Books We Read in 2016

Okay, here goes! Not an exhaustive list of our reading for 2016, but a summary of our favorites. Hope you get a chance to pick up a couple of these!

We’ll start light, with three different graphic novel recommendations…

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The Complete Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi)

Persepolis is a coming of age story written by a woman who grew up in Tehran during the time of the Islamic Revolution. A fascinating window into young adult life in what was an incredibly tenuous time for the people of Iran.… 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

Perspectives from Abroad (Part 2): Perceptions, the West, and Global Identity

Welcome to part two of a three-part series on what it is like to relate with one’s passport country after living abroad. (Click here to read Part One) This series shares a dozen different perspectives from all over the world on some of the issues overseas workers face as they transition between their passport country and another culture. Part two focuses on the realities of life overseas, the global identity one gains while living abroad, and on how the West is perceived by the rest of the world.… Continue Reading

Relating to Home: Perspectives from Abroad (pt. 1)

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I don’t know anyone working overseas who does not at times feel terribly caught between worlds. This tension is constant for most of us, and it is often heightened by our experiences in returning home, or our attempts to share our life with those in our passport countries. There is typically little or no opportunity for us to have conversations about some facets of this tension, but there is a need for such conversations to take place. We wanted to create an opportunity for others to share anonymously about their joys and challenges in engaging with people and life back in their passport country.… Continue Reading

Assimilate or Go Home | Book Recommendation

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“I had found people as different from me as the night is from the day. What I didn’t know then was that the seeds of my own blindness were orchestrating my thoughts. For, of course, in viewing our differences, I thought I was the sun and they were the darkness.”

– from Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith

I wanted to take a moment to praise a book I recently read, in hopes that some of you who are looking for a good read might check it out.… Continue Reading

Unfamiliar Soil: A window into cross-cultural work

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This is an essay about working cross-culturally, particularly church planting, and why it is not a short term project. [To note: Frankly, I dislike the term ”church planter” almost as much as I dislike the terms “missionary,” and “missional,” and I wish I didn’t have to use it at all. “Church planting” feels like a marketing catchphrase that has become a means of denoting those who are a few rungs higher on the spirituality ladder. But the topic of overused Christian catchphrases (“love on,” anyone?)  is another grievance for another time.]

First, a personal anecdote to help the conversation: I had lofty aspirations of container gardening when we first arrived in Yangon.… Continue Reading

Malevolent in Ministry (or, Some Thoughts on Walking in the Light)

Perhaps it is because I am from the west coast of the U.S. (a region that is not as “churched” and not defined by enthusiasm about the sort of work we do), that every time I share about our life in photos or words, I am conscious of the prevailing doubtfulness towards Christians; Christians in ministry work being particularly suspicious. I write this because I share that doubtfulness; I am under no illusions that Christians are very nice people. In fact, I think a number of Christians who end up working in ministry do so because they don’t want to have a regular job, because they are trying to escape problems, or because they have an ugly savior complex.… Continue Reading

To Those Who Worry

It is a struggle for me, knowing how to communicate some of the challenges of life here to all of you reading from afar. In some ways, this is one of my biggest burdens in living overseas. If I didn’t feel so strongly that I need to be writing and sharing some of that writing in order to adjust to this new life, I’d probably stop altogether for the turmoil I experience in getting responses from home.

The three to four month point in overseas life is a textbook classic time to begin experiencing/recognizing some disabling emotions and circumstances.… 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