The Writers

Leadership Team

A Life Overseas photoMarilyn Gardner. Chief Editor, Monthly Contributor. Marilyn grew up in Pakistan and as an adult lived in Pakistan and Egypt for 10 years. Marilyn has birthed 5 kids on 3 continents and currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, fifteen minutes from the International Terminal at Logan Airport. She heads back to the Middle East as much as God allows but in the mean time works with immigrant populations in the Boston area.  She loves God, her family, and her passport in that order. She blogs at: Communicating Across Boundaries.



Elizabeth TrotterElizabeth Trotter. Content/Guest Editor, Monthly Contributor. After a military childhood, a teenaged Elizabeth crash landed onto American civilian life. When she married her high school sweetheart, her life plan was to be a chemical engineer while he practiced law. Instead, they both fell headlong into youth ministry and spent the next ten years serving the local church. When her husband later decided he wanted to move overseas, Elizabeth didn’t want to join him. Now, after three years of life in Cambodia, she can’t imagine doing anything else. Elizabeth loves math, science, and all things Jane Austen. Days find her homeschooling her four children, while nights find her eating hummus by the spoonful. Follow her blog at and visit her corner of Facebook at trotters41.



andy Andy Bruner. IT Specialist. Andy is a TCK who spent varying lengths of time growing up in Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Waxhaw, NC. He met his wife Kay at Bryan College and off they went in 1993 to the Solomon Islands to help the Arosi people translate the New Testament. The NT was dedicated in 2005 despite his best efforts to derail his marriage and career. Since 2007 he has been working as the finance systems manager for SIL Int’l in Dallas, TX. Andy doesn’t consider himself a writer, in fact it’s a painful ordeal. He does however believe that telling his story is worth the pain. You can read his one and only blog post here.



Jonathan TrotterJonathan Trotter. Monthly Contributor. Jonathan lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with his wife of fourteen years and their four kids. He serves with the church planting mission Team Expansion, inviting people to follow Jesus through storytelling and Disciple Making Movement principles. In addition to his work with Cambodians, Jonathan also loves learning from and sharing with international teenagers (and their parents), and regularly speaks at events aimed at expat youth. Before crossing the Pacific, Jonathan served as a youth pastor for ten years and worked as a trauma nurse for three. Jonathan felt the pull of international missions from the time he was nine, although he detoured through studies in law and nursing before finally arriving in Asia, his heart’s new home. | facebook: trotters41 | twitter: @trotters41


Monthly Contributors

Rachel Pieh Jones. Rachel Pieh Jones is the mother of three (including twins) and the wife to Tom Jones (not the singer, better). Rachel has lived in Somalia and Kenya. She currently lives in Djibouti, the hottest inhabited country in the world, where she has been sweating, running, failing, learning about and from Islam, trying to see Jesus clearly, and writing about it for the past nine years. Rachel has written for the New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, EthnoTraveler, Running Times, RELEVANT Magazine, the Desiring God blog, and others. She is also a contributing writer at SheLoves, published a cookbook Djiboutilicious, swims with whale sharks, and loses to her children at hula-hoop battles, Lego-building, and anything craft-related. Visit her blog at: Djibouti Jones, follow her Facebook page or on Twitter @rachelpiehjones.

Richelle Wright. Richelle is a disciple of Jesus,  wife to “Mr. wRight” (and yes, she HAS heard that joke many times over the past 18 years), mama chasing after eight marvelous gifts and the zookeeper to two dogs, four cats, two goats, four pigeons, a family of hedgehogs and, for the moment, one chameleon. Other current “employment” includes teacher of TCKs, swim instructor, Bible study facilitator, Zarma literacy worker, donut maker and full-time remover of the Sahara Desert which always seems to be infiltrating her home. After growing up in Oklahoma, she’s since spent time in inner city Boston (might as well have been a foreign land), Bangladesh, Thailand, Québec City and Niger. Home, for this season of life, cycles between Niger and mid-Michigan. She and her husband serve with a mission organization producing evangelistic and discipleship audio-visual tools, writing children’s radio dramas, assisting Nigerien church planters, encouraging the development of local Christian education and teaching women to read. She began blogging primarily so the grandparents would know their grandkids; Mr. wRight now encourages her to continue writing – internet connection cooperating. After all, it’s cheaper than therapy! You can find her online at Our Wright-ing Pad (family stuff and her personal musings) as well as at (ministry dedicated).



Kay Bruner. Kay Bruner was born in Buffalo, New York and grew up in Brazil, Nigeria, and the wilds of Kentucky. She and her husband have raised their four children in Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and the great state of Texas. Kay is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and divides her work days between counseling and writing. She is the author of As Soon As I Fell and blogs at | facebook: kaybrunersblogfriends| twitter: @kay_bruner

She is available for counseling at her office in Dallas or via skype at a discounted rate to clients overseas.  For more information go to:


abby2Abby Alleman.
 A farm girl at heart, Abigail (Abby) loves the surprising stories God writes. Since her first plane trip at the age of twenty landed her in Barcelona, Spain, Abby knew her life would never be the same. She holds degrees in both Math and Spanish and is a former high school teacher. She has served as a translator and short-term missionary in Latin America and inner city Philadelphia. But her most treasured journey is when her big dreams came crashing to the ground, when heartbreak and humility brought her home to her family, God and eventually right to her husband, Jared. They have worked with the student ministry of CRU for nine years in both the U.S. and Hungary, her current home. She has three small kids who are lovingly called ‘sour cream blonde’ in the streets of Budapest. She blogs her life and love of story at Abigail Alleman (


anisha headshot 1Anisha Hopkinson. Anisha grew up in Houston, Texas and realised in her teen years that emotional insecurity and a driving desire to prove your worth makes for, well… She got busted. A few more screw-ups later Jesus met her in a fit of tears, forehead to the bedroom floor. She’s been captivated by the soul mending power of the gospel ever since. At 19 Anisha set off for her first term in missions scrubbing decks and toilets on a hospital ship in West Africa. She now lives in Indonesia with her British missionary helicopter pilot husband, homeschools their wildly adventurous son, and uses written and spoken words to share Jesus with anyone who’ll listen. Anisha journals on


Amy YoungAmy Young. Amy recently returned to the U.S. after living around 20 years in China (most recently in Beijing). Unbeknownst to her and her family, the seven months after she returned were the last seven months of her dad’s life. He died fairly unexpectedly, dropping them off the tilt-o-whirl of death one short week after they stepped on it. She hasn’t mentioned a husband or kiddos, because there aren’t any. As she’s cruising towards 50, this isn’t a point of pain or regret for Amy. She’s lived, and Lord willing, will live, a full, rich life; though returning to the States one of her culture bumps is the gender limitations in many churches. It wasn’t this way overseas as much, and that’s one of the hardest parts of this mid-life transition. As you can see, she’s got things to talk about, and she looks forward to the conversations and bunny trails here at A Life Overseas. Amy is an editor for Velvet Ashes (among other roles) and blogs personally at The Messy Middle, whose tag line is “where grace and truth reside.” She finds that people tend to be drawn to grace, grace, grace OR truth, truth, truth. But real life happens … in the messy middle, with both.


ctCraig Thompson. Craig and his wife Karen, along with their five children, served as missionaries in Taipei, Taiwan, for ten years before returning to southwest Missouri. His experiences, as well as conversations with other cross-cultural workers, have made him more and more interested in member care and the process of transitioning between cultures. Craig blogs at



Quarterly Contributors

Alece HeadshotAlece Ronzino. After pioneering and leading a nonprofit in South Africa for 13 years, Alece now lives in Nashville, TN. She is a Nonprofit Communications & Development Strategist, a freelance copywriter/editor, and the founder of One Word 365. She blogs occasionally but candidly about searching for God in the question marks of life and faith. Follow Alece on Twitter and visit her blog, Grit and Glory.



Lisa McKay. Lisa is a mother (she is also an author and a psychologist who specializes in trauma and resilience, but during these foggy days of early parenthood those other identities sometimes feel remote indeed). Raised in Australia, Bangladesh, the States, and Zimbabwe, she has also lived in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Croatia. She is currently living in Laos, where her husband works for a development organization. When she is not busy saying things like “no eating, that’s yucky”, “give it to Mama”, and “pat the dog gently”, she is writing. Her award-nominated first novel, My Hands Came Away Redis set in Indonesia and tells the tale of a short-term mission gone horribly wrong. A memoir, Love At The Speed of Emailexplores the notion of home and tells the unlikely story of how she met her husband via email while he was living in Papua New Guinea. You can visit her website and blog at LisaMcKayWriting.


Tara Livesay.  Tara is the mom to seven unique personalities and wife to her best-friend, Troy. The Livesays have been living, learning and working with women in Haiti for seven years. During that time they have come to recognize that God is not made manifest in their ability to “fix” anything, but in their own need to be fixed. Tara is a slow and aging distance runner that enjoys writing, potato chips, diet coke, and spending time with her family. She is a self-confessed cynic and a hard core realist. (No one has ever accused her of being an optimist.) She is passionate about maternal health and is pursuing her midwifery certification while she works in a relationship-based maternity center serving women before, during, and after labor and delivery. She writes regularly at:

Chris Lautsbaugh. Chris lives in Muizenberg, South Africa. He serves with Youth With a Mission (YWAM), teaching and training missionaries and church leaders. Together with his wife Lindsey, they lead and steward training programs and ministries in and around Cape Town, reaching out to under privileged communities, planting churches, and meeting needs associated with the issues South Africa faces. They have been in missions for 35 combined years. They serve together with their two boys, Garett and Thabo. The boys keep them hopping and performing as taxi drivers for all their various activities. Chris loves coffee, watching sports, and traveling.  Chris blogs at and has published a book on grace, Death of the Modern Superhero: How Grace Breaks our Rules. You can follow him on Twitter @lautsbaugh or on his Facebook page for NoSuperheroes.



Laura Parker. As a child, Laura wanted to be Amy Carmichael, and in college, she wanted to be an English teacher living in an African hut. When her first attempt at overseas missions became an epic failure, lasting three months instead of several years, she began to think that foreign ministry was perhaps more difficult than the books made it out to be. This was a truth made clear during her second stint living overseas, this time with three small children, in SouthEast Asia. As a freelance writer and avid blogger, Laura wrote gritty and honest about her time in the field, building a community of missionaries, hungry for authenticity about  the difficulties of living overseas. In addition to writing for her personal blog, LauraParkerBlog, Laura has also been a freelance writer and photographer for Compassion International. She has been published in RELEVANT Magazine, MomSense magazine, a Deeper Story, {In}Courage, SheLoves and other online websites. Currently, she is the Vice President of Communications  for a counter-trafficking NGO, theExodusRoad, which was founded by her husband. You can find her at her personal site, LauraParkerBlog and can follow her on twitter at @MrsLauraParker.


Angie WashingtonAngie Washington. Angie recently returned to the United States after living the adventure with her husband and their five kids in Bolivia for over a decade. Together they have started: multiple bible schools, an international office for equipping Latin leaders through media and conferences, a local church, a K-12 Christian school, and an orphanage. She has a personal blog called “The @“. Her blog topics range from street art to adoption to cooking with gas. Through her writing she hopes to push people to love God, love people and enjoy life. Straddling hemispheres creates a continual need for her to rely on Christ… and coffee!  Facebook: atangie Twitter: @atangie

Past Contributors

Sarah GoodfellowBut Now to Live the Life
Adele Booysen.
Kelley Nikondeha. / @knikondeha
Dustin Patrick. @dustinpatrick 
Levi Benkert. BringLove.In / @levibenkert
Justin Scheneider. @JustSchneider


If you’d like to guest post for our site, please email Elizabeth at and write Guest Post in the subject line.