What We’re Reading: 2018 edition

It’s been a while since we shared our favorite titles! Some of these are books we read quite a while ago and I never got around to recommending, and some are still fresh in my mind. I will try keep my words to a minimum, and in some cases I might just include a favorite quote from a book and cross my fingers in hope that you will be inspired to read it.

Over the past year, I’ve felt especially compelled to learn more about the lives of people who are marginalized, to listen to a new set of stories.… Continue Reading

Forever Camping (Or, Interdependence and the Belovedness of Community)

I have a distinct childhood memory of one summer spent camping somewhere in Oregon on our family vacation. My sister and I pedaled about on our little bikes, befriending new kids in adjacent campsites, hurtling throughout the campground in a pack of small bicycles with no regard to the one-way arrows posted by some septuagenarian campground manager. One of the pleasures of camping is the freedom to unabashedly observe the possessions and paraphernalia of the campers around you, you smell each other’s food (for better or for worse), and you hear each other’s late night music and conversations.… Continue Reading

Living in Weakness: My Story of Anxiety

“Live leaning in when the pain is fierce

Oh, the bow, it will break at his coming

Stand who can understand the design

The refining holy fire.

Oh, gracious light. Oh, gracious light

I have been walking, walking so long, in darkness.”

(Sandra McCracken, Oh, Gracious Light)

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There is an episode of Call the Midwife, where an elderly woman with a gynecological malady (I can’t remember what) comes in to the clinic asking for help. The midwife calls a doctor to assist, and the doctor diagnoses an ongoing disorder.… Continue Reading

Matters of Injustice

I want to share some thoughts on the matter of injustice, by way of a personal experience. But before I tell our story, I want to preface this by saying that it is a single story, and is by no means an indicator of the hospitality we usually receive as foreigners in this country. On the contrary, it is an exception in our case, and I want to make that clear.

Not long ago, a person we’d once thought of as an honest friend took advantage of us.… Continue Reading

A Wintertime Wedding

In Myanmar, wedding season is dictated by the lunar patterns of the Buddhist calendar. Every year from about June until October, Buddhist Lent takes place. During this time (which also happens to be the monsoon season), the monks generally stay within the confines of the monasteries, and it is seen as an inauspicious time to make any major life changes. Buddhists are discouraged from changing jobs, moving houses, starting new ventures, or marrying during this time. The October full moon festival of Lights (Thadingyut, as it is called in Myanmar) marks the end of Buddhist Lent, and not long after the full moon, weddings parties are taking place all over the city.… Continue Reading

Christmas is for the Oppressed and the Oppressor

The Christmas story is not really a very nice story. We have made it that way through years of re-telling, whimsical stories and songs, and whitewashed nativity scenes. But the nativity story is really dominated by themes of power, patriarchy, vulnerable people, injustice, genocide and poverty. If you were reading the Christmas story for the first time, the stage that is set is not one upon which you would expect to find God.

Before I moved overseas, my love for Christmas was love for the folksy story many westerners know and celebrate; my understanding of Christmas was incomplete.… Continue Reading

On Renting a House

We started looking for a new place to rent in May. A variety of circumstances, not the least of which was the nearing advent of Baby #2, caused us to realize that our current home is just not the right place for us anymore.

From a foreigner’s perspective, renting a house in Yangon is an arduous undertaking. If you are new to Myanmar and cannot yet read or speak, it involves doing everything through a translator, as even the rental signs are nearly always written in Burmese.… Continue Reading

International Women’s Day: A Defense and a Lament

When my daughter was born, the medical staff asked what name to write down. Without looking at one another, my husband and I both replied, “Magdalena.” We had another name in mind too, but as soon as we saw her face, we knew we wanted her to carry the story of a woman loved by God and chosen as the first to see his resurrected face. In a society where a woman’s testimony and personal worth had little value, it seems no mistake on God’s part that he chose a woman as a first witness to his resurrection.… Continue Reading

Of Flags and Feet: Patriotism and Respect around the World

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Earlier this month, Amazon and the nation of India had a small debacle. The first offense on Amazon’s part was to sell doormats emblazoned with the Indian flag. This product was met with much consternation and anger in India. Shortly after, Amazon found themselves in hot water again, this time with a third party vendor selling Gandhi flip-flops on their site.

One thing frustrated me about these news stories: none of the western outlets reporting this story gave any reason for the outrage of the Indian people.… Continue Reading

Perspectives from Abroad (Part 3): On Sharing our Lives and Connecting with the Church

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Thanks for following along with this blog series! (Click here to read Part One and Part Two) Today’s post is the final installment of testimonies from people who serve cross-culturally, sharing their experiences relating to friends, family, and the church back in their passport countries.

One of the things that compelled me to start this series was hearing other missionaries share some of the expectations people/churches had for them in returning to the US, and hearing in their voices how those expectations can take a big personal toll.… Continue Reading