myMISSION Blog

I Was Blind, but Now I See

Rwandan children in poverty

At the beginning of this year, I traveled to Rwanda to study economics for 10 days. This trip opened my eyes to a level of poverty I had never seen before. Yet I witnessed radiant joy in the midst of desperate circumstances. People were enthusiastic and welcoming, even to a complete outsider like me. Children’s faces would light up when they saw my group and me, and they would immediately start waving at us.

Walking into a situation like this, it is easy to think that we have all the answers and resources to help people. Since we live so far removed from the harsh realities facing different people around the world, it is especially easy to fall victim to thinking we can “fix” situations and people. However, that is something only God can do.

Experience Something New Somewhere New

group of young women holding hands

June is an amazing month. So many celebrations occur—the end of a school year, graduations, weddings, and more. Then, there is the beginning of summer with new plans, opportunities, and routines. June is kind of in between. There is the finishing of one thing, perhaps a deep breath, and the starting to prepare for what’s next. What’s June like for you? What’s next? What has God planned for you this summer?

Many may have the opportunity to try something new, perhaps to find a change of scenery. It helps us to expand our borders, get outside of our own box, meet new people, and experience something new. Many prefer to learn in this active way—by experience.

Near and Far: Sharing the Gospel in New Places

praying hands

My heart beat wildly as I felt the plane wheels hit the runway on that late October night. After almost a day of traveling, I was anxious to get off the plane and hit the ground running in South Asia again.

I wondered many times if I’d ever get to return to this area after my first summer there, and by God’s provision, I was there again. I whispered a prayer of thanksgiving to God and stepped off the plane into what has been one of the most challenging but also the most rewarding seasons of my life.

Before coming to South Asia a second time, I never thought I’d attempt to learn a new language and culture in order to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I never thought of myself as someone who’d go up to a student I didn’t know on a college campus and share the gospel.

I was fortunate to grow up learning about other religions and the cross-cultural workers who gave their lives to share the gospel with people who followed other gods. But never did I think that I would get to be a cross-cultural worker like the ones I learned about.

Authenticity: Less about What I’m Doing, More about Who I Am in Christ

authenticity explanation

OK, blog readers. It’s confession time.

In a season when I find myself living in one country but longing for the comfort of the one I call home, I have to admit that being authentic in my relationships is hard.

So when I was asked to write a blog post about that exact topic, well . . . you see the dilemma.

In the country I live in, I don’t tell everyone that I’m a cross-cultural worker because, for my safety, not everyone needs to know. Several friends do know more about what I’m doing here and why, but I struggle to share the details of what my life is like even with those friends.

As a result, I tend to open up more to my American friends who understand life here and less to my South Asian friends.

The longer I’ve lived here though, the more I’ve learned about how to be authentic with my South Asian friends who are believers. I bring them into what I’m doing, share my heart about my work, and encourage them to share with their lost friends. I’ve learned that my authenticity is less about what I’m doing and more about who I am in Jesus Christ.

The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Jesus and Leading Our Children

mother leading child by the hand

This season of life is simple—exhausting, but simple. Between the diaper changes, the newborn feedings, the 2-year-old’s “magical” moments, and finding time to bathe everyone in the house, we have entered a time of basic survival mode.

There are some days when it would be easy to get lost in the sleep deprivation, toddler tantrums, loads of laundry, and singing the ABCs too many times to count and forget who Christ has called me to be in all seasons.

Where is that missionary, the woman who loves to cross cultures, try new things, and share the gospel? Who has time to plan a mission strategy? I can’t even escape my house long enough to meet my neighbors.

I know this season is temporary and motherhood overall brings more opportunities to share Christ than it limits. Yet, even through a temporary season when life and ministry can feel “limited,” it’s good to remember that my calling as a mother is just as important as my calling as a minister and missionary. If anything, the calling of motherhood brings about an important reminder that I am completely in need of Christ’s grace and presence in every moment of my day.

Experience Joy beyond the Surface

flower petal on water's surface

As a college student, I find that my life is characterized by a constant whirlwind of activity. Moving through my day, I am always surrounded by friends, classmates, and professors. But I rarely take the time to get to know these people beyond the surface level. In fact, I could probably recite most conversations I have as if I were reading off a script.

The way the Bible talks about relationships, though, is vastly different from the reality I so often experience. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Being in relationship with others should make everyone stronger and draw everyone involved closer to God. How can we begin cultivating these iron-sharpening-iron relationships?

Start with honesty. When someone asks how you are, it is OK to admit that you are stressed out, scared, or overwhelmed. Moving past surface-level responses, even to basic questions, breaks down the shiny façade we often present to others. This step is so vital to forming authentic relationships that build up one another in Christ.

Share Who You Are

jar of clay

Sharing who we are can be a daunting task. For some, it may come naturally, but for most, it poses a challenge. After all, we are a mix of both God’s image by creation and the fallen reality of sin. Through the grace of God, Christ’s work on the Cross, the power of the Resurrection, and life in the Spirit, we have the potential to shine God’s love in amazing ways. But most of us feel hesitant somehow, perhaps as if the world might judge us as unworthy.

Authentically Honest Relationships

three young women

Recently, one of my friends reached out to me after a few months of us not really contacting each other. Nothing bad had happened between us, but a period of change had come upon us in the form of moving homes, towns, and churches. It’s easy to lose touch with someone we don’t see on a regular basis. We like to convince ourselves that the smartphones ever attached to our hands keep us connected with others. But truthfully, it becomes so much easier to give a person a passing thought (“Oh, I should text her soon.”) and then go about our days until a few months have passed and we wonder what could have happened to the time.

My friend was a bit offended that she hadn’t heard from me since the “Big Move,” and I didn’t blame her. Promises of keeping in touch and hanging out were made but not kept, as they should have been. Instead, I told myself that she was really busy moving and acclimating to a new time in her life so I should give her a little breathing room. And honestly, I had several not-always-pleasant changes going on in my life as well.

Invest in Gospel-Centered Relationships

South Asian women

I got out of my taxi and walked down the street, stopping at Rajani’s* gate. Rajani, a neighbor named Swetha*, and their friend Lukshmi* were talking. I said hello, but what Rajani said next caught me off guard.

“Emily, tell Lukshmi about Jesus!”

My neighbors Rajani and Swetha aren’t followers of Jesus, so this was the last thing I expected to be asked.

“Well, what do you want to know?” I replied.

It turned out that Lukshmi was writing a report for school on Jesus and needed some facts. About an hour later, the girls gathered in my apartment and they drew henna tattoos on me while I shared the gospel.

I gave Lukshmi a Bible and prayed for the girls. I haven’t seen Lukshmi again, but I see Rajani and Swetha whenever I’m out in my neighborhood.

I make it a point to stop at Rajani’s gate and talk with her anytime she’s outside to build my relationship with her. Before that night, I had told her about Jesus many times but was never sure if she understood. The fact that Rajani recognized me as someone who knew about Jesus was a step in the right direction.

What I Learned before Turning 30: Investing in Others

young women talking over coffee

I turned 30 this month. When I turned 29, I searched for one of those “30 Things to Do before Turning 30” lists. However, my search left me uninspired; therefore, I decided to write my own “30 Things I Learned before Turning 30” list. One of the main concepts that came from this was that of investing in other people. The following are a few excerpts from my list:

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