TEAM Christian Missions Blog

Exploring cross-cultural ministry around the globe.
1
How to Pray for Youth and Children’s Ministries
2
Don’t Say the ‘M’ Word: Sharing Ministry from High-Security Nations
3
Why True Church Planting Must Start with Conversion
4
Facing Persecution, But She Has Peace
5
How to Pray for Post-Christian Cultures
6
How a Hospital Runs on 4 Hours of Water a Day
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Experiencing Miscarriage as an Expat Missionary
8
3 Ways to Pray for Church Plants
9
International Churches: A Gateway to the Unreached
10
I Could Have Killed a Ministry Moment — Without Cross-Cultural Training

How to Pray for Youth and Children’s Ministries

In the face of sex trafficking, drug culture and a global pandemic, kids greatly need our support. Let’s pray for children’s ministries.
In the face of sex trafficking, drug culture and a global pandemic, kids greatly need our support. Let’s pray for children’s ministries.

Childhood is one of the easiest seasons of life to embrace the Gospel. “Kids are not cynical at this age,” says TEAM worker Ellen*, “and they’re open to learning what we have to say. They trust that what an adult is telling them is true.” But in today’s world, the age of innocence doesn’t last long. In Southeast Asia, where Ellen serves, girls are sold into the sex trade before they even reach puberty. In South Africa, kids contend with a drug culture that fills their schools and neighborhoods. In Mexico, missionaries share how COVID-19 restrictions have driven many kids…

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Don’t Say the ‘M’ Word: Sharing Ministry from High-Security Nations

For missionaries in high-security nations, communication is a constant concern. One careless email can endanger an entire ministry.
For missionaries in high-security nations, communication is a constant concern. One careless email can endanger an entire ministry.

My heart rate skyrocketed in seconds, and my blood pressure probably followed suit soon after. “You got to be kidding me! Why?” I couldn’t believe it had happened once again. “I have said multiple times not to use the ‘M’ word.” Not spelling out “missionary” is basic security 101 for anyone working in a high-security country — a nation where surveillance is high and the Gospel is either not welcomed or is discouraged. My immediate reaction was anger, but it was a cover emotion for fear. Would this be the time that someone was actually reading my communication? What would…

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Why True Church Planting Must Start with Conversion

We’ve focused so much on church planting teams and strategies that we’ve forgotten what church planting is really all about: conversions.
We’ve focused so much on church planting teams and strategies that we’ve forgotten what church planting is really all about: conversions.

Many contemporary church-planting ministries are conceived much like a business. The model centers on administrative, gifted leadership that guides already-committed Christians to organize the birth of a new church. But can I be bold and say this isn‘t a true “birth,“ but rather a reorganization of believers from one location to another? Therein lies the crisis of contemporary church planting in the Western world: organizing churches without birthing them. See if this sounds familiar: A called and gifted leader inspires other Christians to start a new church. They meet regularly to pray, plan and lay out a strategy they’ll use…

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Facing Persecution, But She Has Peace

For Harriet, following Christ means struggling to feed her family and facing threats — but she wouldn’t trade Him for anything.
For Harriet, following Christ means struggling to feed her family and facing threats — but she wouldn’t trade Him for anything.

What does a new Christian do when she has to choose between following Jesus and earning a living? Harriet made her living as a religious teacher and healer in the town of Goz Beïda, Chad. Her beliefs were a blend of Islam and traditional folk religion. Three or four evil spirits would regularly come to Harriet, providing undisclosed details: This person has this illness. This person’s brother has cursed them. This person needs this specific treatment. Harriet would then provide a traditional herbal remedy or potion to solve her clients’ problems. And because she was well-versed in the Quran, she…

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How to Pray for Post-Christian Cultures

A church stands in Dresden, Germany, a post-Christian culture
Post-Christian cultures see the Church as a quaint relic at best — and dangerous at worst. Pray for post-Christian cultures to see Christ’s life-transforming love.

When a missionary goes to serve in Europe, most people assume they must have a pretty easy time. After all, there are already church buildings everywhere. But TEAM missionary Jessica Applegarth describes it differently: “I heard a missionary here in Ireland says they feel like they spend all of their time pulling rocks out of the soil. [It’s] incredibly important for the planting process, but you don’t see any growth. You’re not even to the planting seeds stage yet.” For generations, Europeans have seen religion used to gain political power. They’ve watched religious leaders abuse the vulnerable without being held…

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How a Hospital Runs on 4 Hours of Water a Day

Two Karanda Mission Hospital doctors look at a patient's chart.
Karanda Mission Hospital is the only option most Zimbabweans have for surgery. But without dependable water, treatment becomes tricky.

Imagine if the State of Pennsylvania had one surgical hospital to serve the general public. Wealthy people would have their pick of facilities. But the middle and working class would come from all corners of the state  to get proper care. Now imagine that one hospital only had water for four hours a day. Thankfully, that isn’t reality for Pennsylvania. But it was for Zimbabwe, a country with 2 million more people than the state. And if Zimbabwe’s droughts continue, it could be the case again. Zimbabwe’s healthcare system consists of private and public hospitals and clinics, with public facilities…

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Experiencing Miscarriage as an Expat Missionary

My expectations came crashing down when our sacred space was violated and took on an unexpected tone of trauma, grief and shame.

I sat on the frigid, white-tiled bathroom floor, cradled in my husband’s arms as I wept and bled. We had arrived early at this remote hilltop resort to set up a few things up for our annual conference. Moments before we were expected to go out and greet everyone, I lost the baby we were expecting. I walked out of the bathroom into the cold, heatless room and stared at the white sheets on the hotel bed. I wanted to be anywhere but at the hotel, surrounded by people. Having just finished our year and a half language program, we…

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3 Ways to Pray for Church Plants

pray for church plants
Missionaries around the world serve to help the church bloom and grow. Here's how you can pray for church plants this month. Photo by TEAM

Ask a church planter how you can pray for them, and they’ll tell you they need perseverance. Church planters have to learn a whole new culture, while building relationships, organizing services and staying in close connection with God. On top of all that, being a church planter means being available to your new congregation at all hours. “There are times when the people in your young church need you to drop everything and help them,” says Vicki Reyes, a TEAM church planter in Mexico. Vicki shared a few examples: “A woman and her two children show up at the door….

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International Churches: A Gateway to the Unreached

Serving in international churches is a chance to minister to unreached people groups in closed nations - with the government’s blessing.

In a world where missionary visas are increasingly hard to get, Hunter and Wendy* are doing something truly remarkable. They’re moving to a Muslim-majority country where local churches operate underground. They’ll work to make disciples among unreached people groups. And they’ll do it with the local government’s approval. It sounds impossible, but opportunities like this are opening around the world, thanks to international churches. “It’s kind of amazing because it’s a Muslim country, and it’s illegal to become a Christian there, … but I’m going to have ‘pastor’ in my visa,” Hunter says. Committed to the Unreached Hunter and Wendy…

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I Could Have Killed a Ministry Moment — Without Cross-Cultural Training

Muslim woman stands in French park, representing a situation in which cross-cultural training would be vital
When you minister to immigrants in a foreign country, cultural blunders are easy to make. You need the right cross-cultural training to give you a strong foundation for service.

Without cross-cultural training, it’s easy for a new missionary to make costly mistakes. Mine could have been losing a friendship over a bowl of couscous. When my husband and I sensed God calling us to serve overseas, we weren’t seminary educated. We had traveled to over 15 countries together, but that was just enough for us to know we weren’t equipped to sustain a successful career as missionaries. Then we heard about Launch, a two-year, intensive internship in southern France. While living amongst North African immigrants, interns are trained in three areas: How to be a living testimony in a…

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