Casual Friday Resources
Ah, Spring—that unpredictable season when shirt-sleeve days are followed by parkas and snow boots. We received 5 inches of snow on Wednesday, and we are predicted to get 5-8 inches tomorrow. I try to let the beauty override the inconvenience. And, believe it or not, that reminds me of caring for missionaries. It is messy at times, and inconvenient, and even painful. But the beauty of watching souls as they connect with Jesus outweighs all else. True for you? Here are your resources for this week—to increase your potential for seeing the beauty.
Know anyone who is waiting longer than they expected to get to the field? Eric Oldenburg has some helpful ideas about staying motivated in the meantime that you might want to pass on to them.
Are you helping someone who hopes to work in a risky mission environment? You will want these guidelines from Anna Hampton to assist you in determining if they are ready to go. Emotional maturity is a must, and you need to know how to spot it.
LIFE ON THE FIELD
Life on the mission field is often bewildering for newcomers. Christie Chu talks about how God has helped her go through that newness multiple times. It involved expat mentors. Share this with those you know who could serve newbies in such a capacity.
On the other hand… Newcomers aren’t the only ones who can feel lonely, as Jerry Jones explains.
The inevitable cycles of a cross-cultural life naturally bring seasons of deep connection and unexpected isolation.
The constant turnover of mission workers takes some getting used to, but loneliness can be minimized. Jerry offers some helpful ways to deal with the expat revolving door.
We talk a lot about grief and loss here at Paracletos because grief and loss undergird all missionary activity. The global workers you know are every bit as susceptible to sadness as you are, though perhaps for quite different reasons.
You are not less spiritual if you acknowledge you’re in an incredibly painful place.
You need to know this, and your friends on the field need to know this. Jessica Hoover will help you understand why.
One thing is consistently true on the mission field: There is always more work than there is time or people to do it. That leads to the counterproductive habit of ignoring the need for rest.
Rest is often the last thing on our to-do list and the first thing to get pushed back.
Erin Blonshine makes the case for non-negotiable down time.
Taking Route has posted a podcast featuring Amy Young on the topic of how to build community overseas between families and singles. This is a crucial issue for singles! While I have listed it under the heading of singles, it would be equally worthwhile for families on the field to listen as well.
How not to think about MKs. Adult MK Bethany Brummitt says there is a common mindset that fosters two major pitfalls when we think of MKs. That, of course, will affect how we interact with them. Bethany’s thoughts might have you thinking twice before you engage with any MKs who come your way.
Danielle Wheeler shares what not the tell yourself during transition. Well stated, and sure to be of encouragement to those you know going through changes.
It’s a biblical principle: resurrection can only come after death. For many, leaving the mission field can feel like death.
What I didn’t entirely understand was the death that came with the loss of life abroad.
Laura Bowling talks honestly about the fact that new life awaits, though the process of getting there may be painful.
Re-entry is exhausting. That’s what Helen Watts says in this article. Returning to one’s sending country is often more difficult than going overseas in the first place. But Helen doesn’t just talk about the down side, she also offers several suggestions for navigating the stress and challenges of repatriating. Share this with anyone you know who will be returning soon to their passport country.
Death is a routine part of life, but death in the context of overseas ministry has some unique aspects. “Sometimes “the shadow of death” is the loss of a loved one far away, and we don’t have the chance for one last goodbye. But it can also hang over many other little and big losses: the death of a dream, the ache of a ministry that is no more, or yet another teammate saying goodbye. We stare headlong into a grave and doubt the heaviness will ever go away.” Sarah Hilkemann talks about how to deal with that.
The folks at Interaction International are offering a transition seminar for TCKs returning to the U.S. It will be held in Colorado Springs, CO from July 21 through July 27.
It is hard to overstate the value of retreats for missionary women. But the cost in terms of travel time and registration fees can prevent many from attending. That’s why the virtual retreats hosted by Velvet Ashes are genius. Watch this video to learn more.
Sometimes the best encouragement is simply found in being together. Thrive retreats provide counseling, massage therapy, small group interaction, worship and prayer time, beauty care, and speaker sessions for women in cross-cultural ministry—all for $125! There is one coming up in Colorado in July, and one in the Philippines in October. Who would you like to send?
Elim retreats, a ministry of Barnabas, International, are held twice a year. “It is our heart to provide spiritual care to each missionary or global worker that participates in order to promote a time of rest, renewal, and restoration.” The next one is scheduled for June 10-15 in Wisconsin.
Barnabas International offers an excellent assortment of tools to assist you in your efforts to care well for the missionaries in your life. A full range of topics and levels of understanding are represented in these documents.
There will be times, as you walk alongside your missionary friends, when you sense that more professional help may be in order. Kate Slater, with 14 years of on-field experience, is currently working on her counseling credentials under the supervision of Lon Marshall, LMFT, in southeast Iowa. She is offering one free office session for missionaries, with subsequent sessions available for only $25 each. This would be an excellent opportunity for those about to transition to the field, or for those who need a re-entry debriefing. If you live within a few hours of her, you should keep her information handy. She can be reached by phone at 319.895.2395, of by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And would you believe… another counselor just came to my attention this week. Jaja Chen serves from her office in Waco, Texas. She also can provide video-counseling to those overseas. Check out her bio; she has a lot to offer the missionary care community. You can contact her directly at Jaja@enrichmenttcs.com
What kind of friend does a missionary need? This kind. The kind that Ticcoa Leister describes during one of the hardest experiences of her life. What can you learn from her friend?
Here’s another post about the value of good friendships. This one does double duty: It will be useful for you, and it will be useful for your missionary friend who seeks meaningful connection with others on the field.
Planning to visit your favorite missionary on the field? You might want to get a copy of this free packing list/guide from the folks at Mission Travel.
BUMP IT UP A NOTCH
Want to gain an overall understanding of what is involved in this issue of missionary care? Want to help your church or missions committee grow in their effectiveness in caring for their sent ones? Then you’ll want to take a look at this “Member Care 101” course from Baranabas International. You won’t find this quality for less money anywhere.
Sarita Hartz has thrown down the gauntlet! This article about millennials requires serious consideration. Not only do we need the new model for missions that she advocates, we need a new model of missionary care to go with it. Read this and be challenged. Then ask God what you should do about it.
This is an event, but I am putting it under this category because it could be the next step you take in growing your skills as a missionary care provider. PTM (Pastoral Training in MemberCare) is an annual gathering of trainers, thought leaders, and practitioners in an environment of care. It is one event we will not miss. Try it this year and see if you don’t agree that it is one of the best opportunities available for enhancing your abilities and enlarging your heart.
So, if you’re going to be snowed in this weekend (as it looks we will be) you’ve got plenty of resources here to investigate. And if you’re not housebound, dig into these anyway.
What I’m reading this week:
- Emotionally Healthy Leaders, by Peter Scazzero
- Winston S. Churchill: World in Torment: 1916-1922, by Martin Gilbert
- Your Best Year Ever, by Michael Hyatt
Just finished reading:
- Winter: A Spiritual Biography of the Season, Gary Schmidt, ed.
- The Emotionally Healthy Woman, by Gerri Scazzero (read with my wife)
- Experiencing Grief, by H. Norman Wright
- Terrific! Five Star Customer Service, by Stan Toler & Keith Hawk
- Consider Your Calling, by Gordon Smith