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Looming Transitions, the Back Story


Looming Transitions: Starting and Finishing Well in Cross-Cultural Service, a book I wrote with you in mind, was launched this week.

I love to hear the back-stories on books or movies, so thought I’d share with you how this book came to be. In 2007 I transitioned back to China after a three-year study leave. About eight months into my transition being (mostly) over and life up and running in China, I was feeling (mostly) settled. My organization asked me to lead a workshop on how to finish well, geared toward people who would be returning to the U.S. after having lived and taught in Asia. I jumped at the chance. Fresh off my own Band-Aid ripping off experience, I figured I had help to share.

All I needed to do was conduct a little bit of internet research, read some articles, throw in a few personal stories, and voilà one basically ready-made presentation. My plan went off without a hitch until I did my first internet search. Almost everything about “ending chapters” in life was related to retiring. Retiring is certainly a major area for looming transitions and finishing well, but what about all of the transitions that we go through when an end is coming, yet active life will still go on after the transition?

The first year I presented the workshop, I pulled together a few thoughts and told myself the problem was my late start in the search. Information was out there and I would find it. During the next year, I found little help for the workshop. I went back to the list of ideas I had created the first year, added more meat to them and the idea of a book began to grow. 

This book is for those who will be going through a major cross-cultural life transition, either moving to the field or preparing to return to your “home” country.  It covers all of the potential moves you might make: to China, back to your home country for a home assignment or furlough, and when you sense for now your time in China is coming to a close. If, sadly, you’ll be leaving China at the end of this semester, this book is for you. If, thankfully, you’re not in transition, tuck this book away in your mind. And if you know of someone in transition let them know about Looming Transitions.

The benefits of reading Looming Transitions include:

  • 11 ways to stay connected to God through transition
  • 7 areas of your personal life that can experience revival in the midst of upheaval
  • 5 places to look for messes in your life (and ways to keep the mess in check)
  • 4 key aspects to know about yourself and loved ones going into a transition (one example is How to know if you are a pre- or post-griever (and why it matters))
  • 5 significant arenas in which to start early
  • It’s not all about you: 3 important steps that allow others to end this season of your life well
  • Insight on how to grieve a transition that is slow in coming
  • How to identify and manage stress leading up to a transition

Looming Transitions is available on Amazon—both in paperback and kindle. In addition, I’ve created graphics you can use for blogs, newsletters, and social media as a small way to help those of you in transitions! If you could help spread the word to mission committees, organizations and people you know who will be transitioning to or from the field, you can be a part of helping more to start and finish well in cross-cultural service.

Amy Young

Amy Young

Amy Young wants to help people find the sweet spot between burn out and rust out with ongoing personal and professional development. Founder of Global Trellis, co-founder of Velvet Ashes, she personally blogs at Messy Middle, and is the author of four books (Looming Transitions, Love, Amy, Enjoying Newsletters, and Getting Started. You too …View Full Bio


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