Casual Frozen Friday
I am writing this week from the enviable location of southern California—blissfully unaffected by the polar vortex that is currently affecting so much of the U.S., including our home in SE Indiana. It is interesting to watch the precautions, the preparations, and the responses that have been a lead story in the news for several days now. What if we applied the same diligence to missionary care? What if we were well fortified with resources like these, so that in times of need we would be prepared to respond appropriately?
RISK ASSESSMENT & MANAGEMENT
This one could go under several different headings, but I think it fits here best. Dan has put together a very helpful overview of communication technology that every missionary should know about. Especially the secure/encrypted options. He also includes some suggested skills for team leaders on the field. Know anyone like that?
LIFE ON THE FIELD
So life on the mission field isn’t all about danger and suffering and hard things. Jerry Jones reminds us that there are plenty of reasons to love such a life. You might use this story to prompt interaction with those sent ones you know. Ask them what about their lives they love, then affirm them in their answers.
What do you do when the work of the Lord usurps the Lord of the work in one’s heart? That is, perhaps, the most common (and most deadly) malady facing missionaries. Spiritual dryness is practically an epidemic on the field. What are the symptoms? Would you recognize them? And if you did, how would you respond? C. Anderson offers some helpful thoughts in this post that will help you and those to whom you forward it.
When God invites people to join him on the mission field, he is not just interested in the work that will be accomplished through them; he is also focused on the work he intends to do in them.
When we can’t be broken…faith weakens.
Missionaries need to be able to be authentic and transparent—with themselves and with those they regard as partners in ministry. That’s why Joy Smalley has penned this piece. As a missionary advocate, how might you help facilitate the type of honesty she writes about?
Know anyone working in or near Indonesia? You may want to let them know at the Azmera Haven Retreat for women coming up in April. And you may want to consider making it possible for some to attend by paying some or all of their way.
For those who might be going or sending people to the mission field as marketplace workers, long-term training will not likely be an option. The folks at Upstream Collective are offering a weekend training experience designed just for such a case. March 29-30, in Louisville, KY.
Radiant Life Retreats are small group debriefing and wellness experiences “specifically designed for those who have lived cross-culturally for a year or more.” Hosted by the folks at Excelling Leaders, the next event is scheduled for February 26-March 7 at Twin Pines Manor, Lancaster County, PA. Who might you sponsor to attend this event?
Know any missionaries who will be anywhere close to Massachusetts in March? You could really bless them with a gift of retreat. The folks at Leadership Transformations is offering a half day guided retreat entitled Sheltered in the Shepherd’s Care, and it’s only $35. At that price you could bless several missionaries!
Le Ruche is offering two debriefing events this summer in northern Georgia. (You can also contact them to ask about custom dates.) It is designed for people who have served five or more years on the field.
Abba’s Tree is a new adult debriefing program being offered three times this year. Early registration discounts are available before February 15 for the April 14-19 event. Hosted at the beautiful facilities of The Hideaway Inn in Black Forest, CO by veteran debriefers George and Connie Blake. Every missionary should receive a debriefing like this when they are back in the States. Who might you sponsor for that privilege?
The 6th Asia Member Care Network Conference will be held April 29-May 3 in Penang, Malaysia, and registration is now open. The theme this year is Member Care in an Age of Accelerated Change. A great opportunity in a beautiful location. Who could you take with you?
The ReBoot MK re-entry programs for 2019 are now open for registration. These are for Canadians and are hosted in Canada. Know anyone who might be interested?
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.
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).
Here’s a fun way to learn about culture stress: a card game. Barnga can be used by missionaries to help others understand what culture stress feels like. And it can be used by missionary advocates like you who want to enhance their understanding and prayers. Sounds interesting, right?
If you or anyone you know depends upon the secure messaging app WhatsApp, you will probably want to keep an eye on this development. It may not remain secure for much longer.
This article by Celeste Headlee is so appropriate for all of us who desire to encourage others as they deal with loss. It doesn’t have to be the loss of a loved one; all forms of loss need to be acknowledged and dealt with in a healthy way. Let Celeste help you understand what appropriate
One of the most valuable skills you can develop, if you want to care well for the missionaries in your life, is the ability to listen effectively. That does not came naturally for most people, but it can be learned, as Malcolm Webber describes in this very practical piece. Don’t let the title about leaders mislead you; everyone can benefit from these suggestions.
The folks at TEAM are offering this free guide to missionary life stages. It is a simple overview of the different stages of a missionary’s career, with space to note ideas for how to care for them in each phase.
Want to learn how to conduct a personal debriefing? Veteran debriefers George and Connie Blake will be hosting a training seminar in December (scroll to the bottom of the page). If you are interested, I suggest you look into this as soon as possible. These tend to be very popular events that fill up quickly, and there are very few opportunities.
BUMP IT UP A NOTCH
This article appeared in LinkedIn and is primarily about innovation within the realm of business. It is worth reading because of the parallels between entrepreneurs and missionaries.
People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to underinvest in their families and over-invest in their careers — even though intimate and loving relationships with their families are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness.
What thoughts come to mind when you consider your relationship with sent ones? How might you counsel those who are “driven to excel” in a setting where there are never enough workers for all the things that could (should?) be done?
Treating people like people. That’s what missionary care is all about. Sometimes, however, sent ones are treated that strategic pawns, cogs in a ministry machine. That is not at all the way the Father views them. They are not expendable for “the cause.” Here is a thought-provoking piece from the business world. See if you can’t recognize some parallel problems in the world of missions—problems which underscore the need for proper care. By the way, I would love to hear your thoughts on this after you read it.
I hope the cold snap has not affected you too drastically, and that by now you are enjoying warmer weather. Thanks for dropping by, and, as always, thanks for caring about the wellbeing of global workers.
New on my bookshelf:
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel Pink
- The Lost World of Genesis One, by John Walton
- True You: Letting go of your false self to uncover the person God created, by Michelle DeRusha
- Take Care of Yourself: Survive and thrive in Christian ministry, by Pablo Martinez
- The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization, by Peter Senge
What I’m reading this week:
- Receiving Them Well, by Lisa Ennis & Lori Bryan
- Winter, a Spiritual Biography, by Gary Schmidt, ed.
Recently finished reading:
- The Right Story, by Bernadette Jiwa
- Sojourner’s Workbook: A Guide to Thriving Cross-culturally, by Connie Befus
- Dragging Baggage: A Guide for Those Struggling on the Mission Field, by Alice Young
- Making Space for Millennials: A Blueprint for your Culture, Ministry, Leadership and Facilities, by Barna
- Inspired: Slaying giants, walking on water, and loving the Bible again, by Rachel Evans
- The Bible Tells Me So, by Peter Enns
- Formed for the Glory of God, by Kyle Strobel
- Desiring the Kingdom, by James K.A. Smith