Do you ever feel tired down to the depths of your soul? That worn-thin exhaustion that makes you long for rest like cool water on a scorching day? Cross-cultural workers aren’t superheroes. They are mortals like you, walking by faith and serving through grace. Like you, cross-cultural workers need care and fellowship, but for workers serving in difficult or even hostile locations, finding that care can be challenging.
Three times a year, Christar hosts RENEW, a five-day retreat for workers on home assignment that focuses on rest and refreshment. During this time we have an opportunity to celebrate our partnership with the body of Christ as believers from local churches join us to host the midweek “Care Fair.” Enjoy a brief glimpse of one of these mornings, rich with grace and hospitality, as the local church steps in to invest in workers’ ministries in a very hands-on way.
Far From “Home”
Women, workers from around the world, squeeze in close around the table. Coffee cups are refilled, the robust flavors savored. “You don’t get coffee like this back home.” Home. There, not here. Stories from their fields emerge, and laughter shatters the internal tensions of clashing cultural norms with an exhale of comfortable understanding, fellowship and rest.
A Morning of Refreshment
Ambassadors from the diverse harvest of the nations, these women represent those ministering among the least-reached around the globe. They have seen, served in and lived in the sin-ravaged darkness of communities that have never seen the Light of the World. But today, rather than serving, they’ll be treated to a morning of refreshment.
Four women from local churches have volunteered their skills and time to bless and encourage these sisters from afar. “In a very real sense, these volunteers are here to touch the world through their service to our workers,” says Belle*, Christar’s Community Care Coordinator and the hostess of the morning’s Care Fair.
Clothes, Crafts and a New Hairstyle
The schedule has been crafted to offer each worker a combination of tension-easing pampering and helpful coaching and tools as they continue the home assignment season of sharing, reporting, visiting family and friends and preparing for their next term overseas. These women have been wearing very different clothes in another country, and have returned to a daily life that feels like a never-ending road trip, family reunion and public speaking schedule. Trying to make sense of current fashion trends can feel extravagant or overwhelming.
Kelly, one of the volunteers, offers a warm smile as she helps workers find their best colors and styles. “It’s about removing distractions to what you want to share. You want people to see your eyes and see the light there,” she encourages the ladies.
A stylist has set up her “shop” in the master bathroom to offer a new hairstyle, a trim or advice for tresses abused by water systems abroad. Lauren, a physical therapist, considers it a privilege to minister to these workers: “I can use my skills to bless these women who live overseas, so they’re refreshed and better able to do what I can’t do from here.” Craft supplies are sprawled across the kitchen table, offering a quick foray into life-giving creativity. Another table is heaped with gifts sent by friends and churches who don’t know these women personally but want to invest in their well-being and care.
Hands and Feet Among the Least-Reached
These hands-on expressions of encouragement offer more than just practical help for workers. These local believers are living out the partnership between the Church at home and workers abroad.
Christar partners with local churches to send workers to least-reached communities. While prayer and financial support are vastly important, home assignments open the door for the Church to have a distinctly personal ministry to workers who normally serve far away.
As an organization, we know how important it is to care for our workers. We also know that the Church plays a critical role in supporting, strengthening and sharing in work of those who serve cross-culturally. Workers are extensions of you and your local body of Christ. They are your hands and feet, stretching across oceans and cultures to touch the least-reached of the world.
You Can Do This Too!
You don’t have to go overseas to serve. Consider how your church might offer rest and refreshment to visiting workers!
Consider hosting your own “Care Fair.” In addition to giving your workers an opportunity to share with you, find creative ways to minister to their souls with rest and renewal. When you host a missions conference, think of ways you might creatively offer refreshment to those who will be presenting.
If you are in the Richardson area and would like to participate in future Care Fairs hosted by Christar, please contact our office at (214) 838-3800 or contact us here.
How Can I Get Involved?
- Pray for refreshment and renewal for workers. Ask God to give them quiet moments to commune with Him and for opportunities to share His life-giving message with those who don’t yet know Him.
- Praise God for the ministry of the Church to workers as they serve. Ask Him to show you ways that you can encourage and strengthen workers.
- When workers come “home” for a furlough, it’s not a vacation. Learn more about home assignment.
- Keeping workers healthy and strong is an important task! Learn more about RENEW and our Member Care Department.