February 26, 2024
Gospel, Resilience, Hardship

Does the spread of the gospel require a time of peace?

Many of our readers know that my wife and I were missionaries based in Ukraine until shortly before the war broke out in that country. In another post, I have written about how I realized that we were in fact refugees. Since then, I have been praying daily for the war to end and for the restoration of peace in this country. Although a few expatriate missionaries remain in the country, most like us, have returned to their home countries or relocated to another country, often to work with Ukrainian refugees. We think it would be better for the work of missions if the country was free from the suffering, destruction and loss of life that war brings. If the war would only end, we could once more focus on the work of the kingdom. Before the war, my mission organization focused on equipping and sending Ukrainians out as cross-cultural… Read the whole post
Training, Assessment Tools, Resilience

Do we naturally look for shortcuts?

In my previous blog post, I reviewed a book that argues that there are no shortcuts in missions. Why was this book written? Because supposedly we like to find shortcuts! Those who study cultural differences tell us that Americans and Canadians have a strong short-term orientation. Americans have a reputation for their fast pace of life and desire for quick results. We see their desire for instant gratification in the prominence of American fast-food restaurants and the fact that the USA has the highest average national credit card debt in the world.1 See 30 Credit Card Debt Statistics – 2023 Update | Balancing Everything. So we should not be surprised that shortcuts to achieve mission results are a hot topic in our North American churches. At the same time, it is also not surprising that those who understand the American preference for quick results are cautioning us about adopting these… Read the whole post
Hardship, Resilience

The kingdom of God – in clay pots

The weakness of the kingdom In the past couple of blog posts, I have talked about the weakness of the kingdom of God. By this I mean, the kingdom that Jesus proclaimed and inaugurated was a kingdom that was not impressive or powerful. Jesus came to an inconsequential Jewish backwater province as an itinerant preacher, without status, money or military might. He saw the need of the people, and sought to address it, but his kingdom was sorely understaffed. To the disappointment of his little band of followers, the movement he started did not expel the Roman conquerors. Instead, this humble king was arrested and executed as a criminal by these Romans. His poor, uneducated and apparently unreliable disciples, were deemed incapable of carrying on the vision of this upstart king. But Jesus’ kingdom proved to be remarkably resilient and defied all expectations. Crucifying the King did not destroy the… Read the whole post
Hardship, Missionary Roles, Christ, Gospel

The Kingdom of God: what you see is what you get

Gordon D. Fee | Faculty | Regent College (regent-college.edu) A few months ago, I saw the news that one of my professors in graduate school, Dr. Gordon Fee, died at the age of 88. Dr. Fee taught with fervor and intensity, often slipping unconsciously into passionate preaching in the middle of a lecture. He was also an excellent biblical scholar. For many years, he served as the general editor for the acclaimed New International Commentary series. I am very grateful that I had the privilege to learn from him. The absolutely crucial term for understanding Jesus My favourite course with Fee was on the life and teachings of Jesus. I sat spellbound in one of the front rows of the lecture hall as he unpacked the message of Jesus from the four Gospels. When Dr. Fee came to Lecture #13, “The Proclamation of the Kingdom”, he announced that this was… Read the whole post
Character, Cross-Cultural Living, Book Reviews, Learning Attitude

Global Humility – A book, a challenge, a prayer

Editor’s note: This book review was originally posted on the blog, A Life Overseas. It is reposted with permission from the author, Marilyn Gardner. Marilyn grew up in Pakistan and as an adult has lived in Pakistan, Egypt, the United States, and most recently Northern Iraq. She currently lives in Boston where she works with community health workers from immigrant and refugee communities. You can find her blogging at Communicating Across Boundaries. This review of the book Global Humility was written in 2018, just after she moved to Northern Iraq. “Building bridges means moving beyond my enclave of cultural comfort, moving to a place of cultural humility and willingness to learn.”   Marilyn Gardner, Between Worlds, Essays on Culture and Belonging  Five weeks ago we moved from an apartment in the multicultural city of Cambridge, Massachusetts to an apartment in a city nestled beneath the kewa rash (black mountains) of… Read the whole post
Hardship, Stress Management

Is It Possible to Parent Well?

Editor’s note: This blog post was originally posted on the blog, A Life Overseas. It is reposted with permission from the author, Abby Alleman. She previously served overseas as a missionary with her husband and three children. Now she and her husband touch the lives of refugees through the ministry of the Welcome Network. Learn more about Abigail at her blog and website (abigailalleman.com). Follow her on Instagram @abigail.allema. Can I as a missionary parent well? Somewhere between the 1,100-mile move and the wheels falling off (not literally, but figuratively) of our family’s parenting vehicle, I asked the question: ‘Is it possible for me, as a career missionary, to parent well?’ It seems I crucify myself between two thieves: Fear and Self-Doubt. And there are probably a million other places I can go which defeat me as a parent. But, fellow cross-cultural parent, I am not writing this for any… Read the whole post
Hardship

Should missionaries work long hours?

I have observed that missionaries are no longer quite as willing to talk about how many hours we are working. Have you noticed the difference as well? I used to see it as a badge of honor that I had worked more than 60 hours in the past week. I am not so sure that I would admit that today. Would my colleagues see me as a workaholic or unbalanced in my priorities? I also must acknowledge that I don’t have the same level of energy as I did 30 years ago. My work weeks rarely if ever exceed sixty hours these days, whereas when I was a first-term missionary, they were commonplace. As missionaries, we still like to say that we are busy. But in contrast to what I remember from 30 years ago, we are now much more likely to think that something is wrong with us or… Read the whole post
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