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Dangerous Stories
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The Road Less Traveled – And Why Going It Alone Is Not God’s Idea
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Which Kid From Charlie and The Chocolate Factory Are You? The Value of Stuggle
4
Good Leaders Have Good Friends
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“A Man of Sorrows and Acquainted with Grief”
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What is Reverse Culture Shock and Why It’s Important to Understand It – Part 1
7
The Pain of Saying “Goodbye”
8
Never Go Back to Vanilla Ice Cream
9
How to Cope with Reverse Culture Shock – Part 2
10
Can Christians Truly Change Nations?

Dangerous Stories

Photo credit: Seyemon via photopin cc

This post was originally published on A Life Overseas where it captured the interest of many missionaries – go and check it out the discussion! You can also follow the author Chris Lautsbaugh’s blog at No Super Heroes. This post is re-posted with permission.

Sometimes the stories we tell of those we minister to can become dangerous.

I’ve been at this missions thing for 23 years now. I’ve made a lot of mistakes.

I often reflect on things I did in the past and cringe. Hindsight is always 20/20, but perhaps others can learn from my mistakes.

One mistake centers around how I have reflected the stories of others to my own supporters and sending churches / organizations.

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The Road Less Traveled – And Why Going It Alone Is Not God’s Idea

Photo Credit: Linh Nguyen

This post was originally published on the author Lindsey Lautsbaugh’s blog at http://www.thisisloveactually.com/road-less-traveled/ on June 3, 2014 and is re-posted with permission.

Last week I left my house for a late afternoon run. I’m a hoofer who plods along slowly. Seeing me run would probably evoke less images of a light-footed deer and more images of a stray elephant looking for its herd. But, I digress.

That evening was beautiful, still, cool air, and beautiful clouds. I love running at that time of day; the streets are full of people walking home after a long day at work. There are large groups of gossiping Mamas noisily giving the updates of the day. Weary fathers pushing their young daughters home from preschool. Dusty men returning home after a hard day of manual labour.

That evening I took my normal route along the busiest roads, past the buzzing taxi ranks, and weaving along semi-crowded sidewalks. The next morning I woke up to learn that thirty minutes after I had run, there was a shooting along my route, killing several. It was part of a week of rising violence in our neighborhood.

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Which Kid From Charlie and The Chocolate Factory Are You? The Value of Stuggle

Photo Credit: Leeroy from Life of Pix

5 Weird Kids…

5 Unique Struggles…

You May Identify With All of Them.

(I do.)

“Struggle carves out the space within us for deep desire…”

– Father Richard Rohr

“Struggle shows us what our true desires are.”

– Me (after reflecting on Rohr)

I’m just going to apologize for how my brain works up front. As I write, I have a friend who just lost his dad, another going through a divorce, and yet another betrayed by a disciple she poured her life into. At this moment a tornado of deep struggle swirls all around me, and I started thinking about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! (Oompa Loompas? Golden Tickets? You know the one. I already said sorry.) The author, Ronald Dahl, wrote some brilliantly, dark children’s books, full of quirky, sometimes disturbing characters. (Real life Willie Wonka would have restraining orders against him. Am I right?) Dahl was not afraid of the shadowy side of the plot, and that’s what makes his tales so fascinating, so full. In that way, he’s a bit like the Author of Life. Yep, I’m now talking about God. While our Heavenly Father may have no darkness in Him, He’s sure not afraid of ours. Even more surprising, He doesn’t overcome our struggle by solving or expelling it; rather, he enters into it with us and writes the shadows into the plot of our lives, using all of it to call us toward Life.

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Good Leaders Have Good Friends

Photo Credit: Anil kumar B Bhatt

This post was originally published on the author Lindsey Lautsbaugh’s blog at http://www.thisisloveactually.com/good-leaders-good-friends/ and is re-posted with permission.

It seems to me that so much of the dysfunctions of leadership that I have seen over and over (and over and over) could be avoided. Leaders who wound others, leaders who are caught up in sin, leaders who trip themselves up by their lack of self-awareness. All these things could be prevented… if only those leaders had a real friend.

Many leaders don’t have healthy friendships. I’m nervous around leaders whom I observe who are not able to build and maintain healthy and true friendships.

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“A Man of Sorrows and Acquainted with Grief”

Photo Credit: Painting “Spring Again” By Gaylin Downie

The above painting shows the winds of change blowing away the darkness of winter and the old season. Colour is released from heaven to earth bleeding life back into the hills, which become covered in spring flowers. Words: “Wrong will be made right, when Aslan comes in sight. At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more. When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death. And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.” ~ From The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

{This painting is by Gaylin Downie, local artist and YWAM Muizenberg staff of Bethesda House, and we are blessed to feature it here. Her main art expression is prophetic art, which is a visual form of what God is communicating to people to encourage them and highlight aspects of who they are and what they are made for. You can view her art on Facebook here: CrimsonHeart by Gaylin.}

 

My heart breaks and bleeds as I contemplate the extent of the brokenness of humanity. Murders, shootings, gang rapes, molestation, drug abuse, theft… Is there no end to the evil of mankind?

I wish that my thoughts were merely theoretical, but they are not. On a weekly basis I am faced with the troubles in some of the communities in Cape Town, South Africa. It is even sadder that I seem to be more heartbroken than the actual people who live in these traumatic situations.

It’s not that they do not feel the pain, but that the pain has become their normal experience of existence. They are beyond pain. The pain is so deeply entrenched in their culture and identity that they don’t see it anymore.

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What is Reverse Culture Shock and Why It’s Important to Understand It – Part 1

Photo Credit: Felicity Davies

I am currently writing this blog entry from the UK, where I’m visiting my home country because my husband and I are missionaries in South Africa. My husband grew up in Manchester, so we are staying in a house provided by a member of his church. I cannot tell you how grateful we are to have our own space while we are at home visiting family and friends – it makes it easier for us to rest in-between social engagements.

Reverse culture shock is when you return to your own culture but find it a bit unfamiliar because you have adapted to the culture of the nation where you are currently living and working.

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The Pain of Saying “Goodbye”

Photo Credit: lost in pixels via Compfight cc

When I was younger, I struggled for years with suicidal depression. When I look back, I can see that I was so obsessed with myself and my pain that I was ignoring the precious people in my life. I was quite selfishly happy to part with them and to never see them again just so that I could stop hurting.

That was a long time ago, and I am now faced with a pain of a different sort. One of the first things I learnt, when I became a follower of Jesus, was that I needed to “sell everything I own and go follow Him.” I did it, and I did it with gladness because of the new life that I had found in Him. Later on, I was faced with the challenge of leaving my home, my language, and my nation. I lived in Wales at the time, and God wanted me to go to England; this is only a four hour train journey, and I would always cry half the way there!

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Never Go Back to Vanilla Ice Cream

Photo Credit: Mike Barkema, a graduate of YWAM Muizenberg’s School of Biblical Studies & Titus Project

The below post is by Cayla Bertelsen, a recent Titus Project graduate with YWAM Muizenberg. Titus Project, South Africa is a three month program, which includes training on how to teach to the Bible and cross-cultural communication skills, followed by practical ministry to rural and urban African communities. YWAM’s 9 month School of Biblical Studies graduates have the opportunity to follow up with this school and outreach. This post was originally published on Cayla’s blog at http://caylabertelsen.blogspot.com/2014/11/vanilla-ice-cream.html and is re-posted with permission.

Vanilla ice cream. I like vanilla ice cream. I think that most people do. My favorite flavor though is coffee or a good, rich chocolate flavor. I like the fudge on top, maybe with some banana and nuts to make a real Sunday and to spice things up a little!

Once my youth pastor talked about vanilla ice cream. He spent some time asking our youth group which ice cream flavors we liked and what kinds of toppings we would choose. There were lots of varied answers, and I think the winner was mint chocolate chip (I guess that’s pretty popular around here!). Out of our group, not a single person chose plain vanilla ice cream.

He then said something that I pondered for a long time after that because it meant a lot more to me than just ice cream flavors. It went something like this…

“If you are a beginner, you might start with vanilla, but once you have tasted all the other flavors and toppings and experienced all the exciting delicious variety, you will never want to go back to plain vanilla ice cream ever again.”

“This is how life with Jesus can be.”

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How to Cope with Reverse Culture Shock – Part 2

Photo Credit: looking4poetry via Compfight cc

In my last article I began to open up about the issue of reverse culture shock (What is Reverse Culture Shock and Why It’s Important to Understand It). In this blog entry I would like to discuss ways that I discovered to help me handle this unpleasant experience.

When I first experienced reverse culture shock, I was not aware of what was going on. I felt depressed, discouraged, and disoriented, but I had no words to use to describe what I was feeling. I somehow came across a book called Re-Entry and found that the information imparted in this book helped me understand what I was experiencing; this knowledge in itself brought some relief. As I read this book, I was reassured that I was not the only one to go through reverse culture shock, and it gave me a vocabulary to use to be able to communicate my experience with others. If you are a missionary, I would highly recommend that you familiarise yourself with the issue of reverse culture shock so that you are prepared for when you go through it yourself or when someone you know is going through it.

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Can Christians Truly Change Nations?

Photo Credit: Africa Renewal via Compfight cc

This post was originally published on A Life Overseas by our very own author, Bible teacher, and grace-filled, Christ follower Chris Lautsbaugh, who is a regular contributor there. On normal days you can find him on his blog, http://www.nosuperheroes.com/. This post is re-posted with permission from the author.

The other week, I made a trip to the local police station to get an affidavit. In South Africa, this is the venue you head to make a document “official.” The officer who helped chatted with me a bit. He inquired how long I’d been in the nation and where I stayed.

Finally, he asked what I do.

“I teach the Bible and train missionaries,” I responded.

The officer nodded, raising his eyebrows. He smiled shyly and glanced around. Leaning close to me he says, “I too follow the God of the Bible.”

“Oh, wonderful!” I replied.

As the conversation progressed, you could see him gaining boldness. Finally, as I was about to leave, he waved me closer, wanting to tell me something not all could hear.

“I am a born-again Christian.”

I must confess as I left, my first thoughts were not rejoicing or excitement.

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