HE SAID/SHE SAID. YOU SAY? “WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU’D KNOWN BEFORE YOU WENT?” PART II

Missed Part I? Grab it here!

“I wish I’d known how hard it really is.”

I would have gotten more cross-cultural training, especially focused on the culture to which I was going. I would have taken more time in language learning. But most of all, I needed realistic expectations.

Working in a foreign field is the same as being in a war. I know: I’ve fought in both. And the similarities are striking.

There is not much glorious about warfare. It may look exciting on TV or in the movies, but in the trenches it’s a lot of hard work. And the enemy has ambushes everywhere. Often you can’t tell the enemy from the friendly. And your friends get injured and killed. It hurts.

The culture won’t make a bit of sense. You’ll even resent the people sometimes, or think how they do things is ridiculous.

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Help Your Marriage Thrive Overseas! Part II

Missed Part I? Grab it here.

Like going overseas, marriage is a form of faith—even more in God than in your spouse.

And as C.S. Lewis has written, Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods.

All of us encounter those days where we’re thinking, if he throws his socks beside the hamper one more time, I am going to tell him exactly where he should put them. Or, Honey, I get hormones. But does PMS really last all month? 

And living overseas tacks on its own version. Did we really need to stay at a six-hour church service on your only real day off? Or, We set aside tonight for a movie night because we don’t even have the energy to talk. And now the electricity’s out. Again.

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Different Strokes? Marital Differences as You Look Overseas, Part II

Missed Part I? Grab it here.

“Should My Spouse Go Through Language Training if Not Headed into Formal Ministry?”

Someone asked my husband and I recently if they should both be enrolled in language school. Our answer? Unquestionably. Both spouses will be interacting with the culture–and both need to be mobile within that culture. Conversely, whoever doesn’t have language or cultural training will be handicapped at whatever level caps their interaction–not just for everyday life, but for ministry capacity. Imagine a person coming to your passport country without speaking your language. They’re reduced to functioning even less than the hearing impaired (who have sign language); they’re on the outside looking in, utterly isolated from anyone by their inability to communicate.

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Different Strokes? Marital Differences as You Look Overseas, Part I

One of the biggest stresses on my engagement wasn’t really the normal stuff–the wedding planning or whatnot. It was a phrase I’d rerun over in my head a hundred times: I don’t feel called overseas. Evangelism is not my gift. My husband-to-be surpassed the one I’d been looking for so many times over. And it really did seem God was leading us to marriage.

But was he?

Was I…selling out? I’d been headed in an overseas direction for years. What was I missing?

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#WFMW: Telling People You Love You’re Going Overseas

Ever had a friend whose passion occasionally outpaced his good judgment? Maybe you’re like, Dude. I love your heart. But you’re killing me.

You can see where I might be going with this. I’ve heard someone casually remark that one of the larger obstacles to your generation going overseas might actually be your parents. As possibly one of the most protected, safety-conscious generations in history, the struggle is real.

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“I want to go…I think. What should I do first?”

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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.

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Does Christianity destroy culture?

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.

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