“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” ― Leo Tolstoy

My missions journey began with a deep passion for Africa, with a love for a continent that I could not explain or deny. I began traveling there in 2001, did a several month stint in 2006, and then finally moved to Uganda as a missionary in 2008 where I began a non profit called Zion Project that worked to help heal those in war zones and women coming out of sex trafficking. All of this time, I was seeking to extend God’s justice in the earth, to show that love can really change the world.

What I learned through the many difficulties and ups and downs of living in a foreign nation in community with those I was seeking to understand, was that I believe missions is more about God changing our hearts, about putting His heart in our heart, so He can hopefully use us as an extension of Himself. But change is always a painful journey and while I left a young, 24 year old on a mission to save the world, I came back a 32 year old, realizing that saving the world begins with saving myself.

I still love missions. I believe it’s God’s heart for us to reach out to the poor and the oppressed, and fight issues of injustice such as sex trafficking and to extend peace to war torn nations, but what I realized is that we have a lot to learn too. Missions is not as much about all the great things I can do, as much as it is about growing through relationships and growing through listening to Father’s voice. It’s less about the applause and approval of man and more about finding a way to die to yourself.

We cannot give to the world what we haven’t received ourselves. Now that I’m back in the States, my heartbeat is to help others going out as missionaries to catch this vision of seeking our own healing first so we might do more good than harm and so that we might truly understand what ministry is. I spend my time counseling and coaching missionaries on the field so they can be healed up, whole, and thriving in their God-given callings. I probably have more in common with Jamie the Very Worst Missionary then I do with most missions programs. I still feel more at home in a circle of beautiful African women under a mango tree than I do in a church pew, but for now this is where God has me and I’m learning to be present here. Meanwhile in Uganda my team of nationals continue to counsel and bring hope to war-torn nations while I support them from here. You can stay up to date through our facebook page.

RSS Related Posts

  • Dear Future Missionary: How to Prepare for Missions August 17, 2017
    Dear Future Missionary, I want you to know I feel you. I see your heart bursting with promise with all you will do. And I say yes, bring your expectations, your passion, your wild and crazy ideas, your belief that you can change the world and anything is possible. It’s what gets us all here, […]
  • 8 Steps to Building Thriving Ministry Culture August 3, 2017
    At the age of twenty-four, I founded a ministry to help rehabilitate girl child soldiers in a war-torn region of Uganda. It was a ton of hard work. I was young, full of idealism and naiveté and I didn’t know very much then about how to build a thriving culture. As people came alongside me […]
  • Anxiety, Missions, and How Every Bitter Thing is Sweet July 27, 2017
    I haven’t been writing much lately. Life happened. I’d wanted to fall into summer’s sandy shores and slowed time with abandon. But mostly I got anxiety and tumult. I’m not a busyness lover, I’m a stillness lover. I always know I’m not doing well when the ink from my pen dries up. I hit a deep soul weariness […]
  • A Missionary’s Story of PTSD and Healing June 29, 2017
    For years I have been fascinated by trauma and PTSD. Having experienced much of this myself, I’ve studied to help those in war torn regions and missionaries heal from their pain. What I’ve learned is trauma and PTSD can often be a silent killer among missionaries and aid workers. I teamed up with my strong […]
  • 10 Steps for Doing Short Term Missions Trips Well May 31, 2017
    With summer missions trip season upon us, I decided to repost a very popular blog about short term missions. Needless to say, there has been a ton of debate around the topic of how to do short term missions trips well, and it’s a sensitive issue. I’ve read countless articles and heated debates on blogs, both lauding […]
  • These Unfulfilled Longings on Mother’s Day May 12, 2017
    What to do with all this longing? All of us are longing for something. We’re longing for a husband, we’re aching to have children, we’re aching for the ones we lost, we’re longing to be seen and known by our friends, to feel successful, we’re longing to feel like we’ve finally “made it.” (Whatever that means.) […]
  • When You Feel Like a Failure in Missions May 11, 2017
    In January of 2013, after 6 years of running a non-profit in Uganda I moved off the field back to the USA and struggled terribly with re-entry. There were many good, wise reasons for this move, including listening to God’s voice, and hitting burnout, but none of them seemed justifiable enough to qualm the voice in my […]
  • Option B: How to Rise Above Disappointment May 3, 2017
    This year is six years, six years since we lost our first baby, six years since the toilet clotted blood. Last week was National Infertility Awareness Week and it pulls me back to the memories like my eyes to the scene of a car crash. I can see myself on the floor. Praying. Begging. Being willing […]
  • Why Conflict is the Deadliest Word in Missions April 25, 2017
    “Often the real trauma is feeling mistreated, bullied, or discriminated against by our own fellow humanitarians, those who should be there to share the same values and ideals.” –Alessandra Pigni- In general, conflict in relationships is one of the most difficult things to manage. This is especially true when serving overseas. Team conflict with other […]
  • What Missionaries Should Know about Vicarious Trauma April 19, 2017
    It was 2006 and I was sitting in a dimly lit room in Rwanda listening to a female genocide survivor tell me her story of rape and torture. Most of the time her face remained distant, as though she was recounting something that happened to someone else. A fly buzzed around the office table. I could […]