Category - Missionary Life

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Ministry Before Missions: 5 Reasons to Think Local Before You Go Global
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When God Changes Our Plans
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Early African American Missionaries Who Changed the World for Christ
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A Roadmap for Navigating Cultural Art Overseas
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Helping Our Children Through Uncertain Times
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After Home Assignment: Grieving the Good That Was
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Don’t Say the ‘M’ Word: Sharing Ministry from High-Security Nations
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Experiencing Miscarriage as an Expat Missionary
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What is the Role of a Missionary in the Church?
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The Enneagram for Missionaries: Tips for Overseas Life

Ministry Before Missions: 5 Reasons to Think Local Before You Go Global

Diverse church group worshiping
Have a heart for overseas missions? Serving in your own community is a great place to start.

For many future missionaries, God’s calling to mission work can create an unnecessary sense of urgency. The desire to GO as soon as possible may cause an emotional decision to pursue cross-cultural missions right away without proper preparation. The result can be culture shock and difficulties adjusting to life on the mission field.  Seasoned missionaries offer great advice to avoid this pitfall: think local before you go global. Taking the time to invest in local ministries that relate to the type of mission work you want to do will go a long way toward preparing you for the field. There…

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When God Changes Our Plans

The Junker family.
The Junker Family knows that God’s plans are always best.

“If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” We’ve likely all heard this saying before, but it still takes us by surprise when things don’t go the way we expected. We so often have the best of intentions for our family, lives, and ministry and it throws us for a loop when God takes us in a different direction. Jon and Tammy Junker, TEAM global workers in Japan, know what that feels like. Jon was a missionary kid, born and raised in Japan. Tammy grew up in California, and served as an English teacher and with TEAM’s…

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Early African American Missionaries Who Changed the World for Christ

When most people think of early Western missionaries, names like William Carey, Adoniram Judson, and TEAM’s own Fredrik Franson come to mind. Alongside these well-known evangelists were unsung African American heroes of the faith, dedicated men and women responding to the call of the Great Commission. In celebration of Black History Month, we are honored to share a few of those stories. George Liele It is amazing to realize the first recorded American missionary was African American. His name was George Liele and he was a former Virginia-born slave who began ministering in Jamaica in 1783, a full decade before…

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A Roadmap for Navigating Cultural Art Overseas

Letting your kids experience another culture’s art can be scary. But doing so can be a key step in understanding your host culture and what the people value.
Letting your kids experience another culture’s art can be scary. But doing so can be a key step in understanding your host culture and what the people value.

How is it that two people can look at the same situation and have completely different takes on it? I’ve been asking myself this frequently, especially in the current climate of politics and society. It matters what lens we look at the world through. Do you agree? Have you ever looked through a kaleidoscope? The tinted and distorted shapes in the glass leave us dizzy and a bit disoriented as we try to figure out up from down. Sometimes I think people assume this is the experience viewing the art of another culture will be for them. Disorienting. Confusing. Silly,…

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Helping Our Children Through Uncertain Times

How do we help our kids find peace in the midst of uncertainty when we’re struggling to find peace ourselves?
How do we help our kids find peace in the midst of uncertainty when we’re struggling to find peace ourselves?

We were supposed to fly back to our African home over a month earlier. Instead, we found ourselves settling in another completely unexpected place. My children had laid their heads in dozens of different locations over the past seven months. “Home” had become this fluid word meaning wherever we had currently been staying for the short while, and somehow even my 4-year-old understood. We had been hoping and praying that we would return to South Africa soon, but our future was very unclear. Thankfully, our children were doing well. They had embraced the nomad life like champs and had taught…

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After Home Assignment: Grieving the Good That Was

Woman with suitcase looking out airport window
At the end of a home assignment, denying my grief feels easiest. But God equips me to acknowledge the pain and move forward with faith.

I hate the goodbyes that come with ending a home assignment. I want good things to keep going as they are, indefinitely. And yet, I know that’s not how life works.  Denial of something’s end doesn’t delay or prevent its end. It only keeps us from grieving what was and archiving pieces of it in memory, from getting up and walking into what’s next.  If I stay stuck in this spot, unwilling to accept the reality that time is moving on, time isn’t what stops moving. There will come a day when I’m ripped from my spot, stuck in “the…

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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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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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What is the Role of a Missionary in the Church?

No matter how far they go, missionaries are always part of their local church — and their local church should always be part of their lives.

There are a few different ways to approach this question. We often think of the missionary’s role in the global Church, but the missionary also plays a critical role in their local church. We can also turn this question around and ask what the church’s role is in the life of a missionary. What is the missionary’s role in the global Church? Like all believers, missionaries are part of a much bigger story than what they see in their local context. For one, missionaries prevent the Church from getting stagnant. One missionary described it as cross-pollination. When missionaries interact with…

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The Enneagram for Missionaries: Tips for Overseas Life

Moving abroad
Moving abroad can reveal a side of yourself you didn’t know. The Enneagram can help you process what’s happening and submit it more fully to Christ.

I don’t even recognize myself anymore, Christine thought to herself. Have I changed this much? Christine knew that she was going through an intensely stressful season of life — starting a new business with her new husband, while navigating a new culture and new language in a new country. She’d been preparing for the external upheaval. But what she didn’t expect was the upheaval she saw in herself. Some of her actions and thoughts surprised and disturbed her: Anger at her circumstances, and her excessive attempts to control them. Difficulty in expressing her feelings and needs. Frustration at her limited…

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