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.
“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
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
“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
“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
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
“We seek our identities in the wake of painful experiences. We can endure great pain if we believe it is purposeful.” -Andrew Solomon- When we don’t get what we want, it throws our life into a certain amount of chaos. There is a deep desire to control, to force the world to bend to my will. But what if there is meaning in this suffering and like peeking over into a walled garden, perhaps I can discover a secret? I’ve been trying to get pregnant for over 11 months now. There are a myriad of reasons why this
Last year, I didn’t have any resolutions. After the devastating loss of my first pregnancy, saying goodbye to my Ugandan home, my dream, and the day to day management of the non-profit I’d built over the last seven years, to move from Africa to America, I think my resolution was merely “to survive.” I did this with an acute sense of lostness and an oozing red eye from pneumonia which I proceeded to get a week after leaving the Tropics. But I did choose a “theme” for the year. 2013 was the “year of health.” It was my goal to
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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