God’s “No”: When He Closes a Door Overseas

no door

So many factors, really, had sifted out what felt like the remaining solution: It was time to leave.

Among the factors: My husband’s job (he was moved to leadership, and had effectively mentored a national to take over his position). My kids’ education. Other family factors we batted back and forth, scouring for solutions until it seemed this was really the only way to love well. read more

Headed Overseas? 5 Character Potholes to Steer around

character overseas

Rigidity/Hypercontrol.

Hopefully this one’s a bit of a gimme if you’ve already traveled overseas. Friends of mine used to joke about “Africa Wins Again” days–when a rat eats the special food you brought from home, the electricity’s been out for three days, and the government accidentally shuts off your phone.

It’s helpful for me to think of going overseas like skiing moguls: Keep your knees loose, not locked. If you like specific ways of doing things, missionary life might just eat your lunch–and even faster than everyone else’s (check out My Story: Culture Shock, Mayonnaise, and the Last Straw).

Cross-cultural relationships require character with a formidable degree of flexibility, an openness to acquiring other pieces of your God-puzzle. read more

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

Never Forget: You are More than What You Do for God

rest do work for God

We know it. You know it. Heading overseas is this tornadic level of activity.

I remember fantasizing about the moment I’d finally click my seatbelt shut on that 757: At least–after finally checking our exactly-51-lb.-bags, shuttling four kids through security with every device we still owned, and waving goodbye to the posse of weeping family–I couldn’t do anything else for nine whole hours. (Um. Except entertain a toddler and keep him from driving the rest of the plane bonkers?) read more

Meet an Agency: Steiger

We heart this new, ongoing series–a virtual trip to the coffee shop with organizations to help you go there, serve Him, and love them even better. (For more thoughts about why you might join an agency–and a handful of reasons you might not–make sure to check out He Said/She Said/You Say? “Should I go overseas with an organization?”, both the pros and the cons.)

Today, we’re grabbing a nitro cold brew with Steiger, a powerful worldwide organization seeking to bridge the gap between the Church and youth around the world. They first captivated our staff at Go. Serve. Love with a stunning video on how they’re specifically using the arts in European cities. 

Part of our passion here at GSL is to mobilize even those of you who never saw yourself going overseas with the way you were made. Get ready to break out of the missionary mold, y’all. read more

Meet an Agency: Engineering Ministries International (EMI)

We heart this new, ongoing series–a virtual trip to the coffee shop with organizations to help you go there, serve Him, and love them even better. (For more thoughts about why you might join an agency–and a handful of reasons you might not–make sure to check out He Said/She Said/You Say? “Should I go overseas with an organization?”, both the pros and the cons.)

Today, we’re grabbing a chai with Engineering Ministries International (EMI). You’ve seen them in posts like these: read more