Quarterly Contributors

I have nothing to prove

by Kathleen Shumate on March 2, 2018

Sometimes I think I must be a fool. Of course, I know that much of my cherished wisdom is foolishness to God. And sometimes it’s foolish even in my own eyes. But what makes me feel quite foolish sometimes are the opportunities I’ve let go of. If you’ve given your life to missions and ministry, […]


Complicit no matter what we do? So was Jesus.

by Craig Greenfield on January 17, 2018

Ever get the feeling you’ll be complicit in injustice no matter what you do? I remember finding out that slave-labor was used to build natural-gas pipelines in Burma. Thousands of slaves were involved in clearing the land and in construction work along the 65km pipeline. So, of course I decided to boycott the French and British […]

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What Does God Want From Me?

by Abby Alleman on December 28, 2017

  I swayed back and forth perched on the swing. Looking out from the hilly courtyard of my flat, I could see the tall cement apartment complexes. They represented tens of thousands of people who needed to hear about Jesus. Just beyond what I could see, was a city of two million. The vast majority […]


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 […]


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

by Kathleen Shumate on 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 […]


10 Reasons Why Our Good Intentions to Fight Poverty Backfire

by Craig Greenfield on August 29, 2017

Good intentions to alleviate poverty are not good enough. Sometimes our helping hurts the “helped.” I hesitate to write these words, because I know how easily an article like this can be misconstrued, and even used to justify the opposite of generosity. “What’s the point of giving then?” you might be tempted to ask. “It’s […]


Can mold really be an adventure?

by Kathleen Shumate on August 23, 2017

Mold is my constant companion — and my undying enemy. I even composed a haiku for it, which anyone living in tropical regions will appreciate: Mold creeps in as spores Like fuzzy burglars intent On stealing my shoes It’s annoying. Not earth-shattering, just annoying. But sometimes you wouldn’t know the difference from my reaction. Jammed […]


Do You Know Your Host Nation?

by Abby Alleman on June 30, 2017

I sat along the edge of the Danube river. It was a cool, gray day. I was scratching out thoughts with pen and paper when I stopped and really saw them. The Shoes on the Danube Bank. Metal, weathered reminders of World War II when the people, mostly Jewish, who after being ordered to take […]


Help! My spouse doesn’t feel called to this.

by Craig Greenfield on June 2, 2017

I’m going to wade into this thorny area today, because it’s one of the most common questions I get via email from people: “What do I do when my spouse doesn’t have the same sense of calling to the poor, or mission, or ministry, that I do?” A common scenario is that one partner is gung-ho […]

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The Myth of the Ever-Happy Missionary

by Kathleen Shumate on May 26, 2017

I don’t know if anyone has actually said it, but sometimes I feel it in the air: missionaries are supposed to be Very Happy. We are supposed to land in our host country and immediately love everything and everyone around us, floating on clouds of ministry bliss. But sometimes we aren’t happy. Sometimes as much […]

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3 Kinds of Selfies You Should Never Take

by Craig Greenfield on May 8, 2017

This summer, church teams of young and old will don matching t-shirts and board a plane to some far-off place. But whether you are building houses in Mexico or volunteering at an orphanage in Guatemala – there is one item in your backpack that is GUARANTEED to undermine your ability to serve responsibly… The selfie […]


Who’s in Charge of us?

by Tara Livesay on April 28, 2017

A couple of days ago Christianity Today published and article titled “Who’s in Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?”  The subtitle was, “The age of the Internet has birthed a crisis of authority, especially for women.” As a result of changes in traditions and culture, partially born of the Internet, the article posed several questions. It […]