Casual Friday Missionary Care Resources

May 31, 2019 | Blog, Casual Friday

Well, another month has sped past. For many of us, the days were over-filled with end-of-the-year school events, including graduations and graduation parties. But it’s also the time of year when many cross-cultural workers will begin to show up for a time of home assignment. Are you ready to come alongside of them? To care for them in meaningful ways? Resources like these will help you and them.



This being the last day of Mental Health Awareness Month, I thought the following resource was particularly appropriate. The B4Stage4 philosophy is a pro-active for nipping serious mental health issues in the bud. Lots of great information and free downloads here.



Missionaries want to be productive in their work. But many factors conspire to deprive them of the satisfaction of working at their full capacity. Dogs and chickens making noise at all hours. Unbearable heat. Bugs. Noisy (or nosey) neighbors. Anxiety due to culture shock. Unresolved conflicts… These and many other factors can result in inadequate sleep.

Sleep is perhaps the greatest legal performance-enhancing ‘drug’ that few people are taking advantage of.

Matthew Walker explains why sleeping well is the best thing they can do for their health.


Belonging to two different cultures. Two different languages and countries. Two very different ways of living. It’s enough to make a missionary schizophrenic, as Rachel “Djibouti” Jones attests in this essay. (Scroll down a bit until it shows up.) Now you know how better to pray for your missionary friends who are straddling two worlds.


Marriage requires regular maintenance regardless of where the couple is living. But on the mission field the challenges of married life are compounded by myriad other stressors. That’s what Monica has learned from her 22 years as a missionary wife. She shares her insights in this analogy about car tune-ups. And I can’t help but think that she would heartily advocate the retreat that Alongside will be hosting in September (see EVENTS below).



Fitting back into the job market of one’s passport country can be daunting and discouraging.

When it comes to missions, most of us think about getting to the field. It can be hard to plan for after the mission field.

Bethany Duval offers six very practical tips for navigating what is perhaps the trickiest transition of all. Also, if you know someone who is or will be making that transition, you might want to point them to Transition Time Coach, Kelly McClelland’s excellent resource.


Every missionary returning to their passport country should receive a personal debriefing. Train International hosts a program called ABIDE, and the next scheduled event is July 14-19 in Joplin, Missouri. You could offer to cover someone’s cost…



Missionary Kids (Third Culture Kids) can find it difficult to understand their mixed experiences. Where do they belong? Who are their people?

Though it’s aimed at young children, Swirly‘s message resonates with parents and adult TCKs as well.

Adult TCK Sarah Saunders wrote a delightful book (which is just as delightfully illustrated) about a little girl who wrestles with such questions. Read this interview with the author and see if you don’t want to order a copy for yourself.




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.


Who could you send to this retreat? The folks at Thrive are hosting a four-day event for women in the Colorado Rockies July 15-18. And you won’t believe the price! You could sponsor more than one missionary for this incredibly refreshing experience.


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.” As always, it would be good for you to take courses like this, to give you a first-hand knowledge of what your missionary friends go through.


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 (Pastoral Training in MemberCare) – 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.



For many, the concept of self-care is not a positive one. It is something that has morphed from its roots in the medical community to being co-opted by Yuppies into a more narcissistic activity.

Born of therapeutic categories, the concept of self-care is centered on values that are also finally at odds with the demands of Christian ministry.

Frederick Schmidt challenges us to think about what biblical self-care would look like, and how it might be facilitated for cross-cultural workers


What does opening a door for someone have to do with missionary care? Maybe more than you’d think. All people want to be understood and appreciated, but missionaries often feel neither.

Listen, summarize, show

This provocative piece will cause you to ponder the way you interact with the missionaries God brings across your path.


I received the following in a personal email, and the only way I could share it with you is verbatim. So here you go—something to make you think. Are you preparing yourself to care for the next generation of global workers?

“It is no secret that we live in an increasingly divisive and polarized world. Social media, rather than helping to bring people together, often serves as the medium for people to criticize, denigrate and demonize those with whom they disagree. The rhetoric is anything but Christ-like. Respectful and honest dialogue is hard to find, not to mention diversity of opinion. People simply

prefer to fill their Facebook or Instagram feeds with likeminded opinions. This is the context in which generations Y & Z have grown up!

As these young generations gradually move into cross-cultural missions and join intercultural teams, conflicts abound. As Member Care workers, we must learn how to care for, serve and challenge this new generation of mission workers. The challenges are real and the context has changed. Today’s young generations have grown up in a world that says, “if you disagree with me, you don’t love me.” Moreover, it is common for them to believe that if one disagrees with them, it means they didn’t listen to them. The math is simple: listening equals agreement! It is no wonder why conflict plagues so many missions’ teams.

Missions is changing, because generation Y & Z are changing the paradigm in which missions is viewed and practiced. Simply put, they want hands-on missions’ experiences where they can see, touch, feel and hear change happening in a real and personal way that brings both justice and transformation to communities, countries and people groups. Look around, this is the age of incarnational and social justice approaches to missions. Within this new paradigm, Member Care providers need to be informed and equipped to provide care for generation Y & Z mission workers. Be ready to challenge them on whether or not they are open to listening to new and opposing ideas. Ask them what it means to be heard and loved. Engage with them on how Jesus can bring both healing and transformation to a hurting, divisive and lonely world. And finally, model for them what it means to be open to diversity of thought and opinion by actively listening and respecting their ideas and opinions.”


So there you have it—another week’s worth of practical resources that you can put to use immediately. Care well!


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:

  • 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 Life of God in the Soul of Man, by Henry Scougal
  • The Two Towers, by JRR Tolkien
  • Dying Well, by John Wyatt
  • This Is Marketing, by Seth Godin


Up next:

  • The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown