Craig Thompson

To a Friend Nine Days before We Fly Out Again

by Craig Thompson on November 29, 2019

Dear friend: I’m so glad we got to say Hi a while back, but sorry we never made it to your house for dinner. When we landed three months ago it seemed like we’d be here forever, but then the time went by so fast. We’re all busy with so many things, and we had […]

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In Praise of Care Packages

by Craig Thompson on October 28, 2019

Two months ago, I wrote about used tea bags in care packages, which led to reader comments about less-than-optimal gifts, including a single roll of toilet paper, ribbons from graveside floral arrangements, and pencil stubs. But “philcott,” reminds us of the joys that gifts can bring, by pointing out what can happen when they are […]

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Depression and My Some Other Day

by Craig Thompson on September 30, 2019

On September 10, World Suicide Prevention Day, I, like many of you, read the news that Jarrid Wilson had taken his own life. I didn’t know Jarrid, but his death made national news—and reached my computer screen—because he was an associate pastor of a California mega-church and because he and his wife had co-founded Anthem […]

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Missionary Memes: Tea Bags and Coffins

by Craig Thompson on August 28, 2019

Some stories seem too good to be true. Some seem too good not to be true. Both seem too good not to be told over and over again. Here are a couple I’m thinking you’ve heard before. Used Tea Bags They very well may be the most talked about items to ever be lovingly tucked […]

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If You Send an MK Some Cookies

by Craig Thompson on July 29, 2019

Inspired by Laura Numeroff— If you send an MK some cookies, she’s going to want to eat a couple. But first she’ll ask her mom if she can walk down the street to get some apple soda to go with them. On her way, she’ll see a stationery store. That will make her think about buying […]

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Too Much Member Care—Can There Be Such a Thing?

by Craig Thompson on June 28, 2019

It’s a question I’m reluctant to ask, because I’m a strong proponent of more effort and resources devoted to caring for cross-cultural workers. But here it is: Can there be too much member care? To help with the answer, I’ll dip once more into the deep well of data from ReMAP and ReMAP II, studies […]

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There have been a lot of books written about Third Culture Kids but not so many for them, especially for young TCKs. Swirly, written by adult-TCK Sara Saunders and illustrated by Matthew Pierce, helps remedy that. It’s a picture book that tells the story of a little girl, Lila, who moves with her family overseas, returns back to […]

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In part one of this “distant look back,” I discussed the length of time missionaries of the past spent on the field, using data from William Gordon Lennox’s 1933 book, The Health and Turnover of Missionaries. In this segment, I’ll move on to the reasons why their time overseas came to an end. When determining […]

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A Distant Look Back at Missionaries and Attrition, Part I

by Craig Thompson on March 29, 2019

The opinion is often expressed that the present-generation missionary does not view his work as a work for life.         —William Lennox Not every former missionary gets an obituary printed in The New York Times, but in 1960, William Gordon Lennox did. Born in Colorado Springs in 1884, Lennox attended Colorado College, […]

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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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