Missions Theory

“Why didn’t they send a tractor?”

by Richelle Wright on July 18, 2014

The idea that much is expected of those who have been given much had been drilled into me as a boy. I saw giving back as my duty – a responsibility I’d accepted from a young age. Feeling the duty to help others after graduating from college, I signed up for the Peace Corps and [...]

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Missing God in Missions

by Chris Lautsbaugh on June 11, 2014

Over the last twenty plus years in missions I have learned we go through seasons. We are currently on a furlough, and it is times like these where you can see things in a way which brings greater clarity. There is something which slowly and subtely was missing from my missions. I was not misusing [...]

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10 Reasons You Should Be a Missionary

by Jonathan Trotter on May 16, 2014

Sometimes, we’re a pretty serious bunch, and sometimes, that’s ok. But when I was a teenager and our house had five kids in diapers (long story), my dad used to say, “If we don’t laugh, we’ll cry.” He was right, and we chose to laugh. A lot. (The five in diapers hadn’t learned this maxim yet, [...]

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My House Shall Be Called

by Jonathan Trotter on April 16, 2014

Photographing weddings got me through college. It also taught me about the Church. Sometimes, your day is spent with really happy people. Sometimes, it’s spent with really stressed out people. Sometimes, the really stressed out people turn into the really happy people. You get to be around radiant brides, people who dance but really shouldn’t, [...]

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What motivated you to go into missions? What keeps you going? Romance. I don’t know about you, but romance is what drove me into missions. The romance of being a great missionary, of changing an entire people group, of seeing a whole country turn to Christ. This romantic idea was first kindled during my children’s [...]

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Giving Good Gifts

by Kelley Nikondeha 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 [...]

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The Hard Questions

by Marilyn on March 26, 2014

It was late afternoon and the sun was slowly setting across the solid blue, desert sky. The call to prayer echoed across the city of a thousand minarets. My blonde-haired 7-year-old looked at me, her deep blue eyes serious. “Is Faiza going to Heaven?” We were living in Cairo, Egypt and Faiza was our baby sitter [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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Cigarettes, Multiple Wives, and Loving Jesus

by Angie Washington on March 4, 2014

Imagine a man native to the region where you live. He gets Jesus. Grows. Starts a church. It flourishes. The dozens become hundreds. Your little missionary heart bursts with pride to see this man so successful. The church secretary and the volunteers overlook his hot temper and his prejudice towards people of a certain skin [...]

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Their Purpose is NOT to Give Us Money

by Chris Lautsbaugh on February 18, 2014

There is a subtle mindset which can creep into our thinking as missionaries and social activists. We can begin to think that there are those who are called to go, and those who are called to give. Jesus himself said, ”The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the [...]

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Let Me Make Your Kid a Buddhist

by Laura Parker on February 12, 2014

In true A Life Overseas fashion, we are marking this our 200th post (!!!) with a difficult conversation about the ethics involved in working with children overseas. As always, thanks for making this place an open space to hash out the realities of this living-and-working-internationally-thing. We’re grateful for your insights, experience, and grace, and we’re [...]

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