RAFT Rethinking the Transition Process for Missions
Cathy served as a missionary in Austria for 42 years. As her move back to the U.S. approached, the RAFT model was very helpful as a transition guide. Many of you have already used this guide as you have departed or returned to the States. But Cathy’s story challenged my thinking and caused me to take a fresh approach. First, let’s look at the RAFT Model outlined in the book Third Culture Kids by David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken.
Before you leave for the field or return home, is there anyone you owe an apology? Do you need to make things right with anyone? By addressing this before you leave, you avoid taking extra baggage or grudges with you on your journey.
Who do you need to thank? Who has invested in you? Who do you want to honor as you leave? This could include parents, teachers, or co-workers. There are many different ways to affirm people.
What do you need in order to have good closure? Before a major transition, people need to to say goodbye to people, places, and things.
What preparations are needed for the physical move? How can you best equip yourself and start moving in that direction?
After Cathy had worked on her RAFT assignment, she happily announced, “I’ve decided I’m not going home on a RAFT; I’m going home on a CRAFT.”
Curious, her friend asked, “Well, tell me about this!”
She declared, “I’m going to put a ‘C’ on the top of my acronym and I’m going to Celebrate before I leave here!”
I just loved that! Celebration is a vital piece of every season and it made sense to make celebration a significant part of her transition. As she told about her years of ministry and how God had changed people’s lives, it was easy to see the great joy it gave her to plan various celebrations as part of her preparations for departure.
When I think about a CRAFT, I imagine a luxury liner or a yacht. Those of us in missions have often lived with a scarcity mentality. Bringing God into the celebration of a transition changes our perspective. We focus on Him and what He has already lavishly done. Instead of sending missionaries off on a RAFT (“Here’s your paddle – I hope you get there!”), we have a CRAFT that they can look forward to boarding because of God’s goodness. God’s faithfulness at every season of life is always worth celebrating.
While the RAFT analogy has served us well, I propose that we up the ante! Let’s throw in some Celebration at the top of every transition! God doesn’t give you the minimum you need to get there. From the start, He has been building in EVERYTHING you need and more. Definitely something to celebrate!
From now on, let’s create a CRAFT that embraces Celebrations honoring Him for what He’s done to get you to this stage of your journey, what He is doing in this transition and how He will carry you forward.
So why not begin your transition by Celebrating God’s faithfulness?