When I lived in China, I LOVED getting packages. This was back before so many western products were available and internet shopping was non-existent. My family used to ask me, well it was really more of  pestering me, if I was opening gifts early. Is it a lie if it keeps them happy? And I got a present a day? Really? Did Jesus come to bring joy or more rules?

Though it may be hard to believe, Christmas is around the corner. If you have Christian friends serving cross-culturally abroad, and you want to get them something for Christmas, you need to start thinking of gift ideas.

I sound bossier than I mean to be :).

I hate to admit that a lot of money goes into packages filled with stuff that isn’t needed or wanted. But I still believe that supporters want to bless those they support with gifts. For those who do not want to send Christmas money this will give you a few ideas.

Specifically look at #12! I’m super proud and excited about #12.

This list has been gather with an eye to what can help cross-cultural workers get to the field, stay on the field, transition from the field, or resettled for home assignments or reentry. Either choose something from the list or ask your cross-cultural workers what would be helpful at this point in their journey.

Books

1. Need a gift idea for your family? Parents of Missionaries: How to Thrive and Stay Connected When Your Children and Grandchildren Serve Cross-Culturally by Cheryl Savageau and Diane Stortz.
2. Returning Well: Your Guide to Thriving Back “Home” After Serving Cross-Culturally by Melissa Chaplin. Melissa also offers coaching packages for individuals and families.
3. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero.
4. As Soon As I Fell: A Memoir by Kay Bruner
5. THEM: The Richer Life Found in Caring for Others by John Certalic.
6. Transition Companion: Tips and Encouragement for Navigating Seasons of Change by Tim Austin.
7. Looming Transitions: Starting and Finishing Well in Cross-Cultural Service  by Amy Young.  Also the downloadable companion guides: Looming Transitions Workbook and 22 Activities for Families in Transition.

Retreats

8. The Well in Chiang Mai, Thailand offers retreats on a regular basis—including for transitions, couples, marriages, Advent, parenting, Art. Find one that fits what you need now.
9. Azmera hosts 3 Haven Retreats around the globe annually.These retreats are designed to impact English speaking women serving overseas from various nations. We also welcome other expats (full-time vocational workers employed by embassies, companies, military, etc.).
10. Thrive offers retreats that allow women serving cross-culturally to get away from their demanding work for a time of rest, renewal, and refreshment. The women are ministered to holistically – spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
11. A spiritual renewal retreat through the closest Life Impact Ministries Oasis.
12. Velvet Ashes Annual Retreat — each spring Velvet Ashes puts on a retreat for cross-cultural servants right where they are. Participants download files so they can listen the speakers, meditate on scripture, and enjoy other parts of the retreat. Guess what? You can  purchase previous retreats for $20 (normally they will be $25, they are on sale for Christmas) . . . and your friend, daughter, or worker can tend to their soul during this difficult time.

Debriefing Retreats

13. Abide (by TRAIN International)—This one-week renewal for those transitioning back into American culture debriefs the cross-cultural experience, explores reverse culture shock, and equips for healthy reentry into the home culture.
14. Debriefing and Renewal (part of MTI)—gives people the chance to reflect on their journey and engage with the Father about their story. Adult and child tracks available.
15. ELIM Retreats—provide spiritual debriefing, spiritual renewal, and pastoral care of the global worker.
16. Emmaus Encounter—provides a safe place for men and women of the Christian faith to process events of the past, so that they may grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually, and move forward in health.

Miscellaneous Ideas for Life

17. Couples, want to invest in your marriage? A PREPARE/ENRICH marriage enrichment assessment has been a favorite for those desiring to go deeper in their relationship (bonus if you are given coaching to go with it!)
18. Money toward an IRA or other forms of retirement savings.
19. Money ear marked for self-care in your city (or nearest city)—may include massage, meal out, night in a hotel.
20. Call around Christmas just to chat (not for a “report”).
21. Invite young adult kids of workers overseas to your home for Thanksgiving or Christmas—blesses them and is a great gift to their parents oceans away.
22. Pay for several session of Christian Coaching through CMI. Your gift could help someone to spiritual and professionally develop. Coaching services include for transitions, life purpose and calling, and support raising.

Which of these gift ideas do you guess is on their wish list? What gift idea would help them to get to, stay on, or transition from the field?
A version of this first appear at A Life Overseas.


When Amy Young first moved to China she knew three Chinese words: hello, thank you and watermelon. Often the only words needed in life, right?! She is known to jump in without all the facts and blogs regularly at The Messy Middle. She also works extensively with Velvet Ashes as content creator and curator, book club host, and connection group coordinator. Her book Looming Transitions: Starting and Finishing Well in Cross-Cultural Service was written with you in mind. It also has two companion resources: 22 Activities for Families in Transitions and Looming Transitions Workbook.

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