Casual New Year Friday
Few of us are immune to the irrational urges that accompany the turning of the calendar pages from one year to the next. There is something hope-inspiring about a fresh batch of weeks and months in which to pursue our goals. One of my goals for this year is to become even better at caring for missionaries. Closely related is my desire to be even better at equipping you to do the same. With that in mind, here is this week’s collection of missionary care resources.
Begin with the basics
I for one am determined to learn how to slow down and live in the moment. To fully enjoy God’s presence in the present. Dr. David Benner concurs. Chances are, you—as well as every missionary you know—would benefit from his advice.
Taking the time to listen
Marian Vischer offers these thoughts on why all of us need to quiet our lives enough to really hear from God. Missionaries are notorious for burning the candle at both ends, but that does not necessarily mean they are giving off more light. You should do this, and you should encourage your friends on the field to do it, too.
Practice being your future self
Peter Bregman’s article in the Harvard Business Review challenges us to focus on where we want to end up more than on where we currently are. Good advice. All of us, missionaries included, should be continually growing. To get to where we want to be we will need to learn how to practice doing things that seem to be unproductive in the moment.
What’s your plan?
(You do have one, don’t you?) Kay Bruner prompts us to create a plan. Not a plan for what we want to do, but for what we want to be. Goes great with Peter’s article above. You and I need to have a self-care plan before we can ask our missionary friends to create one.
Recharging the body without neglecting the soul
John Piper wrote this for pastors, but it is equally applicable to missionaries.
This is only possible if we give the first priority to knowing God, not working for God.
Make sure your missionary friends see this.
The real reason we are so tired
Sarita Hartz pulls no punches with this post about perfectionism. In our quest to improve ourselves; in our desire to have a fruitful ministry; in our drivenness to please God, we need to stop and ask ourselves some serious questions. And then we need to listen to what God has to say in our answers.
Do you resemble these remarks?
Back in October I attended a workshop where Scott Shaum surveyed the two dozen missionary care providers on these very topics. Yikes! If you are more than a casual care provider, you need to beware of these problems. We cannot serve well when we are spiritually anemic ourselves. And by the way, do Scott a favor and share this with your network.
For those left behind
Part of caring for missionaries includes caring for those they leave behind when they go to the field. Parents in particular.
“You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” ― Frederick Blechner
Marilyn Gardner has been on both sides of that equation. Her thoughts for how to cope will be most useful to you.
Be this kind of friend
Kathleen Shumate describes the kind of relationship every missionary longs to experience. You can be this person!
That perennial topic
It may be a new year, but the same old need for funds hasn’t changed. (It may have even intensified, with cost-of-living increases, exchange rate fluctuations, growing family size…) Matt shares his “code of ethics” in raising support. Perhaps your missionary friends would appreciate this?
In this article, Steve Shadrach share five practical ways to use Facebook in support raising. Some of this ideas may be new to you.
David Grissen passes on this important article about something overseas travelers need to know. For you when you go visit, and for those you love serving overseas. Educate yourself on this topic.
For homeschooling parents
There are many, many moms and dads on the mission field trying to juggle ministry with homeschooling responsibilities. Elizabeth Trotter shares about how she learned to protect her sanity in that process.
This bears repeating
Michele Phoenix has written about MKs and isolation. Powerful stuff that will definitely help you relate to MKs. Many of you may not have seen the original post, so I’m passing it on now.
…is now available as an audio book! Amy Young’s book is one of the best tools available for helping missionaries transitioning on or off the field. This version is an excellent alternative for those who might prefer to listen rather than read. And it’s on sale right now for a ridiculously low price (as in $5 people!). You could give a bunch of these away at that price!
And now for a little (serious) humor
Jerry Jones relates what it’s like to leave the mission field for a short break over the holidays. I know, the holidays are just past. But Jerry’s thoughts may give pause to those who are considering a quick trip next time around.
That’s it for this week. May God grant you encouragement and perseverance in your pursuit of the goals he’s implanted within your soul. And may he multiply your effectiveness in caring for missionaries. Thanks for reading.
What I’m reading this week:
- You Are What You Love, by James Smith
- Called to be Saints, by Gordon Smith
- Winter: A Spiritual Biography of the Season, an anthology
- The Apology of Socrates, by Plato
- Moments With the Master, by Ken Gire
- An Age of Barns, by Eric Sloane
- Creek Mary’s Blood, by Dee Brown
- Seven Days That Divide the World, by John Lennox
- Delighting in the Trinity, by Michael Reeves