The reluctant missionary

"I had no intention of being here in France working with short-term outreaches," remembered OMer Paul. "I grew up in West Africa, the son of a missionary, and returned to England when I was seven years old. Although I had (and still have) great respect for my parents, theirs was not the life I wanted for myself. At the age of 14 I decided I wanted to be a teacher, so that’s what I did. Paul, French teacher extraordinaire! That lasted all of two years before I decided I’d had enough of that!"

When we lose sight

Sometimes it seems like much of my time is spent with the not-so-great parts of all that needs to get done," said OMer Anja. "Sometimes, or rather all too often, I lose sight. And when I lose sight, I wonder if I am the only one who feels this way. In those times, it is always the best choice to turn to God because He puts everything into perspective. His Word gives new sight because the Bible doesn’t just tell hero stories but portrays real humans, along with all their dirt. 

Am I doing enough?

"As an occupational therapist I do rehab and work with the families as best as I can, but as a foreign missionary working with poorer families I often have many more resources at my disposal than the locals do," shared OMer Beth. "Should I be giving money or the specialized equipment that the families often need? When does helping hurt those I’m working with? When does giving cause dependency on foreign resources and take away the pride and self-satisfaction of hard work of those who are on the receiving end?"

When art hits you between the eyes

"I believe the take-away from this is the truth that, when we create art, walking in the light of the presence of God, we have no way to control, predict, or even imagine what He will do through our art," shared OMer Chuck. "In fact, this truth applies to everything we say and do, but artistic expression seems to magnify this effect."

Nurturing a Long-Distance Relationship on the Mission Field: Part 1

Distance amplifies normal relationship struggles and areas of friction like differing expectations, miscommunications, scheduling challenges, balancing work/life, etc. Add the unpredictable, unique challenge of full-time ministry and missions life, and it’s a high-stress environment in which to nurture a healthy relationship. 

The good news is, it’s hard, but not impossible. 

Balancing Jesus and bone-writing

"If God were to give me the choice—be a successful writer or a missionary for the rest of my life—I can’t honestly say which I’d choose," shares OMer Andrew. "Neither one would be sinful; discerning God’s will is not asking yourself, 'What does God want me to do?' but rather, 'How can I use what I’m doing to glorify God?'"

Upholding His righteousness

"It had been a big week for us," shared Michelle. "Our older boys had started at the local Portuguese school and the mom in me was taking inventory of all the uncontrollable influences they would be encountering.  

Sighing, I heard Jesus whisper in my ear “be willing to be contaminated, as I was contaminated for you.” I looked around the mess I was walking in and began to picture the moment Jesus stood from His throne in heaven and walked out in order to take on the flesh of man. That in itself was a deep contamination for His Majesty. And yet, He did it, joyfully and willingly.  

Counted worthy to suffer

"Sometimes, we missionaries suffer in silence from a range of personal, work and spiritual issues," shares OMer Simon. "In those times, we cannot see Christ at work and simply want the emotional pain to subside. The weight of the conflict that rages inside us threatens to crush the ministry, our families and even our faith itself. We yearn for someone to talk to, someone who will actually listen and not just jump to a default response - “pray harder” or “pain and suffering is for your benefit.” 

Dreaming again

For over two years Chile had been Jessie’s focus; fundraising, making preparations and then diving into life in a new country. Focused on learning a new culture and making friends, it was nearly a year before Jessie realized she hadn’t given herself space, or time, to dream beyond her two year commitment in Chile.

Reverse cultural shock

I think sometimes we are afraid of what it could mean to give up everything and follow Christ. We try to explain it by saying “Jesus meant ... when he said that!” and start shaping our lives and Jesus into a version we are more comfortable with. A Jesus who wants us to live a balanced life, nothing too extreme (He would never ask us to leave our closest people behind!), and wants us to be comfortable and have an abundance of everything. 

I could choose to live my life as I once did  enjoying church on Sundays and seeking success based on what other people say: a family, a house, a car and a nice job. Or I could take an honest look at Jesus in the Bible and be willing to face the consequences of what might happen if I really believe and obey Him.