running a non profit

10 Things I Wish I’d Known about Running a Non Profit

In my coaching sessions with missionaries and global aid workers, one of the things I find increasingly common is that most of these brave souls are also non-profit or NGO founders, like I was, trying to manage an impossible list of tasks in a developing country. They are carrying the additional burden of running an organization, responding to a Board, raising finances, hiring and training staff, and dealing with emergencies and government corruption. If you’ve ever run a non-profit you understand the stress that can accompany carrying an organization on your own two shoulders. There are the vision and strategy

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suffering

Why Missionaries Need a Theology of Suffering

“They shared an unshakeable belief in beauty, in overflow, in everythingness, the bursting, indelible beauty in a world where there is so much suffering and wounding and pain.”  –The Light of the World– Many of you know I write a lot about self care, and avoiding burnout, but I don’t want to ignore the fact that in our cross cultural work, and in life in general, suffering is inevitable. In fact, when we enter into ministry, we’re signing up to bear witness to the suffering of others. It is these two opposite poles of self-care and entering into suffering that are so

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what missionaries wish churches knew

10 Things Missionaries Wished Their Churches Knew

“Without adequate member care strategies there is little hope for the ongoing maintenance of the frontier missionary movement. More than that, these missionaries require special attention so that in the context of sacrifice and isolation, they can still reach the people they are called to.” -Kelly O’Donnell Today more and more missionaries and non profit workers on social justice missions are moving overseas to work on issues of orphan care, sex trafficking, drilling wells, and creating peace in conflict zones. We’re in the age of the International Justice Mission and the A21 campaign. We’re in a time where youth are moving to

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Re entry

What Every Missionary Needs to Know about Re-Entry

“I am a confusion of cultures. Uniquely me. I think this is good because I can understand the traveler, sojourner, foreigner, the homesickness that comes. I think this is also bad because I cannot be understood by the ordinary, mono-cultured person. They know not the real meaning of homesickness that hits me now and then. Sometimes I despair of understanding them. I am an island and a United Nations. Who can recognize either in me but God?” – Alex Graham- Three years ago, I landed awkwardly into the USA with six suitcases and $200 in my bank account and spent

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missionary compassion fatigue

What Missionaries Need to Know About Compassion Fatigue

  “The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting to be able to walk through water without getting wet.” -Naomi Remen- I remember after a long, hot day in Uganda, sweat seeping through my shirt, after spending hours in the hospital with another one of the women in my community who was diagnosed with HIV, I would collapse on my bed, face tear stained, so exhausted I couldn’t think about making dinner. The reality was, those days were more typical than non typical. Over time, the

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ode to my uterus

Ode to My Uterus

Ode to My Uterus Hey old girl, I don’t know why I feel like calling you that. Maybe because in my mind you’re older, a more mature Whoopi Goldberg version of me that somehow holds the world’s wisdom. We’ve been through a lot together. We’ve been poked at and prodded, ballooned, and bruised. And all manner of things we did not think should be shoved up inside us have somehow found their way up our hoohah. Tomorrow we’ll have been through three surgeries in three years. We made life and somehow we destroyed it. And two ectopics, and a diagnosis of probable endometriosis later,

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missionary manifesto

The Missionary’s Manifesto

Recently, my friend Jeff Goins, who runs a writing course I’ve taken (Tribe Writers) challenged us to write a manifesto about something we care about. Many of you know I write a lot about modern day missions and social justice based on my six years spent living in a war affected region of Uganda as a missionary and non-profit founder. I write a lot about how we need to change the paradigm, in order to shift from the way things have always been done. So this is my missionary manifesto, this is my clarion call to the world about what missions and social justice should look

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secret to healing from trauma

The Secret to Healing from Trauma

One of the problems of being an Enneagram Type 2 “Helper” personality, is that I often don’t know how to ask for what I need. I walked into a grocery store the other day to buy another pregnancy test that would turn out to be negative, and the clerk laughed and said she’d sold four of them that morning. One to a woman with five kids who didn’t want a sixth. She looked up at me and said, “But you’re young, it’s going to happen for you.” I know she meant well, but the truth is she has no idea what

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new missions paradigm

The Need for a New Missions Paradigm

Christianity Today recently posted a groundbreaking article by Amy Peterson called  Farewell to the Missionary Hero, and there are a few reasons why I feel it is extremely timely and essential to the movement I’m trying to build around a new missions paradigm. I’ve been noticing a trend lately in modern missions that excites me, a trend rising up out of the desire for the authentic, un-romanticized accounts of missionary life. This trend is a gathering hunger for a shift in the way we think of and do missions. This new missions paradigm is a hunger for a breakdown of the harmful stereotypes

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when you feel overwhelmed

When You Feel Overwhelmed

“Beauty will redeem the world.” -Rectify, Sundance channel   The days are slipping away fast now, the leaves from the fig tree alighting to the ground, yellowed by drought, the California summer waning into fall showers. Life has been busy lately, the kind of maddening pace where your soul feels squeezed in between to do lists and commitments, when you just feel overwhelmed. What is snuffed out in that suffocating space is the ability to be contemplative, the ability to breathe in and out, and surrender the anxiousness underneath. Sometimes in these seasons we have to stop and crawl up

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