In praise of Sabbath: On letting go

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”

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

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

Help Your Marriage Thrive Overseas! Part III

Missed Part I and II? Grab ’em here.

Moving to Africa was like seeing a new version of my husband.

Sure; in some ways it aged us and strained us in ways we could have never experienced. But it was also extremely cool to see my husband as the guy tooling around an African metropolis, learning to navigate the streets to care for his family. I would have never anticipated the overwhelming generosity he possessed; the crazy-cool gifts of cultural understanding and helping Africans through heartbreaking conflicts and difficulties. What if I’d never seen the African version of him? And as I at last realized my dream of moving overseas, we laughed out loud about the “Afro-disiac” it was for our marriage!

Help Your Marriage Thrive Overseas! Part II

Missed Part I? Grab it here.

Like going overseas, marriage is a form of faith—even more in God than in your spouse.

And as C.S. Lewis has written, Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods.

All of us encounter those days where we’re thinking, if he throws his socks beside the hamper one more time, I am going to tell him exactly where he should put them. Or, Honey, I get hormones. But does PMS really last all month?  read more

Help Your Marriage Thrive Overseas! Part I

While living in Uganda, we paid a trusted African friend to watch our kids while we went on date nights. At first, she looked at us like we’d grown horns.

“He still takes you out on dates?”

She opined aloud that if I were Ugandan and had borne four children, my husband would probably be looking for another woman to…entertain him. So believe it or not, our consistent dates and happy marriage were a fun and refreshing testimony to those watching us.

#BestoftheBestFriday: Answering the Critics; Language Learning Infographic; Africa & China’s Unique Dynamics

Is Missions a Joke? Answering the Critics

There are some well-aimed critiques being leveled at global work lately, which may make you question the validity of this work altogether. Amy Medina from A Life Overseas addresses some of the most painful and poignant criticism by authors/bloggers/podcasters like Corey Pigg, Emily Worrall, and Jamie Wright–the latter of whom writes, “I came off the mission field with a new mission which is to burn down missions.” This one is a must-read…and may explain a tiny bit of why Go. Serve. Love has recently released our self-assessments. Well done, Ms. Medina.