Lessons from a Doctor on Missionary Stress

This is a post from Mark Bright, Medical Doctor in Madagascar on his journey from excitement to be working in a field hospital into the deep depression of a burn-out existence.  His journey and encouragements are instructive for any of us in a cross-cultural, or high-stress job today.

Bright Family Continue reading

Posted in Thriving Emotionally, Thriving in Family Life, Thriving Personally, Thriving Physically, Thriving Spiritually, Thriving Through Rest, Thriving Through Retreat | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on George Muller’s Approach to Fundraising

When Missionaries start raising support, and asking people to give to their particular mission, they undoubtedly run across someone who says, “Why are you asking? You should do what George Muller did and simply pray in your funds.

Of course, this often ‘conflicts’ the conscience, creates confusion, saps enthusiasm for getting out there and going after money, and punches perseverance in the gut.

How should a Missionary raise funds?  Or more specifically, How should you personally raise funds?  Do you have your fundraising philosophy clear in your mind and heart?

In my free Fundraising Philosophy Paper, “What’s Your Fundraising Philosophy,?” I suggest that a missionary must decide how they will ‘partner’ with God in the fundraising process.  Know the options and make a clear decision.  Then press forward with faith and confidence.

Fundraising is difficult enough without being conflicted internally about how to do it.

In this excellent article in the April 2017 issue of EMQ by Trevor Johnson, “Don’t George Muller Me: A Missionary’s Plea for Understanding,” Johnson gives us an excellent historical perspective on George Muller and his approach to raising millions for orphan funding.

He then applies these insights to missionary funding today — how should this go for you and I in the 21st century?  What are the upsides and downsides.

Very insightful.  Equip yourself!  This  is a ‘must read’ article, if you are . . .

  • living on support and must keep it up,
  • raising money for specific ministry projects,
  • starting out on the road of support raising, or
  • a leader helping missionaries raise funds

Here is Trevor Johnston’s article:  “There are enough strains and stresses on the mission field without adding extra measures which may increase one’s challenges. We sympathize with missionaries who catch tropical diseases, but our sympathies would dwindle if a missionary was afforded the means of alleviating his or her suffering, but refused those legitimate means.

In like manner, those who suffer needless financial deprivation on the mission field and lack the means to care for their own families or initiate new projects due to an extra-biblical conviction about not reporting those very needs are not somehow more praiseworthy because they are suffering more. Rather, their suffering can be linked (at least in part) to their needless convictions. . .”  (Read More . . .)


Posted in Thriving in Friendraising, Thriving Personally | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Have You Thought About Personal Development in 2018?

Are you slugging it out in the trenches, doing your day-to-day responsibilities, and getting into a routine in life that prohibits you from outside stimulation and input?  STOP!  It’s time for a little personal development.  Doing this is one way to care for yourself.  Let’s think about this a little further.

Amy Young in a blog post on the website, ‘a life overseas: the mission conversation,’ has written a post giving 10 ways you can provide some professional, personal development for yourself.  Keep growing, and keep going!

“When I was a freshman in college, my university had the in-coming students come a week early for orientation. During that week I attended a campus ministry get-to-know-you event. From the outside there was nothing overtly special about it: picnic in a public park.

But did I mention I was in COLLEGE. I was a COLLEGE student. I was practically an ADULT.

(Did I also mention I chose an out-of-state school and I knew no one in the state. I was awash in new relationships and trying to be cool enough to make friends and the humidity was killing me.)

That picnic is one of my vivid memories. I can remember the covering of the picnic area. I remember how I felt. I remember the cute boy I hoped I’d get to know. But what I remember most is the message the campus minister gave.

He quoted Luke 2:52. Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and found favor with man and God. As freshman, Mike encouraged us to be like Jesus who valued growing intellectually, physically, and relationally—with people and God. The seed of intentionality was planted in me.”  (Read the full article.)


Posted in Thriving Emotionally, Thriving in Ministry, Thriving Personally | Leave a comment

Warning! Don’t Get Drugged Overseas!

There are a lot of personal security challenges out there today as you travel and live here and there around the globe.  Here’s another ‘threat’ of which to be aware.  This info comes from Greg Gulleson of “Good Neighbor Insurance” serving missionaries.

First is a video created by Good Neighbor  on YouTube to describe the threat of the use of ‘date rape drugs’ in order to steal from, and kidnap tourists and overseas workers.

Second, be aware there is a real risk to travelers, and not just in dodgy areas, but in upscale places like the Arab Gulf, Jamaica, Europe, etc.  So far, the reported cases of date rape and reported cases of theft using date rape drugs have mostly come from the above areas, as well as Africa and Russia.

Lastly, these drugs are colorless, tasteless, and odorless.  They are also available and very cheap across many countries.  They can easily be slipped into your water or drinks.

Here’s How to Protect Yourself . . .

  • Travel with emergency medical treatment and evacuation insurance including theft.
  • If you suspect you’ve been a victim of a crime, even when in a drugged state, immediately call your insurance to learn where to get tests done.  Call the police.
  • Do not accept opened water or drinks unless you trust the person giving it to you.  Cases are most often being reported at hotels and resorts involving staff on site, as well as taxis, clubs and nightspots.
  • Do not allow others to buy you drinks or offer you drinks unless you personally witness them being prepared.  Ask for sealed bottles of water or soda, more difficult to drop a drug into.
  • Depending on the Hotel, do not use room service and require sealed drinks.

(If you need insurance, give Doug a call to check on types and prices.)


Posted in Thriving as you Travel, Thriving in Management, Thriving Personally, Thriving Physically, Thriving Socially | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Do Dutch Ships & KLM Have to do With Fundraising?

I’ve got a question for you if you are in the fundraising mode and living on donor support. Would you like to have more time for family and ministry and less time needed raising money?  Here’s how you can.

According to James Michener in his, The Covenant, the Dutch created the means to sail the high seas and open up massive trade routes.  Solid ships were their ‘means’ to do that.  Through those ships it took Dutch traders, soldiers, and missionaries in the 1800’s over four months to sail the shining seas from Amsterdam to Capetown, South Africa. However, that was a bunch of time invested in frying on deck or getting smashed around the stateroom on choppy seas before reaching their destination.

Guess what!  Today KLM Royal Dutch Airlines through the means of their modern Airliners, can make it direct from Amsterdam to Capetown in 11.5 hours!  Now, if your family or work was waiting for you in Capetown, which ‘means’ would you rather use to reach your goal – a ship or an airliner?

This same scenario applies to fundraising. If you’re raising money, how much time do you want to invest in doing that versus your other pursuits?  Probably not much.  Personally I’d rather have more time for my family, doing the ministry, exploring, and just reading a good book like the 1200 page “Covenant” of James Michener?


Well you won’t waste time IF you’ve got the right means to accomplish your goal quickly and help you raise your big bucks. And I’d like to suggest that my Dynamic Partnership Development fundraising resource will help you save time and money in your fundraising.

Why am I so confident?

Because a major problem in ongoing, stress free fundraising is NOT having good system to build on. And if you don’t have a good fundraising system, you tend to lower your sails, waste your time, mess up the details, forget to say ‘thank you’ and lose focus.

This leads to emotional funk and loss of momentum. You sit there, twiddle your fingers, look at the telephone, play a video game and waste time on Facebook. In the meantime your spouse gets lonely, your kids wonder when you’ll have time to play ball, and your ministry time blows by. Not a pretty picture created by bad fundraising, is it?  Been there.  Done that. That’s why I’ve created the DPD, the Dynamic Partnership Development tool!

Review the benefits of my Dynamic Partnership Development tool, the DPD.

I designed the DPD to challenge you in fundraising, give you tools, research, motivation, social media ideas and a solid fundraising track to run on.  Run on the DPD track and you’ll be up and funded quickly.  And the bonus! The system, once in place, will save you time and energy.  Maintenance is better than stutter starts and stops any day of the week.  So check it out.

And because we’re in the Holidays, I’m slashing the price to ensure you have a gift from me, and a great start for full funding in 2017.  Holiday Price for the DPD.

Could the DPD also be a great gift for a financially struggling missionary you know, who needs more coins in their account going into 2017? Help them help themselves!

With you for full funding in 2017!

Posted in Thriving in Friendraising, Thriving in Management, Thriving Personally | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Grow Too Soon Old, and Too Late Smart!

It’s a fact that the longer we live the older we get!

And it’s also a fact that we grow too soon old, and too late smart!  I’m wondering now that I’m 73 years old, how all of our lessons of life that start to congeal in our later years, will be invested in the next world?  I’m sure the Lord would not waste those.  Any insight on that for me?

In this Blog Post by Scott Schaum, working in Member Care with Barnabas, I’m passing on some reflections he’s made looking back on his life and career.  These are valuable to read and reflect on

What I would Tell My Younger Self

Hindsight is  a wonderful gift.  I have reflected on what I would have done differently in my younger years. Actually, it is not so much what I would have done, but more how I would have lived. Here’s my list:

  • Slow down! What is the rush after all??!! No need to try to conquer your world in a day. I have learned much in the past 10 years of the wisdom in slowing down the april-1967decision making process, the response time, the expression of my opinions, and much of else in life. I used to go for morning runs. Now I walk. Amazing how much more I see along the way….That’s a good metaphor for life.
    (Read more . . .)




Here’s an update on my cancer journey, www.GrissenCancerJourney.com

I’m also giving a huge Holiday discount on the price of my Dynamic Partnership Development (DPD) Fundraising resource.  So if you need help in fundraising as you start 2017, check it out:  www.FundTheMinistry.com


Posted in Thriving Emotionally, Thriving in Ministry, Thriving Personally, Thriving Spiritually | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Missionary, Resource Yourself!

My friend, David Lewis, is the CEO of the Paracletos Ministry.  He and his wife, Irene, also host a wonderful Oasis in Indiana called, Baan S’abai.  Head over there sometime when you need some encouragement, reflection, rest, and coaching.

Every Friday he puts out a wonderful blog post with a bunch of resources in it.  Many of those are blog posts from other missionaries who are excellent writers with a lot of experience.

My suggestion is to sign up for David’s blog and get these in your box every Friday, as I do, for encouragement, resources, challenge, perspective, and some laughter along the way!

Here’s a sample to take you to his blog . . .

Sep 09, 2016

Casual Friday Missionary Care Resources

Casual Friday Missionary Care Resources

Are you ready for this? I’ve got 22 (!) resources for you this week because…well because it was too hard to leave anything out. There’s everything from fund raising to MK raising, culture shock to re-entry, books and seminars and retreats. So here you go—have a feast!

The paradox of faith

Amy Young rattles our cages with this article on overcoming.

What if failure is staying and leaving is success?

We can all use a tune-up on our perspectives. Start with yours, then forward this to your friends.

The problem of porn

There…I’ve said it. We all know that pornography is a huge problem here in our culture. What we are probably more naïve about is the reality that many missionaries struggle with it, too. Women as well as men. Here is an online video course about breaking the bondage. You never know when someone you love will need this.

(Connect to David’s Blog . . .)





Posted in Thriving Emotionally, Thriving in Ministry, Thriving Personally | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Does It Pay to Complain?

Recently I heard this story . . .

A young man who wanted some spiritual formation went to a monastery with a code of silence.  Once a year there would be a meeting with his mentor and he could say three words.


After his first year of living in the monastery he met with his mentor.  The mentor said, “Okay, Joe, you’ve been here a year now, what are your three words?”

Joe said, “Bed is hard.”

After his second year of living in the monastery he again met with his mentor.  The mentor said, “Okay, Joe, you’ve been here now two years, what are your three words?”

Joe said, “Food is bad.”

After his third year of living in the monastery he again met with his mentor.  The mentor said, again, “Okay, Joe, you’ve been here now three years, what are your three words?”

Joe said, “Light is broken.”

The mentor said to him, “Joe, you might as well leave.  You’ve been here for three years and all you’ve done is complain!”

After your chuckle, this does bring up a good point.  How much are we complaining about the circumstances in our life?

The Apostle Paul reminds us, “Do everything without complaining and arguing . . .” — Phil 2:14





Posted in Thriving Emotionally, Thriving Personally, Thriving Spiritually | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Free Resource Regarding TCK’s (Third Culture Kids)

Our missionary children face their own major challenges as they follow us back and forth to the fields of service.  I know because Sheri and I raised 5 of these TCKs.  All are doing well now as adults and have adjusted to their lives, marriages, and families in a good way.  Third culture experience has only served to broaden and strengthen their lives and personalities.


However as parents, midstream in missionary life with our kids, we’re not always sure how they are doing.  Here’s a free resource that recently popped up I want you to know about and put into your digital libraries for reference and study if you like.

This book, “Raising Resilient MKs: Resources for Caregivers, Parents and Teachers,” is edited by Joyce Bowers and provides 500 pages of invaluable material for those involved with TCKs in any way.

The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) published this book in 1998 and has graciously given permission to make it available free of charge. The book is available to download as .doc, .pdf, or .zip files for your computer and as .mobi or .epub files for your Kindle or Nook. You can’t beat the price. Find it at…

Link if needed:

Other Missionary Resources:





Posted in Thriving in Family Life, Thriving Kids, Thriving Marriage, Thriving Personally | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Missionary, Are You Suffering from Compassion Fatigue?

There are two types of people in the world:  Givers and Takers.  Missionaries are Givers!  We give and give and give some more.


However staying on that side of the equation in life can lead to strain and stress and sometimes break down.  Are you in a healthy place today, or are you suffering from ‘compassion fatigue?”

In this blog post, Sarita Hartz deals with that issue.  Test yourself.

“I remember after a long, hot day in Uganda, sweat seeping through my shirt, after spending hours in the hospital with another one of the women in my community who was diagnosed with HIV, I would collapse on my bed, face tear stained, so exhausted I couldn’t think about making dinner.

The reality was, those days were more typical than non typical.

Over time, the suffering of others can seep into your bones and drain you.

Missionaries and aid workers have countless trauma inputs every day from the threat of violence, to listening to traumatic stories, dealing the problems of others, to illness, domestic violence, child abuse, and even grieving the loss of someone in their community.”  (Read more . . .)




Posted in Thriving Emotionally, Thriving in Ministry, Thriving Personally, Thriving Physically, Thriving Socially, Thriving Spiritually, Thriving Through Rest | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment