The TEAM Blog

Go to the nations. Be the body of Christ. Blog about it.

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Christianity in Japan: Take A Bow? Believers Say No Thanks
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When Missionary Calls Don’t (Seem To) Come True
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Monthly Prayer Journal: October 2013
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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
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Monthly Prayer Journal: July 2013
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Monthly Prayer Journal: June 2013
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Monthly Prayer Journal: May 2013
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Monthly Prayer Journal: April 2013

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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When Missionary Calls Don’t (Seem To) Come True

TEAM hospital Nepal
The former TEAM hospital in far western Nepal is a rustic but vital hub both for health care and the gospel in the rural region. Taking a long view of the missionary call and God’s sovereignty is helping workers there who recently lost their jobs. Photo by Robert Johnson / TEAM

The call of a new missionary usually goes like this: give up almost everything safe in your life. Pound the pavement for months — if not years — to raise funds. Board an international flight still soaked with tears from an emotional send-off and the blessings of your closest friends and family. Log 18 months in language school. Change the world. But what if it all comes crashing to a halt before that last part, the happy ending, ever comes? You don’t have to look far for stories of a missionary call cut short by illness, a death in the…

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Monthly Prayer Journal: October 2013

Thank you for joining us in praying for TEAM’s work around the world. Click here to download a .pdf of the October 2013 Prayer Journal. 1 EAST ASIA The “Bell” people are an unreached minority group living in Asia. The Bell Alliance is a consortium of churches, agencies and field workers committed to reaching the Bell people. TEAM is helping to lead the Bell Alliance and has sent our first worker to begin language study. Pray for the Bell Alliance as we meet October 1-2 to hear reports and pray and plan together. 2 GERMANY Jeff and Anne Ingram have just…

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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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Monthly Prayer Journal: July 2013

Thank you for joining us in prayer for TEAM’s work around the world. Click here to download a .pdf of the July 2013 Prayer Journal. 1 PAPUA Nathan Jansen writes, “Please pray for the 6th Annual Merauke Youth Camp from July 1-5th. Pray for the approx. 200 attendees to enjoy times of worship, fellowship, and opportunities to make commitments to follow the Lord!” 2 CZECH REPUBLIC Please pray for the English camp that has been going on from June 29th-July 5th. Pray that many adults, teens, and children will hear and respond to the Good News as they spend a…

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Monthly Prayer Journal: June 2013

Thank you for joining us in prayer for TEAM’s work around the world. Click here to download a .pdf of the June 2013 Prayer Journal. 1 CHURCH CONNECTIONS Please pray over TEAM’s Explore workshop being hosted by Bethany Baptist Church and Grace Church in central Illinois May 30th – June 2nd. The purpose of the workshop is to glorify God by helping the church identify potential cross-cultural workers for God’s global harvest.  2 SPAIN Steve and Cheryl Albrecht write, “The United Choir of Tenerife (four from our church are participating) has a concert in the Santa Ursula theatre. They did…

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Monthly Prayer Journal: May 2013

Thank you for joining us in prayer for TEAM’s work around the world. Click here to download a .pdf of the May 2013 Prayer Journal. 1 GLOBAL Please pray for Doug Witzig who will be traveling with 3 Christian businesspeople for a second survey trip into Myanmar. We hope to identify sectors of the society and industries in the economy that a future Launch Team will be able to explore in greater detail. Pray for these Launch Team members to be mobilized in the coming year. 2 CHURCH CONNECTIONS Jim Rathbun will teach a culminating Perspectives class May 2 at…

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Monthly Prayer Journal: April 2013

Thank you for joining us in prayer for TEAM’s work around the world. Click here to download a .pdf of the April 2013 Prayer Journal. 1 ITALY Steve Thompson recently became Ministry Area Leader for Italy. Pray for a smooth transition into that role and that God would help him be a wise servant in this new position. 2 SOUTH AFRICA Pray for Eric Binion and a team of students from Union Bible Institute as they travel to Lesotho for cross-cultural ministry. Pray for a fruitful time both in the lives of the students and the people they minister to….

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