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?
Does she really have what it takes?!
That was the thought tumbling through my mind, straight up, as I levered my jaw off of the ground. Kathy had just informed me that she was heading for Honduras with a friend. By bus.
Informed, not asked. Decided, not considering. A young adult living with us for a couple months in western Guatemala trying to discern God’s leading and call. Quiet, reserved Kathy.
Seriously? Hmmm. Maybe she had more steel in her soul than I thought.
Today, we’re excited to hear from Rebecca Skinner. She’s an MK and TCK from Central and South America. Fun fact: Rebecca and her husband were one of the first couples to met on eharmony.com and get married! This September, they’ll celebrate 16 years of marriage alongside their twin boys.
The Perspectives on the World Christian Movement has turned Rebecca’s world on its head! She desires to see local churches strategically collaborate to take the good news of Jesus to every people, tribe, and tongue.
My first job out of college. A move into the unknown, blindly following God’s lead. The fear of putting myself out there in a relationship. The heart break of miscarriage. The joy of discovering how the way I was made could be amplified and put to task for God’s mission. Every speedbump or pothole or smooth stretch of land or triumphant finish line: Journaling has critically influenced it all for me.
We’re excited to welcome back global veteran David Armstrong. He’s set foot in 15 countries, and confesses that Crepes and Waffles in Bogota, Colombia is one of his favorite restaurants.
My kids spotted me as I rounded the corner two blocks from home–and started laughing and pointing. I was sporting the shortest haircut I had had since basic training. I tried to look confident.. I meant for it to be this short. I’m cool. Truth: I didn’t know how to tell the barber “too short”.
But it made me the winner of the “Most Mortifying Moment” prize that month–and paved the way for my kids to succeed. My too-much-off-the-sides demonstration: You can roll with this.
St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) was born into a wealthy, worldly Italian family under the original name of Giovanni Francesco di Pietro di Berardone. (Try saying that five times fast.) But upon his conversion, his life altered dramatically. He actually took the swanky clothes from his back and handed them to his father, longing to “imitate Christ” in a lifestyle of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
In the midst of his “great agony of doubt”, Francis sent a friend to ask others in the faith to pray for him. They separately replied the following:
God did not call you for yourself alone but also for the salvation of others. -St. Francis of Assisi Click To Tweet
“The Lord says you are to tell Brother Francis this: that God has not called him to this state only on his own account, but that he may reap a harvest of souls and that many may be saved through him.”
“He wants you to go about the world preaching, because God did not call you for yourself alone but also for the salvation of others.”*
This thought of going overseas can be nothing short of intimidating. But is there a chance God’s dreams are even bigger than yours?
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*As reported by Foster, Richard J. and James Bryan Smith, eds. Devotional Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups. New York: HarperOne (2005), pp. 295-296. Quotations from The Little Flowers of St. Francis.
This week, we’ve got a few tips on packing. (Don’t worry–there’ll be lots more to come.) When my family went over, I confess my 2 1/2-year-old maaaaaay have fallen over backwards after Mommy made his carry-on backpack a teensy bit full. It was amazing how many prayers of mine were offered on behalf of that poor British Airways attendant who would be checking in (and yes, offering a lot of grace toward) our family of six.
Here at GSL, we’re all about bringing you tools you can use to truly go there, serve Him, and love them well. So we’ve partnered with Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission to bring you today’s (totally printable) infographic: 7 Standards of Excellence.
Why do standards like these matter?
We acknowledge you may feel frustrated by patronizing “help” that actually hurts, or by work that makes us feel better but makes them feel worse, or by global work that continues cycles of poverty, or by missions trips that cannibalize employment.
Because loving well matters. Serving our King with excellent work matters. Christianity doesn’t destroy culture. Christianity makes culture come alive— and development, too.
Wondering if your efforts–or the organization you’re thinking of going with– are on the right track to sustainable, effective outcomes? Check out these 7 critical standards. And print them here!
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Go. Serve. Love is geared up to be hosting John Needham of Sweaty Pilgrims today. John is originally from the UK but lives in Islamabad, Pakistan, with his wife and children. He’s passionate about Jesus, writing, and peacemaking between people of different faiths.
The mega-church was huge. A semicircle of comfortable seats faced a large stage backed with three large TV screens. Cameras were positioned in the centre and on either side, relaying live images to the screens. The worship was led by a Malaysian man with several backing singers, both male and female. There were well over a thousand people in attendance, almost entirely young Malaysians.
I have an instinctive dislike for mega-churches. The kind of slick, prosperous message which they often pump out often seems to be at odds with the humility and simplicity of Christ: rather too much money lavished on TV screens and sound systems, perhaps it would be better spent on serving the poor. Yet this one didn’t seem especially prosperous, just large and energetic.
Go. Serve. Love is stoked to welcome David Armstrong today. A handful of unexpected facts about Dave:
- He has taken off in an airplane one more time than he has landed in an airplane.
- His current favorite character in the Bible: Balaam’s donkey.
- He could eat black beans and rice with hot corn tortillas every meal of his life.
- He’s set foot in 15 countries.
- He already has his ticket for 4 days straight of playing table games at “Geekway to the West” coming to St. Charles, MO on May 17th.
- He can shoot a rubber band 50% further than anyone else.
It was after church in Bogota one Sunday, all of us standing around and talking in the way so many Latino cultures love. Outside, one of the young college aged guys–with a big ol’ grin, no less–scuffed my new pair of kicks. On purpose. Like he was doing me an awesome favor.
Growing up with brothers had long ago convinced me that when you scuff a friend’s shoes, you run. Fast.