Casual November Friday

Nov 16, 2018 | Blog, Casual Friday

We’ve had our first dusting of snow. Many of you may groan, but I look forward to the beauty of our woods being transformed by a pristine blanket of white. Meanwhile, the holidays are speeding toward us. It’s the perfect time to reach out to those you know living on the mission field, many of whom will be feeling a touch of homesickness during this season. As always, these resources will equip you to care well. (Oh, and by the way—there will be no Casual Friday next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. May yours be pleasant!)



Taking children with special needs to the mission field can be the source of all kinds of questions and apprehensions. Valerie, mother of a diabetic son, understands. Her post offers some helpful questions to help others determine their best options. She also shares how God has faithfully provided and protected over the years.


It’s not unusual for missionaries to find themselves in the midst of circumstances that are overwhelming.

My single most powerful deliberate spiritual practice is…

Carry Schmidt shares his “secret weapon” for coping in such situations.


Sleep is so vital to physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. But there are times, for various reasons, when sleep is elusive for global workers. The folks at Abide have a series of videos and audio sessions that can help promote a sense of peace, and thus sleep. Here is one example. Check their site for many more.


And another one on the critical importance of adequate sleep. The folks at HealthCentral offer this infographic on The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation. That’s right—dangers. Not just inconveniences, annoyances, or side-effects. Dangers. Sleep deprivation is practically a way of life for a huge portion of the U.S. population. Going overseas will only exacerbate the problem for missionaries who have given in to that lifestyle. Have someone in mind who should read this?



One of the challenges of relocating is developing new friendships, especially if the returning one settles in an entirely new place. The longing can be fierce, but the pace of finding and nurturing deep friendships can be agonizingly slow. M’Lynn Taylor offers some great perspective and encouragement.


On the other side of that coin, cultivating new friends among expats in one’s host country can also be daunting. Elizabeth Spencer provides this step-by-step guide. Who do you know that would appreciate this?


Coming back from Narnia. That’s how Beth Watkins describes returning from the mission field after many years of overseas life. Read this to understand what your friends may feel if and when they repatriate. It will help you know how to come alongside and care well for them.




Understanding missionary kids (aka third culture kids) is a matter of continuing education. As few as two years difference in age can yield myriad nuanced differences in their experiences and needs.

We have to be capable of complexity.

One common thread, as adult TCK Marilyn Gardner points out, is their need to be able to deal with complexity. Her insights will be helpful to all of you who come alongside these young people.



Know anyone working in Southeast Asia that wants to learn more about missionary care? The Well International, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, will be hosting a three-day seminar entitled “Member Care in Creative Ways.” Learn more here.


Far too many missionaries are driven by shame, and many more suffer from its effect on their ministry. Potter’s Inn is sponsoring a one-day seminar by Dr. Curt Thompson, author of The Soul of Shame, January 25, in Colorado Springs. You may be interested in expanding your understanding of this topic and learning ways to deal with it.


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).




Many global workers minister in honor-shame cultures. What do you know about such cultures? If you know a missionary working in such a context, the more you understand about honor-shame, patronage, and related topics, the more effectively you will be able to pray for them and encourage them. This collection of recorded messages from the recent Patronage Symposium would be a great place to start educating yourself.


For missionaries, the value of having advocates is having people who have permission to speak into their lives. People who will ask the hard questions and say the words that need to be heard.

Never underestimate the power of speaking the seemingly obvious.

Tanya Marlow talks about the importance of your role as a burden-bearer.


Scott Sauls shares a very candid testimony from a pastor suffering from mental illness. It could just as easily been written by a missionary. You need to have a good understanding of this topic if you want to effectively encourage your friends serving cross-culturally. Sooner or later someone you love is going to need your understanding.


It is significant that the folks at the Lausanne Movement are drawing attention to the topic of mental health. This article is a great overview of the various aspects of mental health and how the body of Christ can address them.

Because of stigma and lack of consensus in the church about its definition and causes, mental health is often lost in the global dialogue.

You’ll find plenty to inform and even challenge you.



In your interactions with beleaguered global workers, are you more of a harbor or a reef? Anna Hampton explains the difference—a difference you need to ponder. The answer to this question will determine the quality of the care you offer.


Missionaries are not immune to mental health problems, or even to substance abuse. How do you know if the missionary you care about is suffering from these? Mental Health First Aid USA wants everyone to be equipped to recognize and respond to this challenge. (Note: This is in no way meant to be an alternative to professional help. But early detection can go a long way toward preventing the damage that comes from unaddressed issues.)


On a totally personal note, this bibliophile (aka me) found an article that I totally resonate with. There are evidently others of my kind out there. Many others. There is so much that I don’t know, and my library reminds me of that truth every day.



New on my bookshelf:

  • The Sacred Echo: Hearing God’s Voice in Every Area of Your Life, by Margaret Feinberg
  • Marching Off the Map: Inspire students to navigate a brand new world, by Tim Elmore
  • Sacred Pathways, by Gary Thomas
  • Moving from I to We, by Paul Ford
  • Knocking Over the Leadership Ladder, by Paul Ford
  • Dare to Lead, by Brene Brown
  • Coaching Financial Support Raiser in Ministry, by Jordan Smith
  • Arriving Well: Stories about Identity…, by Brubaker, Watts, and Cumberford
  • Invitation to Retreat, by Ruth Haley Barton
  • The MarketSpace, by Larry McCrary
  • Souvenirs of Solitude, by Brennan Manning

What I’m reading this week:

  • Dragging Baggage: A Guide for Those Struggling on the Mission Field, by Alice Young
  • Inspired: Slaying giants, walking on water, and loving the Bible again, by Rachel Evans
  • Formed for the Glory of God, by Kyle Strobel
  • Winston S. Churchill: World in Torment: 1916-1922, by Martin Gilbert

Recently finished reading:

  • Autumn: A Spiritual Biography, Schmidt & Felch, eds.
  • Under Our Skin: Getting Real about Race, by Benjamin Watson
  • The Garlic Ballads, by Mo Yan
  • Receiving Sent Ones During Re-entry, by Zach Bradley

Up next:

  • The Bible Tells Me So, by Peter Enns
  • Receiving Them Well, by Lisa Ennis & Lori Bryan
  • Desiring the Kingdom, by James K.A. Smith