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, it’s the motivation to leave everything behind and board that plane to an uncertain destination. Because this work of love and justice requires you are a little crazy. We need the idealism and enthusiasm on nights when we wonder why we ever came. Don’t wait.
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 in my vision, I became responsible not just for me, but for my team as well. This created layers of complexity I wasn’t quite sure how to navigate. More people meant more pressure, more consideration of other’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors, decisions and disagreements. I had the
“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
Trauma and loss happen to us all. Suffering is a part of life. But sometimes things occur and we don’t know or recognize it as trauma, or as something to be grieved. So we go on living, and eventually these traumas pile high inside us like dirty laundry and the burden begins to take its toll. The scary part about grief/trauma is that eventually it can escalate into cumulative grief which is built up grief after multiple losses which occur on a regular basis or within a short period of time. Think of a physical injury like a broken bone which is re-injured, making the pain more
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
“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
“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
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
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
I’m the kind of girl who likes to be prepared for everything. Before I leave for a trip, I print out a detailed spreadsheet of my packing list so nothing is forgotten. (Except for my pillow, which usually is) On the flip side, I love adventure. But I like to plan for adventure. There’s nothing more adventurous than giving your life away to missions, but just like every big road trip or endeavor into the unknown, we have to ask ourselves, “Are we prepared?” “Are you ready to be a missionary?” Honestly, it’s hard to find information out there to know
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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