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

Five Years’ Time

In February five years ago, I flew to Myanmar for the first time. I had never been to a developing country before. I had considered and sworn off the idea of cross cultural work back in college, my business studies leaving me certain that westerners overseas did more harm than good.

But I came to Myanmar, planning to see Yangon and Rakhine state, and experience the place my fiancé had called his home for the past seven years. It was to be a three-week visit, and for two of those three weeks, I wanted to be anywhere but Myanmar.… 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

The Well of Grace

I have some sizeable frustrations with Christian subculture. I find purity rings offensive to the gospel, I’m discouraged by Extreme Sabbatarians, dismayed by big spotlights shining on worship bands and I wish Christians used the word “love” with more care. Maybe someday I’ll take time to write publicly about my concerns with these things… not yet though; I haven’t developed the grace to be entirely kind in my criticisms.

However, there is an aspect of Christian subculture that I feel free to combat with more abandoned savagery.… Continue Reading

“How Do You Define Success?”

 High Class“How do you define success in what you’re doing over there?” This has been a frequently asked question in the last year. Every time I hear it, I’m a bit lost for an eloquent reply. I see the value in encouraging or challenging missionaries to be evaluative of how they use their time and resources. I’ve worked with Christian non-profits and I see a very real need for increased transparency when it comes to funds and outcomes. (Hence why we want you to know our budget, as in our last newsletter.)

But this question of “success” is the fenceline between two dangerous ways of living and working in ministry.… Continue Reading

“You’re Not Qualified”

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Ministry. It is like the pinnacle sport of a Spiritual Olympiad, right? You get there because you’re really good, and people believe in you.

Fortunately not.

Several times in the last year, I’ve been told that it’s remarkable I’m headed for such a life (missions), since I have “x” or “y” as an obvious weakness. At first, those words were painful to me. What to think when you’ve been told you’re too flawed to follow?

Those voices were right, but only in terms of the present world’s economy.… Continue Reading