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 and criticizing short term missions/volunteer trips. There is everything out there from, “It’s a total waste of resources that could be better spent, to “It changed my life,” to “It’s self serving ” to “Where will my funding come from if I don’t let the
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 head that echoed with the fact that in leaving I had somehow failed. It seemed like so many things had gone wrong. And I blamed myself. When I left Uganda, I wondered if God still had a plan for me or if I’d somehow messed
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 to do anything not to lose him. What kinds of bargains we try and make with God in those moments. I don’t know if it was a him, but I imagine it so. So many times I blamed myself. Shouldn’t have been working so hard.
“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 missionaries and missions’ agencies can be especially devastating. In my life coaching work, I hear stories all the time of heartache, frustration, and hopelessness surrounding these relationships. In fact, a 1997 study by the World Evangelical Alliance found that conflict with peers was the TOP preventable reason North American
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 feel my legs perspiring against the wooden chair, the room stifling with heat. A fan whirred in the corner, but I could barely feel it. At one point this woman broke down, she pressed a dingy white handkerchief against her eyes, as though to hide
I still remember crying on my way home as I drove my gray Toyota Hilux truck through the red dirt streets of Gulu, Uganda dodging cows, and children, and potholes. I sobbed my way through the whole story on the truck bed of our grassy compound while my husband listened. The sunflowers wilting in the late afternoon heat mirroring my heart. I had a volunteer who I’d deeply loved and spent time training who wanted to leave and start her own identical economic project, bringing some of our women with her. I felt it had come out of the blue and it was
“Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart It was dry season in Africa, the sunflower heads wilting in the heat, thirsty for drops of rain. Somehow it felt strange to be celebrating Christmas in near 100 degree heat. We bought a miniature plastic tree and put it in the corner, but it looked kind of pitiful, like it was trying to pretend to be something it wasn’t. There were no
Recently, I went back home to visit my family in Virginia. There’s nothing quite like your family to bring out all your crazy. They know I love them to pieces, but for some reason when I’m around them I go into “fixing mode” nitpicking and criticizing about different behaviors and commenting on things that could be changed. (I’m sorry family!) Family is a pressure cooker that brings all your impurities to the surface. Maybe I’m trying to make up for months of not having as much influence in their lives because I don’t live close. Maybe I’m still working out this
This is part II of Why God Doesn’t Need Missionaries to be Martyrs. In the first part I talked about how God is not the author of our suffering. This doesn’t mean I believe suffering doesn’t have a role to play in our lives. I’ve written about how desperately we need a theology of suffering. But being a martyr as an act of devotion to God, and acting like a martyr because you think you have to, are two totally different things. Through my time living in Mozambique and Uganda, I learned as Christians and as missionaries we are called to enter into
You don’t have to sacrifice your spirit, your joy, your soul, your family, your marriage on the altar of your ministry. –Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect– I feel I’ve been learning lessons like this alongside Shauna these last four years. This book is wrecking me lately because it’s story I’ve been writing myself. Why God Doesn’t Need Missionaries to be Martyrs is a subject I’ve been wrestling through since I first went into missions over 10 years ago. I wrestled through it in Heidi Baker’s Iris school, I wrestled with it living in a difficult region of Uganda, and I’m confronted with it on
Writer. Missionary Coach. Recovering perfectionist. I want you to know that you are loved and already good enough. I am about helping people move from brokenness into wholeness. Together, we'll make a more beautiful world.
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