How to Build Community as a Missionary Overseas

Reading Time: 7 minutes

build community

Editor’s note: Tucked away in my family room sits a box made of exotic African wood, lugged back using precious luggage weight when my family returned from Uganda. It is one of our most beautiful possessions–not physically, but in its emotional cargo. It was fashioned by hand in the workshop of our organization as one-of-a-kind. Tucked within are loads of letters and laminated photographs of lives we loved and shared in our efforts to build community overseas. 

You likely share the goal of my family: to dig in deeply enough to love well, intimately enough to change each other. To work toward the brand of enduring, life-on-life love that models God’s Body. read more

Choosing an Emotionally Healthy Missions Organization

Reading Time: 4 minutes

emotionally healthy

Missed our last post on Emotionally Healthy Missions? Grab it here!

When you’re headed overseas, it’s easy to underestimate the effects your organization’s health could have on the ability to thrive overseas.

As I type, I think of the friend who called me recently, voice throaty with tears, as she discussed their lack of ability to care for her after stepping off the field.

Or I remember my conversation with the missionary couple who felt they had no option but to leave their organization once they’re on the field. read more

My Story: Need for One Another

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Need for one another each otherOn Go. Serve. Love, we talk a lot about strategies to reach the 4.13 billion unreached.

This month, we’re sharing stories from Avant Ministries, which since 1892 has focused on planting and developing the church in unreached areas of the world.

Through church planting, church support ministries, media, education, camp and business, Avant hopes to establish churches among the unreached: mature, nationally-led churches that desire to plant more churches, first in their own city, and then all over the world. read more

In praise of Sabbath: On letting go

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Sabbath restMy family wrangled our carry-ons into that taupe-colored hum of a 757, bound for six months stateside. (After the lunacy of the week before, preparing to abscond for six entire months, I was just grateful to make it to the plane.)

I felt conflicted.

There was of course the sizeable slab of me that couldn’t wait to throw my arms around my parents, watch my kids grab the hands of with my nieces and nephews again. I was geared up to sit around a table with the people I’ve loved for a lifetime, just like that. Perhaps I would carry a dish of corn on the cob, say, to laugh at my sister’s jokes in crazy-easy normalcy. I hoped to devour a slightly unhealthy amount of blueberries and bing cherries in those months; to close my eyes over the quiet purr of a road devoid of potholes; to throw a few dishes in the dishwasher just because I could. read more

What Lies Beneath: Recognizing Cultural “Icebergs”

Reading Time: 6 minutes

cultural iceberg

We’re excited to welcome Sheri of Engineering Ministries International. EMI mobilizes architects, engineers, construction managers, and other design professionals–including those through an incredible internship program–to provide design services for those helping the poor. We’re talking water projects, hospitals, schools, orphanages, you name it. Meanwhile, they raise up disciples and trained professionals in-country.

Sheri applies these cross-cultural points poignantly to the elements of designing cross-culturally–but we believe you’ll find inescapable parallels to any cross-cultural work. Hopefully it will help jumpstart real solutions for cross-cultural sensitivities, and help any culture manifest Jesus Christ according to its own cultural icebergs. read more

HE SAID/SHE SAID. YOU SAY? “WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU’D KNOWN BEFORE YOU WENT?” PART II

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Missed Part I? Grab it here!

“I wish I’d known how hard it really is.”

I would have gotten more cross-cultural training, especially focused on the culture to which I was going. I would have taken more time in language learning. But most of all, I needed realistic expectations.

Working in a foreign field is the same as being in a war. I know: I’ve fought in both. And the similarities are striking.

There is not much glorious about warfare. It may look exciting on TV or in the movies, but in the trenches it’s a lot of hard work. And the enemy has ambushes everywhere. Often you can’t tell the enemy from the friendly. And your friends get injured and killed. It hurts. read more