Casual Mid-March Friday
March seems to be the month of successive snow storms. Most of them of little consequence; just enough to keep the plows in business and the motorists on edge. The needs that missionaries have for encouragement and care can be like that. Not often dramatic; more often dribbles of ongoing stress. Your part in keeping them healthy cannot be overemphasized, and you can do your part using resources like these.
Have you considered how important it is to commission those you send out? Neal Pirolo makes the case that a proper send-off is imperative to the future wellbeing and success of your sent ones.
More and more these days missionaries are being sent from house churches. If you are part of a house church, and you want to know how to care well for those you send out, listen to this podcast. You’ll glean some thought-provoking ideas.
Want a good idea of what life as a missionary is really like? Take a look at what Rebecca and Renette have written about what they wish they had known.
Why don’t missionaries make retreat a routine part of their lives? (Well, it seems that most don’t.) Danielle Wheeler over at Velvet Ashes digs into that question and comes up with some viable answers. And one suggestion: the online Velvet Ashes retreat for women. Make sure your female friends on the field know about his.
Even those who know they should maintain rhythms of rest on the mission field may struggle to follow through.
I’m too busy micromanaging my time to be with God that I miss out on the chance to relax.
In this transparent piece by Cosette Grenno, the truth about what many field workers experience is voiced. Share this with everyone you know who needs to grow in this vital practice.
Here is a fairly new book from Ruth Haley Barton on the topic of retreat. It will benefit you, as someone who cares for missionaries, and it would make a great gift for the global workers you know. (See the podcast mentioned below for an interview with the author.)
The modern donor is used to getting customized communications. So say the folks at Network for Good. They are offering a free eGuide to help those who are raising support to connect more effectively with those who support them.
It’s simply a fact: People of color have some unique challenges when it comes to raising support within their communities. POC (person of color) DeNail Sparks shares some tips and reminders that should prove helpful for anyone you know in that category.
RISK ASSESSMENT & MANAGEMENT
A proper understanding of courage is essential to the ability to assess and cope with risk. Too often a false sense of courage results in unnecessary martyrdom.
Courage…and risk…are so much more than martyrdom, and so much more nuanced.
Risk expert Anna E. Hampton explains what true courage looks like. You need to understand this if you are going to walk alongside someone working in a risky environment.
LIFE ON THE FIELD
Curiosity as a spiritual discipline? Could be. Nicole Walters makes a good case for the concept in this thought-provoking piece.
In the Western world we tend to see life in dichotomies.
Curiosity can nurture our capacity to embrace the paradoxes that might otherwise feel crazy-making.
It takes courage to rest and to let God love you. That’s the conviction that Bonnie Gray talks about in this post. She offers several practical ways to move in that direction—something your friends on the mission field might find helpful.
Rhythms of rest are imperative if global workers are going to thrive in their work. That includes periodic times of retreat—something that may be a new concept for many missionaries. In this podcast, Ruth Haley Barton describes retreat as an invitation from God himself. Surely you know some people who should listen to this. (You might be one of them.) Stick with it—the interview with Ruth begins around the 10 minute mark.
Discouragement is a very real part of most missionary’s lives. Craig Greenfield knows firsthand.
The battle is real—compassion fatigue, backstabbing, lack of breakthroughs…
That’s why he penned this encouraging true story of another weary servant, and how God himself came alongside to sustain him. Pass this one around among those you know serving cross-culturally.
The first level of missionary care is self-care. Missionary Alex Hawke shares 10 resolutions, replete with scriptural references, that you might want to pass along to those you know serving on the mission field.
Are you involved in the life of someone who is coming back from the field and looking for new opportunities? Are you helping someone discern where they might best fit in the myriad options in global service? The Mission Next web site might be really helpful. They have resources for every age bracket that can match people directly with those who are looking for them.
Most of us have heard of culture shock, but many are unaware of the reverse form. Returning to one’s sending country can be a difficult, tricky experience.
Re-entry is an emotional business and it cannot be denied.
Julie Martinez talks openly about her experience in this post that you will find provides some great insights into how you might walk alongside someone in that situation.
How is transition like spinach? Strange as it seems, Ruth and Kevin think there are some similarities between the two. Read this to gain a better understanding of what it is often like for those who are leaving the mission field.
GRIEF & LOSS
Missionary life is replete with loss, which means there is an abundance of grief as well. So often it can feel like we’ve been robbed. How does a global worker cope with that? Jonathan Trotter has some helpful (and challenging) perspective to offer in this piece. Share this with anyone you know who is struggling with their losses.
Transition can be hard on everyone, but children in particular may need extra help to navigate the changes. A new book, We’ll Still Be a Family, has been designed for families to read together. Suitable for ages 4 to 8. You may want to pick up a copy to give to someone you know preparing to move overseas for the first time.
There are so many times when missionary parents are required to have difficult conversations with their children. The need to move, or change jobs. The struggle to fit in and feel like they belong in their adopted culture. Concerns about their future. The list goes on. Aditi Wardhan Singh shares these excellent practical guidelines for having those conversations.
What’s the difference between an MK, a TCK, an ATCK, and a CCK? (Had enough of the acronyms yet?) Tanya Crossman, author of Misunderstood: The Impact of Growing Up Overseas in the 21st Century, explains some of the nuances. You’ll want to understand these if you work with missionary children. And keep an eye out for Tanya’s upcoming series on the subject.
Go from caring about missionaries to caring for missionaries. That’s the theme of this free webinar coming up on Monday evening, March 11. The purpose is to discuss an intentional and proactive way for your church to provide care for those they send out.
Velvet Ashes will soon be hosting its annual online retreat—a unique experience for female field workers to come alongside each other for nurture and encouragement. This year’s theme is Shalom: Experience God’s intent for you. Scheduled for April 26-28 (with 30 day access), it only costs $25. But hey – why not sponsor a woman or two or four? That would make the experience even more special for them.
Are you involved in the decision making process for people working in risky environments? You may be interested in this workshop, “designed for leaders in small to mid-sized mission organizations and churches who want to know if they have ‘covered all their bases’ in risk analysis and crisis preparedness. May 9-10, in Minneapolis.
A soul Sabbath. Now there’s an idea! The folks at Leadership Transformations will be hosting a half-day event in Winchester, MA. And at $35 per person, you could sponsor several missionaries for this opportunity to reflect in quiet and share with a small group.
Do you live anywhere near the Dallas/Ft Worth area? Want to learn more about caring well for those sent out from your church? Missions Resource Network and Great Cities Missions have teamed up to host the Missionary Care Summit, March 29-30, in North Richland Hills. Only $15 per person, meals included (I wish I could go!) Learn more here.
There are four debriefing events scheduled for 2019 at Sanctuary Inn: March 18-21, June 10-13, July 29-August 1, and October 21-24. Space is limited, so early registration is encouraged. There is no children’s program or childcare at these events. Check out their web site for costs and more information. (You could sponsor someone’s trip.)
Marriages take a hit on the mission field. While every couple would benefit from periodic marriage retreats, missionary couples don’t often avail themselves during their all-too-short home assignments. Well here’s one that might fit their schedule and their budget. WinShape Marriage is designed for “couples who have served two years of consecutive missionary ministry within the last three years.” The next event is April 22-26 at their beautiful facility in northern Georgia, with others scheduled for May, June, and July.
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.
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.
Hurry! Abba’s Tree is a new adult debriefing program being offered three times this year, the next being April 4-9. 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. 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).
What do men on the mission field need? This post about the Traction men’s conference does a good job of explaining.
Men serving globally are under a tremendous amount of pressure from so many angles.
Registration is now open for this six-day retreat in the Alps of Switzerland, to be held in September. And there are scholarships available! Who could you help get there?
BUMP IT UP A NOTCH
“The importance of addressing the global problem of psychological trauma can hardly be overestimated. Big-picture ‘guesstimates’ of the current levels of trauma are staggering, running into the hundreds of millions of people.” (Global Initiative for Stress and Trauma Treatment) The chances are that, sooner or later, you’re going to run into a global worker that has experienced trauma, and you’ll want to help. While I’m not suggesting you wade into waters that are over your head (some things are best handled by professionals), I am suggesting that there is a lot you can do to equip yourself to play a significant role in helping missionaries deal with trauma. You can start by checking out the Global Initiative for Stress and Trauma Treatment (GIST-T) Knowledge Center. You will find an incredible amount of information on the causes and consequences of trauma, treatment options, and psychological first aid (perhaps something you can provide). If you are a reader, there are several books you may want to acquire: Building Back Better: Sustainable Mental Health Care After Emergencies; Psychological First Aid: Guide for Field Workers; Trauma and Resilience: A Handbook; Resilience in Life and Faith: Finding Your Strength in God.
Thank you for caring enough to stop by, for equipping yourself to care well for the global workers God has brought into your life.
New on my bookshelf:
- Tables in the Wilderness, by Preston Yancey
- Out of the House of Bread, by Preston Yancey
- The Missionary Family: Witness. Concerns. Care, Baker & Priest, eds.
- Career-Defining Crises in Mission: Navigating the Major Decisions of Cross-Cultural Service, by Paul Keidel
What I’m reading this week:
- The Bible Tells Me So, by Peter Enns
- Formed for the Glory of God, by Kyle Strobel
- Healing the Wounds of Trauma: How the Church Can Help, by Hill, Hill, Bagge, & Miersma
Recently finished reading:
- Take Care of Yourself: Survive and Thrive in Christian Ministry, by Pablo Martinez
- Arriving Well, by Cate Brubaker et al
- 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
- Receiving Them Well, by Lisa Ennis & Lori Bryan
- Desiring the Kingdom, by James K.A. Smith