Sarah’s Story: Leaving (Again)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

leavingI cram more things into the suitcase, carefully wrapping breakable items in shirts and sweaters.  Piles of our life slowly disappear into the large box that will zip closed and be wheeled through the airport.  The items of our life pushed and squeezed into 10 pieces of luggage: We are leaving tomorrow.

I have trouble carrying the weight of this.

We’ve known the date for 12 weeks and yet it still seemed to surprise us in the end.  The rush to buy the last-minute items, to see if we had all that we needed.  Did you buy a gift for that person? Do you think we need an extra one of these?  The careful planning and eleventh-hour buys all jumble together, pushed and prodded to make space.

Then the backpacks for the plane ride.  A change of clothes in each one, in case motion sickness gets the better of us and we end up wearing our lunch.  A book to read, a stuffed animal to snuggle, a small snack.  Find all the containers of liquid (hand-sanitizer, lotion…) and put them in a ziplock baggie.  Yes, you can pack your journal and yes, please pack your headphones.

Leaving: Ready or Not

We are leaving tomorrow and I am ready and I am not.  The time has been so sweet, the visit so right.

Yet my life, our life, is somewhere else right now and we long to return there.  This would all be much easier if we didn’t have to say goodbye.

A fitful sleep, an incessant alarm, and now we leave today.  Find all the small details, the hair bands and playing cards.  Make sure to clean up and straighten and organize.  Eat a good meal, probably should be vegetables.  Pack the toothbrushes in a carry-on.  Did you pack the charger?


We’re leaving today. And as long as I only think about leaving, I will be sad.  When I think about the going-to, what we are returning to in the place where our life really exists, then I have something to look forward to.

One last photo all together.  Then a quick photo of the suitcases, just in case. We ride to the airport and we say again what a great time this was.

Next the suitcases, with all our things and our best-laid plans, are checked away. We are left with our backpacks, literally the packs on our backs, and our toothbrushes, and the hope that it will all turn out alright.

We say a last goodbye.  It’s okay to cry, liquid emotion as evidence that this is hard.

The leaving doesn’t get easier.  We always miss those we love.

We are going now and now it’s only forward.  We wind through the maze and chaos of the security check and empty our pockets, everything x-rayed.  Then we find our gate and wait to board, remembering to stretch and use a normal bathroom one last time before the next 10 hours.

When we are in our seats, seatbelts buckled and safety instructions playing, we really know we are leaving.

We’re going home.


Sarah serves in Egypt with her husband and four children. You can catch her blog here–and don’t miss her post on Go. Serve. Love about what she wishes she would have known.

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Becoming a Missionary: Ultimate Preparation Checklist!

Reading Time: 6 minutes

becoming a missionary

Editor’s note: Go. Serve. Love knows the decision and process for becoming a missionary can very quickly become complicated–even overwhelming. It’s why we’re thrilled to partner with the brand-new Mission App, a 15-20 minute application sent for you to mission agencies who match your chosen criteria!

We’re excited to welcome the Mission App today as they hand you their ultimate preparation checklist for becoming a missionary. Drumroll, please.

One more thing: becoming a missionary is a continual process of being shaped. These are essential areas in which to continue growing even, and especially, once on the field.

Use these to increase self-awareness, not as a signal you’ve arrived.

Read: If you’re checking off these boxes and considering them “done!”–you’re missing the idea. Each of these ideas is a touchstone to highlight areas of strength, weakness–and continued necessary growth either way.

Becoming a Missionary: Questions to consider as you prepare!

We understand that becoming a missionary may seem to be a huge, scary unknown.  What if there’s something you haven’t considered… and it’s important?

This Ultimate Checklist is meant to help you think through the questions that matter in becoming a missionary.

Don’t worry – these things will never be checked off as ‘completely accomplished’ for anyone. We just hope you will be encouraged as you see how far God has already brought you.

You might be further along toward becoming a missionary than you think!

And maybe we’ll remind you of something you wish you’d remembered.

Abiding with Jesus – Am I …

  • growing since I first met Jesus? Jot down ways God continues to change you.
  • feeding myself through study of God’s Word? Write highlights of what God has been impressing upon you in the past month from your time in his Word.
  • developing my prayer life? – Jot down how you’ve seen God interact with your prayers this week.

Character / Personal Growth – Am I…

  • demonstrating fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22)? List a few ways you’ve seen this fruit in you this week.
  • quick to repent? List one thing you’ve repented of this week.
  • quick to forgive? Name one thing God’s given you grace to forgive this week.
  • full of integrity? Are your external and internal lives congruent?
  • living in humility? Name recent times you’ve God’s strength through your weakness.
  • learning how to handle conflict well? List one way you hope to grow in your handling of conflict.
  • learning how to handle failure? Name a failure Jesus has brought you through this month.

Family – Do I…

  • have a healthy marriage (if applicable)? Ask your spouse, your kids, your godly close friends what you do well and what you need to learn.
  • need to consider my kids’ readiness to go? Talk with them about the loss of current friends, the making of new ones, & the changing of circumstances (no Wi-Fi maybe?).
  • need to consider responsibilities like adult kids or aging parents? Jot down a prayer asking God for wisdom if this applies to you.
  • understand schooling options for my kids? Talk through if you and your kids are ready for the possibility of boarding school or homeschooling.

Relationship with others – What…

  • characterizes your relationships with those you work with or live near?  Write down positive and negative ways you’ve been described, and how you handle conflict.
  • is it about your life that draws people to you/renders others cold toward you? Write down what comes to mind.
  • shows that you consistently count others as more significant than self? Becoming a missionary means a dedicated life of others-focus–the life of a Christ-follower. Give examples of when you listened well more than you talked of yourself in the last few days.

Church Participation – Am I…

  • involved with a local church? Write down ways you have served in your church in the past and currently.
  • sent by my church? Write down how your church has supported you and confirmed the leading God has given you to share Jesus in another culture.  List those who are praying for you or who are willing to support you financially.

Biblical Formation – Do I…

  • understand core biblical doctrine?  Describe how God is healing the broken relationships in this world (between people and God and between people and each other) using specific Scriptures. What classes or books have you explored to increase your knowledge of solid doctrine? Write down your understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus from Scripture.
  • know how to articulate my faith?  Write down your core beliefs and why you believe them.
  • need to take formal Bible classes? Check with your sending church or organization to see if these are required.

Professional Training – Am I…

God’s Leading –  Can I…

  • put in words how God led me to consider becoming a missionary? Write down how God has led you so far in this journey toward sharing the Good News in another culture.
  • name a specific mission agency I feel connected with? Write a list of agencies that you are considering working with if you know of any.

becoming a missionary

Evangelism & Discipleship Training – Do I…

  • have a heart for reaching out beyond my own life? Becoming a missionary isn’t a magic wand to change your outreach habits! How have you demonstrated reaching out in the last month? (Grab ideas to start right where you’re at.)
  • know how to share the Good News about Jesus? Write down a brief summary of this Good News.
  • have the tools you need, understanding how they might interact with the complex culture to which you hope to go? Jot down questions you may want to pursue answers for.
  • continue to train in discipleship making? Write down where you are learning now or where you could learn.
  • train others already in following Jesus? Write down ways you are currently training others in following Jesus.

Church Planting Training – Have I…

  • thought about planting a church? Write down your thoughts as you pray about this.
  • considered being trained to plant a church? Write down where you might get training.

Cross Cultural Preparation – Do I…

  • know how to adjust to new cultures? Write down how you handle change or being different. (Don’t miss this series on beginning to navigate cultural differences and “icebergs”.)
  • understand the religion in my potential new host country? Do a little research online to start or even better talk to someone.
  • understand the culture in my potential new host country? Do some research and talk to someone who has lived there for more than a year.
  • plan to learn the language? Research what language is most spoken in your potential host culture.  Make a plan of how you will learn; language schools are usually available, or perhaps you’ll employ a tutor.  You may want to find some flash cards (online works, too, or an app like Word Climber) and build your vocabulary in your free time.

becoming a missionary

Becoming a Missionary: Next Steps

If you asked yourself these questions and realized you’re ready to take the next step toward becoming a missionary, here are a few things you may want to do.

Mission Agency Selection

  • Research agencies: Go to to search easily.
  • Look for options: Talk to people you know about what is available.
  • Find an agency that matches your purpose: Think through how God is leading you in terms of ministry, people group, and location.

Application / Orientation / Training

  • Send in The Mission App’s preliminary application. You can choose to fill out our single application, which we route to multiple agencies that fit your purpose.
  • Fill out full-time application or interview with your choice of agencies. Call them if they don’t call you.
  • Attend mission agency orientation. Your agency provides details of where and when.
  • Attend any extra training required. Your agency will send details of what is required.

Prayer Partners

  • Raise up prayer partners (at least 100). Start with your small group, your church, your family, your friends.
  • Start communicating to prayer partners. You can use a group email, mass email service (like MailChimp), or a Facebook page or Instagram account.  Be consistent in reporting requests and answers.  (Remember to consider security if you are moving to a “creative access country”. Seek out your agency’s wisdom and safety guidelines.)


  • Determine the model of how you will be supported. Your mission agency will likely have this in place.
  • Engage in fundraising training. You don’t have to fly blind–or damage relationships! Learn from organizations who train others in fundraising. (Find out more at Go. Serve. Love’s page on Funding God’s Adventure.)
  • Start fundraising. Let people know what it is exactly that you will be doing and what your financial needs are.

See?  Not so bad.  Now that the adventure of missions is not so unknown, you’ve got a clearer picture of where you stand and what to do next.  Grab ahold of God’s hand and go!

Like this post? Don’t miss gO. sERVE. lOVE’S FREE PRINTABLE, FLEXIBLE TIMELINE FOR YOUR JOURNEY OVERSEAs–and our free self-assessment below!



We Were Missionary Kids. Here’s What My Parents Did Right

Reading Time: 6 minutes

missionary kids

Recently Go. Serve. Love has enjoyed a flood of traffic and dialogue from our post, 10 Realities a Missionary Probably Won’t Tell You. One of its tenets? “We feel like our children are getting shortchanged by our choices.” Here, contributor and Third Culture Kid (TCK) Rebecca Skinner explores ways her parents succeeded in nurturing Rebecca and her brothers as missionary kids. 

Pistachio or Rum and Raisin?

I faced a decision every Sunday on our walk home from church. Whether we took a bus or taxi, we always got off near the ice cream shop to purchase ice cream to eat on the walk home.

I’m not entirely sure how this tradition began. Maybe it was a reward for us kids sitting quietly for two hours in a warm church building listening to a sermon in a foreign language or maybe it was just my dad’s love for ice cream. Either way, a big scoop of this sweet, cold treat before lunch on Sunday was always a welcome indulgence.

They framed our lifestyle as an adventure.

Sunday after-church ice cream is just one of those small traditions that my parents incorporated into our lives as missionary kids that I have fond memories of and am grateful for. My parents did a great job of framing our life on the mission field as an adventure, inviting us into the journey and being mindful of our needs growing-up cross culturally.

Months before boarding a plane for our international move, our family preparations made it all seem like an exciting exploration we were embarking on together.

We practiced our Spanish numbers and basic vocabulary by jumping on a little trampoline. We made flash cards with magazine clippings and labeling items throughout the house. Together, we researched the country we were moving to; we had things that we were looking forward to once we touched down in Costa Rica for a year of language learning.

They encouraged our cultural interactions and love of our host country.

In-country, my parents granted a weekly allowance encouraging us to regularly visit the local pulperia (corner store) to practice our Spanish, find our favorite local snacks and become proficient in money transactions. We celebrated getting out and interacting in Spanish with locals by awarding weekly prizes for the family member who made the funniest language blunder or discovery.

I can still remember the feeling of dismay as the store clerk poured my Coca-cola out of the glass bottle into a plastic bag! On another occasion the store clerk got quite a laugh when my brother asked for five floors/stories of gum instead of the five pieces of gum he actually wanted.

Our escapades continued with monthly outings as we explored attractions that our new home country had to offer: a museum, an orchid garden, a weekend at the beach or a volcano hike.

Life in a new country with a new language and a new culture was a grand adventure to embrace and explore!

They included us as missionary kids in decision-making processes.

My parents also invited us into the journey along the way by keeping us informed, asking for our input on family decisions, and inviting us to participate in ministry. 

We regularly held family meetings, keeping tabs with each other and talking about big decisions as the need arose. When we evacuated from Colombia in light of security concerns and decided where to relocate, my parents invited my brothers and me to wrestle with and provide input on the options.

I am so grateful these decisions did not happen behind closed doors and only later announced to us. Instead, as a family, we discussed and prayed. We considered the pros and cons of where God would have us go next.

Handling big family decisions this way allowed us kids the ability to process and prepare for the changes ahead. It gave us as missionary kids a little sense of control, and the chance to be heard.

We felt like part of the family instead of just pawns moved around with life-altering decisions made for us.

They shared with us their heart for ministry–and the reasons behind what they did.

My dad would invite me to be a part of his Sunday school teacher workshops. I would make crafts out of recycled or simple items to give them ideas and I helped him with activities.

This allowed me to see firsthand the ministry that brought us to a foreign country. I heard the impact, awe, and appreciation of national lay leaders. They were eager to learn how to better disciple children in their churches and communities.

Being invited into the journey gave reason and meaning to our adventure. It ultimately allowed me to embrace the value in the sacrifices our family made by living in an international country.

They anticipated and provided for needs we had as MISSIONARY kids.

My parents weren’t the only ones learning a new language. A language tutor came to the house and worked with our whole family. We practiced language learning in hands-on, practical ways that we could all be involved with together.

Together, we weighed decisions about education with visits to various schools in country. We evaluated the long-range impact of decisions to switch to the local school calendar and system, or stick with a Western or international school system.

As time went on, all three of us kids returned to the U.S. for our senior year of high school. This allowed us to complete our secondary education with a U.S. diploma, take college admission tests, and explore college options. Before the tidal wave of college, we acclimated back to American culture with the support of a surrogate family. This also granted the opportunity to get our first job, open a bank account, and acquire our U.S. driver’s license before we started college.

I imagine this required no small degree of sacrifice, loss, and even grief on their part. They released us to the care of trusted friends a year earlier than most American parents.

My parents recognized the need for discipleship and Christian teaching in our mother language.

They made accommodations for us to be involved in international youth groups, AWANA clubs or small group Bible studies. On home assignment, Dad and Mom purchased new Christian music to fill our minds with.

They prioritized our safety, within reason.

As a fair skinned, blond young lady, I received more than my share of attention in Latin America. My parents quickly dealt with my first marriage proposal at the age of 11 (!). We established secret hand signals to indicate if I felt uncomfortable or needed help if separated on a crowded bus etc.

Whether through language learning; schooling; physical, spiritual or emotional needs, I knew my parents had my back. Through conversations and ministry together, I knew they were doing their best in looking out for us as missionary kids–and just as kids.

Hey, Mom and Dad. Thanks from your Missionary Kids

Sometimes a few negative or critical voices can drown out the vast majority of missionary kids. We’re missionary kids who will tell you we’re grateful for our experiences growing up overseas . . . and if we could do it over again, we wouldn’t change a thing.

I am one of the 90% that, while I acknowledge certain inherent challenges to being a third-culture kid (TCK), I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. (Phoenix Survey of Adult MK’s)

I am so grateful for the adventure afforded me and all the things we saw and experienced living internationally as missionary kids. That experience makes me who I am today.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for following God’s lead in your lives. Thank you for being brave and bold to take your family on an international move–and to walk in obedience to His calling on your lives. I am a better person today because you said, “YES!” and took the time to invite us kids on the adventure of cross-cultural Christian ministry.

You allowed us to be a part of the journey. And you saw our needs as well as Kingdom needs along the way. My heart is full of gratitude and awe at the way you handled so many obstacles, challenges and moves, taking things in stride and trusting in the Lord.

I love you both, and am so proud of you.

When COVID Changes Your Overseas Plans

Reading Time: 5 minutes


You planned for so many eventualities in going overseas. What if we can’t raise all our support? What if my dad goes into the hospital? What if we can’t get visas? But it was pretty hard to see COVID coming.

Now maybe you’re wondering if you’ll be able to go at all.

And the gravity of this feels real. You’ve made tremendous personal sacrifices already, upending your life like a junk drawer.

What do all these sacrifices mean if they don’t result in you going? Isn’t the need still as great, or even greater?

A few thoughts to keep top of mind–things you probably already know somewhere in your soul, but might want to wrap around yourself.

  1. God’s timing and God’s place are perfect.

The world will inevitably different following COVID.

It’s true: Perhaps the people group on your heart will no longer be an option. Or perhaps you’ll show up 6 months later than you planned, if at all.

But know this: You will be right on time to the location of God’s design.

You will reach the people God ordained before the beginning of time (see Romans 8:30).

I’ve written before about sliding down a waterslide with my son one summer. The engineers had designed that all the water flowed into the pool below. A hole in the slide would have hamstrung that–but that didn’t happen. Save a few well-designed sloshes, all the water arrived where intended.

And our Engineer orchestrates nothing less.

Whenever and whenever you arrive (or stay), could needs perhaps be more felt? Could nations be more open to the Gospel? Could the proper person hear who wouldn’t have otherwise?

2. God will give you enough.

Rumblings of post-COVID recession, even depression can discourage even the most enthusiastic support-raiser.

Or maybe you’ve sold your house and wonder how long your new salary–intended for the developing world–can hold out as you hunker down in an apartment.

Maybe you’re wondering if you’ll ever obtain a visa, or how long your support can make it till then.

Or will your BAM idea still be relevant in a suppressed economy?

We often pep-talk ourselves up for the field with Philippians 4:13. But let’s make sure it’s hitched to 4:12:

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record: God will grant you what you need to get you to his where, his when. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Skip down to verse 19 in Philippians 4:

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

3. Develop an appropriate theology of risk.

As you go on the field–and definitely before encountering risks–it’s wise to pray, seek cousel, and decide beforehand on guidelines to assist what situations would cause you to leave the field, enter a higher-risk situation, or shelter in place. 

Right now for many missionaries, these decisions have involved if or when to leave the country before airport closings. Their personal risk (and their families’) in proportion to medical availability. Their personal convictions regarding ministry opportunities and suffering alongside those to whom they minister, versus stewarding the gift of their lives.

Noble, Christ-following, courageous, Spirit-filled believers will land on every side of every issue.

(This is one significant advantage of going with an agency, which offers tremendous help and guidelines in emergencies so you’re not alone and attempting life-altering decisions in an adrenaline- , fear-infused crisis. Read more here.

Many missions organizations strategically provide significant resources, guidance, and support right now amidst COVID.)

Columnist David French recently wrote on the comparison between cowardice, recklessness, and courage–examining these in light of Jesus’ second temptation (to throw himself down, assuming angels would catch him). Check out his COVID-relevant thoughts here.

More resources:


4. Our COVID-closed doors are God’s open ones.

As we unpack in this post, recall that Paul received a “no” from the Holy Spirit to 2 places where he’d eventually receive a “yes”. (One, incidentally, was Asia.)

This is not to say God’s “no” for you now is really a “not yet”. But Paul’s “no” directed him toward Macedonia. We don’t know if he ever even saw or converted the Macedonian man in his God-given vision;  those he converted seemed to be a motley crew.

Yet they resulted in the church at Philippi.

Even then, remember that what we see as valuable, indispensable, and often visible-results-driven ministry may be quite different than God’s vision.

The goals that have inspired us–and not wrongly so–may in fact not be God’s end for us.

Admittedly, his purposes–like this very moment–may often involve you staying right where you’re at.


Like the Cross, your journey may initially look like defeat. 

Thomas Merton writes in his “Letter to a Young Activist”,

Do not depend on hope of results. When…doing…essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no results at all, if not perhaps results opposite …

The big results are not in your hands or mine.…

All the good that you will do will not come from you but from the fact that you have allowed yourself, in the obedience of faith, to be used by God’s love.

What God is doing in you–your journey–is also part of your destination.

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COVID-19, Living Overseas, & Answering Fear

Coronavirus: Ideas to Pray for the World (Printable Infographic)


COVID-19, Living Overseas, & Answering Fear

Reading Time: 6 minutes


It’s a small world after all.  Here we all are, gripped by the unknown of COVID-19.

As coronavirus seeps around the world, we seem to all be looking around us: “What do we do?”

And this human experience could potentially bring us all together in the understanding of human frailty and human resilience, mortality and immortality.

But I hear so much about the ugliness of humanity coming out as well.  Fear tends to do that when left to its own devices.

I don’t know what it’s like to live in America during this worldwide panic. I hear stories. It’s interesting being on the outside and looking in.

People grapple with the unknown in different ways, no matter where you live.  Those with the financial means tend to buy up food and necessities to protect them for the coming unknown.  Those without financial means might borrow money if they can or just worry that they can’t.

One sweet friend here, who lives on her daily income to help care for aging parents and other family members, asked me, “Where am I supposed to go get a lot of money suddenly to buy lots of food?  What am I supposed to do?”

Like most of us, she doesn’t know where this incoming danger might be coming from.  When she arrived at my home she took her shoes off outside my door and put them in a plastic bag so that they wouldn’t bring germs into my home.


We can be tempted to laugh at the idea that the virus might come in on our shoes. But it’s not a laughing matter when people are scared because they don’t know what causes COVID-19.

It’s not funny to wonder whether to go to the grocery store or not, whether to send your child to school or not, whether to still meet with your neighbors or not.

I think about a world of people afraid and uncertain, about the natural instinct to want to isolate and protect ourselves.  To buy up all the food and necessities to make sure you and yours are safe.


Safety can be an idol that keeps us from God. I remember Psalm 20:7: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

This is my City on COVID-19

Many of the changes in Egypt are likely similar to what you’re seeing wherever you live.

The announcement came last weekend that all school and universities were to close for two weeks.  International schools went online, teachers scrambling to see how to make their lessons work over Zoom, email, Whatsapp.  Families tried to decide what to do with kids home and if parents could work from home.

This is a city that depends on public transportation to move people around; where the majority of people depend on working every day for money to take home to buy food or pay for necessities. Transportation and restaurants, for now, remain open, but with limited hours for the latter and most stores.

COVID-19: When loving your neighbor looks like isolation

I’m not saying isolation is not a good way to try to be wise during these times.  We all need to take precautions to be extra vigilant for the sake of the most vulnerable

I live in a big city where people are in contact all the time because their livelihoods depend on it and their way of life depends on it.

Yes, things are shutting down here too.  Cinemas have closed, schools and universities have closed, and stores are closing.  Supermarkets have reserved times for the elderly.  Traffic is minimal.  Churches are closing as well.  We went to the park and it was almost empty.

It’s very strange for a city of 25 million to look so empty.

information: The double-blind

We receive news here in bits and in gushes.  We (my family and community) have access to the internet and a wide variety of new sources.  But it all becomes overwhelming.  Stories seem unbelievable.  Rumors spread like wildfire.

A lot of people here do not have access to accurate information. They don’t know the best ways to keep places clean or how to avoid germs. They don’t always know what makes them sick. Not all of the cleaning products are quality products.  Public restrooms often do not have soap on a regular basis because it would be stolen or wasted.

How Do We Love Our Neighbors as Ourselves AMIDST COVID-19?

Especially in these strange days, how do we love those around us?

The reason my family and coworkers live in Egypt is to love others and honor God.  The greatest commandment is to love God and love people.

I don’t want to forget that because I’m afraid of COVID-19.  I don’t want to forget that because I’m isolating myself.

When we sit in our fear and uncertainty, we don’t make wise decisions. We don’t make loving decisions.

Where is “safe”?

Today we met with friends for online church.  We sang about Christ being the solid rock and all else being sinking sand.

But we must trust him more deeply than just having faith we won’t get sick. 

The thing about this virus being worldwide is that it means you can’t go to some specific location to be safe (maybe Antarctica, my kids would say).  Everywhere people are facing the same questions of the unknown: what if I or my loved ones get COVID-19?


My sense of security has to be in something greater than my power to control my surroundings.

Comfort has to be in something greater than my stash of food.

Safety has to be in something greater than the healthcare system.

Peace has to be in something greater than any preventative measure I can make.

Even though I walk through the valley of the unknown, I will fear no disease.  You are with me.


If I can really trust that whatever comes my way is allowed because God has decided it is good and right, then I don’t have to be the sole keeper of my fate.

And maybe bad things will come and suffering will happen and the coronavirus will still sweep through.  And I will weep.

Every life lost here on earth has value and weight.  They are not statistics in God’s eyes.

How do we reach out in love and hope to those around us? How do we fight the darkness of fear with words of truth and life? Could it be that in the midst of a global pandemic, Muslims find the Healer of a much more lethal malady?

I believe that every person on earth is valuable because they are made in the image of God and every death is worth noting.  God is still good when people die.

(Read about 10 Ways the COVID-19 pandemic can be for our good.)

“I Want to be in my Home”

We must make decisions the best way we can.  We must think about how our actions affect everyone.

Yes, please pay attention to your health and your activities.  Please make wise decisions.  Please love others as you make decisions daily with the ever unfolding information.

As of today, Egypt has closed her airport.  I thought that I would feel anxious when that happened but I don’t.  For now, I want to be here.  I want to be in my home.

I’ll to be right here when my children say, “Hey, Mom, can we put some of the food in our pantry into bags to give to the poor people sitting along the street?”  I want to be here when we take those bags outside to the people we pass by every “normal” day.

Sarah serves in Egypt with her husband and four children. You can catch her blog here.

Like this post?

click for our infographic to pray for the world amidst COVID-19,

and our infographic to pray for Muslims.


Coronavirus: Ideas to Pray for the World (Printable Infographic)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

coronavirus prayer

Print this here.

As the world is turned upside down by coronavirus–how do we pray amidst a pandemic?

R.C. Sproul has said,

If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled.

We trust that coronavirus is on his leash, and will be corralled for his purposes.

How can we pray for his will around the globe?

Go. Serve. Love has compiled this handy infographic for you and your churches as we seek his hand, healing, and help. Feel free to print it, share it, and pray with us.

Replete in our reaction to coronavirus is our concern for the most vulnerable of our communities, the response of the Church, and the unshakeable hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15).

We can react with preparedness rather than panic, love in the wake of loss. Ours is a time for profound generosity, resounding trust, and critical compassion.

So friends, let’s be the Church. (Check out this post on Spurgeon’s response to the cholera outbreak of 1854.) As so many past generations of Christ’s Bride have done, let us love well, serve long, and praise in the depths.

Pray with us.

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.

Psalm 46:1-2

Tell us below: How are you praying for others

in the midst of coronavirus?

How are you seeing the church beautifully respond?

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Building Faithful Partners for Hard Places

Reading Time: 5 minutes


By Rebecca Skinner

Today, we’re excited to hear again from Rebecca Skinner. She’s an MK and  adult TCK from Central and South America.

Fun fact: Rebecca and her husband were one of the first couples to met on and get married! This August, they’ll celebrate 18 years of marriage, They have twin boys.

The Perspectives on the World Christian Movement turned Rebecca’s world on its head! She desires to see local churches strategically collaborate to take the good news of Jesus to every people, tribe, and tongue. 

We have hit a wall with my health. At first they thought I had toxic hepatitis from all the different medications I have been on. By taking me off the medication, my liver function began to improve.

As of yesterday, it is no longer improving and they have done all they can here.

On Friday, we started the process and the paperwork for a medical evacuation. It was denied because, at the time, I wasn’t eligible. Now, I am eligible and will be getting evacuated hopefully today to get to a country where they can do more tests and be more thorough.

Thank you for your prayers up to this point. I ask that you please continue them. 

Just last week this urgent medical need was shared in a private Facebook group from a family that works diligently to bring the light of Jesus to a country full of spiritual darkness.

More than Cash

On the front end of building these partners, it might be easy to slip into the mindset that it’s all about raising the necessary funds to go do this thing you know God is inviting you into. But don’t fall into the trap that it’s just about another monthly EFT getting you closer to buying your plane tickets.

What you need: Partners committed to support you faithful in prayer and encouragement. Develop these, too.

Going to physically difficult places to share the good news of Jesus in spiritually dark countries necessitates faithful partners willing and able to go to bat for you in the middle of the night when you most need it.

Communication is key when you need to see God change hearts and circumstances quickly. If you’re signing up to go where the love of Jesus is most needed, it’s a given – things are going to be tough both in day to day life and spiritually.


Sound the Call to Prayer

From the outset, a top priority should be to regularly communicate your need for faithful prayer support with those you’re adding to your team.

You’ll also want to consider setting up a way to communicate prayer needs in real-time with those who’ve agreed to pray for you regularly. The more we hear about a situation or learn about the intricacies involved the more it is on our minds and in our thoughts.

Whether you choose to set up a private Facebook group or a WhatsApp group (set so only admins can share), make sure you have a clear line of communication in place with partners so you can sound the call to prayer when you need it most.

Avoiding Spiritual Dysfunction

Sarah* will be on a plane in a couple hours to get medical care in France. Any other details we don’t and won’t know till after the Doctors see her and run some tests.

Thanks for the prayers. Continue to pray for her.

Regular communication with supporters not only reminds them and invites them to pray with insight for your specific prayer needs. It can also play a significant role in educating them culturally–and challenging them spiritually.

We need each other! Separation from Christ’s Body is spiritual dysfunction.

For the work God calls you to, you need resources: finances, prayer, emotional and spiritual encouragement.

But don’t forget that partners go two ways.

Remind your senders of this big world God created with its countless people groups and unique cultures made in His image to declare His glory.

Reality? Most North American Christians gravitate towards comfort, safety and entertainment. We tend to steer clear of what we don’t know or understand. It’s rare we reach out to those who are different from us. We depend on our own strength and abilities to meet our needs.

And in that, we miss out on the opportunity to see God show up in the circumstances of life.

Stretch Your Partners

I have been diagnosed with Hepatitis A. We thought I was vaccinated against it but after some research, we realize that I have had only one of the two recommended doses. I will be in the hospital for at least a week.

Thank you for your prayers.

We need you to challenge us, to stretch us culturally. We need to glimpse into your day to day with pictures and stories so we can picture you playing with the kids and going to the market.

Partners like us need to hear how you prayer-walk your neighborhood so we can be challenged to prayer-walk our neighborhood.

We need to hear how you are looking for opportunities to be salt and light to your Hindu neighbors because reality is that I haven’t really reached out to my American neighbors lately.

Partners need to hear how you ask God daily for wisdom and discernment in where you go and who you share with in your Muslim country. Because we struggle to even recognize God speaks in those real-life, practical ways.

Your faith in God on the other side of the world stirs up my faith in God here in America. Your joyful obedience to go and make disciples in hard places challenges and encourages me to be more intentional to make disciples where I am.


Where Your Faith Strengthens Mine

I have been in Paris for a week, resting and healing from this disease.

I’m being sent back to our country of service tomorrow but my journey is not finished. Lots of rest is still needed, and I will still need to get the different blood tests that I need and send them back to the doctor here.

It was very scary there for a time, as I continued to get more sick. A fellow missionary friend came with me and has stayed the week in Paris as well. It has been wonderful to have her here.

Todd* and the kids stayed back home and are preparing our house and finishing up the kids’s school year before home assignment. Please be in prayer for our travels tomorrow and for me to continue to get the rest that I need.

Yes. We need each other.

Regular, honest, real-time communication strengthens us as kingdom partners.

And during your home assignment this year, I’ll know what to ask you about.

See, you’ve been sharing with me along the way, allowing me to think and feel and see into your world. I feel informed enough to be able and follow-up on specific situations and ask relevant questions, instead of being at a loss for words. And you’re less isolated.

Thank you for allowing me to see and be a part of God’s work over there. Your faith has strengthened my faith, friend. Your life laid down stirs up faith in me.

And that’s the real gift.

Like this post on prayer? Try

2 Ways to Reach Out to a Muslim Right Where You’re At

Reading Time: 5 minutes


photo courtesy of

A friend who served overseas once told me a story from her recent home assignment. She’d said hello to two Muslims she’d seen walking together on her jog; she saw them in the carpool line where her girls were putting in a semester during their time in the States. She said hello to them, and welcomed them to the U.S.

One of them began crying. We only walk together, she explained. We’re too afraid to walk alone here.

This reminded me, too, of a story a professor had once told me, not long after September 11. My professor frequently went on archaeology digs in Jordan, so recognized the accent of a cashier at a local IHOP–whose face looked uncharacteristically white. My professor quietly spoke to him in Arabic. A tear coursed down the man’s face: He was wearing makeup. After 9/11, he was scared into covering his skin.

Reaching Out

As of May 5, it’s the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Hopefully you’re praying along with us day by day for the 1.8 billion still worshipping Allah, most of whom have yet to hear the beautiful, freeing truth of Isa al Masih (Jesus the Messiah).

But allow us to bring that a little closer to home. One out of 12 children in the UK is raised as a Muslim–a figure that has doubled in the last decade.

Wishing you knew more about how to reach out?

We’ve captured a few ideas in this post on cross-cultural opportunities right in your community–and several of our #BestoftheBestFriday posts. But today, we want to help you share Isa wherever you’re at.


photo courtesy of

1. Welcome Cards.

Shane Bennett, speaker, author, and blogger about loving on Muslims, shares Joy’s story, gratefully reprinted from

“I felt sad when I saw increased tension with Muslims in my town.” This is my friend Joy, commenting on her city in Ohio. “I thought, ‘I need to do something good. Some little act to make things better.’”

Can you relate? Our hearts break, but we can’t fix Sri Lanka. There’s no perfect candidate to elect who will make everything cheery and bright. What can a normal person do?

Joy decided to design a simple, lovely card and hand them out to Muslim women. Just like that. No fanfare. No big production or class or organized group (all of which are ok!). Just one woman telling another woman “I’m glad you’re here. If you ever want to talk, I’m here, too.”

Joy again: “I recently gave one to the Egyptian pharmacy tech where we get medicine. When we went back for a refill a month later, she saw me. She said, ‘Wait!’ and ran to the back. Returning, she opened her wallet and showed me the card I’d given her tucked in behind the driver’s license window. She said, ‘I look at it every day and I feel loved.’”

Two days ago, Joy gave one to a Muslim woman in a parking lot. The woman took her hands, looked into her eyes and said, “I love you. No one looks at us the way you do.”

Simple. Good. Doable.

You can see the cards along with a picture of Joy and the first woman to receive one here. How cool would it be to see this idea multiplied ten thousand times over?

Joy says, “It was awkward at first, but now even my kids will say, ‘Mom, there’s a Muslim!’”


The front side says:

I’m happy you’re here. The diversity you bring to our community makes us better, stronger and more beautiful. I’m thankful for your presence. Welcome.

The back side says (in Arabic):

To my Muslim Sister, I want you to know the I am glad you are here. You are welcome in our America and I stand with you. Your family is my family. Your children are my children and I want love, safety, and opportunities for them just like I want those things for my own children. I appreciate the diversity you bring to our community. Thank you for being here!
Your sister,

If you would like to contact me, I can be reached at: (fill in whatever info you feel comfortable with.) read more

Meet an Agency: All Nations

Reading Time: 6 minutes


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 green tea frappuccino with All Nations--perhaps better known as the sending organization of the late John Chau. 


the-faithfulness-of-god-in-africaWe long to see Jesus worshiped by all the peoples of the earth.

To do this, we make disciples and train leaders to ignite church planting movements among the neglected peoples of the earth.

Our passion: To see disciples that love and obey Jesus raise up more disciples that love and obey Jesus.


the-buffalo-skin-legendSo by the numbers–All Nations has been around since 1993. We’ve currently got around 350 missionaries in 44 countries worldwide.

The North America hub, in Kansas City,  has 150 missionaries serving in 23 countries. And we’ve adopted 30 unreached or enegaged people groups globally! (Don’t miss Go. Serve. Love’s printable infographic to help you pray for unreached groups.)

All of our missionaries are involved in starting churches that start churches. Most places where churches don’t yet exist are persecuted countries, so many of our missionaries and church planters also do business. As a result, we have a group that is invested in Pioneer Business Planting to help missionaries plant businesses that provide sustainability to movements of believers.

(Editor’s note: Unfamiliar with Business as Mission? Check out Your Career, Globally: What Could I Do with a Business Degree in Overseas Missions? and recent BAM goodies on our #BestoftheBestFriday page.)


Ahmad and his wife became refugees from the revolution in Syria. Prior to the war, Ahmad had even worked in the Syrian Secret Police force.

But as the war progressed, and he was ordered to do terrible things to the revolutionaries, he decided to defect. Additionally, his twin baby boys died in the first few months of the war, after inhaling toxic fumes from an explosion. Ahmad left everything to bring his wife and remaining daughter to safety.

Since they have been refugees, they have had another son, and there is a third on the way. But life is still tough, especially because Ahmad has to keep a very low profile. As a defector from the Syrian army, there is a bounty on his head. He can’t risk working illegally in his new country where he is a refugee, because if he were caught, he would be sent back to Syria and certain execution.

The last time All Nations missionaries visited Ahmad, he shared his “war story” with them. One of them said, “We are so sorry. This is not God’s heart for you to suffer like this. This is because of human sin.”

Ahmad agreed heartily. “Yes, all of the descendants of Adam have sin, because of what happened in the Garden. But there is good news. God wanted to take our sin away, and so he sent someone special to do that. Do you know who he sent?”

They were stunned. The missionaries actually started tearing up. They had shared many Bible stories with Ahmad, and given him an Arabic Bible, but they had not yet shared with him the full story of the Cross. What would he say?

They replied to his question, “Who? Who did he send?”

Ahmad continued, “Well, he couldn’t send someone from Adam’s line, because every one of us has sin, and God needed to send someone without sin. So, he sent the Holy Spirit on the Virgin Mary. She gave birth to Jesus, and since he didn’t have an earthly father he was free from the sin of Adam. He sacrificed himself on the Cross to take away our sins and the sins of the whole world!”

The All Nations missionaries pushed away tears. “Where did you learn this?”

“In the Bible you gave me,” he replied. “Especially the Gospels: You know, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”

The All Nations missionaries shared with him the story of Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10 and conducted an impromptu Discovery Bible Study.

At the end of the study, when everyone was sharing how they would apply what they had learned, he said, “I will see all my friends and family during the holiday this coming weekend. I want to do what Cornelius and Peter did. I want to share with them the whole story about Jesus, and how he sacrificed himself on the cross for the sins of all of us!”

Wow. The missionaries could hardly believe it. This man had been reading his Bible and God had given him full understanding of Jesus’ sacrifice.

Since that day, Ahmad has shared the Gospel with many, baptized about 150 new believers, and planted 45 house churches among his friends and relatives. Some of these are in the country where he is a refugee, and some are back in Syria itself!

Ahmad is only one example of the unusual openness All Nations missionaries are seeing among Syrians. All Nations believes that God is doing something historic that we have never seen in the Arab world. He is drawing many, many people to Jesus in amazing ways!

Grab more amazing stories of how God is moving at All Nations’ blog.


We’d like to make it even simpler than that. We love and obey Jesus.


We believe everyone is called to be disciple-makers. Our training and on-ramp process is simple and reproducible, so that we can raise up indigenous leaders from the beginning.

We really believe our workers should be planning to work themselves out of the job, and raise up local leaders from the start, just as Paul did with Timothy.

Although how we train is simple and reproducible, it provides a lifetime of depth and maturity.


We run a 3-week intensive cross-cultural ministry training called CPx (Church Planting Experience). This is the on-ramp required for all of our cross-cultural missionaries.

We follow this up with a 10-month long internship that is done with experienced practitioners in a group-coaching format. This can be done online or onsite.

We have applications for CPx, the internship, and for long-term field work. Once someone is approved for long-term field work, we provide pastoral care monthly, and provide language coaching and church planting coaching.

We also provide numerous training opportunities for those going to places closer to home and also to sending churches. We help local churches know how to send well, how to be disciple-makers, teach the Bible in simple ways, and how to share Jesus with Muslims. These trainings are offered once a month in Kansas City, on-line, and can be brought to a local area with an All Nations trainer almost anywhere in the world upon request.


We’ve got our eyes peeled for workers who love and obey Jesus and believe that the harvest is plentiful. We’re talking people that will find open and hungry people for the gospel and disciple them to plant churches that multiply. We love people that have a passion to empower the locals they will be working with–people with grit, willing to put in the hard work of discipling others.


  • People that are risk-averse or unwilling to take on necessary risk
  • People who don’t listen to the Holy Spirit and believe that they can do things in their own strength
  • People who are not willing to listen and learn to honor local cultures

Tell us anything we missed that you’d like to mention about your agency.

We are small, personable, and excited to walk with people on every part of their journey from becoming interested in missions to being a full-time field worker. We have a strong emphasis on pastoral care and coaching, so missionaries can last a long time and see fruit!


Do it! God is at work all over the world. We just need to find out what He is up to and join in. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. We’re praying for more workers!

Interested in joining All Nations? Contact Joshua Johnson at!
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