Archive for February, 2010

NEW- Missionary Moms Tuesday Topic

I am excited to announce a new feature here at Missionary Moms! Over the past year a number of you have emailed me or left comments suggesting great topics and questions for discussion. With the number of women who visit this blog each week from all over the world, we have an incredible wealth of knowledge and wisdom among us. I would LOVE to be able to tap into that more and give you all the chance to share your advice and experiences with one another in a simple yet helpful and hopefully fun way.

There is a wonderful blog called A Bushel and a Peck on the topic of adoption and parenting in general, and the author does a great thing there called “Tuesday Topic” where she posts questions that her readers have posed and provides an opportunity for discussion and sharing in the comments. Heidi from Moms, Ministry, and More gave me the idea a couple of months ago to start a similar thing here. I couldn’t think of a catchier name than “Tuesday Topic,” so I thought I’d just borrow the name and adapt it for our purposes.

So, here is how it will work. I have some questions already saved up that you have sent my way, and I will start with those as our first “Tuesday Topics” as we try this out. In the meantime, think of all of those great questions that you would love to have answered by your fellow missionary moms around the world and please email them to formissionarymoms@gmail.com . You can share your name and blog address if you would like and I’ll link to you, or if you would prefer to ask a question anonymously, just let me know and I won’t include your name. You can ask anything you’d like, serious or just for fun, and some topics to jumpstart your thinking are: cross-cultural living, language learning, parenting, balancing roles, schooling, helping kids adapt, culture stress and marriage, visa issues, burnout…. there are TONS of things that you could ask!

So, come back on Tuesday for our first Missionary Moms “Tuesday Topic!”

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Breathe Conference 2010

I recently received an email from Lori Hahn, one of the leaders of a conference designed specifically to bless and serve missionaries! She asked if I would share about it with you, and knowing how much we all need to stop and be refreshed from time to time to keep thriving in overseas ministry, I am happy to share about it with you! Here is what Lori had to share:

Breathe is a 10-day retreat happening June 24-July 4, 2010 in Switzerland designed for the renewal of singles, couples and families who serve in cross-cultural settings. Under the guidance of professionals with years of experience in pastoral and member care counseling, you will have the opportunity to focus on issues affecting you and your family. Full programs are provided for preschoolers, elementary, and teens that consider the unique needs of TCKs. The focus of Breathe is to support and encourage North American cross-cultural workers who serve in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Breathe is held at Credo located in one of Switzerland’s most breathtaking regions, a peaceful, quiet setting near Interlaken. Program includes counseling, medical consultation, massage, childcare, meals and lodging.

A brochure can be downloaded at breatheconference.org

Check out the site and drop them an email if you have any more questions! Lori, thank you so much for your heart to bless and serve missionaries in such a powerful way!

Hello from Finland!

(I wish I could say that I did more than just pose by this snowmobile, but sadly my daughter was too afraid to go for a quick ride! We had a great time watching it though. We’re staying at a retreat center and they hosted a very fun kids’ camp this past weekend).

Well, in place of the posts that I would have loved to have put up this past week, I thought I’d just chime in and say hi from beautiful snowy Finland! Internet problems persist, but we’ll get things running here again soon. We’re now on week 2 of our wait for our visas, and like last time, though we are pretty much forced to be away from home for 2 weeks, God has definitely been blessing us. The scenery around us couldn’t be more beautiful (albeit freezing cold) and we’ve enjoyed time to get some administrative things done to free up more time for hands-on ministry when we get back. Our family has enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere and friendly culture so much and are praising God for the forced rest. The kids are loving living in our little cabin in the woods and the excitement of all of the newness of our daily life activities has been very enjoyable to them. God is so gracious and knows exactly how to bless us in ways that we would never think to ask! If you think of it, please pray that we get our visas back without a problem at the end of the week! Thanks!

How are you this week? Would anyone like to share a prayer request or any exciting thing that you’ve been up to? I know some of you have visa trips coming up as well. Is there any way that we could be praying with you about that?

Treasuring our Supporters

Whether or not we raise your own financial support, there is a team of people who invest deeply in our ministries through prayer and often finances. Our work is so dependent on this powerful team for its effectiveness. We are here in Finland on a visa trip right now, away from our hands-on ministry to Russians, and one of the things that God has enabled us to do with this time is to invest in praying for and communicating with our supporters and to truly treasure the blessing that they are to us. As I sit here looking at all of these names and pictures, my heart is overwhelmed at how amazing God is to send us out with the support and prayers of so many faithful individuals who have a heart both for our work and our family.  How terrible it would be if we were sent out alone without this powerful support backing us! Could we even survive? With all of the obstacles that we face in ministry and just in life in general, it takes all of about 5 minutes on the field to understand why we are all called to spend significant time raising up a team who will join alongside us in this ministry either in prayer or prayer and finances and why we need to constantly relay our prayer needs back to them.

But, the whole concept of “out of sight out of mind” can so easily have its effect on this partnership from both ends. If we don’t have reminders around us of those who are supporting us from back “home,” we can forget that we are in fact only one part of an entire powerful team doing this work, and if they don’t have ways to remember us, they can forget and stop praying for and partnering in our ministries. I wanted both as an encouragement to you and also to myself to take this post and list some ideas for fostering healthy relationships with our supporters.

Keeping our supporters close to our hearts:

Pray for them! We ask them to pray a ton for our work, and we have the privilege of praying for them as well! We can pray generally, but it is also great to pray specifically, which means that we need to take time to find out specific needs. Here are some ideas to foster more prayer for your support team:

-Have their photos up on your computer screen saver and pray as you see them scroll through throughout the day

-Have a list that you pray thorough systematically. Printing out your newsletter address list is an good and easy way to make sure you don’t miss anyone. You can also break up the list by week and pray through it systematically to make sure you pray for everyone.

-As you pray for your supporters, occasionally write them a post card to tell them that you’ve thought of them and held them up in prayer.

-Follow their blogs and ask people to include you in their Christmas letter mailing. Search for your ministry partners on Facebook.

-As you send out email updates, ask people to respond by sending you one specific prayer request. Compile them and post them up in your house until you send out your next email, and then do the same again.

-If your sending churches send out a prayer chain email, make sure you are on that list so you can pray for the needs of the church and its members.

Helping your supporters keep you and the ministry close to their hearts:

-Send out regular newsletters! So many of us fail in this way, but how can they be praying if they don’t know what our needs are?

-Send postcards or pictures of where you live. Having a visual will help foster prayer.

-Send out family photos or photo magnets.

-Bring back small gifts or souvenirs and ask people to pray as the see them. On our last furlough we brought back Russian coins. They weren’t of much monetary value, but we asked people to put them in a frequently used drawer or on a desk, or somewhere where they would see it often and be reminded to pray.

-Post prayer requests on Facebook. I have noticed that more and more of our supporters are on Facebook these days! I have also seen a number of other missionaries creating groups on Facebook for their supporters. This is a good way to use technology to keep our ministry partners informed and praying.

-Express gratefulness! Of course we should always send thank you notes when we receive financial support and such, but we should express our gratefulness at other times as well for the faithful prayers and encouragement that our supporters invest. This can be done in many different ways, whether it be in newsletters, individual notes, emails, phone calls, by bringing gifts, etc. We need to make sure to express the thankfulness that we feel!

-Utilize a ministry/family blog! The more ways that our supporters have to keep up with what God is doing through their mutual work, the better! Praise God for technology!

-Throw “Thank you” parties when you are on home assignment to appreciate your ministry partners and share about the work they have invested in.
As usual, this list is far from being exhaustive! Please encourage your fellow sisters in Christ with other ideas that you have!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope each of you have a wonderful day as you celebrate the love that God has blessed you with in your life! I bet many of you will be going on nice dates and having lovely dinners. Enjoy! My husband and I are celebrating here in very snowy Finland as we wait for our visas to be processed. Since we don’t have a babysitter around, we’re going to make a nice gourmet Italian dinner (gotta love Finland’s amazing grocery stores!) here at our temporary home, and then plan to enjoy a fun romantic movie after the kiddos go to bed. Are you doing anything special to celebrate? Also, please take a moment to share one of the things that you love most about your husband!

Unfortunately our internet situation here isn’t working out too well, so I may end up taking a semi-forced break from blogging for the next couple of weeks. I look forward to sharing more posts from the other contributors and myself in the near future. In the meantime, I’ll spend some extra time praying for you ladies, each of whom are serving so faithfully all across the globe!

Flexibility, a favorite word of all moms and missionaries

Well, I had some plans in the works for the blog this week, but as you well know, life is often full of opportunities to learn to flex! We are heading off on a visa trip the day after tomorrow, and though I was feeling quite well prepared to have a smooth and stress-free departure, some unforeseen opportunities to practice being flexible have come my way and I am suddenly quite busy! I look forward to getting back and getting things up and running here again likely by the weekend. Take care and have a blessed week!

~Ashley

1st Blogiversary!

I just realized about a week ago that today is Missionary Moms’ 1st blogiversary! I have so enjoyed this year of getting to know so many amazing moms serving God all throughout the world. Thank you so much for all of your insightful comments, your prayers for your fellow mom friends here, for sharing your wisdom and life experiences, and for your great fellowship and encouragement. I hope this site has been a blessing to you, and always pray that God might use whatever each of the contributors and I might have to offer, however small it might be, and that He would multiply it for His purposes and for the building up of the body of Christ. I look forward to what is in store for the next year!

I went through and picked a few posts from throughout the year just to revisit for fun. Here is some glimpses of various things we’ve discussed over the past year!

Loneliness

Make-It-Yourself Toys

Defining Home

Growing in Hospitality

Coffee with YOU!

The “Good Mother” Criteria

Planning your Home Preschool

Creating Beauty for the Glory of God

Keeping Relationships Close

The Significance of Tradition

Haiti and Giving Sacrificially

Maintaining Vision

(Post by: Ashley)


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