When you go abroad to serve, you're thinking about the language, the losses, and the excitement. When you return home you're thinking about your friends and family, the losses, and the relief. Most aren’t thinking about the process of transition—and yet if you do, it can make the difference between a smooth entry and re-entry, or a decidedly bumpy landing. Veteran of serving abroad Amy Young is the perfect companion to guide you through the much-neglected process of transitions. Practical in nature, Looming Transitions places a strong emphasis on • Keeping your soul fertile as you stay grounded in Christ • Looking for the lighter moments • Learning about yourself • Helping others • Making lists • Leaning into grief as you prepare for your transition
Young covers a range of transitions for cross-cultural workers, from going overseas to each move around home assignments, and finally the transition of repatriating. I appreciate how she digs deep into the feelings surrounding these intense times, yet offers steps forward and help to navigate and normalize these unique experiences. Perhaps my favorite quote is: ““It is tempting to measure how much you have meant to someone by the size of their reaction to your departure, but this reduces relationships to a scorecard.”
This is a great book for the many transitions in cross-cultural work. I wish I had read this before my first term. I wish I had read it before my first home assignment. I feel like the wisdom in these pages goes beyond launching into the field or leaving the field. There are so many transitions sprinkled throughout the in-between. I think I will read this book again for future transitions as well.
Perfect for this time in my life. Put into words so much of what we are going through and feeling. I’m going to make my family read this and I’m sure I’ll re-read it a few more times before this transition is “over”.
This is a self-help book with a Christian slant on how to navigate transitions well – and it is SO good. Although this is written primarily for Christian workers who are moving abroad (or back home after time abroad), I would want to make this gem of a book required reading for anyone who is moving job and home, because so many of the principles are universal. It could have been titled “Finishing Well”, because it focuses primarily on often-neglected endings rather than beginnings, and really helps with navigating those stressful months as you prepare to leave for somewhere new. I found the chapters on grief and working through the messy emotions especially helpful, but it was all really good stuff. There’s a real need for this kind of book, and I’ve never read anything that covers this topic so well.
Amy Young is a brilliant and engaging Bible teacher, a highly-qualified counsellor, a wonderful writer, and has spent twenty years working abroad, so she is the perfect person to write this book. My advice? Get it before you move, so that you have time to absorb the good advice. This is one I will be gushing about and recommending to anyone who’s thinking of moving house or job and wants to finish well. Highly recommended.
I wanted to like this book, because I’d heard from so many how it helped them in their own transitions moving overseas. I have also been told by my friends Riley Grace that she writes lovely articles on A Life Overseas, so maybe I’ll look more into that.
But this book frustrated me; it had such good purpose and such a clearly experienced author, but the points were bogged down with a lot of unnecessary repetition and wordiness. -She uses one metaphor—about farming—many times throughout the book, but almost every time goes into detail about what farming is as if we haven’t already read the first description. -Several other metaphors, such as about mint plants, are repeatedly explained in detail. -Several life timeline events are repeatedly detailed before she gives us any new information about them, such as how she went home for three years to do grad school. -She always has a quote or two at the start of the chapter, but then some of these quotes she uses again in the chapter text, and one of the quotes she puts at the start of two different chapters.
All of this made it a really frustrating read for me. I get that editing a book is a real difficult thing though, having published one myself and watched my dad and granddad go through the process as well. I did like a few gem quotes and enjoyed all of her stories (the first time she told them at least). Amy seems like a super talented lady and her advice was helpful to me in the “Start Early” section and the end chapter. Otherwise, I hope to enjoy a more-edited edition upon my next transition. ☺️
Started this book about a month before my international transition only to find in its early pages that it’s meant to be read at least 6 months before (oops). This is not to say that I hadn’t started thinking through my transition until a month before, but I think I agree with Amy that parts of this book are best absorbed 6 months to a year before one’s looming transition.
I highlighted so much of this book, and I so appreciated many of its stories, encouragements, and advice. The info on the wild (and seemingly strangely placed) emotions of transition as well as the physical manifestations of stress were especially pertinent. I really appreciated the notion of keeping one’s soul fertile (and that sometimes new growth necessitates death in order to make room; it is just that simple and just that hard). I also really appreciated the chapters talking about the dangers of letting go either too early or too late. I needed the emotional permission to grieve my books more than I knew.
My two favorite pieces of advice from this book: 1.) make a playlist of worship music to accompany you through your transition, and 2.) if you are going to laugh later, why not laugh now?
I'm going to have to reread this book, or at least parts of it, in the next few months.
Amy Young made me laugh out loud in some places, shocked me by naming feelings I couldn't articulate and in the naming helped me realize I'm not the only one, spoke honestly yet graciously about all the aspects of cross-cultural transition...and on and on.
The idea that there is a tension between extremes in so many aspects of transition was a necessary repetition throughout the book. The acknowledgment that transitions bring grief and loss, even if they're good, and a whole host of emotional and physical reactions helped me name some of what I'm experiencing.
While I didnt necessarily love her prose all the time, I think this book is so necessary for people who are either leaving their passport country or their country they've been living in - not just leaving for good, but even if it's "just" for furlough. It has a lot of nuggets in there. I found myself highlighting a lot.
I read this book shortly after arriving overseas and quickly began recommending it to my friends also moving overseas. I’m now ending my first 2 years of living overseas and decided to reread the book.
I’m a pre-griever. It was so helpful to have so many of my current emotions affirmed through this book. Amy really does a great job at affirming “this behavior/feeling/etc” is normal and then giving practical action steps or things to think through. She also does a great job at giving personal examples while also acknowledging the wide range of experiences overseas workers may have depending on a variety of factors.
Honestly. I may reread this book every time I have a transition to or from the field. I feel certain that in each transition, different aspects of the book will stick out to me and be helpful.
There are not many great resources out there for expats serving overseas to be able to navigate the complex transitions they face. This book is practical, honest, and covers a lot of scenarios we face as we move to or from overseas. Her points may be simple, but they are profound and things that are easily overlooked when going through a transition. She is all about intentionality! Amy writes in a relatable and transparent style. I would love to sit and have a cup of coffee with this author. I am preparing to move back to the US in the next few months after being abroad for years and I am so thankful to have this resource. I highly recommend it.
Regardless of what kind of transition you find yourself in, this book is full of encouragement and helpful tips. It’s a steady reminder that it’s okay to not be okay, that we can embrace the process of transitions (with all its ups and downs), and yet that we have a steady and unchanging Anchor through it all. If you’ve never read a book about grieving or don’t have a track record of knowing how to grieve well, this book will be very freeing for you and potentially full of “aha” moments. And even if you’ve read all the books and had all the experiences, I think you’ll find this book to be a welcome reminder of truths that you know and hold dear.
As I prepare to return to the US after more than 21 years of cross-cultural living and ministry, I found Amy Young's book to be both helpful and encouraging. I appreciate the affirmation of many of the feelings I'm having as well as things I'm experiencing as I prepare to leave. I needed some of the reminders that she offers. I recommend this book to others in this situation and I believe it would also be helpful to others in the various transitions involved in cross-cultural service, not just those finishing.
I read this book as I was on my way out of the mission field and it was a very helpful tool to think about and process through upcoming change, some of which I would have never thought of on my own. An excellent resource not only for those who are leaving the mission field, but also for those who are beginning their journey into cross-cultural work and even for those who want help in the process to learn how to do cross-cultural work and furloughs better or even helping others in their transition.
Excellent read. I probably should have started it a few months earlier to get the most out of it - but still, it has helped reaffirm many things we’ve been doing/feeling, while simultaneously giving voice to that which I haven’t been able to. Highly recommend for those who are transitioning through any season of their overseas life. Learning things like your grieving style, how to bow out gracefully, identify your triggers/struggles in transition, and to expect the messiness of what you can’t predict or control.
Amy Young offers great insights into starting and finishing well in cross-cultural service in her book, Looming Transitions. I like her concept of keeping a fertile soul to the reality of change, while remembering that it will be messy. There's no silver bullet in doing this well, which Young makes clear, but she does offer some great helps to workers, new and veterans, in working through the process.
After all my adventures overseas, I knew in preparing to go home again, it might just be helpful to get some advice from someone who's been there. This was a very practically-written book filled with good info and suggestions for hanging in there when things are hard. Because let's face it, transition and change are NOT easy things to go through. (Totally worth doing, but not easy!) I appreciated Ms. Young's relatable way of writing. So all in all, I'd say this was perfect for what I needed at the time. :)
I found the book helpful in categorizing important issues to face in transitions. As someone who has twice faced significant cultural transition along with many other smaller one’s the issues raised provide handles with which to discuss things you may end up facing.
There was some good information, but it could have been condensed. It's likely just my personality, as I know that lots of personal anecdotes really helps many people connect to something like this. I just was in a different mode of wanting the information and ended up skimming a lot of the parts to just get the highlights.
I am an overseas missionary and, though I have to say that there is no book that can prepare a missionary thoroughly for the challenges he will face, this book excellently points out dangers and gives practical advice for navigation the transitions.
This book gave me a lot to think of while preparing to go overseas in a about a half year. A star was taken off for some distracting repetitive ideas/stories in the book that could have been edited down
This book was incredible for getting me ready for my transition back to my passport country. I will be reading again and recommending to anyone who is going to be facing a cross-cultural transition. Thank you, Amy, for writing this!