Casual October Friday
We finally had our first frost around these parts. The trees have responded accordingly; their shuddering has resulted in far fewer vestiges of summer’s dense foliage. How is it where you are?
Well, we’re done traveling for a while and we’ve got an extra-large assortment of missionary care resources for you to make up for the week we missed. I’m trying something new this week: a long-read (see GOING DEEPER below). Leave a comment, if you would, and let me know if such thought-provoking pieces are useful.
Does your church have a missions policy? Does it cover things like cyber security, furlough, and contingency planning? The folks at Shepherd’s Staff have compiled a list of resources that can help your missions committee draft policies for these issues and more.
Want to know a great way to care for your missionaries? Care for their parents. This issue of Catalyst will explain why and how. (You should subscribe to this free newsletter.)
What’s the difference between coaching, counseling, and spiritual direction? Which would be most helpful to the missionaries you know? How can you find out? By heading to Global Trellis, where host Amy Young interviews Tim Austin (includes a podcast with a special offer at the end).
While we’re on the subject of soul care, check out these folks. Soul Care offers “encouragement, a sense of community, and a few practical helps” for those who desire to live and lead from a healthy soul.
There is a new podcast available on the topic of resilience. Shepherd of shepherd, Scott Shaum, introduces it here on his site. (If Scott recommends it, it is truly good stuff.) And since Scott was written extensively on the subject of suffering, he was interviewed on one of these podcasts. Check it out.
Depression is a very real issue for many overseas workers. (Even the Apostle Paul despaired of life at one point!) In this brave post, Craig Thompson talks about the importance of recognizing and dealing with depression. How familiar are you with the signs? What would you do if you suspected (or knew) that your missionary friend was wrestling with depression? As Craig puts it, “some other day” may not be soon enough to deal with it.
LIFE ON THE FIELD
Hurry up and slow down! (That’s a joke.) But slowing down can actually accelerate our work, and it can certainly extend our lives. Amy Young offers some great suggestions for the spiritual discipline of slowing down. I bet everyone you know on the mission field would benefit from this—if they’re not too busy to read it.
What happens when a missionary tries to cram too much into their lives? Strain. Jonathan Trotter spells that out in humorous terms.
Know a missionary who would benefit from coaching? (Coaching that you might pay for, perhaps?) You should look into Advance Global Coaching. They specialize in working with cross-cultural workers.
I don’t know if it is possible to over stress the importance of adequate rest on the mission field. Rest comes in several forms—seven, according to Molly Shea. How might you be able to encourage and facilitate each of these types of rest for the global workers you love?
Do not despise the day of small things. Sounds biblical, right? Well, there is wisdom in the thought. Life on the mission field can be so chaotic, so over-filled with demands on one’s time, that taking care of oneself can easily fall between the cracks. This article is about the value of brief exercise routines, but it also talks about how to build just about any desired regime. How can you use this principle to bump your care of missionaries up a notch?
Personal health on the field is closely tied to team health. And team health, as Amy Young points out, depends largely on clarity. Not always easy to come by. Anyone you know who serves as part of a team would benefit from the six questions that Amy encourages us to ask.
God has other reasons for inviting people to join him on the mission field than simply reaching the lost. It is in that cross-cultural arena that he does some of the most profound work in transforming us into the image of Christ.
Living overseas has an incredible way of bringing out our self-indulgence.
As Joy Smalley attests in this post, transformation involves exposure, and that is usually a bit painful, yet God is present in the process. You may know someone who would be encouraged by her thoughts.
“Serving cross-culturally is full of struggle and reward…we celebrate both.” Field Life: Sounds like the kind of outfit that would be good to know. Their by-line is: Stay Healthy. Be Fruitful. Fulfill Your Calling. They offer retreats, personal get-aways, and coaching. Worth checking out. Do any of you have personal experience with this ministry?
Sleep—can we ever say enough about the need for adequate amounts? The very thing new missionaries want to accomplish (i.e. language and culture learning) is most hindered by a lack of sleep. Here is a science-based article about the effects of sleep deprivation.
I was shocked to learn recently that 85% of those past the age of 50 continue to learn and to take risks. Learning is a key element in anyone’s growth, missionaries especially. In this post Lilly talks about the need for lifelong learning—and how to facilitate it.
RISK ASSESSMENT & MANAGEMENT
Vigilance is non-negotiable in many parts of the missions world. Safety depends on it. In this post, C. Anderson begins a series on the topic by suggesting questions every missionary should ask (and answer).
Transitions can be rough. That’s why a coach like Tim Austin, at Encompass Life Coaching can be a valuable resource. Do you know anyone you should forward his information to?
Do you help millennial missionary candidates in the fundraising process? You might appreciate this post from Support Raising Solutions on partnership development.
Are missionary kids missionaries? That’s the tough question Rachel Pieh Jones tackles in this Christianity Today article.
Family life abroad is complex and individual.
How might this article affect your thoughts and practices about caring for MKs and their parents?
Identity and belonging are two big issues for TCKs. Dr. Rachel Cason explains why. You may want to follow this series she is starting on the subject.
Keep your eye on this: Global Trellis will be featuring TCK advocate Lauren Wells in coming days. Lauren grew up in Tanzania and now serves as the Director of Training and TCK programs for Culture Bound. You’ll want to track with her.
Do you now – or would you like to – work with young TCKs? This training opportunity offered by MTI is one of the best you’ll ever find. (We took an abbreviated form of it a few years ago.) These folks combine technical expertise with their passion for children to create an event you’ll never forget.
A special getaway for a limited number of U.S. and Canadian women who live and work cross-culturally: Thrive retreat in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Now open for registration. Who could you send?
Here’s an online workshop that looks promising. Transitional Stress: Understanding, Identifying, & Navigating the Realities of Transition. It will be held on November 12 via Zoom, so I assume it will be interactive. And the cost is only $30. This could be a great opportunity for you to learn more about caring for those global workers you love who are dealing with the stress of transition. I’m planning to attend. Will I see you there?
This looks like a phenomenal opportunity to gain an overall education in missionary care. Frontiers will be conducting a five-day conference next April called CareCon, “designed for pastors, church staff, family members, ministry partners, and anyone who wants to support global workers.” I want to go!
Are you concerned about friends who will be working in high-risk areas of the world? This security training may help you be more at peace. November 18-20, in San Diego, CA. Could you maybe sponsor someone to attend?
Who do you know working in Europe or South America? Who would you like to bless beyond belief with the gift of retreat? The folks at Thrive know how to provide spiritual, motional, and physical care to field workers, and there are three upcoming retreats you should know about: one in Estonia, in October one in Croatia, in February of 2020; and one in Brazil, in April of 2020. You could pay someone’s way. Or—check this out: You could be a volunteer at one of these retreats and bless many people! Get the details here.
Loneliness is often the word used to describe how global workers feel in their host country. Rachel Pieh Jones questions whether that is the right word. “Loneliness,” she says, “isn’t quite right for my expat-relationship-longings. The way expat friendships form: deep and quick, and the way they move on: abrupt and total, is not loneliness. Its expansion. It’s a way of spreading the heart out, not slicing it up.
There is a constant revolving door on the expatriate life.
“The revolving door means welcoming new people and introducing them to the city and the culture, hosting game nights and barbecues, translating medical papers or school forms, and then in a few years, saying goodbye to them, buying the items we helped them find, wearing their left behind clothes, picking up our hearts and our courage to welcome the next new batch.”
“The definition of loneliness is “sadness because one has no friends or company.” Or, in terms of place, which I think also applies to people, “the quality of being unfrequented or remote; isolation.””
Now take a look at this article from The Atlantic. Read carefully, you should detect many parallels between the author’s description of modern American society and life on the mission field.
The hours in which we work, rest, and socialize are becoming ever more desynchronized.
PTO (predictable time off) has huge implications for personal and communal health (as in family and team life, for missionaries).
As you prayerfully ponder these two articles, how might God be speaking to you that would result in a greater sense of connection for the missionaries you serve? How could you promote PTO, for instance? How do the ramifications of the Atlantic article apply to your own life, and your ability to connect well with the global workers you love?
I’d better quit. I need to practice what I preach and maintain healthy rhythms, and that means I need to move away from the keyboard. I’ll see you next week.
New on my bookshelf:
- Come Home, My Soul: 31 Days of Praying the Living Word, by Stephen Macchia
- No More Dragons, by Jim Burgen
What I’m reading this week:
- Autumn: A Spiritual Biography, Gary Schmidt and Susan Felch, eds.
- Serving Well, by Elizabeth & Jonathan Trotter
- Desiring the Kingdom, by James K.A. Smith
Recently finished reading:
- Getting Started: Making the most of your first year in cross-cultural service, by Amy Young
- Formed for the Glory of God, by Kyle Strobel
- Searching for God Knows What, by Donald Miller