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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Matthew Parris – columnist for The Times and “a confirmed atheist” – is convinced “Africa needs God,” and that Christian evangelism makes an “enormous contribution” to tackling poverty in developing countries. Duncan Green – strategic adviser for Oxfam and “a lifelong atheist” – asks “are grassroots faith organizations better at advocacy/making change happen?” and, after reviewing Tearfund’s report on their faith-based advocacy partnership with the Pentecostal Assemblies of God in Uganda, concludes that it is “powerful and convincing stuff.”
Jeff Boesel, Director of Mobilization for One Challenge, shares his story today.
I sat there, phone in hand, gazing out the massive, slanting windows of my control tower.
God had answered my prayer. Well. Correction. He’d just called my bluff.
In my tenth year as an air traffic controller God had begun an active stirring in the hearts of my wife and me. Lighting up like the Vegas strip, everything around us seemed to point to a move to become global workers.
Sure, both of our parents had done that. But we weren’t convinced that was our path. Still, we were praying.
We were praying that God would close the door.
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.