Casual Friday Practical Resources
Hardly a week goes by without the news reminding us of the desperate need of lost people for the gospel. We send missionaries precisely because there are still so many who have not had an adequate opportunity to be exposed to and respond to the gospel. But those sent-ones must be healthy in order to do their job. That’s where you come in. As a missionary advocate, you equip yourself with resources like these so that you can be as effective as possible in helping your friends stay healthy.
Know anyone planning to minister as a cross-cultural business person? NexusB4T will mentor them through an experienced professional. They also offer coaching once they have started their business.
Learning a new language and culture will be easier for new missionaries if they have some training in the process. CIT offers such a course, and the next class begins April 15. CTI also offers a four-week course called Equipping for Cross-cultural Life and Ministry. It is a comprehensive preparation for transitioning to and thriving in a new environment.
LIFE ON THE FIELD
The folks at Pioneers-USA asked veteran missionaries what they would tell those just starting out in cross-cultural ministry. The results were compiled in these five best practices for your first year on the field. Practical wisdom, right here.
Rachel Pieh Jones also has some advice for those in their first year on the field.
There are some things you know to be true. These things will be challenged to their very deepest core.
Here is some strong encouragement to hang onto what you know in the midst of all the unknowns.
No matter how chaotic, or how fraught with danger, life is not out of control. At least, not God’s control. Anna Hampton explains that in a way that your heart partners on the mission field will appreciate.
Feeling connected is an important part of maintaining spiritual and emotional vitality on the mission field. Velvet Ashes Connection Groups may be just the ticket for the ladies you know who are new on their field of service. Sonja Maas explains why.
Somewhat akin to Sonja’s article is this post from Belvah Golding about yearning to be rooted. Missionary live often involves multiple transitions, which can be unsettling. Belvah talks about an anchor in the upheaval. Know anyone who should read this?
Danielle Wheeler, founder and creator of Velvet Ashes, talks about being proactive in self-care in this podcast at Taking Route. Listen for your own understanding; share it for those you love on the mission field.
Speaking of which, Velvet Ashes is currently taking registrations for their Connection Groups. This could be a key component in maintaining spiritual health for women on the mission field. Check out the FAQs, then sign up.
RISK ASSESSMENT & MANAGEMENT
When it comes to safety issues, Anna Hampton offers her third cross-cultural risk axiom: Severity Is As Severity Is Felt. “While it is true that safety is not the same as our feelings about a risk environment,” she says, “Feelings must be taken into account when weighing risk’s impact on ourselves and others.”
Believe it or not (and you really should believe it), an increasing number of young people are struggling with gender identity issues. That includes MKs as well. Come Arise Ministries can help you understand their struggle, and they can help those you know going through issues related to gender and sexuality. Their ministry would be a great addition to your tool kit.
Transition involves losses, and losses involve grief. As a culture, North Americans do not grieve well.
Stop numbing your pain. Grieve your losses to experience true joy.
Garrett Jones tackles that subject and offers healthy ways of not only dealing with your own losses, but helping others deal with theirs.
The incomparable Breathe retreat will be held June 20-30 this year in Interlaken, Switzerland. Ten days of holistic refreshment. It’s time to register. (Who would you like to sponsor?)
ReBoot is a re-entry program for MKs 17-35. Two opportunities to choose, and a special wilderness experience option. Spread the word to any Canadian missionary families you know.
LeRuche debriefing events will be held in North Georgia three times this year: once in May and twice in August. Check their web site for dates and more information.
Debriefing is a key component in healthy transitions. If you know someone serving anywhere near Chiang Mai, Thailand, who will be leaving the field soon, you may want to let them know about this debriefing opportunity hosted by The Well.
The Radiant Life Retreat is a debriefing event for those who have live cross culturally for a year or more. The next program will be held in Orlando, FL April 27 – May 5. Excelling Leaders, the hosting group, also offers individualized debriefings on request. Check their web site for more information.
Here are some more debriefing opportunities from CIT (Center for Intercultural Training) in North Carolina: July 15-20 and December 2-7.
Jen Oshman tackles a subject that is rarely addressed: the feeling of futility by missionaries.
But here’s what every missionary experiences about six months into his or her stint overseas: a sinking feeling of, “Oh my goodness. What have I gotten my family into over here?
Read this to increase your understanding of what your friends on the field experience. Then read it again with a view toward learning how to walk with them in their times of feeling fruitless.
Here’s a unique ministry that you might be interested in utilizing. Dennis and Brandy Kelly use their boat to visit missionaries around the world for the purpose of offering encouragement and care. Check out their web site; you may want them to visit someone you know on the field.
Do you have experience in starting or running a business? Your wisdom could be invaluable to someone just starting out in a cross-cultural setting. Visit the NexusB4T site to see you you can function as a mentor or coach. Don’t have experience but have a heart for such ministries? NexusB4T can connect you with investment opportunities.
Looking for helpful information on topics related to missions and missionary care? Check out the extensive list of resources at CIT.
The folks at Member Care Associates have compiled an incredible list of resources that cover the gamut of topics related to caring for global workers. Take a look at their featured resources, for starters.
The Missions Resource Network offers a great list of suggested reading and other resources related to missionary care. You’ll want to bookmark this site.
Here are some helpful tips for dealing with jet lag, and some advice on travel insurance. For your missionary friends, and for you when you go visit them.
BUMP IT UP A NOTCH
Here’s an older article about using special short-term teams to care for missionaries on the field. Might your church be ready for something like this?
“It is not often a secular, non-member care book speaks helpfully to pastoral care providers. But this book directly parallels what we do.” So says one reviewer about Dr. Rana Awdish’s book In Shock: My Journey from Death to Recovery and the Redemptive Power of Hope.” If you have field experience, you may want to read this.
That’s it for this week. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Cor 15:58)
What I’m reading this week:
- The Emotionally Healthy Woman, by Gerri Scazzero (reading with my wife)
- Winston S. Churchill: World in Torment: 1916-1922, by Martin Gilbert
- Winter: A Spiritual Biography of the Season, Gary Schmidt, ed.
- Living Far Away, by Esther Abbott
- Your Best Year Ever, by Michael Hyatt
- Terrific! Five Star Customer Service, by Stan Toler & Keith Hawk
Just finished reading:
- Moving Far Away, by Esther Abbott
- Ali and Nino, by Kurban Said
- The Uninvited Companion, by Scott Shaum
- Messianic Christology, by Arnold Fruchtenbaum
- Those Who Wait, by Tanya Marlow
- Consider Your Calling, by Gordon Smith
- Emotionally Healthy Leaders, by Peter Scazzero