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Looming Transitions: Starting and finishing well in cross-cultural service

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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

166 pages, Paperback

Published December 17, 2015

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Amy Young

6 books72 followers

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5 stars
160 (46%)
4 stars
119 (34%)
3 stars
54 (15%)
2 stars
11 (3%)
1 star
1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 50 reviews
Profile Image for Eliza Noel.
Author 2 books76 followers
February 27, 2022
First part was helpful! The rest was more for people living cross-culturally long term. Good and really interesting though.
Profile Image for Alyssa Yoder.
205 reviews12 followers
January 13, 2020
This book ministered to me. Amy is honest, funny, practical, wise and relatable. I would recommend this for anyone in a period of change and transition, not just for cross-cultural workers.
Profile Image for Eva Burkholder.
Author 2 books3 followers
August 3, 2023
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.”
Profile Image for Brittany Garrett.
20 reviews1 follower
July 8, 2022
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.
Profile Image for Jill Robinson.
416 reviews1 follower
November 3, 2018
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”.
Profile Image for Lauren Fee.
248 reviews8 followers
May 14, 2023
Really practical book for anyone planning to make a large transition in their life, particularly transitioning to service overseas or transitioning back from such. Thankful it was recommended to me.
Profile Image for Tanya Marlow.
Author 2 books37 followers
February 7, 2016
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.
Profile Image for Claire Johnson.
48 reviews
January 19, 2022
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. ☺️
Profile Image for RG.
60 reviews
September 11, 2023
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?
Profile Image for Christina.
208 reviews8 followers
March 9, 2021
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.

And I recommend it for that very reason.
Profile Image for Vanessa.
2 reviews1 follower
July 21, 2022
This is my second read & won’t be my last

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.
Profile Image for Kelsey Çetin.
6 reviews
June 2, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Laney Dugan.
92 reviews
May 10, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Becky.
24 reviews
September 10, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Travis.
34 reviews3 followers
March 17, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Corrie.
45 reviews1 follower
April 16, 2022
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.
Profile Image for Carol Ghattas.
Author 6 books15 followers
October 5, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Kara.
618 reviews67 followers
June 24, 2019
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. :)
7 reviews3 followers
May 30, 2020
Helpful Resource

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.
Profile Image for Rachel Snowden.
80 reviews3 followers
March 4, 2021
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.
Profile Image for Omar.
96 reviews4 followers
April 10, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Rachelle Zook.
2 reviews8 followers
May 30, 2018
Excellent book for all expats

Amy​ profoundly and practically walks us through how to leave and grieve well. This book is a true gift that I will be referencing a lot in the coming months.
Profile Image for Roland.
14 reviews3 followers
August 30, 2019
Life Changes and how to handle them

Excellent book for cross-cultural workers and those who love them. Highly recommend to those who support and pray for missionaries - to understand their struggles with continual change.
4 reviews
February 17, 2020

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
Profile Image for Kayla Dean.
80 reviews
May 28, 2020
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!
1 review
March 4, 2022
A Good Read for Upcoming Missionaries

I was thankful for this book as we transition to overseas missions. Reading this book helped put words to all the many feelings that come along with heading overseas. I highly recommend it.
2 reviews
March 7, 2018
Lots of practical advice

Amy has lived through multiple changes and has researched well. This book is helpful for naming and facing the seasons of life in the overseas worker.
Profile Image for Samantha Mockford.
103 reviews1 follower
April 22, 2018
Very readable; the voice is like a chatty sister generously dispensing wisdom from her experience. Amy Young, would you please consider writing a follow-up book about re-entry? :)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 50 reviews

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