Reviewed by Claire McConnell
Archivist at OMF International
Mission Round Table Vol. 11 No. 3 (Sep-Dec 2016): 39
As Christian workers, missionaries encounter many of the same difficulties faced by those who minister in their home countries. However, as cross-cultural workers, they also confront additional stresses which arise from living in an environment that can be hostile to both the gospel message and those who bring it. More difficult still is the fact that they face these stresses without the friendships and support structures that would be readily available at home. For this reason they often feel isolated and vulnerable, and, well, as the title of this book puts it, like they are going Out on a Limb.
In thirty-one readings, Dallman leads us through a number of issues common to missionaries in a way that is gentle yet challenging. From language and cultural learning, to the challenges and joys of team life, to the inevitable difficulties that leaving a family in one’s home country can bring, each devotional draws from a wide personal experience as she grew up in Africa where her parents worked as missionaries, served as a single missionary in Africa, and is currently serving as a married missionary in Japan where she has raised her family. Both Scripture and real-life stories vividly illustrate the issues addressed and challenge us to react rightly to them. Each chapter ends with thought-provoking activities and a prayer.
I would recommend this book to any cross-cultural worker—whether one who is setting out for the first time or a seasoned veteran. Both would benefit from the challenging insights that Dallman brings to many areas. Those who wish to better understand and pray for missionaries will also gain from these chapters while finding themselves helped and encouraged in their own walk with the Lord.
This is not a book to be read once and then put down. As the years pass, many will be encouraged to reread it from cover to cover, while progress in life and ministry will cause others to return to certain chapters to help them as they face new challenges.
Out on a Limb: A Devotional Guide for Missionaries
By Janet Dallman