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
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 that cratered larger than physical exhaustion. It wanted to swallow me whole. Last week, I hit a wall. A sense of being so done. Ever have one of those weeks where Murphy’s Law is excruciatingly apparent? Everything that can go wrong, does, all at the same time?
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
I want to begin first by saying this isn’t a political post, this is a love post. This isn’t about whether or not you are Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, whether you’re concerned about national security or whether you’re concerned about refugees. This is about being human and this is about our call to love one another. This is about empathy and compassion and about moving beyond our fear and standing for what’s right. This is about having a conversation. If we have a heart for missions, this might be the greatest need of our time, right now, to
We’ve all been there. Our very first missions trip probably looked a lot like us taking a million selfies with African babies, or handing out soccer balls at an orphanage. Fifteen years ago, I was just as guilty. My first trip as a 19 year old resembled this and that makes me sad. But growth is about learning from our mistakes and parlaying that into positive change. In recent years, a parody Instagram account called Barbie Savior that started as a joke has gone viral. It depicts all the things that are wrong with “voluntourism” overseas. If you haven’t seen it,
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 don’t have to buy into the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success.” -Arianna Huffington, Thrive I’ve been humbled overwhelming response around my recent article, What I Wish I’d Known About Missionary Burnout. After sifting through numerous comments and emails, my heart ached with a common thread: The voices of so many of you rising up, bravely admitting to yourselves that you might already be burned out and asking what you should do next. It’s been two and a half years and I still feel like I’m answering this question. The good news is, you’ve taken
Two years ago, I left the red-earthed Africa that I loved and landed awkwardly into a new life in San Francisco, lugging six giant suitcases that held all my worldly possessions. I had been running Zion Project for seven years at that point, spending nearly six of those full time as a missionary in Uganda. I had returned America for many reasons, one being that I was very close to burnout. I wasn’t able to admit that to myself at the time, because in my mind, I still could have kept going, but stress, daily life running a non profit, and the
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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