July 13, 2024
Books, Learning Attitude

Recalling what you have read

Like many of you, I read a lot of books each year. Last year, I finished 63 and I should be pretty close to that number by the end of 2023. But reading a lot of books is not the same as being “well-read”. According to Collins Dictionary, “a well-read person has read a lot of books and has learned a lot from them.” How much have I learned – and how much of the learning can I recall? I frequently find myself trying to recall a book I have read on the topic we are currently discussing. Maybe someone is asking me for a book I would recommend. Or I am trying to find additional information about a topic that I am teaching. Or maybe I am just trying to support a position that I am arguing for, and I remember an idea from a book that I read… Read the whole post
Pre-field Training, Cross-Cultural Living, Spiritual Formation, Training, Adult Education

Why do missionaries need pre-field training?

A legitimate question When I first began leading our Member Orientation Program more than 10 years ago, I seldom, if ever, had to defend its legitimacy. All new missionaries assumed that they would need to go through the pre-field training program before leaving for their place of assignment. In fact, one of our greatest struggles was to convince new missionaries and their coaches that they should wait to enroll in Member Orientation until they had raised more of their support. The primary question was “When?”. When do I get to go to MOP? As we began conducting the training in the Philippines as well as in Michigan, a secondary question then became “Where?”. Where will I complete this training? But in more recent years, the questions have been different. Now we are dealing with the question of “Why?”. Why do I need to go through this particular pre-field training program?… Read the whole post
Lifelong Learning, Training, Coaching, Learning Attitude

Showing progress

We all want to see progress in our work. As disciples of Jesus, we long to see people’s lives change as they encounter Christ and his Word. We want to see churches planted, and then see those churches grow in size and in their impact on their community. But maybe we should be looking first of all for progress within ourselves. I have been a cross-cultural worker for more than 35 years. I believe that I have changed and grown in those three and a half decades. But do others see it as well? A few years ago a colleague told me that I led differently than I had in the past. I believe he said I had become a gentler leader. That was very encouraging for I realized that he had observed progress in me in areas that I really wanted to grow. It was also a reminder that… Read the whole post
Gospel, Disciple-making, Lifelong Learning, Book Reviews, Evangelism, Learning Attitude

Adopting the Mindset of a Scout

Why are some people more open to the truth? As missionaries, we want people to change their minds about God and their relationship to him. We frequently are dismayed at how unwilling people are to change their thinking. They resist beliefs that are at odds with those of their parents and culture. But thankfully, sometimes we encounter people who are amazingly willing to reconsider their beliefs and look seriously at the truth claims of Scripture. We rejoice at what God has done to prepare them for the Gospel. We may find out that there are circumstances and past events in their lives that have made them more open than their neighbours. But how do we describe this openness and how do we cultivate this openness in others and in ourselves? I believe we can find some answers in Julia Galef’s book, The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly… Read the whole post
Cross-Cultural Living, Book Reviews, Cultural learning

Cultural Views on Wealth

When I was growing up, my parents were very clear about what I should talk about with others in order to respect what our culture saw as being polite. There seemed to be a very long list of taboo topics that people weren’t supposed to talk about. I chuckle now as I think back to the line “and never, EVER discuss politics.” My, how things have evolved in my home culture in my lifetime!  Another topic one did not discuss was money. Wealth (or lack thereof), debt, spending habits and amount of one’s income were all generally off limits. We should not discuss these topics with people outside of our immediate family. I observed that this was an accepted cultural attitude—your money was no one else’s business. I remember once asking my parents if one of their friends was RICH. By their response, you would have thought I swore or something. But I guess asking… Read the whole post
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