Craig Thompson

Barnga: A Card Game for Culture-Stress Show and Tell

by Craig Thompson on January 30, 2019

Have you ever wanted to show, not just tell, people what culture stress is like? Have you ever wanted them to be able to experience cross-cultural confusion without having to travel overseas? Have you ever heard about Barnga? Barnga is a simulation game created by Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan in 1980, while working for USAID in Gbarnga, Liberia. During […]

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I remember his question well. One morning I walked to our neighborhood post office in Taipei to take the language exam I liked to call “mailing a package.” I got in the line leading to a clerk with whom I was familiar, practiced and prepped for answering what he would ask me—things like “Where is […]

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Before you read on, I want you to take a shot at answering the question in the title of this post. Don’t think on it too long. Just go with your gut. What is the average length of service for missionaries on the field? Have an answer? OK, what number did you come up with? And […]

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At the Night Market, Some Flavors Are Better Left Untried

by Craig Thompson on October 31, 2018

  In my last post, I talked about the cultural mistakes we often make when we move overseas—mistakes that can make us laugh or cringe or even wince in pain or regret. Below is one of my own that I enjoy laughing about. I invite you to laugh with me . . . and maybe cringe a […]

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Cultural Low Bridges

by Craig Thompson on September 26, 2018

When you go to a new culture and miss the signs . . . or don’t realize how you don’t exactly fit in. At first I thought I’d just let the above stand on its own . . . but I have more to say. I’m fascinated by these clips of trucks getting stopped in […]

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Moving Abroad Can Sure Mess with Your Autocomplete

by Craig Thompson on August 30, 2018

We can tell a lot about each other by looking at our autocompletes. For instance, start typing “I can’t find my” into a text message and see what it thinks will come next. For me, it’s “keys,” “wallet,” and “phone.” That’s pretty insightful: I have a car, I’m a guy, and I’m absent-minded enough to have my […]

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In her post “Closer to the Truth about Current Missionary Attrition: An Initial Analysis of Results,” Katie Rowe looks at the findings of a recent survey of missionaries, showing that respondents rated “lack of missionary care” as one of the most common reasons for leaving the field. One of those who commented on the post […]

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Eight “Ifs” I Don’t Believe So Much Anymore

by Craig Thompson on June 27, 2018

After my mother’s death last year, my sister and I sorted through the items in her house, and I came home with some boxes that Mom had saved for me. Inside were things I didn’t know she’d kept, such as grade-school spelling books, birthday cards, newspaper clippings, and some college acceptance letters. There were posters, […]

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Dr. Anna Hampton, along with her husband, Neal, have lived and worked for nearly 20 years in war-torn Islamic countries. This includes almost 10 years in Afghanistan, where they started raising their three children. Their experiences led Anna to write Facing Danger: A Guide through Risk (Zendagi, 2016), which is based on her doctoral dissertation at Trinity Theological […]

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Debriefing: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

by Craig Thompson on March 28, 2018

After I wrote about debriefing last month, some people responded with versions of . . . Sounds like a good idea, but where should I go? That’s a great question, and I’d like to point you to a place where you can find some options. Here at A Life Overseas, click on the Resources link at the […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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