Today, for the first time in my life, I stepped inside a Hindu temple.
The first thing I noticed was the air. Thick and heavy, like a weight on your chest. I don’t know for sure whether it was spiritual oppression, the power of suggestion, or simply the smell of incense that made it difficult to breathe. The temple sprawled out like a museum display, with little deities grinning out of marble boxes like painted dolls. Waxen candles glittered from dark corners of the room. Fervent worshippers, their eyes closed in prayer, muttered and moaned in unfamiliar tongues. Somewhere behind me, a bell clanged. I jumped and turned, tearing my gaze away from the smiles of statues in glittering gold.
Today we’re thrilled to welcome Ellie Ciccarelli, a vibrant Colorado native who found new purpose in the mountains of Kenya, were she now serves the Digo people with Africa Inland Mission. The honest thoughts in this post first appeared on Ellie’s blog, Kenya Digo It?
The next time you want to ask me, or any global worker, why we’re so tired, please read this first.
Have you ever lived abroad? Have you ever lived among another people group? Have you ever stuck out like a sore thumb no matter where you turn? Have you ever tried to speak a different language 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Have you ever had to be conscious of everything you said, you did, you wore, you ate, you implied, all the time?
A friend of mine lives with her husband, helping migrants in Asia. She amazes me, you know. There are 40-50 malnourished kids who gather in their compound for a healthy meal and vitamins before school (my friend’s home is half home, half community center). They run businesses out of their home, training and empowering community members. They shuttle people to the hospital at all hours. They run a summer program, where kids are tutored by their teenage neighbors so they can excel in school.
All this isn’t just talk: We want you to actually go there–and experience serving Him and loving them well. Enter our brand-new Adventures tab, showcasing experiences to help you get a taste–and a little training–for crossing cultures immersively.
Today, we’re hosting Cafe 1040. They exist to help mobilize the next generation of global workers to the 3.1 billion people have little to no access to the story of Jesus. We invite young adults to come walk alongside long-term global workers to see what their life could look like telling the story of Jesus among an unreached people group. Check out their Go. Serve. Love page here.
Taking his newly-acquired Arabic out for a spin in a Muslim country, Adam* thought he was asking for a large water. What he really said? “I want the greatest water.”
“No, no, no,” said his waiter in Arabic, “You want a big water. God is the greatest. You want a big water.” An excellent distinction.
Imagine we’re sitting down at that great little nook of a coffee shop downtown: matcha latte for me, triple espresso for you (feel free to improvise. You just looked kind of tired). I’m like, Hey. Great news. Finally decided what I want to do with my life.
You: Sweet. What’s the verdict?
Me: Concert pianist, baby. Booked the concert hall for Friday.
You: Um. So. How have the lessons been going?
Me: No need, my friend. This is God’s calling for my life. All I need to do is sell some tickets!
Answer from Paul, who served in Uganda and Rwanda for two years.
When you want a job you usually put on your best for your prospective employer; it’s like a first date, you hide all the bad and accentuate the positive. Unfortunately, I discovered after two failed attempts to work with agencies, this not a good way to “get married” to a sending organization.
Today Go. Serve. Love is pumped to welcome back Rachel Pieh Jones–marathon runner, camel rider, mom, cookbook author of Djiboutilicious, and general all-out lover of Djibouti. This post originally appeared on her blog, Djibouti Jones.
From Rachel’s blog, Djibouti Jones:this post has stirred up controversy and passion that I confess I was naively not prepared for. I understand that many feel judged and I can see why and I apologize. This is not a list of commandments and it is a list of things I have done/still do. It is not a call for feelings of guilt or failure. It is not a perfect list based on research or facts. Mostly, it was meant to be a fun way to look at the choices we make as expats, with tongue-in-cheek sarcasm, which doesn’t translate well via the written word. I’m not going to change the post to soften the reactions people bring to it, I’m simply saying that I hear you, I’m sorry to have caused offense, and I’m human, both as an expat and as a blogger.
Hey all you expats…here are some things we need to stop doing. You’ll last longer overseas, enrich your time, leave a more positive impression, and you will never be the same. (Confession: I’ve done/do all of them myself, so an added bonus, #21 Remember no one is stagnant.)
Today Go. Serve. Love is stoked to welcome Rachel Pieh Jones–a marathon runner, a camel rider, a cookbook author of Djiboutilicious, and a general all-out lover of Djibouti. This post originally appeared on her blog, Djibouti Jones.
From Rachel’s blog, Djibouti Jones: I have been wrestling with how to write about this for months. Starts and stops, lots of unfinished first sentences and barely coherent lists. Then I read this essay after the Rick Warren and race conversation flared up. When White People Don’t Know They Are Being White by Jody Louise on Between Worlds. She is humble yet forthright in the piece, a balance which is incredibly challenging to achieve around such a sensitive and potentially volatile topic. She spurred me on, inspired me, and clearly, informed the title of this post.
I’m giving you loads of links here that will lead to other links and I encourage you to take the time to read this stuff. I have been and don’t think I’ll ever be the same. It is hard, challenging, might make you angry. That’s okay, wrestle with it. Join me as I wrestle with it.
I am not surprised by, but continue to be disappointed in, the western attitude toward the developing world. It is an attitude I see often, though not exclusively, among Christians. It is an attitude of superiority, a god-complex. An attitude that communicates an underlying assumption, intentionally or not, that the rich westerner is the one with power and authority and agency. As this is communicated, of course the opposite is communicated as well. The local person is weak, a victim, and helpless. The rich westerner must charge in to fix things, build things, challenge the status quo.
There are times in cross-cultural work–in those nuanced, complicated relationships–that the differences dividing us seem simply too overwhelming. How can we possibly connect when we can’t even agree on that?