by Dr. Ronald Koteskey
(Recommended Reading, 2017)
When compiling this brochure in 2005, the criteria were that a book must be in print and have complete publication data. Today some books are E-books never printed, other books are self-printed rather than published commercially, and still others are printed only on demand. This means that very different criteria must now be used. The criteria chosen here make books available to most missionaries.
Criteria for including a book
Near the end of the last century, when Books in Print was available only in printed form, some libraries began using www.amazon.com to determine whether or not a book was in print. Most missionaries today have access to amazon.com, and they can use it to purchase books or to have friends do so for them. Amazon.com usually invites people to rate books from 1-5, tells how many people rated each book, and posts the results including the average.
Other E-books available on this website, www.missionarycare.com/e-books, do not have ratings, but this brochure tells how many people have downloaded each listed book since 2003. These ratings, and the numbers downloaded, give buyers and downloaders ideas about how good and how popular books are.
To be listed here books must be available on either Amazon.com or mssionarycare.com—new, used, or Kindle.
General missionary care
Looming Transitions: Starting and Finishing Well in Cross-Cultural Service, Amy Young (2016). 11 chapters, 160 pages.
The author lived in Asia for 20 years helping hundreds of people adjust to the field and prepare to leave it. When most people go abroad to serve, they usually think about the language, the losses, and the excitement. When returning home they think about family, friends, losses, and relief. However, they seldom think about the process of transition. Thinking about it can make the difference between a smooth and bumpy entry or reentry. Available at amazon.com with 4.9 out of 5 stars
What Missionaries Ought to Know...: A Handbook for Life and Service, Ronald Koteskey (2003, revised 2017). 74 chapters, 450 pages.
This book began as a series of brochures posted on the Internet over a period of five years. The brochures were short and simple presentations about topics of interest to missionaries. The brochures were then combined into a book of practical applications to missionary life and work. Concepts are often illustrated by cross-cultural examples from the Bible. Each chapter stands alone, so there is no need to read the book from beginning to end. Available on misionarycare.com with 49,000 downloaded.
Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging, Marilyn Gardner (2014). 7 chapters, 230 pages.
The author is an adult TCK who grew up in Pakistan and has lived in Pakistan and Egypt. She birthed five children on three continents and raised them in Pakistan and Egypt before moving to the USA. 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. This book describes a journey between the cultures of East and West, the comfort of being surrounded by familiar places, and the loneliness of not belonging. Marilyn began by blogging on-line, and published the book when urged to do so by her readers. Men as well as women will find these short stories of great interest and help. Available on amazon.com with 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Frontline Women: Negotiating Cross-cultural Issues in Ministry. Marguerite Kraft Ed., (2003). 12 chapters, 11 contributors, 225 pages.
Written mostly by women for women, this book covers many women’s issues including stress, roles, loneliness, life-style, self-image, marginality and the demonic. The editor set out to write a book that would focus on women’s adjustment to a new setting, finding meaning and value in a new location, and dealing with the everyday pressures in living cross-culturally. As noted in the forward, women need to read this book to be encouraged, and men need to read it and wake up. Available on amazon.com. No ratings.
Care of MKs
Raising Global Nomads: Parenting in an On-Demand World, Robin Pascoe (2006). 10 chapters, 230 pages, and appendix.
Written by the mother of TCKS, this book is filled with personal experiences as well as much practical advice on living in other cultures. Much has changed in our world since 1993 when the author wrote her parents’ guide. This update considers implications for TCKs growing up outside their passport culture in this globalized, digitized, and terrorized world. The author recounts with honesty and humor what worked for her family and shares the hard lessons learned. Available at amazon.com with 3.6 out of 5 stars.
Raising Resilient MKs: Resources for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers. Joyce M. Bowers, (Ed.).
This book was sponsored by the Association of Christian Schools International in 1998, and it has 56 chapters, 38 contributors, 3 appendices, and 510 pages. Edited by a mission administrator working with families, this collection is the best, most comprehensive book, currently available for anyone involved in MK care. This book is out of print, but ACSI has made it available free of charge as an E-book at missionarycare.com with 49,000 copies downloaded.
Relationships with others
Missionary Marriage Issues, Ronald Koteskey (2009). 18 chapters, 112 pages.
Married couples living in host cultures different from their passport culture face some issues that make marriage more difficult than it is for people remaining at “home.” This began with William Carey, “father of modern missions,” and his wife Dorothy in the 18th century. The first chapter asks, “What about Dorothy?” The rest of the chapters may be read in any order. Available on missionarycare.com with 30,000 downloaded.
Missionary Singles Issues, Ronald Koteskey (2011, revised 2017). 12 chapters, 5 appendices, 97 pages.
Soon after he wrote a book about issues in missionary marriage, he began receiving email asking why he did not have one for singles. He said that he was not single and had never lived as a single. After several years of prodding, he finally wrote this book. The book is written in short, independent chapters. There is no particular order except that Chapter 1, “Introduction: Cultural Changes” should be read first.
Available on missionarycare.com with 12,000 downloaded.
By Ones & by Twos: Building Successful Relationships between Marrieds and Singles in Ministry, Jeannie Lockerbie Stephenson (2008). 11 chapters, 140 pages.
Married since she wrote earlier versions of this book, the author has revised and expanded it to include content for singles and married couples that can help everyone to live and work in harmony. Jeannie served as a single missionary for 30 years as a nurse, a teacher, and as a publisher. Wally Stephenson, who had served as a married missionary during that same time, needed help publishing a book about God’s help after the deaths of his wife and daughter in an accident. They became well acquainted while working on the book, and they married and served together after that. Available at amazon.com, no ratings.
Before You Get “Home”: Preparing for Reentry, Ronald Koteskey (2008). 6 chapters, appendix.
Cross-cultural workers scheduled to return to their passport countries have the opportunity to leave their host country well so that they can enter their passport countries well. This book helps them do that. Each chapter contains two parts with the first part considering reentry in the Bible and the second part considering reentry today including questions to be answered. Available on missionrycare.com with 19,000 downloaded.
Coming “Home”: The Reentry Transition, Ron & Bonnie Koteskey, (2003). 7 chapters, 4 appendices, 55 pages.
This book was written to be used during debriefing in a group setting with a facilitator as guide. However, the book can be used when being debriefed by a person who understands what is involved in making the transition from missions to life at “home.” Finally, missionaries can debrief themselves by setting aside a day or two to consider the material in each chapter. Available on missionarycare.com with 27,000 downloaded.
Parents of Missionaries: How to Thrive and Stay Connected When Your Children and Grandchildren Serve Cross-Culturally. Cheryl Savageau and Diane Stortz (2008). 14 chapters, 289 pages.
Written by a counselor and a parent of a missionary, this book helps parents of missionaries understand their own internal conflicts and gives practical suggestions to sustain relationships with their children and grandchildren. Available on amazon.com with 4.7 out of 5 stars.
One final note. If people in your sending country ask what they can do to care for you, suggest that they read Serving as Senders Today: How to Care for Your Missionaries While They Are Preparing to Go, While They Are on the Field, When They Return Home by Neal Pirolo (2012). 8 chapters, 223 pages. Available on amazon.com with 4.7 out of 5 stars.
About the Author
Ron and Bonnie Koteskey are Member Care Consultants with Go International.
They have provided member care for missionaries since 1997.