Grit to Stay Grace to Go: Staying Well in Cross-Cultural Ministry, by Sue Eenigenburg and Eva Burkholder
Cross-cultural ministry is full of twists and turns. You finally figure out what to do and where to go, raise your support and share your plans with everyone, only to get to the field and find it’s not what you expected, or that the people you were so looking forward to working with are on their way out. Or maybe you’re the one leaving and processing all the implications of that decision.
Whether you stick it out or realize it’s time to let go, Grit to Stay Grace to Go will help you know you aren’t alone.
Each chapter addresses a different dynamic that often comes up, how the authors have seen or experienced it, lies you might fall for and truths you can cling to. Throughout are meaty reflection questions and resources for going deeper—typically 4-6 articles to access online and a book or two for each of the 36 chapters. A series of appendices address topics like soul care, listening, loss and grief, and debriefing.
This is more of a workbook and a reference than the sort of book you read straight through. Team leaders and missionary care providers will find it a helpful resource, and field workers will see themselves on its pages.
Note that both authors have published books for women, but this isn’t just a book for women, Americans, or missionaries from a certain tradition; they’ve made efforts to keep a broader readership in mind.
Learn more or purchase from William Carey Publishing or elsewhere; the oversized paperback is US$17.99 while a digital copy (epub or Kindle) is US$9.99. Bulk discounts are available for ten copies or more.
Missionary Motivations: Challenges from the Early Church, by Matthew Burden
Christianity’s rapid expansion is remarkable. But the earliest Christians had little to say about obeying the Great Commission or concern for the lost. Without dismissing those motivations, the author of this short book takes a close look at the early church’s vision for global missions, notably their focus on filling the earth with worship and holiness (less Matthew 28, more Malachi 1:11).
This thoughtful book explores what drove Roman martyrs and desert fathers as well as the thinking of the saints, monks, kings, and pilgrims who expanded the Church in India, Syria, Central Asia, Europe, and beyond.
Brave Son of Tibet: The Many Lives of Robert B. Ekvall, by David P. Jones
Raised in China by missionary parents, gifted with languages, and able to make friends with anyone, Robert Ekvall of the Christian and Missionary Alliance had advantages that served him well in the two decades he and his family served among Buddhist nomads in northeastern Tibet. The inspiring story is full of adventures, setbacks, and breakthroughs.
After tragedies and opportunities remove him from Asia, he returns as a WWII military attache and intelligence officer with the U.S. Army and later takes up a new life as a university professor. It’s all in this readable and well-researched biography.
You might also appreciate The Empathy Machine, an article from Ted Esler on why we should read biographies.
Jonathan Edwards on Movements, by Dave Coles
What do we make of revivals, awakenings, and new religious movements? How should we sort out what we hear and see? The author, a proponent of CPM/DMM, takes a look at how influential theologian Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) responded to the revivals and Great Awakening of his day and advised others to sort out the wheat from the chaff.
Along the way, Coles asks: what would Edwards say, both positive and negative, to critics of disciple-making movements today? It’s a quick read but a challenging one if you’re not used to the language of early American theologians like Edwards.
Here are a few more new books I’ve heard about but haven’t read.
The Missionary Mama’s Survival Guide: Compassionate Help for the Mothers of Cross-Cultural Workers, by Tori R. Haverkamp could be just what you need. Read an excerpt: Finally, Some Help for Moms of Missionaries (A Life Overseas). If you are familiar with the 2008 book Parents of Missionaries, I’d be interested in how you find this book compares (besides the fact that this one is especially for moms).
Shaanxi: The Cradle of Chinese Civilization, by Paul Hattaway, is the seventh book in the China Chronicles, a province-by-province, decade-by-decade look at Church growth in China. Read an excerpt (Asia Harvest).
The Great Story and the Great Commission: Participating in the Biblical Drama of Mission, by Christopher Wright, was published a few months ago by Baker Academic. Read a review (Lausanne Movement).
Whew! That’s a lot of books. Happy reading.