As the author of Looming Transitions: Starting and Finishing Well in Cross-Cultural Service, I can tell when people have a Looming Transition by looking at my Amazon sales page. This makes me happy. Not for the reasons you might think. True, every time a book sells, I earn a few dollars. But ain’t nobody writing books for missionaries becoming rich through our efforts.
That is not why we write. We write because we love you. We see a need and we want to help.
This is why I wrote Looming Transitions: transition are hard and I saw far too many missionaries create unnecessary additional heartache in the ways they approached a transition.
In her research, Brene Brown discovered you cannot numb the painful emotions—like loss, sadness, disappointment, betrayal, or hurt—without also numbing the positive emotions of enjoyment, happiness, contentment, healthy pride, and love. I saw too many people unsure how to navigate a transition, and asked myself, “Is is possible to keep your soul fertile and your sanity intact during a transition?”
The answer is yes. So, I wrote Looming Transitions for you. I am happy when it sells, because I get excited thinking of the individuals, couples or families who will be equipped more when they read it. Once this need was tapped into I was asked to please help families, make a workbook, and turn it into an audiobook (on audible or for $10 with the workbook).
Today I want to share the works and words of fellow authors who have seen needs and put up their own sweat equity to help you. Resources might be tight for you, but when you buy one of these books you help yourself by gaining the nuggets they contain AND you support an author who is helping missionaries.
A Story of Pregnancy and Faith: In hope of what we cannot see by Dorette Skinner—Dorrette is the mom of two little ones, both conceived and delivered while living abroad. This memoir is a good read for anyone living abroad, but a must-read for those who are pregnant or have infants abroad.
As Soon As I Fell by Kay Bruner—The Amazon description says, “For anyone who’s ever asked, ‘When will I be good enough for love?’ This book resoundingly answers: ‘Right now. You are loved, right this minute, in this mess.’ While few of us will live on a tiny island in the South Pacific, many of us will find hope and healing in this story of a painful fall into the arms of love.” Read this memoir right now. It is written by our very own, Ask A Counselor author.
Expectations and Burnout: Women Serving the Great Commission by Sue Eenigenburg and Robynn Bliss—Though geared towards women, I would say 90% of this info is directly applicable to men. Sue and Robynn explore six areas research showed missionaries had high expectations: of themselves, their mission agencies, host cultures, churches, co-workers, and of God.
Love, Amy: An Accidental Memoir Told in Newsletters From China by Amy Young—I wrote this memoir because (understandably) many of the resources written are for the challenging parts of living abroad. But the truth of my experience was that most of the time, was ordinary highs and lows. I wanted to help people love communicating with supporters while honoring the ordinariness of many of our lives.
Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging by Marilyn Gardner—first of all, Marilyn’s writing will already be familiar to the ALO family! She generously shares her insights, leadership, and wisdom here at ALO. I loved this line from the Amazon description of this book “These essays explore the rootlessness and grief as well as the unexpected moments of humor and joy that are a part of living between two worlds. Between Worlds charts a journey between the cultures of East and West, the comfort of being surrounded by loved ones and familiar places, and the loneliness of not belonging.” You will find a friend who get is as you read these pages.
Worlds Apart: A Third Culture Kid’s Journey by Marilyn Gardner—This is the revised version of Passages Through Pakistan: An American Girl’s Journey of Faith. I think you are beginning to notice that many of the books we have penned are memoirs borne out of our own experience. Marilyn is a championing voice to help us remember and honor the experience of TCKs, both when they are children and as adults. But she’s not a scolder, no, not at all. She’s a story-teller.
Misunderstood: The impact of growing up overseas in the 21st century by Tanya Crossman—I will be honest that I hadn’t heard of Tanya before I got an update from Elizabeth Trotter as one of the regular contributors. Tanya is going to become a regular contributor here at ALO. I’ve added Misunderstood to my reading list. Let’s welcome her here by buying her book because it “will equip you with insights into the international experience, along with practical suggestions for how to offer meaningful care and support.”
Returning Well: Your Guide to Thriving Back “Home” After Serving Cross-Culturally by Melissa Chaplin—Melissa has not only written Returning Well, she also offers affordable coaching to those transitioning off the field. “By using Returning Well, you will discover how this season influenced you, how to re-integrate well, and what moving forward in faith means for you.”
Home, James by Emily Steele Jackson—This is a Young Adult novel that follows 8th grader James through his first year in American public schools. What I loved? Don’t transitions make us all feel like junior highers if we are honest? I saw myself in James, especially when it comes to the “rules” for making friends in America.
We are blessed to live in an era when so many writers are able to see a need and fill it.
What books would you add to the list?