Author - Andy Olsen

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Christmas Roundup
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Two Important Days You’ve Never Heard Of
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[VIDEO] Campus Life in Papua, Indonesia
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Is Self-Funding for You?
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Does Paying for Your Own Mission Trip Make It Better?
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Should You Pay for Your Own Mission Trip?
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Christianity in Japan: Take A Bow? Believers Say No Thanks
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The Greatest Enemy of Missionary Careers
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Preparing for a Short-Term Mission Trip: What Nationals Wish You Knew
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Bridging the Gap Between Missions and Communities

Christmas Roundup

Christmas is a global holiday, perhaps the most global of all. For TEAM missionaries around the world, it’s a unique opportunity to share Christ in post-Christian cultures or among communities that are normally reluctant to discuss the gospel. Each year, TEAM workers find myriad creative ways to publicly celebrate Christmas, in addition to the many (likely a majority) who invite friends and neighbors into their homes for a meal or small celebration. Here’s a look at just a few of the ways our people are reaching out for Christmas this year: Japan TEAM missionaries in Japan take Christmas to a…

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Two Important Days You’ve Never Heard Of

Vienna, Austria
A cosmopolitan hub of culture and commerce, Vienna, Austria is also a destination for human trafficking. Photo by Robert Johnson / TEAM

This week kicks off with two significant dates that are probably unfamiliar to most of us. Today is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, a day designated by the United Nations to focus on eradicating forms of modern-day slavery, such as human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and child labor. The irony should not be lost on Christians that yesterday was the beginning of Advent (Dec. 1), when we focus our hearts on the coming of Christ, who ultimately frees us from all forms of bondage. The other big day happens tomorrow: #GivingTuesday. In just its second year, #GivingTuesday is…

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[VIDEO] Campus Life in Papua, Indonesia

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s the time of year when college students begin feeling the stress of looming deadlines and final exams. Many slip into survival mode, put their heads down, and count the minutes until they can head home for Christmas.

Across the world in Indonesia, college students feel this stress, too. But in-between everything else, they also must make time to fish for their dinner, chop firewood to cook it with, and fetch drinking water from a well.

Students at the Roesler Memorial Bible School, a TEAM ministry in Papua, Indonesia, juggle far more in a semester than just books. Most come from rural tribal villages to study the Bible and bring that knowledge back to their communities as pastors, teachers and church leaders. They not only have to adjust to academia — a completely new experience for many of them — but also to the somewhat more urban environment of the campus, located just outside the city of Merauke. Their days begin before 5 A.M. and stretch well into the night.

Yaimo Perew brought his whole family to the school so he could study. He’s not only trying to reach his village for Christ, but his own family, as well.

Watch Yaimo’s story above.

Read more about the Roesler Memorial Bible School, and explore opportunities to join TEAM’s work in Indonesia’s Papua province.

Is Self-Funding for You?

mission-trip-zimbabwe
Self-funding a mission trip is not for everyone. But some professions lend themselves especially well to paying your own way in short-term and even long-term missions. Photo by Timothy Yiu

This is the last of a three-part series exploring self-funding short-term missions. In this post, we explore whether you should consider self-funding your next mission trip. Read Part I and Part II of this series here. An estimated 2 million people or more in the United States take short-term mission trips each year. If you’re one of them, or even if you’re considering long-term missionary service, should you try to pay part or all of your own costs? Should you fundraise for the whole amount? “There’s really no best way to do it,” said John*, who uses seasonal work to…

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Does Paying for Your Own Mission Trip Make It Better?

mission-trip-thailand
Chelsea Burdick used savings from freelance design work, among other jobs, to cover part of the cost of her recent trip with TEAM to Thailand. Photo courtesy Chelsea Burdick

This is the second of a three-part series exploring self-funding short-term missions. In this post, we explore the financial aspects of self-funding a mission trip. Read Part I of this series here. Or jump to Part III. John* began working summers as a firefighter on a tip from a friend. The gig got him through college. He kept it up after graduating, using his earnings to serve on repeated trips with TEAM as a short-term missionary in a creative-access country, at around $10,000 per trip. Now those summer wages are putting him through graduate school, and he has more mission…

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Should You Pay for Your Own Mission Trip?

Mexico mission-trip
An estimated 2 million Americans go on mission trips each year. Should more of them cover their own costs? Photo by Mark Bickel

This is the first of a three-part series exploring self-funding short-term missions. In this post, we look at saving for a mission trip as a spiritual discipline. Read Part II. In August, Eliza* got two pieces of good news: a nannying job, and the email she had been hoping for. It was an offer to participate in the School of Biblical Studies, a nine-month Bible training program offered through Youth With A Mission (YWAM). As with most YWAM programs or any mission trip, participants generally raise support to cover their costs. But as Eliza considered fundraising, she peeked into her…

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Christianity in Japan: Take A Bow? Believers Say No Thanks

Christianity in Japan
Men pray at a shrine in Japan. For Japanese Christians, choosing not to pray to the dead at a funeral can be a defining moment. Photo by Robert Johnson / TEAM

In Japan, the moment of truth for a Christian often comes during a funeral. At Buddhist funerals — which constitute around 90 percent of them in Japan — the custom is for mourners to pay their respects by bowing before the deceased and offering up a prayer to the dead, often along with some incense. When it comes to Christianity in Japan, that practice poses a big problem. Most Japanese Christians stop praying to the dead and other spirits when they start following Jesus. According to Stella Cox, a longtime TEAM missionary in Japan, funerals are often big social events…

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The Greatest Enemy of Missionary Careers

missionary care Peru
Keeping the Peace: A TEAM worker in Peru laughs with local church members. Numbers show that resolving conflict with team members and national workers is essential for successful long-term missionary careers. Photo by Robert Johnson / TEAM

Here’s a little secret: Missionaries are ordinary people. And just like ordinary people, sometimes they have conflicts about ordinary things like misplaced dishes. These days, good missionary care teams keep an eye out for interpersonal conflict as the source of potential burnout. As it turns out, it’s not a new problem. Not by a long shot. TEAM writer Lisa Renninger was recently researching for a project on TEAM’s history and stumbled upon a story of narrowly avoided-missionary burnout set in Venezuela over a century ago. In 1906, two pioneering missionary families, the Bachs and the Christiansens, had established a new…

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Preparing for a Short-Term Mission Trip: What Nationals Wish You Knew

Preparing for a Short-term Mission Trip
Hand in Hand: A U.S. short-term missions team serves closely with Mexican workers in Baja California, Mexico. One TEAM missionary offers ways to make trips more about long-lasting relationships than "projects." Photo by Mark Bickel

Last year, Marcela Garcia, a university-educated Mexican woman who studied political science and Mexican history, sat down with a TEAM missionary in Baja California to discuss the American short-term missions teams that were coming to their church. Garcia runs the VBS program at Emmanuel Evangelical Church of Los Cabos, and the missionary, Vicki Reyes, wanted to know how visiting missions teams could be more effective. Their conversation produced valuable insight into preparing for a short-term mission trip to do the most good and the least harm, prioritizing relationships above all else. 1. Use Caution With Gifts First, the women discussed, groups…

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Bridging the Gap Between Missions and Communities

Missions Place by TEAM
TEAM’s recently opened Missions Place in Maryville, Tennessee, just outside Knoxville. Photo by Andy Olsen / TEAM

“Mission” is a funny word. It has almost as many meanings as people you might ask to define it. When used in an overseas context, as it is in our name, The Evangelical Alliance Mission, it conjures images of workers in far-off cities, eating exotic food and speaking hard-to-learn languages. When used in U.S. communities, “mission” is likely to bring to mind your local meal outreach or homeless shelter, or maybe a young couple living “missionally” by deliberately moving into a distressed inner-city neighborhood. It is used by religious and non-religious people alike — the former often attach varying degrees…

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