Craig Thompson

When Debriefing, Leave Your Shoes—and Socks—at the Door

by Craig Thompson on February 28, 2018

When we first moved to Asia, one of the customs we needed to learn was not wearing shoes in someone’s home. It’s one of those cultural things. But starting out, we had our reasons for wanting to leave our shoes on. It’s convenient. What about the holes in my socks? I don’t want you to smell […]


Naming Your Grief—and Finding an Answer

by Craig Thompson on January 31, 2018

I don’t think I’d ever heard the phrase “disenfranchised grief” before I came back from living overseas. Maybe it was during debriefing that it came up. Or maybe it was later, when I attended a series of grief-support meetings offered by a local hospice. Everyone else in the group had experienced the recent death of […]


Normally, clickbait headlines are created simply to grab clicks—and clicks and clicks and more clicks. But you can’t click on the titles below, since there aren’t any stories linked to them. Instead, if being an expat is in your past, present, or future, the stories are up to you, to write or live out yourselves. […]


For Those in Authority, Let Us Pray

by Craig Thompson on November 27, 2017

One summer when I was in college, I worked at a Salvation Army day camp. We kept the kids busy with lots of activities, lots of playing, lots of singing, lots of eating, and lots of Bible lessons. During one of the teaching times on the lawn, one of the campers, a boy of about […]


What Did I Do Today? I Made a Copy. Woohoo!

by Craig Thompson on October 27, 2017

An imagined but quite possible day in a life overseas . . . This morning I woke up with my to-do list waiting for me on the nightstand. Item number one was Get out of bed (I’d written that one down so I could start the day by crossing it off). Number two said Copy document. […]


When you visit a country where the people don’t speak your language, there are several important phrases you should know how to say: things such as “Hello” and “Goodbye,” “How much is this?” “Where’s the bathroom?” and “Can I have ice with my water?” But when you move to that country, the stakes become higher. The […]


You’ve probably heard it many times. Simply put: The number-one reason missionaries leave the field is because of problems with coworkers. The trouble is, it’s not that simple. First of all, the best source I can find for this, or something close to it, is the in-depth study ReMAP (the Reducing Missionary Attrition Project), conducted by […]


Surviving? Thriving? How about Striving?

by Craig Thompson on June 28, 2017

“Are you thriving?” It was during our first term on the field, and our pastor asked me this question in a Skype chat in front of our home congregation. My answer? As I remember, it was in the neighborhood of “Well, I’m not sure we’re thriving, but, uh, hmmm, something, something, something, not always easy, […]


Diane Stortz knows firsthand what it’s like to have children serving overseas, to want them to follow God’s calling, but also to want them close by. In 2008, she, along with Cheryl Savageau, wrote Parents of Missionaries: How to Thrive and Stay Connected when Your Children and Grandchildren Serve Cross-Culturally (InterVarsity Press). Since joining the ranks of […]


When It’s Hard to Want to Want to Be Back

by Craig Thompson on April 26, 2017

Our pictures are on the walls! It’s been a year since I wrote about the long process I and my family were going through fitting back into life in the States and not yet feeling at home—still not having our pictures hung up. Since then, quite a few things have changed, and I would be remiss if I […]


Adding to Your Story-Letter

by Craig Thompson on March 27, 2017

Ahhh, newsletters. (And by “Ahhh,” I’m guessing you know what I mean.) Living outside your passport country means finding ways to keep people updated about what’s going on with you. Some of those people need to hear about what’s happening and some of them simply want to. The newsletter can take care of both, which is a good thing. But sometimes […]


An Open Letter to the Kind People in My Host Country

by Craig Thompson on February 20, 2017

Dear neighbors: When my wife and I and our four children stepped off the plane in your country, with our 12 carry-on bags—and all our plans, enthusiasm, expectations . . . and naiveté—you welcomed us. In fact, the customs agent greeted us with a smile. And during the following years that we lived among you, we lost count of your kindnesses. We […]