Casual Friday Missionary Care Resources
In two weeks Irene and I will be on our way to a central Asian country to minister to non-traditional missionaries. In fact, you may not consider them to be missionaries at all…but they are. Dorette Skinner’s article below explains why. They have personal, spiritual, emotional needs just like any other ambassador serving on foreign soil, but we may not be aware.
As you peruse this week’s resources I encourage you to do so prayerfully. Ask God to open your eyes to new opportunities to come alongside his harvest workers in ways you may not have previously imagined.
There are dozens—if not hundreds—of cross-cultural workers who are blogging about their experiences. I link to many of them and read many more. As you read some of them, you may be tempted to think people are just whining about their situation. Patty Stallings explains why that is probably not true.
It is in the authentic sharing with others that I gain perspective and insight.
Do you read any blogs of this sort? You should. And you should offer encouragement in their comments section. It would mean the world to the authors.
The problem with being a long-term expat
Though not written about missionaries, this BBC article by Kate Mayberry has a lot of applicable information about the way people are affected living away from their home culture for long periods of time. This will help you understand why your friends may seem so different when they return from living overseas.
Read this one carefully
Though Rachel Pieh Jones wrote this in the context of missionaries being dependent on their host culture, there is much you can glean about how you can play a strategic role in the life of your overseas friends. They need US, not just our money, as Rachel so aptly points out.
Ten commandments for TCKs
Adult TCK (third culture kid) Marilyn Gardner shares some great guidelines for young people freshly repatriating to their passport country. Know anyone you could share this with?
Much has been written about transition in general, but Beth Bruno zeroes in on those who are leaving the field permanently, as she did. Really good stuff that you may want to pass along to someone you know who is leaving their ministry.
Not your usual missionary
The places in this world still waiting for the gospel are still waiting for a reason. They are difficult to reach. Previous strategies and methodologies are not adequate for penetrating these final frontiers. Those who make the attempt will probably not look like the missionaries you are used to. Dorette Skinner and her husband are of that sort, and she does an excellent job of explaining the differences between traditional missionaries and those like herself. A thoughtful reading of this post will give you lots of ideas about ways you can come alongside such global workers.
Not your usual sending church
One of the former directors on our board members sent me this link. I absolutely love what this church is doing for global workers! If you have the opportunity, share this article with your leadership, your missions committee (or your fellow leaders and missions committee members). These folks should be emulated.
Another model for your church
I was privileged to rub shoulders at PTM with one of the staff from this North Carolina church. They have an extensive system in place for nurturing future missionaries, launching them, and then caring for them throughout their careers. Take a look at this overview. You may want to dialogue with them.
Matt Rogers recently addressed a group of pastors on the topic of depression and discouragement. These are his notes. While not 100% applicable to missionaries, most cross-cultural workers could relate to the sources and solutions he cites.
How to discourage a missionary
Not that you’d want to. But it is not very hard to be well-intentioned but ill-equipped when a missionary shares some area of struggle with you. Vaneetha Risner has some excellent advice on how to avoid doing the opposite of what you intend.
I’m willing to bet that most, if not all, of the missionaries you know battle this. John Ortberg explains what it is and how to treat it.
The soul doesn’t come with a gauge. The indicators of soul-fatigue are more subtle.
Your friends will thank you for passing this on to them.
On a similar note…
This is a longer, meatier article on a parallel subject—what Christina calls “theological labour” (she’s from New Zealand). Those who appreciate in-depth, thought-provoking material will like this.
Unusual spiritual disciplines
Idleness, solitude, and daydreaming. Probably not what would first come to mind when you think of spiritual disciplines. Emily Freeman takes a cue from Shelly Miller’s book (Rhythms of Rest) to promote these helpful practices.
Press on. Enjoy the Lord. Do good to all men, especially those who are of the household of faith.
What I’m reading this week:
- You Are What You Love, by James Smith
- Moments With the Master, by Ken Gire
- Called to be Saints, by Gordon Smith
- It’s My Pleasure, by Dee Ann Turner
- Bittersweet, by Shauna Niequist
- Autumn: A spiritual biography of the season, edited by Gary Schmidt & Susan Felch
- Seven Days That Divide the World, by John Lennox
- Delighting in the Trinity, by Michael Reeves