Africa

Reflections of God

by Chris Lautsbaugh on April 11, 2014

Many times in missions, we speak of the difficulties with greater frequency than the good things. We talk about racism. We speak of our various phases of culture shock. Stories of being hurt by those we work with abound. Even at times, we venture into difficult topics like trauma or loss. What of the positive? [...]

{ 29 comments }

Giving Good Gifts

by Kelley Johnson on March 27, 2014

The Batwa people live on the edges of Burundian society, marginalized in their own country. Local humanitarian workers tell tales of these people who thwart good gifts and show little gratitude, making them notoriously difficult to work with. One organization generously gave corrugated metal roofs for the thatch-constructed homes. But soon after the installation, the [...]

{ 11 comments }

Home Assignment Blues

by Richelle Wright on March 24, 2014

I remember when I used to think that teachers had the best job in the world BECAUSE they had a whole summer vacation. Many of my Nigerien friends think that that distinction actually belongs to missionaries on home assignment BECAUSE they have a whole YEAR vacation. Halfway through our home assignment year, halfway through our [...]

{ 17 comments }

Please Don’t Say, “They Are Poor But They’re Happy.”

by Rachel Pieh Jones on March 21, 2014

Katherine Boo talks about the western ‘conceit that poverty is ennobling.’ Tracy Kidder, in his book Mountains Beyond Mountains, quotes Paul Farmer, “There’s a WL (white liberal) line – the ‘They’re poor but they’re happy’ line.’ They do have nice smiles and good senses of humor, but that’s entirely different.” I am of the opinion [...]

{ 49 comments }

A New Racism

by Chris Lautsbaugh on March 18, 2014

Anyone working in missions will come face to face with the reality of racism at some point. Historically it has been an issue of skin color. In most nations black was wrong and white was right. I live and work in South Africa. Perhaps there has never been a nation where racism was more evident [...]

{ 9 comments }

Pardon My Dust

by Editor on February 28, 2014

I taste it on my lips after a long car ride. I feel it in the pores of my skin at the end of the day. I resign that no matter how much I scrub, my feet with never be free of it. I brush it from my children’s hair at night and from my [...]

{ 11 comments }

Today A Life Overseas welcomes Jody Fernando as a guest poster. Today Jody writes an insightful post on the ‘good life’ and the Christian message and it’s guaranteed to generate some good conversation. You can read more about Jody at the end. ****************** A deep bass beat rippled through the darkness of the dance club. [...]

{ 6 comments }

Ever seen a baby lizard dressed in Polly Pocket clothing?

by Richelle Wright on February 24, 2014

I have. I wish I had a picture… But I don’t. All I have is the memory. And that memory often gets me thinking about this fact. Sometimes, we missionary types take ourselves a little too seriously. We want to be effective,  impact lives, not just do what we do well but very well – [...]

{ 10 comments }

Tumbling in the Undertow

by Richelle Wright on January 29, 2014

I’ll never forget the first time I went body surfing. Only a tiny part of a much larger set of events, it remains vividly stamped upon my mind… Ten years old! Traveling – on a plane for the very first time that I could independently remember! On a trip with my swim team and without [...]

{ 9 comments }

The Dreaded Question: Where Are You From?

by Rachel Pieh Jones on January 27, 2014

A young white woman asked my daughter Lucy to spin the globe and point at where she was from. Lucy rotated the globe until her hand hovered over Africa. Before she could be more specific the woman laughed and said, ‘no, tell me where you are from,’ and spun the globe toward the United States. “I’m [...]

{ 52 comments }

Unforgettable

by Richelle Wright on December 20, 2013

When you live on the backside of the desert… in a land that has not traditionally recognized your favorite holidays and special life moments the way you always have… …it’s easy to feel at a loss as to how to make those moments special. Which sometimes encourages me to not look forward to those times. [...]

{ 10 comments }

A Philosophical (Running) Life Overseas

by Rachel Pieh Jones on December 6, 2013

Other posts in the series: A Practical (Running) Life Overseas (tips for starting to run as an expat) A Communal (Running) Life Overseas (building community while doing what you love) A Philosophical (Running) Life Overseas  I run with my iPhone. In an armband. With earphones. In Djibouti this makes me feel excessively wealthy, especially when I consider [...]

{ 10 comments }