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Season 2 | EPISODE 13

Serving Those Who Serve: The Heart of Missionary Care

53:00 · December 12, 2023

In this episode, Jim Lovelady talks with senior leader Lindsay Kimball DeBlaay about Serge’s dedicated incarnational approach to missionary care. Drawing from her own missionary journey, Lindsay challenges the notion that getting to the field and staying there is just about missionaries’ stamina or willpower. Their conversation uncovers Serge’s commitment to providing its missionaries with ongoing wraparound support–including spiritual, emotional, physical, financial, and logistical care. Tune in and be inspired to champion the cause of missionary longevity, understanding that through compassionate support, we can ensure missionaries thrive and become a transformative gospel force in communities around the world.

In this episode, Jim Lovelady talks with senior leader Lindsay Kimball DeBlaay about Serge’s dedicated incarnational approach to missionary care. Drawing from her own missionary journey, Lindsay challenges the notion that getting to the field and staying there is just about missionaries’ stamina or willpower. Their conversation uncovers Serge’s commitment to providing its missionaries with ongoing wraparound support–including spiritual, emotional, physical, financial, and logistical care. Tune in and be inspired to champion the cause of missionary longevity, understanding that through compassionate support, we can ensure missionaries thrive and become a transformative gospel force in communities around the world.

In this episode, they discuss...

  • How to overcome our misconceptions about missionaries (10:37)
  • Why connecting our value in God’s eyes to our “output” is all wrong (18:56)
  • What is at the heart of missionary care (29:26)
  • How to understand missionary care at Serge (34:12)
  • Top practical ways churches can support their missionaries (37:26)
  • An unexpected answer to the question, “Is Jesus worth it?” (43:38)

Thank you for listening! If you found this conversation encouraging or helpful, please share this episode with your friends and loved ones. Or please leave us a review—it really helps!

Referenced in the episode...

Credits

Our guest for this episode was Lindsay Kimball DeBlaay, Senior Director of People Development at Serge. This episode was hosted by Jim Lovelady. Production by Anna Madsen, Aaron Gray, and Sunny Chi. Music by Tommy Leahy

𝑮𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝒂𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑭𝒓𝒂𝒚 𝑷𝒐𝒅𝒄𝒂𝒔𝒕 is produced by SERGE, an international missions agency that sends and cares for missionaries and develops gospel-centered programs and resources for ongoing spiritual renewal. Learn more and get involved at serge.org.

 

Connect with us!

Get in touch:
Questions or comments? Feel free to reach out to Serge’s Renewal Team anytime at podcast@serge.org

 

[Music]

Welcome to the Grace at the Fray—a podcast that explores the many dimensions of God’s grace that we find at the frayed edges of life. Come explore how God’s grace works to renew your life and send you on mission in His Kingdom.

[Music]

0:00:24.5 Jim Lovelady: Hello, beloved, welcome to Grace at the Fray. Merry Christmas. More specifically, I hope you are having a blessed Advent as we prepare for the celebration of the coming of our Savior. So this Christmas, my family plans to head back to Texas for the holidays, and flights from Philadelphia to El Paso, Texas are… They’re ridiculously expensive. So, on Christmas Day, when our extended family asks what we got them for Christmas, I’m going to say what every good dad would say. Our presence is your present. Okay. Look, look, amazing dad jokes aside, there is something to be said about the power of being with the people you love. Who doesn’t love the song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas?” Because we all long to be in the presence of people who know us and care for us. It’s what we were made for. It’s fundamental to our identity as Christians.

We belong to a God who knows us and cares for us. And at Christmas time, we meditate on how God demonstrated that in the great mystery of the incarnation. John 1 says this, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him. And without Him, not one thing came into being. And what came into being through Him was life. And the life was the light of all people. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” And then later, “and the word became flesh and dwelled among us. And we have seen His glory, the glory as of the father’s only son, full of grace and truth. And from his fullness, we have received grace upon grace.”

Well, my guest today is Lindsay Kimball DeBlaay, and she’s on Serge’s executive leadership team. But in this interview, we talk about missionary care and how Serge prioritizes holistic care for our workers all over the globe. And as you’re gonna see, missionary care is an incarnational endeavor. We want to know and care for our workers in the way that our Savior knows and cares for us. So, join Lindsay and I as we explore the ways that Serge is all about missionary care.

[music]

0:02:52.4 Jim Lovelady: Well, Lindsay, welcome to… This is the first Christmas Special.

0:02:58.4 Lindsay Kimball: Okay.

0:03:00.6 Jim Lovelady: Grace at the Fray Christmas Special. And you are my special guest.

0:03:03.6 Lindsay Kimball: Wow! I’m honored.

[laughter]

0:03:04.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. This one is poised to be up there with like, Charlie Brown Christmas and The Grinch.

0:03:11.6 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. I mean, the Twinkle Lights in your office are…

0:03:14.7 Jim Lovelady: Right. We got some Christmas lights.

[laughter]

0:03:16.7 Lindsay Kimball: Very on theme.

0:03:17.7 Jim Lovelady: I should have put a Christmas tree in here, but there are no windows, so the Christmas tree would’ve died.

0:03:24.1 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah.

0:03:26.4 Jim Lovelady: What’s your favorite Christmas movie? 

0:03:27.9 Lindsay Kimball: Oh. Well, this is [chuckle] very basic, but I love the movie Love Actually.

0:03:35.2 Jim Lovelady: Oh, yeah? 

0:03:35.7 Lindsay Kimball: Big Chick Flick.

0:03:36.6 Jim Lovelady: Is that… Oh, ’cause it takes place in New York on Christmas. And what is more Christmasy than that? 

0:03:41.6 Lindsay Kimball: It’s actually in London. Yeah.

0:03:42.5 Jim Lovelady: Oh, London? 

0:03:43.4 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. And it’s all these converging stories of what’s happening in people’s lives during one Christmas.

0:03:48.2 Jim Lovelady: Alright. I think I fell asleep during that movie.

0:03:50.0 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. It’s a big chick flick, for sure.

[laughter]

0:03:52.2 Jim Lovelady: I’m pretty sure Lori made me watch that…

[laughter]

0:03:54.3 Lindsay Kimball: She probably did.

0:03:55.3 Jim Lovelady: One time. I’ve been… I can’t even… [laughter] I was gonna say I’ve been watching a lot of Hallmark Christmas, but that’s a lie.

[laughter]

0:04:04.7 Lindsay Kimball: That’s probably good, but that’s a lie.

[laughter]

0:04:06.8 Jim Lovelady: I can’t even say it with a straight face. Yeah. So, I’ve been staying away from Hallmark movies my whole life.

0:04:13.3 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah.

0:04:14.1 Jim Lovelady: And I feel like it’s better for it.

0:04:17.7 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. Probably.

0:04:18.8 Jim Lovelady: And what’s your favorite Christmas song? 

0:04:22.1 Lindsay Kimball: Oh. That’s a really good question. I love Joy to the World.

0:04:28.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah, that’s a good one.

0:04:30.9 Lindsay Kimball: I love the old hymns, like Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and all the verses. I love all the verses.

0:04:35.3 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:04:36.6 Lindsay Kimball: There’s just a lot of rich theology there. O Holy Night, I love that one.

0:04:42.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah, that’s a good one.

0:04:43.4 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah.

0:04:43.5 Jim Lovelady: I have some friends that listen to Christmas music just year round. And I can’t handle it. As a worship leader doing… You know, like September comes around, and I’m already starting to think about what is Christmas season gonna look like, Advent season? Which, you know, technically, we’re in the Advent season.

0:05:05.0 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah.

0:05:05.9 Jim Lovelady: Christmas doesn’t start until the 25th, but alright, that’s the soapbox that one. [laughter] I won’t get on that. Yeah. So, normally, I’m all burned out on Christmas music by Christmas time.

0:05:18.3 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah.

0:05:19.3 Jim Lovelady: But yeah, I’ve got friends, July.

0:05:22.8 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah.

0:05:23.5 Jim Lovelady: One friend in particular, which… Handel’s Messiah is like… You could listen to Handel’s Messiah year-round. And she’s like, she knows Handel’s Messiah in and out. But my least favorite, and I probably… If I say it, it’ll get stuck in my head. What’s the… It’s the cheesiest one ever. Well, it’s not in my… Oh, Last Christmas…

0:05:49.7 Lindsay Kimball: I gave you my heart.

0:05:50.9 Jim Lovelady: I gave you my heart. Yeah. The very next day, Boxing Day.

0:05:54.1 Lindsay Kimball: Okay. Yeah.

0:05:55.4 Jim Lovelady: You know, I guess it is what that is.

0:05:56.3 Lindsay Kimball: That’s what happened on Boxing Day. Now we know.

[chuckle]

0:06:00.2 Jim Lovelady: Gave it away.

[laughter]

0:06:00.3 Lindsay Kimball: When I was actually a missionary on the field, someone introduced me to Andrew Peterson’s “Behold the Lamb of God” album, and that sometimes I do listen to year-round.

0:06:09.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. That’s really good.

0:06:10.4 Lindsay Kimball: It’s just like… it tells the whole arc of the story of Jesus.

0:06:12.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah.

0:06:14.6 Lindsay Kimball: And it’s so rich.

0:06:16.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. When it’s that epic kind of Christ story, it’s like, okay, yeah. And that’s why Handel’s Messiah is so good year-round. Well, okay. For the Grace of the Fray Christmas Special, [chuckle] I got you a Christmas present.

0:06:30.1 Lindsay Kimball: You did? 

0:06:31.1 Jim Lovelady: Oh, I did.

0:06:31.9 Lindsay Kimball: Okay.

0:06:32.6 Jim Lovelady: I did.

0:06:33.1 Lindsay Kimball: Wow.

0:06:33.5 Jim Lovelady: I don’t think you’re ready for this.

0:06:35.5 Lindsay Kimball: I don’t… [laughter] Wow. Oh, my goodness.

0:06:39.7 Jim Lovelady: I asked around, what… I don’t know if this is like a white elephant gift or if this is just a gift. [laughter] I don’t know. I asked around, and a few ladies in the office gave me some ideas, and they were like…

0:06:52.3 Lindsay Kimball: Oh my gosh.

0:06:52.8 Jim Lovelady: Oh, Lindsay would love this.

0:06:54.3 Lindsay Kimball: Do you do this for every podcast guest? 

[laughter]

0:06:56.2 Jim Lovelady: No. Only the Christmas Special. Only the…

0:07:00.0 Lindsay Kimball: Okay. Wow.

0:07:00.5 Jim Lovelady: And this is the first Christmas Special.

0:07:01.9 Lindsay Kimball: This is the first Christmas gift I’m receiving this season.

0:07:04.3 Jim Lovelady: It’s true. This is the first one I’m giving away. [laughter] So, yeah. Well, we’ll keep them anonymous. We’ll call them Allison and Christie.

0:07:16.1 Lindsay Kimball: Okay. Very anonymous.

0:07:17.0 Jim Lovelady: They were like, oh yeah, she’ll love this.

0:07:19.7 Lindsay Kimball: Okay.

0:07:21.9 Jim Lovelady: Which way do I… I think it’s that way. Alright, Merry Christmas.

0:07:28.4 Lindsay Kimball: Thanks, Jim. [chuckle] Let’s see. Oh my gosh.

[laughter]

0:07:33.7 Jim Lovelady: It’s a…

0:07:34.4 Lindsay Kimball: What kind… Is this a penguin? 

0:07:36.1 Jim Lovelady: It’s a… Well, it’s a Niffler.

0:07:38.3 Lindsay Kimball: A Niffler.

[chuckle]

0:07:39.8 Jim Lovelady: It’s a Harry Potter thing.

0:07:40.9 Lindsay Kimball: Okay.

0:07:41.3 Jim Lovelady: They were like, oh, she loves stuffed toys.

0:07:45.6 Lindsay Kimball: Oh.

0:07:46.1 Jim Lovelady: And furry stuffed toys, she loves them.

[laughter]

0:07:49.3 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. Animal. You know, people who know me know that animals are [laughter] not my favorite part of creation.

[laughter]

0:07:57.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah. Maybe I misread their sarcasm, [laughter] when they said that you would love this.

[laughter]

0:08:03.1 Lindsay Kimball: Wow. They know me so well.

0:08:06.2 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. It’s…

0:08:07.2 Lindsay Kimball: I thought it was gonna be a 12-pack of seltzer.

0:08:10.0 Jim Lovelady: Oh, is that something that you…

0:08:12.4 Lindsay Kimball: I would love to get that for Christmas.

0:08:14.1 Jim Lovelady: All right. Note to self: next time. Yeah. I was like, what should I get her? And they were like, oh, you know what? She hates… [laughter] She hates animals. So, anything that’s furry. And I was like, I’m doing it.

[laughter]

0:08:29.6 Lindsay Kimball: That’s great. I’m glad you didn’t put a live animal in here. I would’ve walked out of your podcast immediately.

0:08:35.2 Jim Lovelady: That would’ve… Yeah, that would’ve been… So my son made that.

0:08:38.6 Lindsay Kimball: Really? 

0:08:39.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:08:39.9 Lindsay Kimball: Aww.

0:08:40.5 Jim Lovelady: And I’m gonna have to take it back because…

0:08:42.7 Lindsay Kimball: Don’t tell him I didn’t like it.

[laughter]

0:08:44.3 Jim Lovelady: Oh, I won’t tell… Well, I won’t tell him that. Well, I already, actually, put them in on the joke too.

0:08:48.7 Lindsay Kimball: Okay.

0:08:49.9 Jim Lovelady: I was like, Hey, I need your weirdest [laughter] stuffed toy. And he made that like, years ago.

0:08:56.4 Lindsay Kimball: Wow.

0:08:56.5 Jim Lovelady: And he was like, oh, I know.

[laughter]

0:08:57.5 Lindsay Kimball: Wow. That’s awesome.

0:08:58.2 Jim Lovelady: With beady eyes and everything.

[laughter]

0:08:58.5 Lindsay Kimball: That’s awesome.

0:09:00.9 Jim Lovelady: And they were like, oh, we’re gonna play a trick on Lindsay. I was like, well, it’s a Christmas trick, [laughter] so it’s okay.

[laughter]

0:09:07.5 Lindsay Kimball: That’s great.

0:09:07.6 Jim Lovelady: Anyway, so Merry Christmas. I made the box myself.

0:09:11.8 Lindsay Kimball: Wow. Wow, Jim, thanks.

0:09:14.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. That I…

0:09:15.7 Lindsay Kimball: I don’t know quite how to thank you for that.

0:09:17.1 Jim Lovelady: Well, yeah, the Christmas spirit is what we’re all about.

[laughter]

0:09:22.2 Lindsay Kimball: I Love it.

0:09:23.0 Jim Lovelady: Well, actually, so I do think that it’s a fun opportunity to finish the season off and to… And finish the year off talking about one of the most important things in our ministry. And you even said it when we were talking earlier: missionary care is what everyone at Serge is about.

0:09:45.5 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah.

0:09:45.6 Jim Lovelady: Our endeavor as finance people, everyone in the renewal team, everyone in development, everyone in mobilization, everyone, like, our endeavor is, we want to set our missionaries up for success, build them a good foundation, give them opportunities for health and vitality, for them and for their children. And if they’re coming back off the field, to care for them well. And so, yeah, that’s what we’re about. And so, it’s just so appropriate, I think that we finish the year in that way. So you headed up missionary care for the longest time. You’re now with the executive leadership team. So, you’re gonna have to take your executive leadership team hat off for a bit and talk to me about missionary care. But yeah, tell me about missionary care, how you got into it, your heart for it, and all of that. 

0:10:37.5 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. That’s great. Well, from a young age, I had a feeling I wanted to be in a counseling-type profession. I’ve always loved listening to people and hearing their stories. And I found that God gave me some gifts of being able to encourage people and come alongside them, but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to use that. And after college, I was looking for a missions opportunity, just for a short-term, like, two-month summer missions opportunity. And I found Serge on Google, actually.

0:11:07.5 Jim Lovelady: Oh, really? 

0:11:08.4 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. I didn’t know anything about Serge, didn’t know about their values or anything like that. And they had a really beautiful website, and it was nicer looking than the other missions agency. So I…

[chuckle]

0:11:20.5 Jim Lovelady: Sweet.

[laughter]

0:11:22.8 Lindsay Kimball: So I looked at what they had, and they had summer internships. And so my missions journey began by serving with our team in Prague for two months as a college grad. And our summer interns, what they get to do is they get to just live life alongside our long-term missionaries and come along with them in the work that they’re already doing. And we also get mentored as summer interns, mentored in Serge’s sonship curriculum, which is really designed to help the believer recover the joy and freedom of being a child of God. And so, that was really a paradigm shift for me in my faith journey, even though I had grown up in the faith. And what that did was it really… I think being an intern and being with long-term missionaries, who I saw for the first time, were just normal people, they had conflict, they had struggles, they had struggles with their kids. They looked a lot like the people I knew in the US in a lot of regards, but they were doing this hard thing. But seeing that God calls normal broken people into missions was really freeing for me.

0:12:25.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Not super Christians.

0:12:26.6 Lindsay Kimball: No, not super Christians. Their gift of honesty with how hard life on the field was, was a real gift to me, I think. And then, the freedom of just realizing in fresh ways that I was the beloved daughter of a king who loved me. Those two things freed me up to think about a longer-term career in missions. And so, after that summer was over, I applied to join one of Serge’s newer teams in Vienna. It was a church planting team seeking to plant a church among university students and young professionals in Vienna. And so, I applied for a two-year term serving there and went overseas.

0:13:07.7 Jim Lovelady: So your two months were rich with, it sounds like, multiple paradigm shifts. Just kind of an awakening for love that was… It was starting to grow, but it really just took off in that two months.

0:13:24.4 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. And I think it was the freedom of realizing that when God calls people into mission, it’s not because he needs them to go. It’s because He delights in bringing His children along in doing what he loves, and in doing what He knows, He created them to love. And so, that was very freeing.

0:13:42.6 Jim Lovelady: What did you find the most delightful in that summer? Like, what did you find the most delightful? 

0:13:49.5 Lindsay Kimball: Wow.

0:13:49.6 Jim Lovelady: In participating with Jesus in that way? 

0:13:50.8 Lindsay Kimball: I think it was this new freedom of understanding that like, my worth was not in the outcome, but it was in the righteousness of Christ already purchased for me. So, it gave me freedom to not take myself so seriously, I think.

0:14:08.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:14:10.3 Lindsay Kimball: And to try things that were hard and fail and that that was okay. And I think also just understanding that dependence is actually a beautiful thing. That’s actually what God desires for us. That feeling dependent and needy is not a fate that we’re sentenced to, right? It’s something we’re invited to. And so, that was delightful.

0:14:33.2 Jim Lovelady: That’s… Yeah. That’s a rich two months.

0:14:34.6 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah, absolutely.

0:14:34.9 Jim Lovelady: So then, how long were you on the field? 

0:14:38.8 Lindsay Kimball: So I ended up being on the field about two-and-a-half years. And a lot of my story of life in Vienna was I went and joined a team leader family that was there. So it was me and one other family, and we were in the very beginning stages of this church plant. And about nine months into my time there, that family had an extended family emergency back in the US and they ended up having to go back for six months to kind of see their family through that. And it was at the same time that Serge in the home office here was in a lot of transition. And so, there were a lot of people in leadership changing hats. And what happened was, I ended up being over there by myself for those six months…

0:15:20.5 Jim Lovelady: Oh Wow.

0:15:20.7 Lindsay Kimball: As a 22-year-old. No seminary degree. No training. It was my first job, really, after college. And I was trying to keep a very young church plant, bilingual church plant going.

0:15:31.8 Jim Lovelady: Wow.

0:15:33.1 Lindsay Kimball: And it’s something that today, I don’t think we would let happen at Serge, I hope. [laughter] But I kind of got lost in the shuffle a bit and really was there all on my own. And it was the hardest six months I’ve ever had. So that was back in, I guess, 2010.

0:15:56.4 Jim Lovelady: So this incredibly overwhelming experience where… And I love that you said, we wouldn’t let something like that happen. And I love that you said that you kind of fell through the cracks and it’s like, well, ugh. You know, it’s heartbreaking to imagine. You know, 13 years later we’re talking about this and there’s a certain amount of distance and a certain amount of redemption that has happened through, through that. But that doesn’t change the fact that to this day you can say that was the hardest… What did you say, six months? 

0:16:28.4 Lindsay Kimball: Mm-Hmm.

0:16:29.2 Jim Lovelady: It’s the hardest six months of your life.

0:16:30.4 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah.

0:16:30.8 Jim Lovelady: So did you come home after that? 

0:16:32.7 Lindsay Kimball: No. [laughter] I didn’t. I stayed, I finished up my term and I even thought I was gonna extend my time there. There’s something when you’re in the chaos of life overseas and you see the limited resources, that it was hard for me to actually know the impact that those months had had on me. And it wasn’t until I came back to the US for a home assignment that I really… The combined accumulated stress of that time and the mental health impact it had on me, it just really took a toll. And I was not able to go back. I just… I couldn’t do it. And so, part of what happened though, that I do need to tell you is the leaders of Serge at the time, actually called me. Like, you know, when I finally did come back years… A couple years later and they said, we realize we left you in Vienna. We’re so sorry. If it weren’t for that, I don’t think I’d still be at Serge. But it was seeing repentance from the top levels of leadership of what they missed, you know? 

[laughter]

0:17:32.8 Jim Lovelady: Right.

0:17:33.4 Lindsay Kimball: And how they really let me fall through the cracks. But the other thing that was happening in my heart at that time was, I was starting to remember kind of the heart I had for counseling. And for the first time I had some vision for how God might wanna use that in my life. And so, it was through actually being in this really needy season in my life of really struggling, struggling with depression and anxiety and isolation and being helped tremendously by counselors and realizing like, wow, I think I really want to spend my life caring for missionaries, so that they can thrive on the field.

0:18:15.5 Lindsay Kimball: And so, when I came back to the US, I ended up pursuing a counseling degree at a seminary in Philly and got my master’s in counseling. At the same time, I was working at the home office. And the funny thing is that the jobs available at the home office at the time when I came back were all in recruiting. And so, my job was literally talking to people who wanted to go to the mission field. Recruiters are supposed to really inspire people towards the mission field and push them towards the mission field. And I overheard a few times in the cubicles talking to people [laughter] and saying, are you really sure you wanna go? 

0:18:52.8 Jim Lovelady: Are you sure? 

0:18:53.8 Lindsay Kimball: Are you really sure? 

0:18:54.1 Jim Lovelady: Oh, that’s amazing.

0:18:56.6 Lindsay Kimball: It is really hard. And I think at that time, if I was honest with myself, I would say, I really wasn’t convinced that missions was worth the cost, because it had taken so much from me.

0:19:08.5 Jim Lovelady: Wow.

0:19:09.1 Lindsay Kimball: So I wasn’t there yet of being ready to push people out into the field knowing what it had cost me.

0:19:15.3 Jim Lovelady: Right. I resonate with that, because I burned out in pastoral ministry. And I mean, to this day, it’s way more healthy thing now than it has been in the past where I’m like, talking to somebody who’s thinking about going into pastoral ministry, and I’m like, don’t do it, don’t do it. I don’t know. Now it’s more like, Hey, let’s bring some wisdom into this. And it sounds like, your life has been such where you can give so much wisdom to folks where if you were in a cubicle today, you’d be like, are you sure? But just not the same kind of are you sure? It’s filled with wisdom and experience now.

0:19:56.7 Lindsay Kimball: Exactly. And there’s a sense in which Jesus asks us to really count the cost, right? And to not enter lightly into a road that is gonna be filled with suffering. And it’s our theology of knowing that he doesn’t just care about our output. Right? 

[chuckle]

0:20:15.1 Jim Lovelady: Right.

0:20:15.4 Lindsay Kimball: He doesn’t need our output.

0:20:17.2 Jim Lovelady: Go back to those two months.

0:20:17.3 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. He cares about us as his children, you know, apart from anything we do. And he delights in bringing us along in the journey of what he’s doing in the world. But that’s part of why I think at Serge, we have this value for our missionaries of, yes, there’s a sacrifice piece. There’s a very real cost to living life on the field. And if any of our listeners know missionaries or who sent out missionaries, it’s really important to understand that there’s a real cost.

0:20:45.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. So what do you say to someone who’s like well, you know, life is hard everywhere? 

0:20:49.6 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. I mean, one thing I try to do with our newly appointed workers is, I have them imagine, okay, you’re now a Serge missionary. You’re gonna start raising support to move overseas, and you’re gonna be in full-time ministry, maybe for the first time in your life. So, what are the things that are uniquely hard about this vocation that you are headed into? So what’s uniquely hard about living in a country that is not your own? And what’s uniquely hard about full-time ministry? And a lot of the things they come up with, I mean, you could probably spit some off, right? Like, language learning, being a foreigner, your competence level. I mean, if you were really good at your job in the US, you know, you’re not gonna be really good at your job for a long time in a place where you’re a foreigner. Basic tasks like, grocery shopping, like, getting healthcare for your kids, all of those things, much harder.

0:21:42.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:21:42.9 Lindsay Kimball: But not to mention like, the deeper costs of leaving community, right? Leaving the American church, which is so resourced, right? 

0:21:53.2 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah. Oh man, all the times that I’ve heard someone say, oh, thank you for singing that song in English. I haven’t sung that song in English in such a long time. You know, and the power of being in your heart space to where you can worship or you can experience the community of believers. And so, yeah, the American church is resourced in profound ways that we don’t even realize until we leave.

0:22:15.0 Lindsay Kimball: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes. And the American church has a lot of struggles too, but until you taste walking into a church where you don’t know the language, where there’s not a way to train pastors in that culture, you know, all of that, you don’t realize how resourced we are here. So there’s that piece, but there’s also the weight of stakeholders and every worker who is sent out from Serge is financially supported and supported in prayer by a team of people back, you know, stateside. And so, the weight of like, wow, I really need to not screw this up. [chuckle] I have people who are contributing to my livelihood, you know? The weight of financial dependence. Right? 

0:23:02.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:23:02.2 Lindsay Kimball: Living life in a fishbowl, you know? A lot of our people are in places where everyone knows immediately when they step out their door that they do not belong, right? And so, the weight of that is a lot. Team life. We call our people to live in very close community, where they’re working on a ministry team with the same people that are there, really their main community, at least in the beginning. And you can imagine conflict that arises, right? That’s good and normal, right, but it’s hard.

0:23:32.6 Jim Lovelady: Oh, absolutely.

0:23:32.7 Lindsay Kimball: You don’t get to have a 9:00 to 5:00 where you kind of go home and shut the door, right? So yeah, there’s a lot of things that are uniquely hard.

0:23:39.0 Jim Lovelady: So you ask people to list things off and boom, I mean, you just gave a long list of aspects of living overseas, doing a certain type of work in this way that make it unique and difficult.

0:23:53.5 Lindsay Kimball: Right.

0:23:57.9 Jim Lovelady: So then, what do you tell folks…

0:23:57.9 Lindsay Kimball: Well, then they get really sad. [laughter] And they’re like, why are you doing this with us? 

0:24:02.2 Jim Lovelady: Oh, right.

0:24:04.1 Lindsay Kimball: We’re excited new missionaries. But then what I have them do is, I have them say like, okay, imagine all of these stressors and these have accumulated, right? What responses do you think someone would have to all of these stressors? What are some things, some struggles that could arise from being under this much stress? What are some ways of coping that you could imagine taking on? What would it be like? And so they start listing things, and they start describing a lot of the struggles that we see in missionaries, right? So, depression. They call depression the common cold of missionaries, you know? 

0:24:41.3 Jim Lovelady: Oh, interesting. The common cold.

0:24:41.3 Lindsay Kimball: Anxiety. Yeah. Marriage stresses, right? People realizing, wow, I’m short with my kids. I wasn’t short with my kids when I was in the US. You know? Not that people here don’t struggle with that. They do, but there’s accumulated stressors that you’re experiencing those in a place without your normal support systems. Without your church…

0:25:01.1 Jim Lovelady: So you can notice them more quickly.

0:25:02.0 Lindsay Kimball: Oh, yeah.

0:25:03.9 Jim Lovelady: And that’s the difference. And there’s things that are happening… There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t get impatient with my children. But when there’s something to come alongside and go, man, it’s very evident to everyone and yourself that you’re being very impatient with your children. What are gonna do about that? You know, it’s like, oh, this is overwhelming.

0:25:22.4 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. And then, people struggling with physiological symptoms from stress. We’re holistic people. Right? And our bodies and minds are connected. Or people struggling with spiritual dryness. And that’s something that you and I both experience, I’m sure. But imagine experiencing that when it is your job to tell people about Jesus. Right? 

0:25:43.2 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yep. Yep.

0:25:44.6 Lindsay Kimball: The shame that can come from that, right? Or the identity crisis. All of those types of things, we find a lot of times people isolate, because of their struggles, they hide and it’s easier to hide on the mission field. You don’t have maybe the neighbor that you would have in the US who would come knock on your door. Or the person in your small group at church who would kind of pursue you out of that. But it’s easier to isolate. We have some people also who kind of pull themselves up by their bootstraps and say like, you know, I’m doing this for the sake of ministry, so I’m just gonna go deeper in, right? 

0:26:16.8 Jim Lovelady: Right.

0:26:18.2 Lindsay Kimball: And can tend towards a workaholism. So all of those things are things we see numbing with alcohol or Netflix or porn. Like, missionaries are not exempt from any of this. In fact, they’re more susceptible in a lot of ways, because their stressors are so accumulated. So then, you can imagine these missionaries look at me with even sadder faces.

0:26:38.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Even more… Yeah. When’s the not sad news gonna… [laughter] This is harder than I thought.

0:26:46.1 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. But the third piece is, I ask them, what about being a missionary do you think would actually be a barrier to you asking for help when you start to struggle? And can you think of anything? 

0:27:01.9 Jim Lovelady: Well, yeah. I mean, there’s all sorts of shame surrounding…

0:27:05.7 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. There’s a huge sense of shame, I think, because part of what happens when you’re sent out by a support team, by a church is, sometimes you get put up on a spiritual pedestal, right? And so you think… So there’s dissonance with, I’m someone who struggles, but I’m also someone who is looked at as this super Christian, who is doing this hard thing that other people don’t feel they could do. And so, how do I wrestle with this? But there’s also very real fear of, if I tell people I’m struggling, I’m gonna lose my job. Right? 

0:27:42.4 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:27:44.0 Lindsay Kimball: My church is gonna send me home. Serge is gonna send me home. You know? There’s also this, I think this kind of thing that can happen on the field too, where struggle is normalized, and we do wanna normalize struggle, but it’s normalized to the extent that you can just think, well, this is how it is. It’s really hard, you know? [chuckle] This is a road of suffering and it’s really hard and I just need to grit my teeth and bear it.

0:28:09.3 Jim Lovelady: It almost becomes stoic, like a stoic response to that.

0:28:10.2 Lindsay Kimball: Exactly. Yeah. Exactly. But there’s also practical considerations. You know, some of our workers are in very remote places, and they look around, there’s not a counselor within a thousand miles. A counselor that speaks their language. There’s just limited access to resources or even just not knowing where to start, you know? So yeah, those are some barriers, I think.

0:28:37.1 Jim Lovelady: So after Christmas, every January I start drinking this detox tea. Cause I’ve been pigging out. [chuckle] And so I’m like, that’s what it is, is it’s the level, the heightened level of all of these burdens, all of these stressors. It sounds like missionary care is kind of like… [chuckle] Part of it is helping people know what to do with all of those things.

0:29:13.8 Lindsay Kimball: Yes. Yes.

0:29:15.7 Jim Lovelady: How do you detox from all of those things? Not just the sins, but the burdens of the ministry life. So what does that look like? 

0:29:26.8 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. Well, I mean, first I would say, part of what I tell our new workers after we do this very depressing exercise, is I tell them, I want you to hear from your first day as a Serge missionary that these struggles, they will not scare us and we want to help you. And so, it’s not a matter of if you will struggle, but when. And it doesn’t mean that all of you will end up in crisis. I don’t mean that, but I do mean there’s a level of struggle involved in life on the field that is normal, and we wanna help you. And so, we want to take away the stigma that we know it could creep in easily and name from your very first day that we have seen these things and it is okay. And that that is why we are here to help care for you. So, yeah. I wouldn’t say that like, totally cheers them up, [chuckle] but that’s the purpose of doing it is really to name it before they experience it.

0:30:24.9 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah. Nothing you can say or do is going to surprise us, and we’re sticking with you here.

0:30:32.2 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. And to say too, part of what we wanna do as a home office, as an agency that’s trying to care for our people is, we want to image Jesus’ love for these people and not just say like, we wanna send you out and use you. [chuckle] Right? 

0:30:50.2 Jim Lovelady: Right.

0:30:50.2 Lindsay Kimball: But that we care deeply about your flourishing and your family’s flourishing. We care deeply about your whole person. And we talk a little bit about, I don’t know if I mentioned this earlier, but sustainability and sacrifice and going to the field will always involve sacrifice.

0:31:07.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah.

0:31:09.5 Lindsay Kimball: Following Jesus anywhere will always involve sacrifice. And that doesn’t take away this desire we have for sustainability for our people, so that they can have long careers on the field. So that they can have resilience as families and as couples and as singles, and they can stay on the field as healthy people for a long time.

0:31:29.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. I love how you couched all of this earlier in the fact that, you know, going back to that… Those two months where you realized, oh, I’m a child of God, where I don’t have to prove to the universe that… I don’t have to defend my existence before anybody, you know, I’m a child. And so, the idea that… I was thinking about this the other day, it was a nice day, and I was just sitting out on the picnic table, and it was this idea that for most of my life, I’ve wanted God to use me. You know? 

0:32:01.2 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah.

0:32:02.8 Jim Lovelady: And somewhere along the line that was just… That became silly to me. Because I was thinking about my children. And It’s like, I don’t want them to be useful to me. I’m their father. I love them. If my children came to me and they were like, dad, I just want to be used for the benefit of the family, I’d be like, well, okay, specifically? Sure. In general? That’s weird. Specifically, go empty the dishwasher. [chuckle] In general, you’re my child. You don’t have to do anything. I love you regardless. And so, it’s the same where so often we have this expectation that we want them to be on the… We want a missionary to be on the field so that they can be the most useful to God’s mission. It’s like, well, of course the mission of God is to see his kingdom come and his will be done, but the victory of God is that it’s already accomplished.

0:32:58.3 Lindsay Kimball: Amen.

0:33:00.5 Jim Lovelady: And so, go play. Go have fun. And oh, by the way it’s gonna be really hard. And that’s also part of the way that God has chosen to make you like himself by having you go live that kind of life. You know? 

0:33:17.7 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. Yeah. And I think like… I mean, we’re in Advent season, right? And thinking about God coming to dwell with his people. And the road of cost and suffering that was, and I think for our workers, and certainly when I was on the field myself, I loved thinking about God as my father, but I also loved thinking about Jesus as my older brother, who had gone through suffering, not just on my behalf, but he led in that.

0:33:50.4 Jim Lovelady: Yes.

0:33:51.8 Lindsay Kimball: Right? 

0:33:52.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:33:52.6 Lindsay Kimball: And so, the suffering I’m experiencing, there’s this identification with my older brother Jesus. And that image of Jesus as the suffering servant who understood what it’s like to absorb a huge cost in following the Father was really comforting to me in a way it hadn’t been before. You know? 

0:34:12.9 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah. So you’ve kind of unpacked Serge’s values regarding how we want to do missionary care. So what does that look like practically? What has that looked like? You’re no longer doing that for the ministry, but what has that looked like? 

0:34:36.7 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah, I mean, I think the simplest way to say it is, we endeavor to care for people through the whole life cycle of their journey as a worker. So, from the moment that they are approved as a Serge worker and begin raising support, we are helping them even think about support raising in terms of how do I apply the Gospel when I am scared of asking people for money? What are the issues of identity that come up for me? And how can I be invited to lean deeper into Jesus in those moments? So really having a holistic view of people as we onboard them. But then as they go to the field, every worker is assigned a person here in the home office, a member care associate who walks with them. Who’s kind of their person back on the state side of things, who is checking in with them and hearing how they’re doing and directing them to resources. But I would be foolish to say that missionary care is just one team at the home office. It’s really the whole home office exists to serve our workers. It used to be called the Serving Center, actually.

0:35:45.8 Jim Lovelady: Oh, okay. Yeah. Yeah.

0:35:46.8 Lindsay Kimball: Because we exist really to resource our workers who are out on the field, so that they can keep doing the work they’re doing for a long time. But it’s not only that, it’s also resourcing our team leaders on the field to care for our people, because they’re the ones who are on the ground with them. And so, we try to resource our teams too, even thinking about not just the team leaders, but how do we help teams care for each other on the field? And kind of do mutual member care, we call it. So those kind of resources. We have a long list of counselors that we love to refer our people to. We really, at Serge, we don’t… We really try to not have any stigma about counseling. A lot of our workers use outside counselors just to have a sounding board. Part of what we do for missionary care is also healthcare for our kids in the mission. And so, we have a team that’s really focused on that.

0:36:39.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah, I love that.

0:36:41.7 Lindsay Kimball: So, it’s very expansive.

[chuckle]

0:36:44.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. And I love that everyone here is involved in missionary care.

0:36:49.2 Lindsay Kimball: Absolutely. I mean, we have a whole team that… The team you work on actually, the renewal team and the renewal team has a lot of outward facing things they do, but they also talk to our missionaries a lot. And just help them bring some Gospel sanity to whatever they’re facing in the current moment. So, yeah. It’s really a team effort. [chuckle] Yeah. And we invite churches. We are not the church, right? But our missionaries are sent by churches, and so we try to come alongside churches and help them think about, yeah, how they can care for their missionaries better? How can they…

0:37:25.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. What are some of the…

0:37:26.3 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah.

0:37:26.4 Jim Lovelady: What are some of the things that you say to churches? What would you want a church to know and how they should treat their missionaries? What are some of the things that you tell churches? 

0:37:37.0 Lindsay Kimball: There’s a great blog post on the Serge website that maybe you could link to this episode that talks about that very question, how churches can care for their missionaries.

0:37:46.4 Jim Lovelady: Def.

0:37:47.4 Lindsay Kimball: But the one thing I would say is to educate yourself in what it’s like on the mission field. And then to not have a stigma about your missionary struggling, I think, and expect that you will need to come alongside them. I would also say, missionaries need pastors. Don’t stop pastoring your missionary. Building a relationship with them before they leave, so that you can be an encouragement and the help. But I also think… One thing I do a lot in my work is I go… I physically go and I see our workers. And there’s something that happens when you do that, that can’t be replaced by Zoom or telephone or email. And I think there’s something incarnational about going and just bearing witness to the worker’s life and work. And so, for churches, I mean, make sure it’s someone that your missionary likes and trusts that you’re sending, but to send someone to go and see, you know? To go and see and just be there and pray, it’s really sacred work.

0:38:46.3 Jim Lovelady: It’s hard to describe how powerful that is. You know? And we think, well, is that a good use of money for a plane ticket or whatever? Or am I gonna be a burden to them when I’m there? All sorts of things that might make us think that just being a presence there… It is. It’s so powerful. To just say, Hey, I see you and the work that you’re doing is beautiful and glorious. And they go, but I don’t feel like I’ve done anything. [chuckle] It’s beautiful and glorious.

0:39:19.0 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. And I think… I mean, a lot of the people listening might have friends who are missionaries, right? I think just treating… Being their friend. I think a lot of missionaries, when they come back to the US, they’re kind of on tour a little bit where they’re speaking at churches every weekend and doing missions moments between services and visiting small groups and for people to just show up and be their friend and ask how they’re really doing is a great gift, right? 

0:39:48.6 Jim Lovelady: You’re doing everything in your power to take missionaries off of the pedestal that for them to be there is destructive. For them and for the people that put them there. I picked this up somewhere when I was a kid, where it’s like, oh, super Christians, they go be missionaries. And so, as a kid, I picked that up. And so, whatever it is… And it’s stuff like, the tour, you know, the missionary comes and does their tour, and they give their testimony and so many powerful stories.

0:40:24.7 Lindsay Kimball: Absolutely.

0:40:27.4 Jim Lovelady: And it’s a no-brainer that it’s gonna be a powerful story. And it’s gonna be inspiring to a congregation. It’s gonna be galvanizing for that church’s kingdom work. And so, it’s so easy for them to be put up on this pedestal. And then, yeah, adding to that the support raising stuff and the people at home that are… You can’t help but think that there’s this expectation that you go be amazing, you know? So all of these pressures, I love how you’re endeavoring to just normalize that and knock that preconceived notion, I guess, false notion. Like, how would you describe that? It’s…

0:41:05.2 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. And I think that… I do wanna say, I think I have one of the best jobs ever, like, getting to… Honestly, the time when I most felt this was during the pandemic, and all of us were kind of, the office was closed, we were all in our own homes. And it was very easy during the pandemic, I think, to focus on our own woes and the things that we were losing and missing out on. And I lived alone at the time and was very isolated. And it was God’s grace to me that I had a job where every day I got to get on Zoom and lift my eyes up to what he was doing in the world through normal broken people, right? And just seeing movement, when all of the world felt like it was standing still, seeing the movement of God all over the globe.

0:41:52.3 Jim Lovelady: Oh, yeah.

0:41:52.8 Lindsay Kimball: But what I would say is like, in talking with our workers all the time, and in visiting them, they are extraordinary people. Like, we don’t want them on the pedestal, but they are operating at extraordinary levels of dependence on Jesus, I would say, right? 

[laughter]

0:42:07.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. It is. And that’s exactly right.

0:42:08.3 Lindsay Kimball: And the way that you see God’s sanctification working itself out in them. I mean, I think Serge’s workers are some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met. But it’s because of that, it’s because of the dependence, the edges of dependence on Jesus, not because they’re way more gifted or skilled or whatever, you know? Does that make sense? 

0:42:30.1 Jim Lovelady: Oh, absolutely.

0:42:30.4 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah.

0:42:30.8 Jim Lovelady: That’s the trick, right? You know, when I’m functioning out of my own gifts, which is so easy for me to fall into doing, people are like, oh, he’s really great. And then I go, Oh, I need to keep being great. When I’m functioning in dependence on Jesus, people are like, who’s Jim? Jesus is amazing. And if that’s the takeaway, then man, look how liberating that is if that’s the takeaway.

0:43:00.6 Lindsay Kimball: Amen.

0:43:00.7 Jim Lovelady: And these are the… And that’s what folks… That’s what you’re describing. You’re describing people who, when you hang out with them, you go, man, that person, they’re kind of a mess, but man, they really trust Jesus in some weird ways. Or man, Jesus is showing up for them in some really miraculous ways. Or any of the infinite versions of Jesus is amazing, you know, when you look at these people. And so that’s what’s attractive about a person. It’s not necessarily them.

0:43:34.1 Lindsay Kimball: Amen.

0:43:34.3 Jim Lovelady: It’s Jesus.

0:43:35.7 Lindsay Kimball: Yes. Amen. Absolutely.

0:43:38.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Oh, it’s so good. All right. I have one more question for you. At the beginning you talked about how counting the cost and how… What it really looks like to sober mindedly count the cost? And so, I guess my last question is, what is it about this work and what is it about the Savior that makes it all worth it? How did Jesus swoop in and you’re in the midst of your doubts where you’re like, I’m not sure if this is worth it? You know? 

0:44:16.0 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. Well, first I would say, the arc of his grace in our lives is very long, [chuckle] and the arc of what he’s doing in our lives is often longer than we want or have patience for, right? And so, it wasn’t actually until 2019, so nine years after I left for the field, that I got to go back to a 10 year anniversary celebration for the church plant in Vienna. And my former team leaders invited me back. I got to go on the church retreat with this church, and it was filled with hundreds of people, many of whom were young Austrians taking on leadership roles.

0:45:00.5 Jim Lovelady: Wow.

0:45:00.6 Lindsay Kimball: Young believers. And I don’t think it was really until then that I started to say, Jesus, it’s okay that you had this be my story. You know? [chuckle] And I think there’s some stories of suffering that are a million times harder that you might not ever see that moment, this side of heaven. But the story that God is writing in my life of how he used some of those really hard experiences in Vienna to give me a heart for this work, I mean, it’s a story I couldn’t have written myself. And so, that is a God that I can really trust, right? 

0:45:47.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:45:47.9 Lindsay Kimball: But then that question of like, what about Jesus makes it worth it? Well, I don’t know if it’s a question of worth it. I mean, he is worth it, but it’s more of like, he designed us to walk with him in these ways, you know? 

0:46:03.0 Jim Lovelady: There it is.

0:46:04.1 Lindsay Kimball: He designed us to be part of the family business of mission. That’s what we were made for. And so, actually my place of deepest flourishing is going to be walking with him into whatever he invites me into.

0:46:16.4 Jim Lovelady: Amen.

0:46:17.1 Lindsay Kimball: So, yes, yes, he’s worth it. And also, he designed us to be on mission with him loving the world that he loves, right? 

0:46:26.5 Jim Lovelady: I love that answer. Okay, here’s why I love that answer. At the beginning in the midst of burnout, the question, just like sores into people’s, I’ve said it, you’ve said it, is this worth it? But when you’ve tasted and seen and had fellowship with Jesus in these… In ways that you couldn’t ask or imagine, you know? And I come along and I go, so was it worth it? And you go, meh, not a good question. [laughter] There’s a better question. We were made for this. You know? This is so fundamental to who I am because of who I belong to, that, is it worth it? I don’t know. Maybe.

0:47:16.8 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah.

0:47:18.4 Jim Lovelady: But Jesus is just beautiful. That’s all… You know, that’s the answer.

0:47:22.2 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah. And it’s a journey, right? Like, you and I will always be on a journey of trusting our maker.

[laughter]

0:47:27.6 Jim Lovelady: Oh, yeah.

0:47:27.7 Lindsay Kimball: That what he has designed for us is good. That we will always wrestle with that. It wasn’t like, I learned that in Vienna and then remembered it the rest of my life. You know? 

0:47:35.4 Jim Lovelady: Absolutely.

0:47:36.1 Lindsay Kimball: I’m in a role now that is calling me to new edges of dependence and trust. And I had to remind myself that that’s a good thing. Like, that’s the way of growth, right? The way up is the way down.

[chuckle]

0:47:49.8 Jim Lovelady: Right. Oh, that’s so good. Well, thank you so much for hanging out. I have a newfound respect for something that I kind of… I was on the field, it was so easy to forget. And so, thanks for reminding me. Thanks for reminding anybody who listens or watches. Yeah. Pray for your missionaries. Pray for your friends and…

0:48:16.0 Lindsay Kimball: And ask them how they’re doing.

[chuckle]

0:48:17.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Oh, that’s so good.

0:48:19.1 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah.

0:48:19.7 Jim Lovelady: Well, I think you should go figure out some sort of white elephant gift for Allison and Christy.

0:48:24.2 Lindsay Kimball: Can I just take that one? 

[laughter]

0:48:26.2 Jim Lovelady: We’ll just hand it around. The Niffler. Apparently a niffler is like a magical creature that is involved with petty theft.

0:48:36.3 Lindsay Kimball: In Harry Potter? 

0:48:37.2 Jim Lovelady: In… Well, like the Fantastic Beasts.

0:48:39.3 Lindsay Kimball: Oh, okay. I haven’t read that. I’ve read Harry Potter, but not the prequel.

0:48:42.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah. And I don’t know if it’s in…

0:48:43.8 Lindsay Kimball: A Niffler.

0:48:44.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. I don’t know. My kid… You’ll have to ask my kids.

0:48:47.2 Lindsay Kimball: I will.

[laughter]

0:48:50.1 Jim Lovelady: Anyway. Well, Merry Christmas.

0:48:52.0 Lindsay Kimball: Yeah, Merry Christmas to you, Jim. Thanks.

[music]

0:49:01.9 Jim Lovelady: The great mystery of Christmas is the reality of the incarnation that God would become human, so God could bring humans into union with God. And the word became flesh and dwelled among us. And we have seen His glory, the glory as of thee, the father’s only son, full of grace and truth. And from His fullness, we have received grace upon grace. Missionary care is incarnational. Sometimes it means going to visit them wherever they may be serving. Sometimes it means sending them an encouraging letter or a little note or a text saying that you’re praying for them. Sometimes it means a phone call or a care package that surprises them on their doorstep. There are many ways to make someone feel known and loved. So, I wanna invite you to reimagine what missionary care could look like in your life and your family and your church.

What could it mean to be a loving presence, even from far away? Think about the power of a gift to bring joy, to be a reminder that someone is not alone and forgotten, but rather, they are known and loved. Remember, missionary care is how we describe all the work of Serge, including everyone in the home office. It includes the behind the scenes work that our finance department does to support our missionaries. So, hey, here’s a quick shout out to the finance team. Man, thanks for the ways that your work in budgets and salaries and investments at its core is about missionary care. And I wanna invite you to participate with the way that Serge does missionary care. Would you consider giving today to help care for a missionary? Without missionary care, most of our missionaries don’t last long in the field.

Caring for them is vital for long-term ministry. Your gift will provide crucial support to care for a missionary. And thanks to generous donors, your gift to missionary care will be doubled until December 31st. So go to serge.org/give or follow the link in the show notes for that. You’ll also find in the show notes, links to blog articles with more creative ways to offer loving care and support for missionaries. You’ll also find a link to our free Advent Devotional. So check that out and be sure to spend some time, peruse those show notes. There’s a lot there. And this is the last episode of 2023. So, I wanna give a special thanks to the podcast production team for all their hard work on transcribing, web design, show notes, writing, scheduling, social media. Man, it takes a village to put on this podcast. So, thanks to Sunny Chi, Anna Madson, Brooke Herron, Ashlie Kodsy, Aaron Gray, Joonhee Park, and Tommy Leahy, for all their work. Man, y’all are amazing. 

So I wanna offer this Christmas blessing, because the idea that God loves you and is with you, and has made you to participate in His kingdom is not a mere sentimental idea. It is your ever present reality. The Lord is with you. The Word became flesh and dwells among us and goes before you and behind you, and to your right and to your left. So may the Lord bless you and keep you and make his face to smile down on you. May the Lord be gracious to you and turn his bright eyes to you and give you his peace. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, life everlasting. Amen.

[music]

Lindsey Kimball

Lindsay currently serves as Senior Director of People Development for Serge. Since 2012, she has played various roles within the organization, starting as a recruiter and Sonship mentor, and then as Global Learning Leader, Associate Director of Mission, and Member Care Director. In her current role, Lindsay is loves thinking about and planning ways to foster the growth and resilience of our workers and their families on the front lines.Lindsay holds an MA in counseling from Missio Seminary and is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Pennsylvania. She resides in the Brewerytown neighborhood of Philadelphia, where she finds joy in biking, hosting friends, and actively participating in her local church community.


THE HOST

Jim Lovelady

Jim Lovelady is a Texas-born pastor, musician, and liturgist, doing ministry in Philadelphia with his wife, Lori, and 3 kids, Lucia, Ephram, and Talitha. He is passionate about the ministry of liberating religious people from the anxieties of religion and liberating secular people from the anxieties of secularism through the story of the gospel.

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