Don’t wait for someone to come forward

by Amy Young on December 15, 2017

People, I have been praying for several days about what to share this month. Every idea I had was . . . fine. But in none of the ideas did I sense God say, “That. That is the post for this month.”

Until this one.

We are going to talk about sexual impropriety, so if you need to take a pass because this post might trigger traumatic flashbacks, please do. Peace be with you my friend.

It seems the U.S. is facing a time of reckoning when it comes to men in power, female subordinates, and sexual impropriety. Actors, directors, sports casters, politicians, chefs, news reporters. The list goes on. Some of the men are truly scummy, some seem to be good guys who have one area of their lives very much hidden and in the dark.

While this reckoning is long overdue, in every incident I’ve seen on the news and social media there is one common refrain: So and so is facing allegations.

I applaud every victim who is able to tell her (or his) story. I also applaud those who have not shared; you live with your story every day, it is yours to choose when to share.

Each story has broken because a victim came forward. Not once has the accused come forward first and said, “I am going to take a leave from my job, go to counseling, learn how to handle my power, and work on making amends.”

As the numbers grow, I keep wondering “Who is going to model what healing, restoration, and redemption look like?” Which network or profession is going to be the first to take a risk and after a person has done the hard and necessary work, allow them a place at the table.

This is my hope for us as a community of Christ followers. We know sexual impropriety exists on the mission field. We will not get a pass on this reckoning.

But we can get ahead of it.

During my years in China, I heard almost every way a person could sexually sin. Not all situations required drastic measures, but all required taking the situation seriously and having frank discussions with plans for addressing it. In lives where it felt like the bottom fell out, often the person (and family) needed to leave the field for a season. But that was not the end of the story! With the hard work of excavating the soul, identity, and personal power, change and even returning to the field occured.

If you are currently embroiled in sexual impropriety, it will come to light. I do not know when. I do not know how. But if you are hoping your story won’t be found out, that is a fool’s bet.

Tell someone today. You are carrying a secret that will take more of your time, energy, and relationships until it steals everything. Christ died so that you no longer have to be a slave. Be a part of showing the world the world that not only did Christ come to save “them over there;” he also came to save actors, directors, politicians, athletes, news reporters, and you.

If you are the victim of sexual impropriety within your organization, find someone safe and report it. I am sorry for your experience.

If you are in leadership in your organization, please create space to talk as a leadership team about the subject of sexual impropriety in your organization. To not put this on your “to-do” list. Send an email right now to get the ball rolling. With others in power ask: how are we going to foster discussions within our organization? What resources can we offer to people? What is our plan when these situations start to be reported in our organization?

This post isn’t about resources. It is a warning.

Our day of reckoning is coming. Let’s get ahead of it.

My hope is that it is also a day of redemption.

This may be an odd Christmas post. But isn’t this why Christ came?

God with us—even in this messy world he loves dearly.


(Resources welcome in the comments.)


40 Ways to Build Community Overseas

by Anisha Hopkinson December 12, 2017

Community: When it’s good, it’s so good! When it’s bad, it’ll knock the stuffing out of you. Trust me, I’ve been a part of both. Moving overseas, this longing for good community seemed to increase a hundred fold in me. It’s so easy to feel isolated and alone even if we really aren’t. In my […]

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When You Find Love in Your Host Culture

by Editor December 11, 2017

by Nikole Opiyo It only took a week to realize that I was going to marry my husband. We had had feelings for each other, but realizing that I was a short-term missionary and he was a local, we buckled down and had a deep talk about the reality of the situation. That talk ended […]

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Angels from the Rooftops – A Christmas Story from Pakistan

by Marilyn December 8, 2017

There are some stories that remain in a family and become a part of our DNA. These stories are told year after year, but they never get old. Here is one of our stories that reminds me each year of the wonder of Christmas. My mom grew up in a small town in Massachusetts called […]

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Ask a Counselor: step back from the edge, my friends

by Kay Bruner December 5, 2017

Some of us here are overfunctioners. This means that we tend to do more than our fair share of everything. You name it, we do too much of it. Overfunctioners exist in the real world of regular people, but I think the missionary world tends to attract more than its fair share. After all, out […]

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A Letter to Christians Living in America from a Christian Living Abroad

by Jonathan Trotter December 4, 2017

I hear you. Some of you are angry and disenfranchised. I’m on Twitter. I know. You see the church and politicians wedded at the hip, and you throw up. You feel like the American church has sold her soul and is rejoicing about the bargain. You’re embarrassed, like a cool kid with an uncool mother, and […]

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Missions Means Choosing the Desert

by Amy Medina December 1, 2017

Earlier this year, I went through a season of insomnia.  A chaotic furlough, a new job, and lots of life change brought on anxiety, which bred sleeplessness, which bred more anxiety, until I was a mess. I lay awake many nights and begged God, “You know I need to sleep.  You know I can’t function […]

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Do You Need A Year Of Awesome In 2018? (A holiday-season rerun)

by Lisa McKay November 29, 2017

For this last post of 2017 here on A Life Overseas I thought I’d take a look back over my almost 40 posts here in the last five years and see if there was one that I felt nudged to re-vamp or rerun. Why a rerun? Well, the kids and I have been sick here […]

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For Those in Authority, Let Us Pray

by Craig Thompson November 27, 2017

One summer when I was in college, I worked at a Salvation Army day camp. We kept the kids busy with lots of activities, lots of playing, lots of singing, lots of eating, and lots of Bible lessons. During one of the teaching times on the lawn, one of the campers, a boy of about […]

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Missionary Road Rage

by Editor November 24, 2017

By Anthony Sytsma A couple months ago, to my wife’s dismay, I found myself rolling down the window of our vehicle and yelling at the driver of a taxi. It was during a traffic jam, and he had cut into my lane after passing vehicles on the shoulder and had then forced me into the […]

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Am I supposed to love people I don’t even know?

by Kathleen Shumate November 22, 2017

As we prepared to go overseas as missionaries, people often asked us: “Why Taiwan?” It was a good question. Out of the whole wide world, how did we choose to serve in Taiwan? These people may not have realized it when they asked, but as Christians—both missionaries and senders—we’ve built up a set of expectations […]

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The Challenge of Thankfulness

by Jerry Jones November 19, 2017

Blah. Blah. Blah. That was my gut reaction when I got this challenge recently. Identify three things that you are thankful for and start every day focused on them.  See what happens. In fairness to me — I come from a place where “thankfulness” has been sugar-coated, watered down, sucked dry and beaten to death.  A place where “count your blessings” […]

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