Since 2015, Samantha Johnson has been part of a team with Africa Inland Mission among the Digo people of coastal Kenya, which are about 0.1% Christian. Since arriving, she and the team have been studying language and culture, as well as establishing relationships within the community in hopes of being able to speak Jesus’ Good News to the soul-needs of the Digo. For Samantha, this often looks like house visits, spending time with mamas, drinking chai with the locals, holding their babies, and taking part in village life.
As a kid, I remember begging my mom not to make me go to funerals—even of great aunts and family friends. Death and dead bodies?
It’s that time again, y’all–where we corral good stuff from around the world that matters for your journey over there. But we’re not just spewing it out there: We want your dialogue. Check ’em out–and give us some thoughts.
If you’re headed to Africa, here’s a must-read. After my own [Janel’s] time in Africa, I was amazed at how the prosperity gospel was often furthering poverty and hindering the genuine growth of the Church. As Lindsay Steele reports, “As people have become desperate to rise out of poverty, many have looked to churches and seen their ticket to prosperity….This shift in focus is not only affecting believers and the Church, but it’s tainting opportunities for ministry to others, specifically to Muslims.” Read more here.
The International Mission Board gives a critical fly-by on animism, found everywhere from Oprah to Asia. Keep in mind that “People influenced by animism do not usually self-identify as animists, If asked what religion they practice, they are likely to pick the predominant one in their region—Christianity, Islam, Judaism,” author Jennifer Waldrep explains. But “it is the oldest way of seeing the world since Adam’s walk with God.” Could it be a critical factor in your intended region? Read up here.
Did you know Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Light, is November 6-10? Want to join in praying for this critical people group this season, beginning October 28? Especially if you’re headed to a Hindustan nation (read: Indian subcontinent), check out Pray 15 Days’ 15-day guide.
There are some well-aimed critiques being leveled at global work lately, which may make you question the validity of this work altogether. Amy Medina from A Life Overseas addresses some of the most painful and poignant criticism by authors/bloggers/podcasters like Corey Pigg, Emily Worrall, and Jamie Wright–the latter of whom writes, “I came off the mission field with a new mission which is to burn down missions.” This one is a must-read…and may explain a tiny bit of why Go. Serve. Love has recently released our self-assessments. Well done, Ms. Medina.
Joe Carter highlights landmarks in Korea’s timeline, to give us an idea what God’s been working on through the centuries. He ends with where Korea is today, including the South Korean church’s commitment to the Great Commission:
Despite having a relatively small population, South Korea is second to only the United States in the number of missionaries it sends across the globe. (In comparison to the United States, South Korea has a population—59 million—equal to California and Florida.)
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.
We’re stoked to welcome Laurence Knoop, formerly of the British armed forces and now a construction manager in East Africa with Engineering Ministries International (EMI). Working mostly in Uganda, Laurence not only builds buildings but develops the men and women on his construction site, who are regularly discipled (don’t miss this video about EMI’s incredible program). Among his many projects, Laurence has helped construct the secondary school campus of Katie Davis Majors’ Amazima ministries, of Kisses from Katie fame. He and his wife Jane just welcomed their first son. You can catch their engaging stories on Instagram (@laurence.p.k) or their blog.
I recently came across two opinion pieces – one old, one new – both written by atheists and both promoting the value of churches and religious organisations in international development.
We’re tickled pink today to welcome Jaimee Sekanjako. Jaimee has spend the past year and a bit living in the crazy-beautiful chaos of Uganda, East Africa. She spends her days designing water systems, toilets, and–as a civil engineer with Engineering Ministries International–having meetings on the controversial topic of urine diversion (her words, not ours!). She loves dark chocolate, rescuing dogs, and her husband Paul (not in that order). She’s proud of Paul surviving his first trip to Canada’s -42 degree winter, after meeting and marrying him in a story that could have only been written by God himself.
I was bent over the stove stirring a pot of something when my husband brought me the phone. The voice on the other end was musical, full of life and joy. I heard a sweet young woman say, “Auntie, I love you so much. I miss you and I can’t wait to see you. I want to hear all about your life.”
On this particular day, I needed those words. Needed them more than I even knew.
If you’ve ever stood in the middle of African worship, it’s…well, it’s pretty hard to stand still.
Gotta admit. At a refugee center staff retreat, I started as a mild observer. I marveled at the literal full-bodied movement and vocalization: music that took over my heart, my body. I was, um, really dancing (don’t necessarily try to picture it…) to worship for the first time. Moisture leaked from the corners of my eyes. Perhaps you can see what I’m talking about:
After a rousing snippet of this kind of worship in staff devotions the week before, I’d told the teachers, this is just a sliver of what the African church offers the world. Every culture has its own strengths, its own vibrant display of the image of God.
And when Jesus comes, I will have watched so many cultures become the truest version of themselves.