Casual Friday Missionary Care Resources

Dec 14, 2018 | Blog, Casual Friday

It’s that time of year! So much to enjoy, to savor, to celebrate. Memories to be made and memories to be created. Whatever will be filling your calendar these next few weeks, don’t forget your friends on the mission field. They need your care now more than ever. These resources will help you care well.



This Christmas season that you are probably enjoying is not necessarily as enjoyable for cross-cultural workers in a foreign land. How does a family cultivate Christmas traditions in a place where none of the usual props are available? Amber Taube discusses her struggles honestly in this piece that may encourage those you love on the mission field.


Homesickness affects most missionaries, and this is the time of year when it can be intense. But to make matters worse, the whole sense of “home” can begin to lose clarity.

Home is more than just a place—it’s a promise.

Kate Motaung reflects on her own experiences in a way that will inform your prayers. You may also know someone on the mission field who would benefit from her thoughts.


Here’s another piece about homesickness on the field this time of year. Lilly explains how her sense of loss at Christmas has taught her to lean even more upon her heavenly Father.


PTSD – It’s not uncommon among cross-cultural workers. Chances are you know someone who has dealt or is dealing with it. Joy Smalley shares how the Christmas story has helped her depend more on God in her personal need for help with her trauma. Know someone who needs this?


Resilience is the buzz word among missionary care providers these days. How do we help global workers develop it? Tim Austin has some great ideas. He also offers coaching toward that end. Now there’s a great idea for a Christmas present you could give to your favorite missionary—a series of coaching sessions!


Do you know someone who has recently arrived on the mission field? They probably have plenty of stress from experiencing their first Christmas away from their passport country. And culture shock itself is more than enough of a load for anyone to carry. Add to that the burden of learning a new language… Jerry Jones offers some valuable perspective that may be just what your missionary friend needs right now.




Missionary life is full of transitions, and transitions can take a toll. A key ingredient for successful transitions is resilience. The folks at Encompass Life Coaching want to help global workers transition successfully. If you or someone you know is facing a difficult transition, check out these services. Maybe you could even pick up the tab.



Missio Nexus will be hosting a webinar in on the topic of partnering between senders and sent ones. You may want to have your entire missions committee watch this. Register now for this January 17 event.


Barnabas Zentrum has posted their schedule of debriefing opportunities for 2019, beginning in February. If you know anyone who is returning to the U.S. between now and then, you might want to direct them to this site. Early registration is advised. Maybe you could cover the cost for someone? While you’re visiting their site, check out the other services they offer to cross-cultural workers.


Believe it or not, it’s already time to register for the annual Midwest Conference on Missionary Care. Held in Minneapolis, on February 15-16, this year’s theme will be “Living in the Tension Between Rest and Risk.” This is a great opportunity for networking with other church members who are involved in missionary care.


Far too many missionaries are driven by shame, and many more suffer from its effect on their ministry. Potter’s Inn is sponsoring a one-day seminar by Dr. Curt Thompson, author of The Soul of Shame, January 25, in Colorado Springs. You may be interested in expanding your understanding of this topic and learning ways to deal with it.


The folks at Thrive have opened registration for their July, 2019 women’s retreat in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Who could you host for the exceptional deal? Want to volunteer to help at the retreat? There’s opportunity for that, too (scroll down a bit on the page).


It’s not too early to register for the ABIDE re-entry debriefing coming up in February. In fact, TRAIN International, the host, is offering 2018 prices for this and their ORIENT pre-field program scheduled for April. Who could you bless by paying their way to one of these events?



It’s not too late to pick up something special to give that prospective missionary you know. Josie Oldenburg offers nine ideas for very practical gifts to get you thinking in the right vein.


Every wonder what life is like for your friends overseas? What culture shock really feels like? How anyone manages to get past all of the adjustments, cope with the stress? Well, veteran culture-shifter Marilyn Gardner can explain it to you. Read this and see if your prayers don’t take on a new level of depth.


Do you know someone who will be returning from the mission field and needing a place to rest for a bit? The Snows Mill Guest House may be just the ticket. Located in northeast Georgia (near Athens), this lovely house in the woods is available for free to missionaries. (We’ve stayed there ourselves each year for the past 7 or 8 years, and it’s great.)



Missionaries are not immune to mental health problems, or even to substance abuse. How do you know if the missionary you care about is suffering from these? Mental Health First Aid USA wants everyone to be equipped to recognize and respond to this challenge. (Note: This is in no way meant to be an alternative to professional help. But early detection can go a long way toward preventing the damage that comes from unaddressed issues.)


Next week will be the final Casual Friday post for a while. I will be taking a break to spend time with family. So after the December 21st installment the next post will be on January 11, 2019(!).


New on my bookshelf:

  • The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization, by Peter Senge
  • The Path of a Peacemaker, by P. Brian Noble
  • Vantage Point: A new view of rest, rhythm, and the work of God, by Brenda Jank
  • Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, by Ruth Haley Barton
  • The Lost World of Genesis One, by John Walton
  • Crafting a Rule of Life, by Steve Macchia
  • The Good and Beautiful God, by James Bryan Smith
  • All Stressed Up and Everywhere to Go! by Gaylyn and Ken Williams
  • The Sacred Echo: Hearing God’s Voice in Every Area of Your Life, by Margaret Feinberg

What I’m reading this week:

  • Making Space for Millennials: A Blueprint for your Culture, Ministry, Leadership and Facilities, by Barna
  • Kneeling in Bethlehem, by Ann Weems
  • Comfort Ye My People, by Kay Bruner
  • Those Who Wait, by Tanya Marlow
  • Celebrating Abundance, by Walter Brueggemann
  • 25 Days of Advent, by Kenneth Boa
  • Good News of Great Joy, by John Piper
  • Dragging Baggage: A Guide for Those Struggling on the Mission Field, by Alice Young
  • Inspired: Slaying giants, walking on water, and loving the Bible again, by Rachel Evans

Recently finished reading:

  • The Greatest Christmas Stories of All Time, by various authors
  • The Glory of Christmas, by assorted authors
  • Winston Churchill: Prophet of Truth, 1922-1939, by Martin Gilbert
  • Autumn: A Spiritual Biography, Schmidt & Felch, eds.
  • Under Our Skin: Getting Real about Race, by Benjamin Watson
  • The Garlic Ballads, by Mo Yan
  • Receiving Sent Ones During Re-entry, by Zach Bradley

Up next:

  • The Bible Tells Me So, by Peter Enns
  • Formed for the Glory of God, by Kyle Strobel
  • Receiving Them Well, by Lisa Ennis & Lori Bryan
  • Desiring the Kingdom, by James K.A. Smith