Casual Special Edition Friday

Mar 22, 2019 | Blog, Casual Friday

I am out of town this week to attend the wedding of our oldest grandson. Rather than skip this week’s Casual Friday, I put together a special edition focused on events—both training opportunities for you, and refreshing opportunities for those missionaries you love. See if you don’t find some interesting options here.


Self care on the field

GRC (God Speed Resources) is offering several online small group sessions for field workers. Boundaries for Men, Boundaries for Women, The Cry of the Soul, Preventing Burnout, and Me Help Others. Who might you sponsor to attend one or more of these? Which ones would you like to take yourself?



There’s still time to get the early registration discount for the SYIS (Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills) training to be hosted by the More Network. One class will begin on May 12, in Calgary, AB; another class will start on June 23, in Kitchener, ON. This would be an excellent program to attend along with a missionary friend or two. You will all benefit from the skills they teach, and it will help to have a common training in your background for those inevitable times when conflict arises.


The annual PTM (Pastoral Training in MemberCare) conference is one event that we personally build our schedule around. This unique event brings together m’care people from every level—layperson to professional—for a time of mutual refreshment and continuing education. This year’s event will include a special celebration of their 30th year of facilitating this conference. Regardless of your level of experience in m’care (from just curious to career involvement) you will find this conference to be as encouraging as it is educational.


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.


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.


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.


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 folks at Safe Place offer a wide range of training and debriefing opportunities at locations around the world. Learn about pastoral care debriefing, or receive training in trauma care. Send your missionaries to a debriefing event near them (Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Africa, Cambodia, N. Ireland), or request a personal debriefing, counseling, or a field visit. They have a lot for you to look over, and it’s all good.


Barnabas International will be hosting Interlude: A Debriefing Retreat for Global Workers, July 22-26 in central Indiana. A four-day experience, with plenty of time for reflection, and sharing and processing your story with field-experienced staff members.


Emmaus Encounter is a debriefing ministry located in Montana (near Glacier National Park) for those in Christian ministry including missionaries, pastors and lay-people. It is a 5-day program offering listening space, time, and exercises that help you see Jesus in your journey, in the midst of pain, loss, injustice, confusion, disappointments, transition and weariness. This is a private, personal and sacred time together with only you (couple/single) and the debriefers.


There are three more debriefing events scheduled for 2019 at Sanctuary Inn: 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.)


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?


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.


Debriefing Training

Here’s another excellent opportunity from the More Network. On June 22 they will be hosting a training workshop on how to debrief a missionary. If you are near enough to Otterburne, MB you might consider taking your entire missions committee. Only $90 per person (including lunch) if you register before April 30.



CAMB (Come Away My Beloved) is a five-day spiritual practicum with a focus on a guided rhythm of rest and interaction within a small learning community. Offered twice a year (once in the Spring, once in the Fall). You will need to contact Barnabas International directly for the next dates and locations. Once again, might I suggest that you consider attending one of these along with a missionary that you sponsor?


ELIM Retreats are another ministry of Barnabas International to facilitate rest, reflection, recovery and spiritual renewal. The next will be held June 2-7 in Green Lake, WI, with another slated for September 15-20 in Eagle, WI.


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.


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.


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?


Here’s a thought: You may want to bookmark this post for future reference. There is a ton of really useful information here that will be useful for some months to come. As always, thank you for stopping by, and for caring for the sent ones God has place in 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:

  • Desiring the Kingdom, by James K.A. Smith
  • The Fellowship of the Ring, by JRR Tolkein
  • Dying Well, by John Wyatt
  • Formed for the Glory of God, by Kyle Strobel

Recently finished reading:

  • Healing the Wounds of Trauma: How the Church Can Help, by Hill, Hill, Bagge, & Miersma
  • The Bible Tells Me So, by Peter Enns
  • 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

Up next:

  • Invitation to Retreat, by Ruth Haley Barton
  • The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown