiled by speed, when most everything we want can be had with the click of a mouse, it is good to be reminded that the most precious things in life take time to develop. With whom are you walking these days? Who are you blessing with your long-term presence and care?
Thank you for caring. Thank you for making yourself available to be used by God in the lives of those who are representing him in myriad contexts around the world.
New on my bookshelf:
- Love Well: Living Life Unrehearsed and Unstuck, by Jamie George
- Innovation in Mission, by Jim Reapsome and Jon Hirst
- Serving Well, by Elizabeth & Jonathan Trotter
What I’m reading this week:
- Beloved Dust, by Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel
- Spring, A Spiritual Biography of the Season, Gary Schmidt ed
- Invitation to Retreat, by Ruth Haley Barton
- Desiring the Kingdom, by James K.A. Smith
- Formed for the Glory of God, by Kyle Strobel
- Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (updated), by Peter Scazzero
- The Return of the King, by JRR Tolkien
Recently finished reading:
- Secrets of Dynamic Communication, by Ken Davis
- A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live, by Emily Freeman
- Tailor Made, by Alex Seeley
- Wisdom Meets Passion, by Dan Miller
- The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown