missions

A Prayer of Repentance

by Marilyn on February 9, 2019

To the women and girls of New Tribes Mission* Lord, we repent for the sins against children. We repent for having ears that were deaf and eyes that were blind. We repent for the loss of innocence and beauty – things that were stolen from children molested in the dark of night. We weep for […]

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The Missionary Life Cycle (in Five Stages)

by Jonathan Trotter on January 31, 2019

Like any really good assessment, these five categories are totally made up. There are no peer-reviewed studies parsing these five stages of cross-cultural work. There is no quantified, objective data set; still, please feel free to say you’re in “Stage 3 – Wing 4.” That would make me happy. And remember, if you say anything […]

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Clenched Fists and Heart’s Desires

by Marilyn on January 9, 2019

It’s a New Year here at A Life Overseas and as I type I’m looking out at the barely visible mountains that surround our home here in Northern Iraq. On clear days, you can see the snow-covered mountains in Iran and they are beautiful. Today as I look, the entire area is covered in milky […]

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10 Life Lessons That Leading Worship 600 Times Taught Me

by Jonathan Trotter on January 4, 2019

It just sort of happened. As a teenager growing up in an a cappella church with an a cappella youth group, I sang a lot. In a non-instrumental church, any guy who can loosely carry a tune will be asked to carry that tune. And so I was. Over and over. And over. No guitar […]

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Cross-cultural workers often have tons of sympathy. We see the needs (physical, spiritual, etc.), we answer the call, and we GO. And that’s just great. Sometimes we stir up sympathy for the poor and the marginalized; we fund raise with pictures aimed to generate pity and money. And that’s not so great. But it is […]

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The Not-So-White Saviour Complex

by Editor on November 20, 2018

by Sajidah Hirkento When I first heard about the white saviour complex as a junior in high school, I was entertained, relieved, and pleasantly satisfied that they [sociologists/anthropologists/whoever articulated these things] had finally come up with a diagnosis for the disease whose effects I had observed and lived in east Africa. Finally, instead of endless and […]

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Is Missions a Joke? Answering the Critics

by Amy Medina on August 10, 2018

Editorial note: A Life Overseas is a place to share stories and have conversations about cross-cultural missions and international living. In this space we avoid personal attacks. The following piece is a critique of ideas currently being circulated among the missions crowd. It is not a personal attack on anyone whose words are quoted here, […]

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Fictitious Billy and God’s Highest Calling

by Marilyn on August 9, 2018

Fictitious Billy grew up in Pakistan. He loved Pakistan with all his heart. He loved riding the trains and looking out dirty train windows at the passing scenery. The train would go from dry desert to lush, fertile areas in those long train rides. He loved going hiking in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountain […]

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I felt my face grow hot. I was in a small town shopping at a smaller store when a well-meaning woman stopped and asked me about the purse I had with me. “That’s a beautiful purse” she said brightly. “May I ask you where you got it?” “Oh” I said, a smile lighting up my […]

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  One of the best-known yet least known stories in the Gospel of John is about a woman known simply as the “Samaritan Woman.” The familiar story tells us that Jesus had left Judaea and was returning to Galilee. The trip took him through the region known as Samaria where, tired and thirsty, he sits […]

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Failed Missionaries and “But God…”

by Marilyn on April 9, 2018

When my husband and I left what was supposed to be a three-year missions commitment in Pakistan after one year, we were angry, hurt, and deeply wounded. We didn’t leave Pakistan, but we did leave a missions community that I had been a part of since birth. This community had raised me, loved me well, […]

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Check out this collection of our most-read articles

by Jonathan Trotter on April 5, 2018

Consider this the Table of Contents for a book on missions, cross-cultural living, grief, TCKs, MKs, missiology, common pitfalls, transition, short-term missions, relating to senders, and a whole lot more. I figured it was time to compile our most-read posts and present them to you, organized by topic. So here they are, 85 of our […]

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