This Is Who We Are

Who are we over here at A Life Overseas?

As editor-in-chief of this blog collective, I’d like to give you my answer to that question. A Life Overseas is an online space where writers and readers show up to tell their stories. We share stories of wounds and stories of healing. We share stories of loss and stories of hope. And sometimes, we share stories that don’t yet have a label.

Our writers meet here from all across the denominational spectrum. Each of us is a different permutation of cultural and intercultural and cross-cultural experience. Yet we all show up here once a month, or once every few months, to connect across feeble lines of prose and shaky lines of code — and sometimes even shakier lines of internet cable. But we keep showing up anyway.

Why would we do such a thing? Well, we do it because we love you, and we don’t ever want you to feel alone in the life you’re living and the joys and challenges you’re facing. More than that, though, we do it because we love Jesus. We show up because there is something so compelling about this Christ-Man that we cannot help but speak about Him.

So we show up to worship this God-King of ours. When I say worship, I don’t just mean the songs we sing when we gather together as the Body of Christ on Sunday morning or Sunday evening or whenever it is we gather together. Rather, I mean that we are here to collectively proclaim His goodness and remember His power and hope for His return.

That doesn’t mean we’re all the same. Our readers and writers have lots of denominational, cultural, and personality differences, just like the global Church we represent. But we can experience an incredible amount of unity among diversity when our sole focus is Jesus and His healing, saving, forgiving power. When everything else is stripped away – our abilities and our doctrinal differences and our shadow comforts and even our heart languages – Jesus still remains.

Christians from all over the world and from every faith stream gathered together this past Sunday to worship this Jesus, the Risen King. Jesus brought us together this week and truly, He is what brings us together every second of every day, regardless of our other differences.

Jesus the One and Only is the only one who can define us as a people. We are the people who belong to Him, and we are the people who believe in Him. We are the people who are cherished by Him, and we are the people who are redeemed by Him. We are the people who daily lift up His name, and we are the people who are waiting for Him to make everything right again. That is who we are.


The following four songs express our relationship to Christ and recall the deepest foundations of our faith. May they remind us, the people of God, who we really are.


“We Believe” from Newsboys.

“This I Believe” from Hillsong.

“Even So Come” from the Passion conferences.

“Even Unto Death” by Audrey Assad, written in response to the execution of 21 Coptic Christians in 2015.

Some Lists for Expatriates

These are not lists of useful tools, resources, or things to pack. These are lists of things that I personally love and which, in my humble opinion, speak deeply into the expatriate experience.

The things listed have do two opposing functions in my life.

The first is that they encourage me to thoughtfully and creatively pay close attention to my unique expatriate life. This life is a gift and the cultural, faith, relational, and personal lessons I am learning are beyond valuable. These podcasts, books, and songs challenge me to be present.


These things distract me from my expatriate life, specifically from the challenges and sorrows associated with it. I listen to the podcasts while I run and so am more able to ignore the harassment, stares, piles of garbage, and animal carcasses. I read the books before going to bed and I’m trying to forget about the ways I stepped in cultural poo that day, or while waiting in interminably long semi-lines at the bank. I listen to the songs while I cook with limited ingredients or on lonely holidays.


(because podcasts take our minds away or challenge or inspire or are just plain fun)



99% Invisible

Hidden Brain

On Being with Krista Tippett

Timothy Keller Sermons


Two Fat Expats

And a bonus: (my actual favorite, as in the one that gets me out of bed for a dark, sweaty run, but probably totally uninteresting to most readers of A Life Overseas) The Longform Podcast



(because we can’t only open a book to study language or culture or team dynamics)

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

From Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik

Heaven by Randy Alcorn

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

The Narnia series by C.S. Lewis (audiobooks – just try to make it through book 7 without crying)

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown (and everything else by Brené)

Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas

Thirst by Mary Oliver

Quiet by Susan Cain

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller



(because we all need the occasional dance party or ugly cry)

It Might Be Hope by Sara Groves

I Was Made for Sunny Days by The Weepies

Hard Way Home by Brandi Carlile (also, The Story)

The Weary Kind by Ryan Bingham

On the Road Again by Willie Nelson

Roam by the B-52’s

When it Don’t Come Easy by Patty Griffin

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now by The Clash

Wild World by Cat Stevens

Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac

Traveling Light by Leonard Cohen

Walk on Water by Jane Siberry (This song. You guys. Gorgeous.)


What podcasts, books, or songs speak powerfully into your own expatriate experience?