Tag - personal narrative

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Biking to Belong in Japan
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What It’s Like to Raise My Young Kids Overseas
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What It’s Like to Be a Single Missionary
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The Truth About Being a Missionary at Christmas
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When Learning a New Language, Pray First and Speak Second
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Leaving Home to Go Home
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When You Don’t Want to Get on the Plane
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What Life on the Mission Field is Really Like
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When God Calls You Off the Mission Field
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A Day in the Life of a Missionary

Biking to Belong in Japan

Moving halfway around the globe can be challenging. At the beginning of my time here, I had difficult days. Days where I thought I'd never fit into the culture. On those days, I'd take out my bike and ride. Photo by TEAM

I twist and turn down the bumpy sidewalk in my suburban neighborhood of Tokyo, and I feel the cool air hit my face. I hear the cars passing me, and I smell exhaust fumes mixed with scents from the corner restaurant. As I approach a pedestrian crossing I hear the screech of my brakes, and I’m reminded of why I feel at home here. I never thought riding a bicycle in Tokyo would become my favorite pastime. My husband and I moved to Tokyo just four months ago, along with our two young children and dog. If you would’ve told…

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What It’s Like to Raise My Young Kids Overseas

raising young kids overseas
Beth hasn't been on the mission field long, but she's had a crash course in what it's like to help her children transition and thrive overseas. Here are her lessons learned. Photos courtesy of Beth Barthelemy

I have three kids, all 4 and under. And six months ago, we moved across the globe. To be honest, some of the thoughts I’ve had are: Am I crazy? Am I irresponsible? Definitely not, I’m so equipped to not only raise my own kids but also to write a fantastic blog post about how I do it so well! I’m sure there are many others who’ve been overseas longer, who have golden nuggets of wisdom on parenting overseas. But all this aside, here are some reflections from a fresh-on-the-field, young mama of three on what it’s like to raise my…

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What It’s Like to Be a Single Missionary

single missionary
The fear of staying single keeps some potential missionaries off the field. Read what six workers say it's really like to be single and serve. Photo by TEAM

She’s known as the MacGyver of missionaries. She spent 15 years traveling with nomadic cattle-herders, single-handedly wired her desert home with solar panels and still has her water delivered by donkeys. But Tillie Tiller’s adventurous life in Chad slammed into a wall when she turned 39. That’s when she realized she wasn’t getting married. “In so many missionary biographies, in the middle of nowhere, a single guy shows up, and it is a perfect pairing. … Up until age 38, I thought it was going to happen,” Tillie says. “At age 39, I was pretty sure it wouldn’t happen, so…

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The Truth About Being a Missionary at Christmas

being a missionary at Christmas
Leaving behind beloved Christmas traditions is a true cost of being a missionary. But this sacrifice makes room for new traditions that will illuminate the meaning of Christmas in fresh ways.

I love Christmas. My mama always called me her “Christmas girl.” When I was growing up there was nothing like waking up at Grandma’s house on Christmas morning. The Christmas tree twinkling in the early morning hours, holiday smells wafting from the kitchen, stockings filled with treasures. Listening to my dad read the Christmas story from the Bible and thinking about Mary giving birth in the stable to Baby Jesus warmed every inch of my soul. Even crawling half asleep into a freezing cold car to go home felt like a magical part of the whole experience to me. Yes, my…

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When Learning a New Language, Pray First and Speak Second

learning a new language
What happens when you want to share the gospel, but lack the vocabulary to do it? For many missionaries, this is the reality of their first years on the field. This growth season can feel frustrating and helpless. But as worker Amanda Keeny shares, her weakness in the Russian language strengthened a better communication plan: prayer. Photo by TEAMPhoto by TEAM

I used to think that in the moments of crisis, you should first seek all available solutions, and then, when there’s nothing else that can be done, pray. I knew prayer was important but believed it was more like a Hail Mary pass. When everything seems hopeless, you just kind of chuck your prayer up into the air, hoping it will stick. But the longer I’ve served as a missionary in Ukraine, the more that belief has been proven wrong.  For the times in the past year when I felt like (and had the language abilities of) a child, prayer was…

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Leaving Home to Go Home

Missionaries often live between two continents and consider both to be home. One missionary records his reflections on the transition between the two. Photo by TEAM

The day started normally enough. Our two oldest children woke us up by crawling into our bed. My wife wearily got up when she heard our third through the baby monitor. I took advantage of a few extra minutes of sleep until the kids’ questions and requests forced me to greet the land of the living. As usual, lots of coffee was consumed at my in-laws’ house where we were staying. But always behind the coffee, or along with it, was a sadness mixed with a little excitement. Today we were leaving the United States to return to our ministry in…

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When You Don’t Want to Get on the Plane

teach missionary kids
Anna Key never thought she would be a teacher in Germany. But God called her to serve missionary kids, and she is committed to obey – no matter the cost. Photo by TEAM

Six years ago in Albany, New York, I weighed my three suitcases for what seemed the millionth time, anxiously watched the scale hit almost exactly 50 pounds for each one, shed tears as I hugged my family goodbye and sat at my gate, waiting to begin my journey to teach in Germany. I was no stranger to goodbyes, moving, transition or travel, and yet, that day, you may never have seen a more reluctant or terrified traveler. Although I knew God had called me to serve missionary kids, teaching had never been part of my plan. What was I thinking?…

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What Life on the Mission Field is Really Like

life on the mission field
Deb went to the field as a single woman and came home as a mother. Each season taught her something powerful about what it really means to be a missionary.

They arrived on our doorstep in East Asia, travel weary, hungry and tired. Of course, we had no warning that they were coming, and as I got their beds ready in our tiny home, I wondered how long our houseguests would stay. They had journeyed two days down the mountain to get here, and I knew a short stay was probably not what they had in mind. As I scrambled to get a hearty meal ready for our guests, I tried to prepare myself emotionally to live in their story for the next while.     About a year earlier,…

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When God Calls You Off the Mission Field

missionary calling
When her daughter developed serious health issues, Deb traded her exciting life among nomads in East Asia for doctors' offices in suburbia. But through her deferred dream, Deb learned critical lessons about her true calling in life. Photos courtesy of Deb Wyss

One of my clearest memories from my seven years in East Asia is lying inside a nomad tent, under a blue tarp, while rain gently drummed my entire body. I was alone — alone in the sense that there was no one like me for miles and miles around. Baby yaks stirred within arms reach on one side, and a family of nomads with wild hair snored on the other. How did a girl from the suburbs of Minnesota get here? I thought. It was a feeling of elation, as I had long yearned to live among this unreached people group. But it was also…

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A Day in the Life of a Missionary

tori and matt missionaries in japan
Being a missionary isn't always an adventure. Sometimes it's just ordinary. TEAM worker, Tori Jansson shares her candid thoughts on what it's like to be a missionary, in the normal but beautiful everyday. Photo courtesy of Tori Jansson

As a worker in Tokyo, I’m often asked, “What is a day in the life of a missionary?” Well, which day are we talking about, exactly? How about my first day training at SonRise Cafe? Or, our first month grocery shopping – trying to read Japanese labels to distinguish between sugar and salt, laundry detergent and bleach? What about Christmas time with a different outreach every week, sharing the gospel at every turn? Or, the first time I was able to ask a train station worker for help in Japanese? That week we got to share our testimonies with 200 freshman high…

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