When My Child’s Fluency = My Success

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fluency

One benefit of my kids growing up overseas is their rich experience of another culture.  My kids absorb elements of the adopted country in an organic way.  They often see the world with a different perspective from someone–even an adult–who hasn’t left their home country.

I love that my kids have adopted certain aspects from Egypt: They have favorite Egyptian foods. They wash their hands after eating, and believe tissues are reasonable as napkins at the table. My kids know how to say “thank you” to mean “no” if they don’t want something being offered.  I love that three of my kids write and speak some Arabic and understand even more.

But wait, you might say, why just “some Arabic?”  Haven’t your kids been growing up in Egypt?

Shouldn’t they be picking up the language smoothly and effortlessly like the sponges that children are?

Yes, they are sponges when they are immersed in the language or culture full-time.

FLUENCY: The Picture vs. The Reality

The reality for us? We speak mostly English at home.  We attend an English-speaking church.  They attend an English-speaking international school.

When my children were younger they attended a preschool where they were the only non-Egyptians.  We also attended a Sunday school program at a large Arabic church.  We all learned church songs in Arabic and followed the Bible story.

During that season, the kids enjoyed the interactions and even saw friends from soccer-training at church.  Through these interactions, they developed a foundation for Arabic and Egyptian culture.

But just as kids learn quickly, with skills only occasionally used, they also tend to forget quickly.

Now at my kids’ school, they take Arabic class four days per week.  They are reading and writing Arabic.  They are speaking and understanding more all the time.

And they are not at a place of fluency.  Neither am I.

Not Good Enough?

While I would like for my kids to be confident about communicating with locals, our experience so far has not provided for them to regularly be immersed in the language to the point of fluency.

And in that, sometimes I hear the message that maybe I’m not doing a good enough job at this cross-cultural thing.  

In fact, a friend was criticized by a new member of her team who arrived in the country one day…and criticized her the next day. He couldn’t believe her child hadn’t attained fluency.

Reader, let’s not judge our fellow workers.

Let’s offer grace and seek to understand the situation of those on the field before we share criticism or offer instruction.

My Kids = My Success?

We need to remember to see our children as people, not as a marker of how successful we are cross-culturally.

Maybe your situation does not require your children to learn another language. But it’s possible you had expectations (or others had expectations of you) that your children would be immersed in the culture, surrounded by local children, loving their third-culture-kid identity.

Maybe, due to their school options or where you live or what your family needs to do in order to be healthy, those relationships and that cultural identification hasn’t completely happened for your children.

Some children will love learning the language and love speaking with locals.  Some will not.

They may dive head-first into the culture and enjoy making that part of their identity.  They might not.

When it comes to our children, it’s important to give them the tools to thrive, the encouragement to keep trying, and the flexibility and grace to find their place. 

FLUENCY: CHOOSING TO STRETCH THEM

Since I recognize that interactions with the language and locals will not just “magically” happen for my kids, I make certain choices when possible.

When given the opportunity to play tennis with an American coach or an Egyptian coach, I’ll choose the Egyptian Arabic-speaking coach for my kids.  If possible, I will find Arabic tutoring for my kids during summer break so they continue to develop their language skills.

What choices do you have available to get your kids into the local culture and language?  Can they

  • take group lessons–art, swimming, karate, science–with local kids they don’t meet at school?
  • attend a family retreat or camp?
  • participate in a church class for their age group?
  • play with a local adult who speaks the local language and teaches local songs?

This might require extra work from you, parents.  This might require a bit of pushing to get your kids on board.

I don’t think we should push our kids toward fluency beyond what they can reasonably handle. But I do think we make efforts to let our kids experience their host country in a non-touristy, daily-life kind of way.

Why Our Kids’ Adaptation Matters–Beyond Our Egos

The more natural and enjoyable experiences our children have with their host country, the more opportunity for them to identify with parts of the culture.

This creates ownership of the culture that helps to make them an ambassador for the local people of your host culture–becoming a voice about what is good and valuable about a foreign culture, strange and unknown, to their passport culture.

Your kids learn in a more natural way how to relate to different people. Maybe they’ll be able to move through different cultures and become like them in order to save some.

The bottom line: We give our children the opportunity and encouragement (and sometimes a little push) to be involved in the culture and language, learning more about their host country. 

And we don’t use our children’s language or cultural fluency as the marker for our own success.  That’s a part of their story. Not our merit badge.

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

 

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Does Christianity destroy culture?

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christianity destroy culture

Photo credit: IMB.org

Editor’s note: We’re pulling this post from the archives to answer a key recurring question: Does Christianity destroy culture? Are you importing Western culture when you bring the Gospel? We weigh in. 

If you’ve ever stood in the middle of African worship, it’s…well, it’s pretty hard to stand still.

Gotta admit. At a refugee-center staff retreat, I started as a mild observer. I marveled at the literal full-bodied movement and vocalization: music that took over my heart, my body. I was, um, really dancing (don’t necessarily try to picture it…) to worship for the first time. Moisture leaked from the corners of my eyes.

Perhaps you can see what I’m talking about:

After a rousing snippet of this kind of worship in staff devotions the week before, I’d told the teachers, this is just a sliver of what the African church offers the world. Every culture has its own strengths, its own vibrant display of the image of God.

And when Jesus comes, I will have watched so many cultures become the truest version of themselves.

A Missionary Budget: What Costs Does it Include?

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missionary budget

Wondering what goes into a missionary budget (which, when you’re raising support, can feel overwhelming)? We let you peek behind the curtain with some opinions of other global workers.

“A missionary Budget may cover all the costs of sending the missionary, not just what YOU need to live.”

A missionary budget may include all the expenses of fielding the missionary. Besides a salary, budget categories might include

  • taxes
  • health and life insurance
  • retirement
  • travel expenses (including cost of home assignments)
  • administrative expenses (including the costs of communicating with supporters, and often a certain percentage that supports the mission agency’s home office)
  • training costs (e.g. language school)
  • purchase or rental of property
  • purchase and maintenance of a vehicle.

It’s also wise to include some kind of surplus account, or perhaps a 5% buffer built right into the budget in anticipation of

  • lost support, cost of living increases
  • changing exchange rates
  • inflation
  • an emergency fund and/or insurance that covers medical evacuation

All this can add up to a daunting amount.

But trust me: Cutting corners is not worth the savings.

Being well prepared will help you and your family avoid some of the stress of arriving on the field and not having what you need. 

Most mission agencies include some kind of “admin fee.” What these fees cover varies considerably. A high admin fee may include some of the expenses listed above. A low one may suggest these items are listed elsewhere in your budget.

Editor’s note: If you’re considering going without a sending agency (and budgeting is one of your reasons), be sure to check out our series on the pros and cons.

It’s tempting to cut out things like contingency and retirement funds, but if missions is your career, you may regret neglecting such things.

Online resources you may find helpful: sample missionary budgets, basic budgeting forms, and How Much Is Enough?

Answer from Marti, who’s served as a mission mobilizer since 1995, including more than ten years with Pioneers.

“If married, both should get a salary.”

A missionary candidate recently asked me if I thought it was better for a married couple to both be counted as legal employees. Should just the serving member of the couple be paid, to simplify payroll even if both are working as missionaries?

Our organization issues W-2’s to my wife and I with half of our total income per year. I think it’s more respectful of our partnership to do it that way and honor my spouse’s major contributions to the work. That was our original reason.

We’ve discovered strong financial reasons along the way too.

When you are negotiating your budget with your agency and others, it’s to your advantage to present the full force of your contribution i.e. two full-time workers. Although people might remember there are two of us, it is to your financial advantage to remind them of the income you both are earning together.

Many missionaries, even if they start under the traditional model of only one marriage partner as the breadwinner, evolve eventually to give both spouses a significant responsibility in the work. There can be a tendency for some to forget that you are working not just 40 hours but 80+ hours as two workers.

Employing both partners accrues Social Security credits for that partner, too. I’m not sure, but I believe this means she’d have higher income in retirement than if she wasn’t an official employee.

Consider, too, that liability insurance and taxation “safe harbor laws” (allowing return to your home state for a number of days without being taxed) likely don’t extend to a non-employee legally.

Answer from Sam in Taiwan, who has served with Beyond and Joni and Friends for well over a decade.

“your MISSIONARY budget is hopefully designed for your longevity on the field, from veterans who’ve realistically counted the cost.”

Raising an amount so much higher than a salary may surprise you. Why’s this necessary? You may be raising the actual costs it takes a business to employ a person (which can be an additional 100-180% of a salary)–plus costs intrinsic to being a successful global worker. 

These expenses may include costs like

  • overhead for project costs for your ministry. For example, if you hope to run a supply distribution for at-risk children, you may be raising costs to maintain that programming. The more independent your project is from your sending organization, the more likely you may need to raise those project costs.
  • travel expenses.
  • your computer, software, internet, desk, chair, phone, office space, etc. Some agencies don’t already provide these.
  • member care. These costs cover critical mental and emotional support for the challenges of living cross-culturally and more challenging circumstances. There are a vital component to your longevity, and should be factored into your budget (or your organization’s).

Editor’s note: When considering what to relate to potential financial supporters about your own budget, see this post, “RAISING SUPPORT: 2 COMMANDMENTS OF SHARING BUDGET NEEDS”. Sometimes missionary budgets are difficult for non-missionaries to understand without passing undue judgment.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS FOR A MISSIONARY BUDGET

Obviously, lower administrative fees in a missionary budget help reduce your overall budget. But typically, more moderate to high admin fees include more benefits and services that help keep you going on the mission field.

Other thoughts to keep in mind:

  • Different sending organizations have very different philosophies of budget-setting (ranging from frugal to robust, job-based or needs-based). They also have varying levels of control over budget-setting.
  • Ask your organization about categories or aspects of a budget you don’t understand.
  • Keep in mind that the amount may seem overwhelming when you’re raising a high support goal. But your budget is hopefully designed for your longevity on the field, from veterans who’ve realistically counted the cost.
  • It’s also far easier to raise support before your first departure–and much harder to raise from the field and even during travel back to your passport culture. So go well-funded from the start!

Answer from John, the Human Resources director for Engineering Ministries’ International’s offices around the world.

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How to Overcome Obstacles and Get Fully Funded

“Is there any way other than begging for financial support?”

The Fix: For What Might Be Broken in Your Fundraising

 

How to Overcome Obstacles and Get Fully Funded

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fully funded

Editor’s note: We’re stoked to feature this article from another one of Go. Serve. Love’s round table partners, Support Raising Solutions. (Yes! That organization is a thing.) In our quest to present you overseas fully-funded, we’re happy to welcome back the indomitable Jenn Fortner, support-raising expert extraordinaire. 

In my time as a support coach, I have yet to see a ministry worker not make it to the field because they were unable to raise their budget as fully funded missionaries. I’ve seen people not go to the field because they got engaged, accepted a different job, or had medical issues—but it has yet to be money that has kept someone from going to the ministry they felt called to.

That being said, I’ve seen numerous ministers scared that they were never going to get to the magical 100% mark. Some just freeze up, unable to move forward because of obstacles and fears.

So lets talk about the obstacles and fears we face when raising our budgets. What are some of the most common? And what can we do to overcome them? 

Let’s get fully funded.

#1 Obstacle: Perspective/Lack of Biblical Understanding

Viewing fundraising as a necessary evil instead of a vibrant ministry can be the largest hurdle someone raising support can face.

I once heard it said 90% of support raising is perspective. After listening to numerous workers talk about their struggles, I find this overwhelmingly true. Workers who can’t seem to see the awesome ministry opportunities raising support provides them are the same ones who can’t seem to be fully funded, and ultimately will probably walk away from their ministry calling.

Viewing support raising as ministry is vital to staying engaged long-term and excited about the process.

If you go into an appointment seeing it only as a means to an end, you’ll pass up the opportunity to minister to the person across from you—and miss being blessed yourself! Other effects may be:

  • Coming across as disingenuous
  • Being sloppy and cutting corners
  • Awkward and fearful to make strong/bold ask

So how can we overcome a lack of perspective, to be fully funded?

  • Seek out a biblical understanding of support raising. Discover what God has to say on the subject in the Bible studies in the appendix of The God Ask.
  • Ask others who have been successful in raising their support about their overall perspective.
  • Pray continuously, asking and seeking God why He came up with this idea of Christian workers raising their personal and ministry expenses from others. He has already given the answers in Scripture. We just have to find them.

#2 Obstacle: Procrastination

Ever find yourself starting to work on something important, only to be distracted by a text, social media post, or an internet deep dive?

Instead of making progress on your task, do you find yourself watching a YouTube video about a horse and a dog becoming best friends?

Don’t feel alone. Stats on procrastination:

Have you ever taken on a project you knew would take a long time to complete (hey, like raising an entire budget?) and instead of attacking it, you procrastinate a few hours instead?

Those few hours become a day, a day turns into two or three days, and two or three days ends up being a week—a wasted week!

Sometimes support raisers will go into total denial and will dream up all kinds of new “to-do’s” to work on, except the one they’re assigned—raising their support!

As a coach, I see this in those raising funds who also have jobs or current ministry responsibilities. They may subconsciously increase their hours at their jobs, or say yes to more ministry opportunities.

Why? Anything to get them out of making the calls and setting up appointments!

(Is that you?)

How can we overcome procrastination to become fully funded? 

  • Set specific, challenging, but reachable goals for yourself each week.
  • Share those goals with someone who can exercise a little “tough love” and keep you accountable.
  • Write down those weekly goals and break them down into daily tasks.
  • Don’t let a week (or even a day!) slip through the cracks. If you feel the “procrastination monkey” starting to crawl onto your back, quickly ask for help, accountability, and advice from those you trust.

Editor’s note: Don’t be afraid to dig into the “why’s” that keep you procrastinating. Are you struggling with fear, rejection, unbelief, perfectionism, feeling overwhelmed…? Prayerfully attack and problem-solve more than the symptom of procrastination.

#3 Obstacle: Lack of Contacts

This is a common one, but may or may not be a real issue. Sometimes it is a perceived obstacle, and if that’s you, you need to face up to reality.

Let’s go straight to the solutions:

How can we overcome a lack of contacts? 

  • Start by checking Facebook. I know not all your 850 “friends” are your best buds, but they are connections you have made over time, including exchanging likes and postings for months or years. It’s an easy next step to message them for a cup of coffee, openly talking about your next adventure.
  • When namestorming a list of people you’ll be asking for support, make sure you are not limiting yourself to those you think will give. Include everyone you know. Why?

You’ll be shocked when you discover some of those you thought would surely support you, don’t. And those you thought never-in-a-million-years would give, want to jump on your team!

Never let your perceptions (or paranoia!) determine who will or won’t contact. Remember God is in this process. Allow Him to do His job!

  • If your concern about having a small number of contacts is real (around 85% of the time I find it’s only a perceived obstacle), go ahead and begin your support raising. Work hard to set up appointments with everyone—not just the ones you’re comfortable asking! Along the way, connect with pastors or others raising support and ask for their help and prayers as you overcome. Ask those who are cheerfully supporting you for referrals. Experiment with a fundraising dinner (or other creative events) as ways to possibly expanding your contact base.

#4 Obstacle: Lack of Time

Ministry commitments, large families, full-time jobs, school, frequent social engagements, etc. all vie for daily attention and concentration.

If you find yourself over-scheduled (even before you start raising up your team), you may be tempted to procrastinate, cut corners, or even give up! Be assured, though, that the Lord has given you just the right amount of time each week to accomplish exactly what He wants you to (see Ephesians 2:10).

I know it’s hard to balance everything, but take heart, God delights in giving you grace and wisdom so that in his perfect time, you can be fully funded.

How can we overcome a lack of time, to get fully funded? 

  • Pull your pastor or a trusted friend aside, and the both of you look hard at which of your priorities and time commitments are essential to you and God—and which ones are elective.
  • Be willing to temporarily cut items from your schedule during the next 3, 6, 9 months of support raising. I know it’s painful, especially if have to set aside social obligations or ministry commitments for a time.
  • If you are working full-time, consider figuring out a way to move to part-time, or even transition to full-time support raising. That would be the ideal!

Do you have any tips for overcoming these four obstacles so others, too, can get fully funded? Or maybe you have experienced or observed other obstacles that can inhibit successful support raising? Share them in the comments.

We want to hear from you, pray for you, and seek to be of help.

Jenn Fortner is the creator of Financial Partnership Development for the Eurasia Region of Assembly of God World Missions. She is the author of Financial Partnership Development Workbook: Biblical and Practical Tools to Raise Your Support. She also operates as a support raising coach to numerous missionaries, and a speaker on the subject of support raising.

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“I Wish Someone Had Told Me”: 5 Things about Missions

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wish someone had told me

In our efforts at Go. Serve. Love to help you look overseas with eyes wide open, we actually like posting your “wish someone had told me about missions” stories. They help the rest of us, y’know, adjust expectations and avoid our own train wrecks. 

Today we’re posting from one of our partners, the all-new Mission App–which allows you to search and apply to 30 agencies with one app, and one application. 

Then, don’t miss our links below for other wise, cautionary tales.

wish someone had told me…You don’t have to carry the pressure of needing to be the hero.

In fact, if you go to another culture with the attitude that you will help the poor humanity there who will then be grateful for you, you are missing the point. Remember God is already at work wherever you may travel.

People in your new host country live there and have a way they already do things. They may not even want the help you offer.

In fact, you may find you are the one that needs help learning how to settle into this new environment.  You do, however have the good news about Jesus to share!

So… spend time listening to people’s stories. Share your own.

And as you share your lives, share Jesus’ story.  He’s the real Hero, after all.

Don’t think you’ll always agree with your team members. 

Missionaries are just people sharing Jesus with others.  I wish someone had told me missionaries are just people who may have experienced loss, who may have strong opinions, who can get tired, or discouraged or happy or sad or frustrated or jealous – just like you. Do your best not to compare, or judge.

This is where it’s essential to know how to find your identity in Jesus yourself and to trust other team members to do the same.

You won’t always think they are right.  You may start to wonder if you are.

Remember: Grace, truth, and love …  always.  That other team member is one of God’s favorites too.

Sharing the good news of Jesus doesn’t mean you’ll do nothing else. 

Shopping for groceries, cleaning the house, fixing your car, organizing your tasks, heading for work – all these everyday life things still happen when you are a missionary.

I don’t know what you’re good at, but you will likely be doing that thing in whatever culture you end up living in.

So if you’re a great teacher: teach well and share Jesus.  If you’re a great mechanic? fix things and share Jesus.  If you’re a great mom, raise kids and share Jesus.

Don’t start to resent these tasks thinking they get in the way of your real work of sharing Jesus. 

Do your “real” work while doing your everyday tasks best you can.

And when there’s no one near you to share with, do your everyday tasks for and with Jesus. He’ll lead you to the next opportunity to share. He’s already got someone in mind.

Poverty looks different to different people.

If you’re going on a mission trip so you can see real poverty and realize how great you have it in your home country… please pause.

As important as learning to be grateful is, it’s not the right reason to go into missions.

First of all, the people that you think look poor may not regard themselves that way at all.  They might, for example, think of poverty in terms of lack of good relationships or status.

Secondly, if you do meet someone who finds themselves in a difficult situation, it’s unlikely they’ll want you to define them by it. After all, you don’t like to be defined by your hard times.

So don’t take a picture of someone who is wearing their poverty on the outside so you can show people back home that you are making a difference.

Instead, capture a moment that fills your heart with wonder because of Jesus. 

Find the gifts – the tea sipped, the laughter shared, the hope renewed. Record moments rich in grace. 

Sometimes you might feel like you’re not making a difference at all.

Just because you are a missionary and your vocation is defined as “life-changing” doesn’t mean you’ll always feel like that is the case.

I wish someone had told me I might feel like I’m not doing enough to earn the support of the church(es) that sent me.

You, too, might start to count successes and losses and determine that if bearing fruit is what defines a follower of Jesus, you may not be one. 

Don’t get discouraged.

Make sure your heart is drawing its life from Jesus.  Abide in Him like a branch in the vine.  Then it’s all about trust and obedience.

Say ‘yes’ in every moment He gives you and let Him decide when the leaf will sprout, or a root will grow deeper or a blossom form. If you are given the added gift of seeing the fruit, that’s something to celebrate, too.

But your vocation won’t define you. Your daily abiding in Jesus will make you who you are.

Ready for other “wish someone had told me” missions stories?

Grab our best.

Dry Days, Old Books, & Jesus Trails–Or, Finding My Own Revival

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dry days

I picked it up because I was feeling dry.

The well-thumbed copy of Bruchko seemed to call my name from my bookshelves. I slid it from the shelf, must creeping to my nose with the satisfying feeling of an old, delicious story. (Wow, I realized–they left out a lot in the newer version of the book.)

I’ve found that a good missionary biography refreshes me, puts life back into my dry bones.

Life is like that, sucking you dry at times. Same thing each day. Good stuff, sure. But tiring.

(What breathes life into your dry days? Find out. Dry days do come.)

In my hands, the real-life tale of Bruchko came to life. It’s the story of a young Minnesotan, Bruce Olson, from a dry difficult home. Convinced God said “go”, Olson up and went”–not sure where or why.

And nothing went right.

Slowly, persistently, day after day he walked the trails Jesus drug him along in Caracas, Venezuela. Hungry, without friends, no money, living wherever he could, he kept going.

Olson was–is still, at 79–one of those tenaciously independent missionaries who didn’t plan ahead.

Interesting how God showed up.

DRY DAYS–and God’s Missions BootCamp

Eventually, Olson started on the real jungle trails of the Yuko Indians. Men shooting arrows at him. Olson was ignored, struggling to find anything to do in a village he doesn’t understand, where he can’t communicate with anyone. He began learning their language.

Remember the “leadership training program” God put David through in the Old Testament? It started off great – a nobody watching sheep, who became the national hero.

But yikes–the boss lobbing spears at you is rarely a good thing. Then, of course, there’s running for his life! Not dry days, per se, but perhaps “terror-filled.” (Sign me up!)

dry days

Olson seemed to be traversing a similar path of his own dry days. All of that was just practice–training–for the real thing.

Now to the Motilone Indians, the ones he really came to work with, the ones who really kill you, the ones not even the Yukos went near. (Spoiler: “Bruchko” is the Motilone version of Olson’s name.)

Sweet Days

After all the pain, nasty diseases, and repeated feelings of failure–finally sweet days began to appear.

Slowly he was accepted, allowed to join the hunts. He learned their language and stumbled upon odd pieces of their culture that opened doors to understanding and even connecting.

God had hidden in the tribe’s collective memory stories that pointed to himself! Those stories left a haunting question, a missing piece that God would one day provide.

There in my comfortable chair, my thoughts lingered over Olson’s descriptions of the hammocks swung high in the large communal home, and his amazing friendship with Bobby (the first young Motilone to start walking the “Jesus trail”). Bobby introduced Jesus to the Motilone people in their weird-to-us way.

It all took so long. But the fruit of the Spirit was real as the tribe learned to walk the “Jesus trail”.

I read all over again things that stretch my understanding of the world and how life really works. Things that mess with my predictable, boring, Western-world, meaningless fluff life.

God-sort of things that make you pause. That strip the dull and lifeless from dry days, exposing what’s real.

Mmmm ….. I read halfway through the book this morning. And I already feel some living water seeping in.

Sun’s up, time to start the day. It was worth waking up early.

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Your Missionary Biographies Weekend Watchlist: Amazon Prime

Top Missions Podcasts of 2020!

 

Global veteran David Armstrong has set foot in 15 countries, and confesses that Crepes and Waffles in Bogota, Colombia is one of his favorite restaurants. Catch his classic post here on 8 Ways to Help your Family Flourish Overseas.

 

Best Posts of 2020!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

best posts of 2020

We get a distinct thrill over here in partnering with you in a small way as you look in an overseas direction. Here are the posts that seemed to resonate with you–and represent some of the best posts of 2020.

May God empower your every next move for his honor and renown.

The Go. Serve. Love Team

Our Best Posts of 2020

10 REALITIES A MISSIONARY PROBABLY WON’T TELL YOU

missionary realities overseas global work hard truth

(This one’s a bit of a cheater–not published in 2020, but since it went viral this year, definitely makes the “best posts of 2020” list!)

Wondering about the hard realities of missionary life? A long-term global worker weighs in with unflinching truths about what to expect.

YOUR MISSIONARY BIOGRAPHIES WEEKEND WATCHLIST: AMAZON PRIME

Your Missionary Biographies Weekend Watchlist: Amazon Prime

Ready for a watchlist of Amazon Prime missionary biographies? Pressing into God’s future for your life could be as easy as pressing “play”.

WHEN COVID CHANGES YOUR OVERSEAS PLANS

COVID

You planned for a lot of things going overseas. But who expected COVID? What truth can you keep in mind?

CORONAVIRUS: IDEAS TO PRAY FOR THE WORLD (PRINTABLE INFOGRAPHIC)

best posts of 2020

We trust that coronavirus is on his leash, and will be corralled for his purposes. As the world is turned upside down–how do we pray amidst a pandemic?

 

 

 

Best missions podcasts of 2020!

Missions podcasts educate and equip me for my unique role in the Great Commission–and help me keep pace with God’s work around the globe.

CHOOSING AN EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY MISSIONS ORGANIZATION

Don’t underestimate how your organization’s health could have on your work overseas. These questions help find an emotionally-healthy agency.

GOD’S “NO”: WHEN HE CLOSES A DOOR OVERSEAS

https://www.goservelove.net/door-no/

Especially in light of COVID-19, maybe you’re dealing with your own closed door, a painful “no”, not here, not now. You’re asking, “did I hear God right? Weren’t my sacrifices meaningful?”

WE WERE MISSIONARY KIDS. HERE’S WHAT MY PARENTS DID RIGHT

Wonder if your children are getting shortchanged by your choices? Rebecca Skinner explores ways her parents nurtured their missionary kids in one of our classic best posts of 2020.

FREE UPG PRINTABLE INFOGRAPHIC: PRAY FOR MUSLIMS!

Middle East

1.8 billion Muslims haven’t heard of Jesus’ love and freedom. Yet more have turned to Christ in 15 years than the last 1400 combined. Pray with us!

BECOMING A MISSIONARY: ULTIMATE PREPARATION CHECKLIST!

becoming a missionaryWe’re welcoming the Missions App’s ultimate preparation checklist for becoming a missionary & a multi-agency application. Drumroll, please.

 

WHAT RACIAL DISCRIMINATION REMINDS US ABOUT OVERSEAS MISSIONS

racism

As people looking toward overseas missions, how do we respond to racism, injustice, and a nation exploding in anger and riots?

Missions Trends to Help You Work Smarter: The Series

trends in missions

We’re scouring for trends in missions to help you work smarter & love better. Pay attention to these key trends God’s using to draw people to himself.

That wraps up our best posts of 2020!

The great news? Our God is still actively on the move

in every corner of this planet.

Pray with us for his name to be made known

more than ever before in 2021.

“Have I Ever Failed You?”

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I was leaning back in my chair at 6 AM in our spare bedroom that doubled as an office. And I was telling God how dissatisfied I was with how things were going.

I was in seminary preparing for missions. It was my second year; I loved my classes. We had spent an awesome summer in New Zealand teaching at a Bible School.

But the finances for continuing weren’t there.

I had started a painting business to earn enough money to pay the bills and to get me back into school. But I was behind on house payments and at that point was having to drop out of school.

I was not a happy camper.

And as I leaned back in my chair, telling God how dissatisfied I was, the “thought” crossed my mind, “Have I ever failed you?”

Uh, well…

I spent the next 15 minutes thinking back through my life and the various situations we had walked through getting to this point.

We now had three kids, had been through a couple years of college. I had spent four years in the Air Force in special electronics. I’d completed Bible School. I’d been active in four different churches along the way.

There had been stretching times. And there had been great times. We’d seen times of want, waiting on God to provide.

And not always comfortable.

“Have I ever failed you?”

Hmm. I finally had to say “No, you haven’t.”

Wherever I’d been given the details for before and after, no, it was clear, he had never failed us.

He had always provided and guided. Not always what I expected, not always comfortable. But, yeah, it had been for good, and it had been for our good.

Did that moment change anything?

No.

I didn’t immediately get back into school. It was still months before I had caught up on our house payments, I still worked long hours and felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. Life just went on.

And I just continued assuming he knew what he was doing.

Eventually, I was back in school and eventually, we headed overseas. Slowly he brought it to pass.

Faithful.

Always there? Yeah.

Always comfortable? No.

Always caring about us? Yeah.

And always stretching and growing us.

At that point, I had to pause and say, “God, you really have been abundantly good to us!”

Oh, and then I remembered a time in high school, on a particular Sunday morning. I’d specifically prayed, “Lord, teach me what faith is about”.

Slowly but surely, he was doing that.

 

Global veteran David Armstrong has set foot in 15 countries, and confesses that Crepes and Waffles in Bogota, Colombia is one of his favorite restaurants.

Catch his ideas here on How to Build Community as a Missionary Overseas.

Top Missions Podcasts of 2020!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

missions podcasts

Recently I described my new favorite morning routine while I set the kids up for virtual schooling. Once things hit an even keel, I tackle last night’s dishes and take in one of my fave missions podcasts.

Let’s face it: The world of missions is vast and full of diverse opinions and ideas. Thankfully, here’s no singular method to show the world the Savior we love.

Strategies vary from

  • traditional missions to business models
  • church-sending to agency-sending
  • church planting movements to discipleship making movements
  • Bible studies to Bible storing
  • large evangelistic meetings to art and drama on city streets
  • face-to-face discipleship to virtual discipleship streaming into hard places
  • written Bible translations to sign language and audio translations

God is moving. The Holy Spirit is depositing faith and stirring up gifts, equipping the Body of Christ for the task at hand: Sharing the good news of Jesus with the 7,400 people groups who still have no access to Christian material, teaching, or people. (See our posts on Missions Trends to Help You Work Smarter! And Check out Joshua Project or Traveling Team for more compelling stats.)

One of the best ways I have found to keep pace with God, staying informed and equipped? Listening to a variety of mission podcasts.

There’s a wealth of information that I otherwise wouldn’t have access to in my community, Plus it’s totally free (no conference fee) to listen to some of the world’s leading missiologists!

Missions podcasts help me stay in the conversation with the rest of the Body of Christ so we can all more efficiently and lovingly give the hope so many are longing for.

Missions Podcasts: My “Continuing Education” Hours

My daily missions podcast routine introduces me to terminology and ideas I didn’t even know were being used in the mission world. They make me aware of the wide variety of opportunities and possible uses for my training, life experiences and spiritual gifts. I’m introduced to mission organizations, people and resources that have helped move me along on my missions’ journey by encouraging me.

They’re educating and equipping me for my unique role in people from every nation, tribe and tongue being reconciled to their Creator.

If you’re like me, the idea of adding in another “to-do” to my already busy day doesn’t have much appeal. So layer in listening with something else that you are already doing, making the time you spend more fruitful for the Kingdom of God.

 

missions podcasts

Maybe a formerly mundane time in your daily schedule could be something you look forward to! Getting ready in the morning, say–or during your commute, workout, lunch break, or meal prep.

To make it even easier to jump into missions podcasts, I’ve compiled a list. Below, grab the top mission podcasts streaming in 2020 along with a handful of their most listened to episodes.

Subscribe to your favorites and you’ll always have something to challenge, strengthen, and encourage your heart and mind and keep you moving forward on your journey in cross-cultural ministry.

missions podcasts

Are you a current subscriber who wants the new freebie?

Zip us an email with your email address and we’ll send it right out.

Rebecca Skinner is an MK and adult TCK from Central and South America. Don’t miss her post, We Were Missionary Kids. Here’s What My Parents Did Right.

Fun fact: Rebecca and her husband were one of the first couples to met on eharmony.com 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. 

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Tools for Your Trip: Go. Serve. Love’s page of freebies to suit you up for overseas