Casual Friday Bonanza
Wow…where to start? So much good stuff out there this week. I’ve tried to narrow it down a bit for you. Plenty of ways for you to add to your skill and knowledge in caring for missionaries. (Maybe a good way to make use of enforced indoor time due to ice storms and blizzards?)
If you know someone serving in Europe they might be interested in this intriguing opportunity coming up in Malaga, Spain in May. Do any of you have experience with this event? What did you think of it?
Minimalism is a hot topic these days. I think we have a collective sense that life has become too crazy, too full, too busy, and too complicated. How do we squeeze in time to care for our missionary friends? Evelyn Rennich shares some helpful thoughts on how to simplify.
From what I’m told, the book was incredible. Now the movie seeks to measure up. I’m talking about Silence.
The tales we tell about serving God shouldn’t simply gloss over the reality that such service can often lead to a crisis of faith.
If you want to understand what missionaries are up against, you should consider watching this. At least read Martin Scorsese’s thoughts behind it.
Getting a handle on stress
The Cerny Smith stress assessment test has long been regarded a great starting point in recognizing the degree of stress missionaries are under. They can evaluate themselves with a free sample test. Just send them to this site.
Creative, hands-on prayer
Before you make a judgement on the concept, read all of what Kimberly Todd has to say about prayer beads. They are not what you probably think they are. She makes a good case for the inclusion of tactile involvement in our prayer lives. If you know someone who feels like their prayer life is drying up, you might consider sending them this.
Coping with transition
Transition just goes with the territory for global servants. You want them to make healthy transitions. That’s why you’ll forward this post from Gina Butz to your friends in missions.
What is success?
It is something we all want. Something we all strive for. Certainly missionaries desire it. But what does it really look like? Your missionary friends might be challenged by this piece from Anisha Hopkinson. So might you.
Help getting organized
Life on the mission field generally takes much more time. Ministry demands can compound the sense of the world spinning out of control. Organization and time management can help tame the beast. Jenilee Goodwin offers some very practical aids.
Looking back in order to move forward
Patty Stallings shares some timely advice as we plow forward into a new year. Good for you, good for your friends on the field.
Alongside is a ministry dedicated to the renewal and restoration of Christian workers. To that end they offer retreats at their Pennsylvania facility throughout the year. (And even one in Poland this Spring.) Who could you sponsor for one of these?
From an email
I am a member of an online group for missionary care providers. This recent editorial by Karen Newnham was so good I thought I would share it verbatim. Please note that the emphasized portions are my doing; your mileage may vary.
“As I sit in a house in the centre of Phnom Penh I find myself reflecting on the lives and needs of workers around the world. People who have heard and responded to the call of God on their lives, packed their bags, their families and left often with little knowledge of what is ahead of them.
What are their needs, their desires and how can we as member care workers best meet those needs? How can we help them with creating a healthy lifestyle that not only serves but is open to learning, and deepening their faith.
Sitting with a missionary and seeing their lips quivering when I ask if there is anything they can let go, as they talk about a life that seems to be heading to burn out, I can’t help wondering how much the western work ethic has gotten in the way of our ability to balance our lifestyle. Sabbath is either non-existent or it has become an even busier day. Wayne Muller in his book Sabbath warns of the danger of this type of lifestyle.
“If we do not allow for a rhythm of rest in our overly busy lives, illness becomes our Sabbath – our pneumonia, our cancer, our heart attack, our accidents create Sabbath for us.” (quoted by Ruth Haley Barton in Sacred Rhythms p 131)
One way or another we get to a point where we have to stop and let go.
“What an amazing thing it would be to have the rhythms of your life regularly usher you into such deep trust that you could actually rest from it all.” (Ruth Hayley Barton, Sacred Rhythms).
It makes you wonder what transformation this would make to life and faith if for 24 hrs a week we could trust like this. Sabbath is the honouring of the limits of our humanness. Our bodies need this rhythm of rest and work just as much as our souls need this connection with God. We need to acknowledge who we are to live within our limits, before our God.
As member care workers it is crucial we heed this warning. When our tanks are running on empty, we find ourselves unable to give any more, what we offer is insufficient, it can be dry and not helpful. The likely consequences we will face at this time are compassion fatigue, spiritual disconnect and burnout. As we tell others to care for themselves we need to model what we say, our voices can only be heard and valued if this happens. We are responsible to become the expert on our needs, to know how to care for our own selves and to do it.
Karen Newnham – South Pacific Member Care Network coordinator
And another email
Linda Kline has a ministry called Psalm 1. She offers this sage advice that is just as applicable to us care providers as it is for the missionaries we love.
“I want to leave room for God to show up, leave space for the Holy Spirit to act, leave time and energy for people, and remain open when the Lord might have His own divine appointments to add to my agenda. I want to see, hear, and experience the beauty of life that erupts in spontaneous worship. I want to notice and acknowledge all the “God winks” as He breaks into my day. I will miss all those moments if I pack my schedule full and run at breakneck speed. If God had a Divine Appointment for me today, would I willingly accept it? Would I even hear Him?
“I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.” (John 17:4)”
Send International offers a number of prayer guides and practical aids to assist you in caring for missionaries. Check them out.
Personal retreat guide
The folks at Leadership Transformations publishes a plethora of guides and thought-provoking papers designed to help Christian workers maintain good spiritual hygiene. Here is one example. Surely you know missionaries who would appreciate this.
Want to up your game?
The Christian Hospitality Network offers you some incredible opportunities to facilitate the rest that missionaries so desperately need—on or off the field. See where you fit in.
There will be times when your friends need more than you can provide. They need counseling. The Global Counseling Network can provide that for anyone with internet access.
My friend Dave Grissen has some great resources for those who are trying to raise and maintain support. (I am using them myself.) Good stuff, especially for your friends who are just starting out.
Where there is no medical help
The folks at Hesperian provide a variety of printed and digital guides for those working in areas where professional medical help may be minimal at best. Know anyone in that category?
MK re-entry event
The Narramore Christian Foundation has been offering this excellent re-entry program for MKs for many years. Know someone due to return to the U.S. soon? Tell them about this event in July.
Creative spiritual discipline
As a visually-oriented person, I have personally benefitted from this technique. Might you? Or someone you know?
Dealing with trauma
Dealing with those who have recently experienced trauma is not to be taken lightly. But sometimes we are called upon. (Like the time we flew to Indonesia to minister to a helicopter pilot flying “clean-up” after the devastating tsunami in 2004.) You might want to equip yourself with this, just in case.
Member care exists because community doesn’t. (Christina Baird)
You are part of the community that God intends to use to promote good spiritual hygiene among global workers. Never underestimate your potential. Thank you for making yourself available to God.
P.S. If you appreciate these resources, would you do me a favor and forward this link to others you think might appreciate them as well? It would be one way of enlarging our community. Thanks!
What I’m reading this week:
- Of Stillness and Storm, by Michele Phoenix
- You Are What You Love, by James Smith
- Called to be Saints, by Gordon Smith
- Winter: A Spiritual Biography of the Season, an anthology
- Crito, by Plato
- The Apology of Socrates, by Plato
- Moments With the Master, by Ken Gire
- An Age of Barns, by Eric Sloane
- Creek Mary’s Blood, by Dee Brown
- Seven Days That Divide the World, by John Lennox
- Delighting in the Trinity, by Michael Reeves