Archives For Missions & Cross-Cultural

One of the biggest challenges in cross cultural work is knowing what you can and cannot do. This happens both culturally and in religious settings.

The “gray areas” in Scripture are numerous. The do not’s are obvious, but there are many times when we are not sure if it is good or not to walk in a certain freedom we feel we have.

Paul gives three principles to follow which will help us know when freedom is not something we want to hold onto.

1. Give up your freedom if it stumbles another (1 Cor. 8:9) Even if something is not wrong, Paul says it becomes wrong if we cause others to stumble.

There are many times when we could do something, but should give it up for the sake of another. Issues of alcohol, music, dress, and many cultural things come to mind.

Power Money Gives Us

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 and never” are tricky when settings, organizations, and methods are so different around the world

What I would like to look at is the power money gives us over people.

Even something as simple as “good, ole Godly generosity”; sharing money puts us in the place of power.As foreign workers, we must always be aware of the power we have (real or perceived) over those we work with.

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Here are some things to consider about the power of money:

Dangerous Stories

January 22, 2015

Sometimes the stories we tell of those we minister to can become dangerous.

I’ve been at this mission 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.

The mistake centers around how I have reflected the stories of others to my own supporters and sending churches / organizations.

One of the things our organization does is partner with nationals who are also involved in missions. We attempt to raise monthly support for them and use our network to assist financially.

We often highlight one of these nationals in our periodic newsletters. We share what they are involved in and add something like, “your support to Project Grace helps this individual/or family to accomplish this work…”.

One man’s mission field is another’s land of opportunity.

I realized this in a fresh way as I was interacting with some immigrants to South Africa from Malawi.

They were telling me about their home nation, Malawi. The common descriptions were of a lush, green, and beautiful nation which was peaceful.

They left their homeland for South Africa, also a beautiful land. But on the day I was having this conversation, we were bracing ourselves though near gale force winds blowing sand through every opening on buildings. You could hear their longing for home in their voices.

And, they remarked often how they had left safety for crime. These immigrants left home to live in shacks in an impoverished, crime ridden community.

A community which I consider to be a part of my mission field.

Why you ask?

Urban Hope

The Signs of Christmas

December 20, 2014

What are the signs which point to Christmas coming?

In every culture there are different visuals which alert us to the coming of this holiday season.

When I first moved to South Africa, Christmas snuck up on me because I did not see the normal American signs. Once I learned the new signs, I could anticipate its approach.

Here are a few signs which pop up in virtually any culture.

1. Things appear. Things which are unable to be found for most of the year, begin to appear around Christmas. Certain music, different types of food, and of course decorations. It is the time of year some people appear in church for the first time all year! Each nation is different, but all have things which appear.