missions

The cure for my contempt (and yours too)

by Jonathan Trotter on July 3, 2019

There’s so much contempt in the world. Do you sense it? I hear it crashing through our walls in Cambodia as our neighbors fight and scream at each other. I see it in the taxi driver in Prague as he grips the steering wheel hard, honking and yelling at those who’ve deeply offended him. I […]

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I can’t remember when Jonathan and Elizabeth Trotter first entered my online writing life. Perhaps it was when the former ALOS site founder and I were discussing one of their posts, perhaps it was before – no matter, at some point I realized that our online friendship had become one that I looked to for […]

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It’s hot season here in Southeast Asia. It’s also there’s-not-enough-power-and-water-to-go-around season. It’s odd to have a full day with water and power and sanity. Now, I know the audience here understands what I’m talking about. Some of you are roughing it WAY more than we are, and some of you aren’t. But you know, I’m […]

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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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