To Donate or Not to Donate?

by Rachel Pieh Jones on March 18, 2018

*This was originally published as Don’t Send Your Used Shoes to Africa on Djibouti Jones in 2014. I bring it up again because on a recent flight to Kenya, my husband sat beside a Kenyan small business owner. Her clothing shop sells locally made dresses using Kenyan materials and Kenyan employees. She said these used […]


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 […]


Good Samaritan or Gullible Sucker?

by Rachel Pieh Jones on January 23, 2017

A true confession of my confusion and black heart… I came out of my office, got in my car, and there was a taptaptap on the window. I wound down the window and chatted with the man standing there. “My wife just had a miscarriage,” he said. “She is bleeding. Can you help me?” This […]


Esta was my best kept secret for a long time. Esta comes to my house four days a week.  She washes my dishes, does my laundry (even ironing!), cleans my floors and scrubs fingerprints off the walls.  She cuts up fruit and cleans the windows and makes tortillas.  And even though all my friends in […]



From my spot across the room, I heard an older woman talking to a young intern. “It will get easier – I promise!” We were in a hard area. An area where poverty pounded the pavement and homeless gathered in shop doorways, waiting for their evening meal at any shelter they could find. The intern was […]


How to partner with a poor church without screwing everything up

by Craig Greenfield on September 15, 2015

Partnering directly with poor churches is a promising way to do mission for affluent churches. Skip the middleman and Go Direct is the mantra of this internet age. I personally like the idea of this approach because of the possibility it holds for real, long-term, mutual relationships to emerge between rich and poor. But if you’ve […]


Responding to Beggars

by Rachel Pieh Jones on April 2, 2015


I’m not even going to pretend to offer rules on how to respond to beggars. I’m not even going to define ‘beggar.’ There are lots of varieties of people who ask for money or help and I don’t like calling them beggars. I prefer to call them Saada or Abdul but for simplicity, I’ll call […]


Money Gives us Power over People

by Chris Lautsbaugh on February 24, 2015

Last month at A Life Overseas, we discussed the dangerous stories we can tell in order to raise funds. This requires further consideration if we provide funds, pay national workers, or are just generous in any way. While the debate on this one is hot and heavy, I doubt we can make absolute statements. “Always […]


Dangerous Stories

by Chris Lautsbaugh on January 22, 2015


Sometimes the stories we tell of those we minister to can become dangerous. I’ve been at this missions thing for 23 years now. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I often reflect on things I did in the past and cringe. Hindsight is always 20/20, but perhaps others can learn from my mistakes. One mistake […]


Avoiding Mission Drift

by Chris Lautsbaugh on October 29, 2014


We’ve seen Christian organizations publicly wrestle with change in recent times. InterVarsity is facing this pressure to allow non-Christians to be a part of their leadership. This is resulting in them being banned from certain campuses. Will they change some of their core values? World Vision battled with adopting new policies, leading to a back […]

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The Sign That Matters

by Kelley Nikondeha on July 21, 2014


  Five years ago we landed in Burundi. Around the small capital I noticed signs everywhere – signs of other NGOs present in the city with logos plastered on their large Land Cruisers, big placards at their local offices and signs out in the countryside wherever they had a project. The rampant self-promotion turned my […]


Dangerous Riches

by Rachel Pieh Jones on April 14, 2014

dangerous riches

I wrote last month about the troubling ways we sometimes talk about the poor – assigning the simplistic emotion of happiness while not allowing them a fuller, more complex array of human emotion. And about the way the poor are presented as inherently holy, simply because of their poverty. Today I want to talk about […]