An Unexpected Blessing

Bruce Tissell’s story of innovation during Brazil’s COVID-19 shut down is an inspiration for all of us as we find creative ways to stay in business, do ministry, and make disciples in this unexpected time. Bruce is the Director at Baptist Seminary in Teresina, Brazil. North Brazil was hearing about and watching this new thing called the Corona Virus or Covid-19 in early 2020.  No one really paid much attention to it as it was something in other parts of the world, or in the Southern part of Brazil (this is like another world to us in North Brazil). In…
September 12, 2020

In The Garden

By Ginny Jensen One of my dad’s favorite hymns was “In the Garden” by C. Austin Miles. As a youngster, I didn’t fully understand the imagery of the song but I loved it because he loved it. Now I look at those words and I see the image of quiet time with the Lord. The beauty of the chorus brings peace as I meditate on it. “And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own, and the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.” Quiet time,…
September 3, 2020

The Blessing

Written by a Colleague  We have been so moved by this blessing being sung by God's people in different languages from different countries. We think you will be blessed, too. Choose a video from this sampling taken from 100 virtual choirs singing blessing over their city, country and the whole world in this time of global uncertainty. It is more than just singing a song—it is matching good news with good deeds: 100 churches in NYC sing and serve together 121 churches in Canada work and pray together 100 churches in France unite and help each other 177 churches in Singapore with 772 singers 300…
August 14, 2020

Being Formed

By Ginny Jensen Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. – Philippians 1:18b-19 Early in my faith journey, I clearly understood the choice between following the world and following Christ. What I had difficulty reconciling was how I would be transformed to be like Him. I struggled with verses like Philippians 1 and 2 which seemed so contradictory. In chapter one, Paul petitions God to complete the work… in the lives of his…
August 13, 2020

5 Ways to Share Your Faith Online

By Nikole Hahn Paul spent his time in prison writing letters. Even when Paul himself couldn’t minister in person, God used his words to traverse obstacles, distance, and time. Paul’s words continue to make an impact, in large part because they were fixed in time to a timeless medium. Luke’s “Acts of the Apostles” is similar. According to the introduction in Bible Study Tools of the Book of Acts, it was written “To depict the triumph of Christianity in the face of bitter persecution.” Fixed in time, but timeless! Written in one place, but unconfined by time and space. Many…
August 10, 2020

How the Pals Inspired Others to Go

By Dougg Custer, VP Mobilization Ministries “I do not know how things will turn out for us.  As a husband, I feel obligated to lead our family toward obedience, whatever the end may be–whether it is life or death or discomfort or disappointment.  It is clear that the Lord Jesus calls us not to an easy life, however he calls us.  He bids us to take up our cross–just as he did–to suffer and die.  Perhaps we will toil for years to raise support and never make it overseas.  Perhaps we will go and utterly ‘fail’ as missionaries from all…
July 31, 2020

Resting Murder Face: Principles of Necessary Conflict

A week-long series on leadership and conflict resolution By Rodger Schmidt Change is hard work. It is uncomfortable and many leaders tend to hang on to what worked in the past even if it is outdated or no longer effective. For businesses to grow, the entire organization must be consistently analyzed, discussed, negotiated, and fine-tuned. Conflict is the backdoor to reinvention and innovation.  “No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and…
July 17, 2020

Resting Murder Face: Why is Conflict Necessary?

A week-long series on leadership and conflict resolution By Rodger Schmidt  Many leaders avoid conflict at all costs. However, the most innovative solutions often are born out of conflict. The workplace is a dynamic environment, always needing to grow, change, find solutions, transition, and upgrade. Conflict is a regular element of everyday work life. If leaders manage conflict well, it will produce growth and leadership capacity in themselves and others (and the more enjoyable will be the experience of others in the workplace).   Why is Conflict Necessary?  Conflict encourages the leader to consider new ideas. If the participants truly hear one another’s perspectives and ideas, it helps to mold and clarify concepts; either making the leader clearer…
July 16, 2020

Resting Murder Face: Conflict is Inevitable

A week-long series on leadership and conflict resolution By Rodger Schmidt When two or more people interact for a long enough period, conflict happens. It is inevitable. Dr. Silcox claims unresolved conflict preys on peoples’ minds and distracts them from their most important tasks. Individuals in ongoing conflict rarely contribute well to the organization’s mission and strategy. Therefore, Individuals may simply be going through the motions, or undermining the organization in some way. The following questions and related principles are helpful to consider while managing the inevitable reality of conflict: Are there perceived inequities in how people are treated? Inequities…
July 15, 2020

Resting Murder Face: Introduction

A week-long series on leadership and conflict resolution By Rodger Schmidt  If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. - Matthew 18:15 Managing conflict is not only inevitable but a necessary process if leaders hope to foster community, mature themselves, and lead others well. It is essential if we are to achieve all the Father has prepared for us in the mission of God around the world. I have invested years navigating conflict rooted in personality differences—Family of origin blind…
July 14, 2020

Coping with the Coronavirus Pandemic in Italy

How a Coronavirus Canceled Plans For Two Colleagues by Emily Roth  After 42 years of ministry in Italy, Doug and Dee Valenzuela were preparing for their biggest project yet to take place on the last weekend of May. It would have been a three-day event drawing thousands of people to hear the gospel and receive salvation in Jesus Christ. The event, called Christian Alive 2020, could have been the capstone of their work in the city of Naples and its surrounding area before they would retire at the end of the year. But, the event was canceled. Instead, they celebrated…
June 8, 2020

Life With Charlie

By Ginny Jensen Charlie is my little lap dog. He is now old and losing his sight. He is still the most loyal, cuddly pet I have ever had. Through the years, there have been many challenges with him. He was a rescue and came with many issues. In watching Charlie, I have seen parallels to my relationship with God. After doing something wrong, Charlie comes sheepishly to me for forgiveness only to turn around and do it again. Sounds like me. How about you? When Charlie escapes the yard and runs free, it is beautiful to watch him. Yet,…
June 6, 2020

Building a Church Legacy in Senegal

Senegal Broke Ground This Weekend on a New Church By Colleagues in Africa On Saturday, May 30, 2020, we broke ground for a permanent place of worship. The story behind the ceremony for a new church building began years ago.  After decades of missionary work, there are only about 100 Wolof believers. Out of those 100 believers, less than a third attend church on a regular basis. This breaks our hearts. When we spoke to some of them, they shared several reasons for not attending. “It doesn’t feel sacred.” They desire a formal place of worship. “It doesn’t feel Senegalese.”…
June 1, 2020

How COVID19 Changed Language Learning For Me

  By Sam Knutson During this coronavirus lockdown, God has shifted our plans and I am beginning language learning from the States instead of in person.  I was very nervous about my first lesson in Spanish because, even though I have been trying my best to learn on my own, I am still such a novice!  At the end of my lesson, we could only shake our heads and laugh at God's humor.  My online language lesson went from shaky introductions to sharing the Gospel in my bumbling Spanish. My tutor, Nico (a pseudonym) lives in Guayaquil, the city we…
May 26, 2020

Sheltered Under His Wings

  By Ginny Jensen We have been sheltered in place for weeks; for some, it's been months. Slowly the world is beginning to “re-open”. If your isolation is a physical location, you may be seeing the light at the far end of the tunnel. If you are like Hannah in social isolation, you don’t know when it will end. Staying in isolation has its stressors. Stepping out of it will bring new stressors. Is it safe? What if there is a second wave? What effect will social distancing have on relationships? The questions, fears, and anxiety are as unique as…
May 21, 2020

Seeking Peace During a Pandemic

  By Emily Roth The last 10 days of Ramadan began on Tuesday, May 12. More than at any other time of year, Muslims seek God during these 10 days and nights. Ramadan is the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, and the final 10 days of the month are the holiest days of this month. A saying attributed to Muhammad instructs Muslims, “Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.” Laylat al-Qadr, also translated as the Night of Destiny or the Night of Power, is honored by Muslims as the…
May 16, 2020

A Snapshot Into Cambodian Orphanages

If orphanages are where the resources are, won't they provide the best nutrition, health care, and education? By Lisa Yunker My degree program in seminary required me to do an internship and, by that time, I sensed the Lord was calling me to work in Cambodia. I joined a team for a seven-week mission trip to Cambodia. During that time we were exposed to, and given the opportunity to work with, a broad spectrum of ministries. One of the ministries we encountered was a large well-respected orphanage. The woman who was in charge was a lovely Christian lady with many…
May 15, 2020

For the First Time in 1400 Years

By Emily Roth It is a special time of year for 1.8 billion people around the world. Something in the atmosphere makes this season different from any other. Those who celebrate it hang festive lights and exchange gifts. They host big dinners, serving seasonal dishes, and inviting honored guests. People give generously to the poor and needy. Everyone strives to be the best version of themselves. They reflect on the past year and feel hopeful for the year to come. And children watch out the windows with anticipation to see if they can spot...the moon. It is Ramadan. Based on…
May 6, 2020

The Courage and Sacrifice of an Indonesian Church

How a Jakarta Church is Living 360 Discipleship By Bruce Swanson Eric and Tina Yee’s church members are creating exciting impacts in all of their circles – personal, professional, and community. Eric has been discipling the church to obey all Jesus commanded, including living as salt and light. It is so cool to see them doing that with courage and sacrifice. From the Eric & Tina Yee’s Update | 04/22/2020 When COVID-19 began to enter Indonesia last month, everyone was unprepared for how quickly it escalated from precautions to closures to deaths. While it has been a difficult season, including the…
May 2, 2020

How Many Hot Dogs Does It Take to Unlock a Heart?

When God Locks Us in to Unlock Hearts in Ecuador By Matt and Kristy Messick We work with marriages.  And, in this culture, they are tough. Since 2016, we’ve been reaching marriages through an 8-week course called MAS en Mi Matrimonio (More in My Marriage).  It originally attracted mostly believers. In the last year, it has had a strong draw for non-believers. Graduates began to recommend the course around the city. We love building relationships here. When we first moved to Ecuador in 2014, Matt found a small store downtown that sold hotdogs--a cheap and fast snack he could grab…
May 1, 2020

2 Ways to Create Solitude and Silence

  By Ginny Jensen “How to Actually Concentrate” by Carolyn Yates addresses concentration in our everyday life. It also has a great application to how we approach our relationship with the Lord. Time with the Lord requires more than going through the motions. We often struggle to concentrate on the mundane things of life. So, how do we focus on the Lord? Yates provides several tools in her article to help build concentration or focus. She points out that we are so used to multi-tasking that we struggle to focus on one thing. In our time with the Lord, do…
April 29, 2020

3 Principles For Times of Anxiety

  By Ming Perrello, MS, LPC I confess that I have been anxious. My sleep has often been fitful. My body is tense and I feel restless. I am easily irritated. I feel busy yet I am busier in my mind than with my hands. Who can blame me?  I live near the epicenter of the COVID-19 hotspot of New York City. The climate here is tense; just about everyone knows someone who has the virus. I am a caregiver to my husband who has multiple sclerosis, a memory-impaired 88-year-old father, and a brother who is a paraplegic.  I am…
April 28, 2020

Meme, Myself and Isolation

Health for the Whole Person by Christy Otten, MA, LCPC The internet has been awash with memes about the coronavirus. You may have seen the one(s) about Isaac Newton: He discovered theories of gravity and motion during a plague—the message clearly being that you can do a lot while staying inside. Then, there are the ones especially for parents—one tells us that while you, as the parent, know this is a crisis, your children may only remember scavenger hunts, family game nights, and the immense amount of together time. Imagine the family memories you can create! If I’m being honest,…
April 24, 2020

Shelter in Place: Hannah

  By Ginny Jensen Sometimes, when we feel like we are captive, it has nothing to do with our location. Loss, physical limitations, or broken relationships (to name a few) can hold us captive. Consider Hannah. She was barren in a society that gave honor to childbearing. She was provoked by her rival. Her husband deeply loved her, but her deep desire for a child left her anxious, grieved, and frustrated. In the midst of her grief, she poured out her heart in the temple and was seen by the high priest, Eli. Hannah told Eli the priest about her…
April 20, 2020

Shelter in Place: Jesus

  By Ginny Jensen Shelter in Place usually means home. When Jesus left heaven, it was like leaving his home. He was perfect yet living in a broken world. Jesus remained close to the Father while on earth. He made choices based on the word of the Father. He was abiding. Jesus’ time alone prior to Satan’s tempting him gives insight into his practices to maintain intimacy with the Father. It included fasting and solitude. He was able to refute Satan, showing his familiarity with Scripture. Imagine those days alone in prayer and meditation; silently listening to the Father. Solitude…
April 19, 2020

The Inner Life, World, and Vision of Healthy Cross-Cultural Servants

  By Dr. Dennis Ahern, Director, Paraclete Services  “You really like your work,” observed an eager short-term missionary after a few days of serving alongside me in Asia. In that moment, her question perplexed me and so I replied, “If I didn’t like my work, I’d change jobs. What led you to this observation?” She responded, “Our team travels on short-term assignments and we serve many career missionaries living in Asia. I’ve decided that many missionaries hate their work.” How accurate is this young woman’s observation today? Is ministry to be enjoyed or do we discover God’s will only after…
April 17, 2020

Shelter in Place: Joseph

  By Ginny Jensen  Shelter in Place can mean very different things for people. Some live in mansions, small homes, or on the street. Joseph had several places during his lifetime. He lived in his family home until his brothers threw him into a pit. From there, he traveled with traders and was sold as a slave. The extremes of his lodging went from prison to the king’s palace. Imagine how disruptive life would have been for Joseph. Consider the unmet dreams for his life. We may wonder, during those years of captivity, if he thought about the unfulfilled dreams…
April 16, 2020

Shelter in Place: Daniel

  By Ginny Jensen  Most people these days can be grateful for being at home. For some, they may be “stuck” someplace else. They, like Daniel in the Old Testament, have an added amount of discomfort. Daniel was in exile, taken to Babylon. Nothing was normal for Daniel and his fellow exiles. Daniel remained faithful to his prayer time. He continued even after the king’s decree. Prayer is never more crucial than at times like these. We serve a God who hears; he knows, and he is in control. The Psalms offer examples of prayers of lament. Honestly tell the…
April 13, 2020

Shelter in Place

  By Ginny Jensen  Shelter in place, quarantine, and stay at home are words heard repeatedly these days. For many, it feels like a prison sentence; others feel imposed upon and inconvenienced. As believers, these times can draw us closer to the Lord or disrupt all spiritual practices leaving us drifting away. This feeling of being in captivity and isolation are not new. Over the centuries, others have experienced the same feeling during plagues, slavery, imprisonment, or exile. Bible stories we know and love give us examples of thriving in such difficult situations. Some early church fathers even chose a…
April 9, 2020

When the Occasion of Disruption Becomes an Opportunity for Distribution!

  WorldVenture sees how the gospel can be a catalyst for justice in the world.  Karen Shogren, Professor at Seminario ESEPA, Costa Rica began teaching a new program to train church leaders to combat the scourge of sexual abuse.  She has been developing this critically needed training for some time and was excited to release it this year.  The course began as an in-person pilot program; plans to take the program online for wider distribution would have to wait for another 1-2 years. But the disruption of the coronavirus quarantine nearly stopped the program entirely.  Professor Shogren shared that “exactly…
April 7, 2020

13 Ways to Effectively Work From Home

Serving While Sheltering by Dennis Ahern Yesterday was a strange day in the midst of our new normal. After checking in with the IM team at 7:30 a.m. (California time), my wife, Denise and I went to buy groceries. We experienced the push of the cart during the early morning “senior” shopping hours. Truthfully, my wife does not accept invitations from anyone or anywhere that begin with, “Dear Senior Citizen.” But, she accepted my invitation because I invited her to join me as my guest. Does it seem strange to others besides me that before entering a supermarket, we put…
April 5, 2020

Staying Home, But Not Alone

  By Grace Sandeno, Director of Public Health Initiatives Battle back against isolation and stress! Here are some practical suggestions for making our current isolation less isolating: Whether you are alone or “isolated” in a house of seven, as I am, reach out to people not in your house. Other people need a hug, even if it is a virtual one. Learn some new “tricks.” I admit to being an “old-timer” when it comes to technology. But, as it turns out, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. I’ve messed up technology stuff a number of times, but I…
April 4, 2020

How to Worship Together in Quarantine In the past, Zachary Galyen enjoyed multiple opportunities during the week to worship in community. Since moving to the Czech Republic last May, he "...could count on one hand..." the opportunities to worship. "I just missed it." He said. "What pushed me over the edge is seeing all the people coming out of the woodwork, sharing their corporate or personal time of worship because of the restrictions to meet publicly, etc. I thought it was so cool that people were posting encouraging songs of worship FOR each other, but it would be so much cooler if we could…
April 3, 2020

This Way We Have Never Been Before

By LeAnn Custer Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. After three days the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it.  Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.” – Joshua 3:1-8 I thought how applicable the verses are to our present Corona Virus pandemic situation since none…
March 30, 2020

Accepting Reality, Accepting Grace

By A.D. Brown In the span of just a few weeks, I’ve observed how all of my friends back in America suddenly find themselves homeschooling and working remotely. Routines have been disrupted, plans have been dramatically changed, and we all wonder what the new normal is going to look like. This is certainly an unprecedented world situation. It also reminds me of normal life as an international colleague. Certainly, there are the obvious parallels: We have been homeschooling for years. I’ve been working remotely basically since 2013, and our routines are, well, routinely disrupted. In 2018, we also experienced a…
March 24, 2020

How Internships & Short-Term Mission Trips Are Meaningful

As we began our descent into Tegucigalpa, Honduras, we passed over the roofs of shanties, saw the laundry hanging on the lines, and the streets that the missionary from One Collective described as like a plate of spaghetti. Trips like this one forever changed how I viewed missions, people, and ministry.  Now, almost five years later, I am a Digital Engagement and Disciple-Making Coordinator with WorldVenture wanting to help others know that life-changing experience of serving. One of the ways to experience God at work in the world is to become a Pathfinder. Pathfinders is a 4 week to 1-year…
February 13, 2020

How The WhistleBlower Motivated Adrienne Livingston

The Whistleblower (2010) was inspired by true events. A Nebraska cop in the late 1990s became a United Nations Peacekeeper in Bosnia only to witness sex trafficking by the very officers and organizations pledged to keep the peace in the aftermath of the Balkans war. This movie helped motivate Adrienne Livingston to find her calling as director of Anti-Sex Trafficking Initiatives with WorldVenture. “It’s a God-thing.” She said. After working at a non-profit and graduating with a Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies from Western Seminary, she felt burned out. “I was the executive director for 9 of the 14…
February 5, 2020

When Pastors Learn the True Gospel

By Laura Pearce In Rwandan churches, it’s common to hear pastors teaching the prosperity gospel and salvation by works (especially tithing). Prophecy, rather than the Bible, is often treated as the primary way to hear from God. Most pastors in Rwanda have little or no Biblical education. The lack of Biblically literate, spiritually transformed leaders has meant a general lack of discipleship and genuine faith in many Rwandan churches. Therefore pastoral training and leadership development continue to be critically important for the growth of the Church in Rwanda. The Pastoral Training School of New Creation Ministries exists to meet these…
January 28, 2020

3 Takeaways From “The Mission of God”

A commentary By Keith Sellers (Hungary) on J.H. Wright’s, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative The main takeaway of Wright's monumental text is that the Bible is a book about mission. Mission is not just a subtopic of Scripture. The Bible in its entirety portrays the mission of God to redeem humanity and compels us to join God not only in the partaking of redemption but in his mission. Wright develops his presentation in four sections: The Bible and Mission, The God of Mission, The People of Mission, and The Arena of Mission. The book breaks down…
January 26, 2020

Doors: A Visual Prayer

Submitted by colleagues who visited North Africa Jesus talked about being the door and the way, the truth, and the life … to eternal life PRAY with us that many will find that narrow path The narrow door Leading to life
January 11, 2020

Broken Before Him

Photo image Credit: WT (picture from Bolivia) by Ed Eby Ps. 51:17 “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” Matthew 5:2 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Who are the poor in spirit? These are people, like the psalmist, who realize that they’re messed up and need God’s mercy and grace. They’re people who rely on God for every decision and perhaps even for their daily bread. Our culture rewards independent, confident, self-sufficient people who have all the answers to their problems.…
October 2, 2019

How Oral Storytelling Brought Me Deeper into Scripture

About a year ago, I was off to Orlando, Florida to a Bible Story workshop called “Simply the Story.” I wanted to know how I could share God’s Word effectively in a culture that prefers oral modes of communicating. I was growing discouraged at a lack of connection between my style of teaching (Western, literate) and my community’s style of learning (African, oral). In other words, I wanted to know how to teach people to understand the Bible even when they aren’t comfortable reading the Bible.
September 28, 2019

How Peter in Africa Came to Know the Lord

by Nikole Hahn “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.” – Psalm 95:1-2  Jan’et and Lloyd Chinn met Peter in 2010 when they returned to Ghana after their first Home Assignment. The mission house and leadership center were under construction. Peter approached the Chinn’s about a job. “We hired him to maintain the property, to use his machete to keep things from growing too tall. His job was to make sure the things that…
September 19, 2019

Restoration in Madagascar

An Interview with Jamie Shattenberg of Eden Projects by Nikole Hahn Deforestation is a constant threat to the environment and the people living in it. The world loses about 8.3 million hectares per year of forest, often spurred by increasing poverty in developing countries like Madagascar. In 2015, we shared how Eden Projects doesn’t just replant the forests, but also helps Malagasy families combat poverty. Today, stories of hope continue and the forest is growing! Eden Reforestation Projects is an organization that started in Ethiopia in 2004. Dr. Stephen Fitch understood the “third world culture” and the cycle of poverty.…
September 5, 2019

The Gift of Business

By Bruce Swanson While in Kenya in June 2014, we were reminded of some very important truths. One of these reminders came during a seminar on starting a business we led the first Sunday we were there. These seminars were offered to the members of a church we partner with who are in or interested in business. About forty-five men and women joined us for the seminar. As we began to make our way through the curriculum, we were impressed by the interaction of the participants. They had many great ideas and thoughts and were quickly able to apply the curriculum's principles to their business.  One particular…
August 30, 2019

What You Should Know Before Your Short-Term Trip

By Emily Roth So you’re preparing to go on a short-term mission. Maybe you’re visiting missionaries that you support. Maybe you’re going with a team from a church. Short-term missions can have many different goals and plans. Our WorldVenture colleagues host short-term mission teams every year in locations around the world. As you are packing your toiletries and checking the dress code, there are certain pieces of advice that will help you prepare for your trip. Five of our colleagues have shared from their years of experience what you need to know before you go. POLANDLinda Thomas: “I'd advise people…
August 21, 2019

“I Hold My OWN Hand!”

By Grace Sandeno There she stood in the parking lot—my remarkably stubborn oldest child who was, indeed, holding her own hand. She did not want to hold my hand because she was three, independent and tired of getting dragged around where I wanted to go. What is more remarkable is that my youngest child did exactly the same thing when she was three. I have two adopted children sandwiched between two biological children. My adopted children have a great genetic benefit in that they are not the result of cross-breeding between a German and a Norwegian, creating what may be…
August 13, 2019

Missions in Reverse

In Poland, many people share the common dream of going to the United States someday. WorldVenture colleagues Bruce and Linda Thomas first moved to Poland in 2010, and right away they began to meet locals who wanted to see America.
August 9, 2019

Prayer Around The World

By WT "The reality is, my prayers don't change God.  But, I am convinced prayer changes me.  Praying boldly boots me out of that stale place of religious habit into authentic connection with God Himself." - Lysa TerKeurst A pastor at one of the churches I attended believed that an effective and healthy church prays on its knees. When he helped design the new building, the pastor put in kneelers. I remember using them a few times. They seemed like a thing for special occasions. It created a full-body posture and atmosphere for prayer. Eventually, that church moved again and…
August 8, 2019

How to Ask The Right Questions

...And other information to ponder as you seek God's direction in ministry and for the right missionary organization to partner with. Choosing a mission agency can be a difficult task to navigate. Not only are you looking for a group with the same beliefs and ideology as you, but you also need to be with an organization that meets your needs practically and encourages you to follow the call that God has put on your life. So how do you choose? Below are some helpful tips for choosing the mission agency that is right for you. From team chemistry to…
July 27, 2019

The Best Way to Learn a Language?

By Emily Roth Before I moved to Spain, I described my level of Spanish as enough to be a good tourist. I could order food from a menu and ask where to find a bathroom. Many friends encouraged me that full immersion in Spanish would be the best way to master the language quickly. They recommended reading the Bible in Spanish and advised me to avoid making friends who speak English. At the time, I agreed with them. Then I arrived in Spain and met other international workers who chose to attend English church services. I couldn’t understand it. Didn’t…
July 9, 2019

How Perceptions are Changing in Ngohé

By Laura Newkirk Twelve ladies from the village of Ngohé just graduated from Formation Lois. These women are courageous, formidable, determined, and amazing! Some ladies came by horse cart and others walked far distances in the hot sand. None of them could read, but most of them worked very hard to memorize verses each week. They had their children or husbands help them. A’s husband got so frustrated that he told her she was too hard to teach. She stayed up at night and worked until she got it and memorized every verse assigned! At the graduation, she and four…
June 24, 2019

The Impact of a Gospel Rock

By Nikole Hahn In 2015, Megan Murphy started “The Kindness Rock Project.” She left a rock on the beach of Cape Cod with the words “You’ve Got This” painted on it. Facebook rock painting groups began where communities did a grown-up Easter egg-like hunt for hand-painted rocks, leaving pictures with hints on Facebook groups so a family or person could find it and report it to the group. Over the past year or two, I’ve participated in this trend as a form of community outreach for online connections. Last week, my prayers yielded phenomenal results. Kairi and her mom were…
June 11, 2019

Gideon-Style Missions

By Nikole Hahn "Come back when you have a 4-year degree from a Bible school or seminary," Four to five mission agencies said in the 1990s to Rob and Lisa Atkins (currently in Bolivia). While students are the focus of most mission's mobilization, making up a robust 1% of the world's demographic (Pipeline: Engaging the Church in Missionary Mobilization; pg. 14), older missionaries (Over-Forty) encounter pushback from friends and relatives in a culture where people are expected to save for a comfortable retirement. "Occasionally, we hear subtle comments from people that our age concerns them. I also have issues with…
June 4, 2019

How to Discover Contentment

By Chelsi Johnson “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that once again you renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity to show it. I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who…
May 10, 2019

Oh Sunday’s Comin’

By Patrick LaPoint Cold, dark, bound by linen Enclosed in a borrowed cave, body lay still, dead. Sorrow, guilt, despair, and fear lovers, followers, family, hearts destroyed. But Sunday's Comin' Jubilation, evil vindication, demonic triumph Every demon, devil, and evil spirit rejoicing. Sadducees, Pharisees, Chief Priests, and Law teachers Herod, Barrabas, satisfied by a lawbreakers death. But Sunday's Comin' Roman soldiers stand watch and keep warm by the fire, All stand watch to make sure the man stays dead. Windows shut, doors locked, alert and afraid, upper room filled, crowded with tensions and questions. But Sunday's Comin' Wasn't he the…
April 20, 2019

Salt of the Earth in March Madness

By Bruce Swanson Jesus commanded us to be “the salt of the earth.”  How are we to be salt in our professions?  Here is a good example from March Madness, the 2019 NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Auburn made it to the Final Four and was oh so close to winning their semi-final game against Virginia. With seven seconds to go and Auburn leading by two points, the refs missed a clear double dribble by Virginia. Calling the infraction would have given the ball to Auburn and all but guaranteed their victory and moving on to the championship game. But, the…
April 17, 2019

Why Random Acts of Kindness Aren’t Enough

by Grace Sandeno The US is big enough to have many flavors to its culture.  I grew up in the northeast where one of the primary characteristics was bluntness. In the mid-west, people are “nice.” In the south, people are known for their hospitality. I’ve lived in Colorado for almost 30 years, so it’s home.  We pride ourselves on our independence here, but we also like to think of ourselves in another way – we are “good” people. That often comes with no religious connotation as we are a largely secularized society; nonetheless, we perceive ourselves as “good” by whatever…
March 29, 2019

Safely Caring For Your Missionary

By Ed Eby Do you support a missionary financially? That’s terrific! Would you like to know how to be a more active support for them? Your missionary is going through a real rough period right now. How do I know? I used to be that guy. I raised my children in a different culture, and I was always on guard for their safety. I always appreciated the financial backing of my supporters, and I coveted their prayers. But the thing that meant the most to me was when somebody reached out to me with a phone call, letter, or email.…
March 27, 2019

Loving Your Neighbor Through Cancer

By Emily Roth Until last September, international workers Jon and Kathy Haley had over-the-fence friendships with their neighbors in a suburb of Barcelona. They greeted each other when they happened to be out on their back porches at the same time, and the neighbors would keep watch over their house when Jon and Kathy left on extended trips. Then during one of their trips out of town, their neighbor Eva* texted Kathy from the hospital. Eva had suffered from back pain for 15 years. Four years ago, her doctor diagnosed her with Multiple Sclerosis and prescribed medication to treat it…
March 25, 2019

10 Tips for Keeping Your Computer Safe

By Ed Eby For nearly twenty years, I was the Network Engineer for the USPS Engineering Center in Merrifield VA. One of my primary jobs was to be a White Hat Hacker for the Engineering Center. A letter signed by the Vice President of Engineering gave me the legal right to break into any machine on the engineering network. It was my job to play the bad guy. If I was able to break in, I would then notify the owner of the machine and help him to fix the problem. This would often result in upset and embarrassed engineers,…
February 25, 2019

3 Ways to Keep Your Missionary Secure

(Photo at a church of David and Kristen Caucutt ) A Brief Guide for Partner Churches and Individuals By Ed Eby One day we had a visiting missionary come to our headquarters to share what God was doing in his field. He was from a closed country where the Gospel was not welcomed. He showed us a picture of a gathering of believers. Because of security concerns, he had all the people standing with their back toward the camera. But their name plaques were all sitting on the tables in full view of the camera. Oops. It wasn’t obvious to the…
February 23, 2019

The Impact of Jim Gould’s Death

By Linnea Boese Often, when things happen in one’s youth or childhood, they seem insignificant. What is thrilling is living long enough to be able to look back and understand their real impact. In 1964, during my family’s home assignment, when I was 11 years old, I had my first “call” to missions in response to a South American missionary’s message in Pontiac, Michigan. My parents had been missionaries, so I understood that God had a passion for reaching those who have not yet heard the Good News. We had gone through a traumatic evacuation from the Congo after turmoil…
February 22, 2019

Trusting God or Trusting Technology?

by Ed Eby Do you trust God or do you trust technology to keep you safe? What If What if that VPN, SSL, HTTPS, or encrypted message could be hacked? What if anybody could read your texts or posts? What if you could no longer trust technology to keep you secure? Would you still be okay, or does this thought cause you to panic? As a technologist, I’m often asked the question: “Is this thing (software, service, protocol, etc.) secure?” The average person tends to think in binary terms—either a thing is secure or it’s not. The reality is that security is…
February 21, 2019

Going on Mission, Into Exile, and Back

By Emily Roth What happens when the country God calls you to serve rejects you? After six months of waiting, Beth Horn received notice that her visa to Austria was denied. Despite this news, she held onto faith that God would open the closed doors. She had been reading Jeremiah 42 just the week before. The Israelites remaining after the Babylonian invasion asked the prophet Jeremiah to seek guidance from God. They were tempted to give up the Promised Land and relocate to Egypt, where they expected to find security and prosperity. Instead, Jeremiah delivered this message: “Do not fear…
February 7, 2019

How Francis Schaeffer Inspired 360 Missions

By Bruce Swanson Forty-five years ago, Francis Schaeffer challenged all of us to do 360 Missions. “There is no dichotomy in the Bible between the intellectual and cultural on the one hand and the spiritual on the other. But often there has been a strong…tendency to divide man into two parts – his spiritual nature and everything else. We must take that conception like a piece of baked clay, break it in our hands and throw it away... God made the whole man; the whole man is redeemed in Christ, and after we are Christians the lordship of Christ covers…
February 4, 2019

Amazing God

By Emily Roth “You’re amazing,” she said. Immediately, I recoiled inside. We had been talking about my work in Spain, and this was her response. At first, I didn’t know how to explain why her compliment made me uncomfortable. Such compliments encourage self-pride, that much I knew, but it wasn’t until the next day that I realized the deeper truth. More than a temptation to pride, such compliments invite me to take credit for what God has done. It puts me in His place, steals from His glory, and ascribes it to me. This is exactly the sin that so many of the…
December 28, 2018

The Vendors of La Cancha

By Robert Atkins  The mom is what is called a cholita here. They are indigenous women, Aymara or Quechua. The term was originally a derogatory one--women of mixed blood; usually half Spanish or other white race. Even as little as ten years ago, they were not allowed to do many things like riding public transportation. They can be recognized by their long, twin braids and their hats. Their hats tell where they are from if you know the “code” (which we do not). The more typical bowler hats you often see in pictures are typical of La Paz, and you…
December 4, 2018

Ireland: Story of an Irish Couple

By WT The Emerald Island—a place where the history is rich and reminders of it are everywhere. You can easily find ancient stone artifacts lying in someone’s field or moved a few feet to be used as an addition to someone’s stone fence. This is where the people are incredibly warm and friendly but still enjoy privacy, where little white dots of sheep are spotted on green mountains and hills or through open stretches of bog. The churches in Ireland are a bit of a complicated puzzle with a thorny history. The Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland…
December 3, 2018

Aha Moments in Ministry

by Grace Sandeno Years ago, I took a semester off from college and traveled to Burkina Faso (West Africa for those of you who aren’t geography buffs). It was an “aha moment.” Actually more of an “aha four months.” I was planning to be a doctor and went to work in a medical clinic to see what it was like. It was amazing--everything I hoped for and so much more! There were snakes, scorpions, wild dogs and millipedes the size of a hot dog. I saw malaria, hepatitis, river blindness, mental illness, birth, and death. We had no doctor, but…
November 15, 2018

How Busyness Consumed My Life

By Rachel from Africa In America, we drill busyness into our heads from a young age. It isn’t enough just to go to school and study. We need to be involved in sports, music, and theater. On top of that, some of us had a job in high school. And it isn’t just a stage of life, it is the start of a lifestyle. We continued by always being busy, not resting. Who needs sleep when you can just drink coffee that at some point doesn’t affect our bodies anymore? We seek other ways to keep us going and turn…
November 13, 2018

Wearing God’s Name

By Doug Hazen I love the Shema.  It’s the blessing that Moses commanded the Levites to speak over the people of Israel.  And because it is SO personal, it is the primary blessing I use to bless people. “The Lord bless you     and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you     and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you     and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26 The personal nature of God blessing or increasing me and keeping or protecting me is incredible.  And the fact that he would make his face to shine on me recalls a Bible school professor who described…
November 10, 2018

Two Pictures

By WT in Jordan I want to tell you two stories by painting two pictures in your mind. The first might not catch your attention, but continue to read, the second will. Imagine a living room. We are sitting around a coffee table that is filled to the edges with food and I have a cup of tea in my hand. I sit with my friend whom I am staying with as well as a husband and wife who, after several years of marriage and five children, clearly still adore one another. We talk about their children, how each of…
November 8, 2018

Our Greatest Prayer Motivators

By Doug Hazen  My prayer mentor says there are two things that motivate prayer: crisis and vision. Both are packaged in the person of Jesus through the cross and the resurrection and are our greatest prayer motivators since they affected both earth and heaven. Bigger than the awful storms, earthquakes, and tsunamis we have been seeing in past days, the cross was the convergence of unparalleled evil allowed, and even approved, by God, the Father. Isaiah says it pleased him! I’ve sensed the truth of this profound sacrifice before. Hopefully, it brought most of us to a saving knowledge of…
October 6, 2018

Dana Stucky: A Lasting Impact

By Jim Thorp  Americas Ministries Director As a person judges seasons of life, it might be said by some that it was a shame Dana did not make it to retirement, because after all the years of ministry effort, she should have been able to enjoy some rest on this earth for her and Larry to do some “fun” things. There are a few problems with this. First, Dana believed what she was doing all these years was fun. Secondly, she was never going to stop doing what she had been doing for so many years of active ministry. Then…
September 17, 2018

How to Praise God

A Prayer Challenge by Doug Hazen They say that the names of God are a good basis for worship prayers. I think I know why. Let’s compare the one person I love and admire more than any other… my wife. Her names are Ruth Emeline. But her qualities especially describe her and are even more meaningful. She is quiet but determined. She is competitive. She is a servant. She is a provider. She is a mother and grandmother. She loves. She laughs. She weeps. There are many other qualities all of which describe this woman I deeply love. But, her…
September 13, 2018

How Hurricane Harvey Brought Unity

According to CNN, Hurricane Harvey broke rainfall records in 2017, and by Sunday, August 27 of that year, experts said, 27 trillion gallons of rain fell over Texas before it downgraded to a Tropical Storm. One-third of Houston flooded causing 8 million cubic yards of garbage. The storm ravaged 100,000 homes, causing 30,000 people to seek emergency shelter. Today is the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, and we reflect on God’s redemptive power through our workers and church partners. Terri Olson from Family Bible Church in Kingman, Arizona said, “Even though it has been almost one year, I still can't…
August 25, 2018

The Practice of Waiting

by Emily Roth When I moved to Spain last January, my roommate had an orchid plant on the dining table. Its flowers shriveled and died. We wondered if it would bloom again or if the whole plant would go soon. I don’t have much experience caring for plants, especially nothing as exotic as an orchid. So we gave the orchid water, moved it in front of the window, and hoped for the best. Jesus told his disciples, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can…
August 8, 2018

Remembering the Pals… by sending others in their place…

"These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth... Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city" (from Hebrews 11:13, 16 ESV). Two years ago today, at about 11:30am (MDT) on a well-traveled stretch of Interstate 80 in Nebraska, Jamison, Kathryne, Ezra, Violet, and Calvin Pals were killed when a distracted truck-driver crashed into their mini-van. On their way to train at WorldVenture Headquarters for an anticipated…
July 31, 2018

God’s Work to ‘Ekballo’ Jonah

 Insights From the Worst Missionary Ever Whether you grew up in the church or not, you’ve heard the story of Jonah. God calls this prophet to arise and go proclaim divine judgment on the people of Nineveh. Jonah arises alright! But, demonstrating a remarkable misunderstanding of omnipresence, Jonah purposes instead to “flee from the presence of the Lord!” However, Jonah’s little cruise in the opposite direction gets interrupted by the storm of the century. Evidently, his travel agent didn’t know what Jonah himself told the terrified sailors: “I fear the LORD…who made the sea!” One might fault Jonah for not taking…
July 20, 2018