Casual First of Summer Friday
Well…we did it again. Several times since we’ve moved to Indiana we have pretty much skipped Spring and gone right to summer. A little disorienting, but heh – at least winter is over. The need for care among sent-ones remains the same in any case. They still depend on you to partner with them in meaningful ways, and you can do that using resources like these.
We are huge fans of the advocate team idea, and we promote it heavily. We also offer coaching in developing and maintain them. The folks at SEND International also believe strongly in them, as this article by Alanna attests. Find out why you should promote them, too, and be a part of one.
Missionary work is meant to be a team effort—a true partnership between senders and sent-ones. The folks at TEAM have compiled five questions that every missionary should ask their sending church. You should have answers ready for them.
LIFE ON THE FIELD
Does God really love me? Believe it or not, that is a question that many missionaries ask at some point in their ministry. Deferred hope has sickened their heart. Abuk Cross recently struggled with that question.
Sometimes He calls me to have faith to trust in His love even when my limited viewpoint seems to scream something else.
Her conclusions will encourage any sent ones you know who are dealing with unmet expectations and delayed results.
Leaving the mission field—for any reason—can be a gut-wrenching experience. Heather Jedrezejcxyk left for good reasons and still wrestled with guilt. Maybe her thoughts would resonate with someone you know who has recently transitioned out of field work.
For many missionaries, writing newsletters is an unpleasant task. Coming up with ideas, using proper spelling and grammar, deciding just how much information to volunteer about their spiritual health… It can result in procrastination and even avoidance, which both add up to poor communication. Amy Young understands. That’s why she has written an entire book on the topic of missionary prayer letters. I bet you know someone who would appreciate this as a gift.
For many cross-cultural workers, the initial phase of adjusting to a new language and culture, a new way of living in a new location, can feel like wilderness. Kelly Delp shares her experience in that regard, and what she learned from it. Read this for your own understanding of what your missionary friends must deal with. Then maybe forward it to those you know who may be in the wilderness themselves.
Loneliness, a sense of failure, disappointment, disillusion, deferred hope…life on the mission field has a way of humbling cross-cultural workers, of keeping them grounded in reality. When we put them on a pedestal, as some sort of super-Christian, we only make it hurt worse when they inevitably fall off. Sarah Hilkemann has some really good things to say on the subject that will help you understand, and more effectively interact with, your missionary friends.
Every Christian knows that humility is a virtue we are called to embrace. But there can be a fine line between humility and humiliation. While effective cross-cultural works requires humility, often sent-ones struggle in order to avoid being humiliated. It can be a tricky dance.
The only way that I am going to humble myself and risk exposure is if I am absolutely convinced that I am unconditionally loved by Jesus Christ.
Joy Smalley talks about how she navigates those waters in this transparent post.
Many missionaries serve as part of a team on the field. Interpersonal conflicts are one of the main reasons they quit. To be strong and effective, teams must be comprised of healthy individuals. The folks at Member Care Associates have a series of video lessons on team resilience that your friends on the mission field may find interesting. In fact, you may want to watch them yourself, to add to your understanding and skill set.
Christie Chu is a semi-pro mover. That means she has moved a lot since she was 11 years old. This is the time of year when many sent ones are leaving their adopted culture and moving on—perhaps returning to their passport culture, or perhaps to another country altogether. The hardest part for everyone is saying good-bye. Christie offers some very solid advice for the goers and the stayers; it is advice that your missionary friends would find valuable.
Jennilee Goodwin has compiled a list of tips for strengthening families in transition. Not only is it loaded with great advice, it contains a number of useful links to other resources. Forward this to everyone you know who will be transitioning soon. Note especially her free PDF on “brain dumping.”
Transition goes both ways. Many families will be gearing up this summer to return to their field of service. The process can be daunting, to say the least. Anisha Hopkinson takes the edge off with this humorous piece on 55 easy steps for returning from furlough.
Want to expand your understanding of Third Culture Kids? What are they? Why does it matter that they straddle cultures? How can you come alongside them in meaningful ways? Then pick up a copy of Rachel Pieh Jones’ new Kindle book, Finding Home: Third Culture Kids in the World. It is available for pre-order now and will be officially released on May 22.
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.
MKs 21-35 are invited to a back country “encounter with God” in beautiful Alberta, Canada. Wilderness ReBoot is taking registrations for this July 2-7 event. Looking for something a little more tame? Check out the ReBoot 2018 event to be held August 4-11, also in Alberta.
“Will you or any global women you know be Stateside this summer? Would a few days of worship, prayer, Biblical teaching, pampering, rest, and fellowship with other women in an idyllic mountain setting be a blessing to your life?” Then you should know about the 2018 Colorado Retreat to be hosted by Thrive July 10-13. Space is limited, so register soon.
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.
Here’s an intensive debriefing opportunity from the folks at Sanctuary Inn, June 21-23. The venue is a beautiful lodge at the foot of Mt Hood, Oregon. Please note that this event will not be able to accommodate children.
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.
Sometimes the best encouragement is simply found in being together. Thrive retreats provide counseling, massage therapy, small group interaction, worship and prayer time, beauty care, and speaker sessions for women in cross-cultural ministry—all for $125! There is one coming up in Colorado in July, and one in the Philippines in October. Who would you like to send?
Elim retreats, a ministry of Barnabas, International, are held twice a year. “It is our heart to provide spiritual care to each missionary or global worker that participates in order to promote a time of rest, renewal, and restoration.” The next one is scheduled for June 10-15 in Wisconsin.
So…about that next trip you’re planning to take. You know, the one where you will visit your missionary friends on the field. You may want to consider some travel insurance. For sure you will want to see what these folks have to say about how to prepare yourself.
What would happen if you printed out a batch of these and mailed them to every sent-one you know?
Scattered among these podcasts on missions in general are several related to missionary care. Take a few minutes to look through them and download the ones that interest you. They are free.
Want a little more insight into what it’s like living in another culture? What things are given up or left behind? Emily offers 64 things you’ll never take for granted after living in China. It bet the same could be said about many other countries!
I hope you have enjoyable weather this weekend, and that you will be able to gather with some believers to express your praise and worship for our Lord. May he continue to encourage you and expand your effectiveness in caring for his sent-ones.
What I’m reading this week:
- The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, George Long trans.
- Scripture and Cosmology, by Dr. Kyle Greenwood
- 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:
- When God Gives Dreams, by Kelly Langston
- Out of Context: How to avoid misinterpreting the Bible, by Richard Schultz
- Democratizing Innovation, by Eric Von Hippel
- Building a Culture of Innovation, by Cris Beswick et al
- The Bible Tells Me So, by Peter Enns