July 15

How To Honor Your Parents When You Are Called To Missions

Following God overseas as a missionary is a decision that affects not only the missionary but also the missionary's parents left behind. It's possible to navigate these difficult conversations while honoring each other and God's calling. Photo by TEAM

Following God overseas as a missionary is a decision that affects not only the missionary but also the missionary’s parents left behind. It’s possible to navigate these difficult conversations while honoring each other and God’s calling. Photo by TEAM

I recently tackled what I think to be a very important subject as a guest blogger over at TEAM.  If you have been called to serve God in a cross-cultural context you may face some difficulties when presenting your calling to your parents, no matter what your age.  I hope you enjoy the article and that it is helpful to you or others you may know.

I was sitting in a living room with a young man, his parents and another mentoring couple, when I realized the parent-child dynamic is strong and complex, even in adulthood. This young man was feeling called to serve cross-culturally, and there were tears, confusion and confessions.

How do you follow God in your calling and honor your parents, even if they are not on board? 

You can read the full article here.

Learn more about our online training resources here or call 865-660-6863 to schedule a training workshop for your church or organization.

August 10

4 Ways To Live Sent

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Photo used with permission by IMB

Living sent looks a lot like living life.

God took us from our hometown in southern Indiana to Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1996. We thought we were moving because of my husband’s job. Instead it has been a training ground. For almost 20 years we have been following where God leads.

After only one year in Knoxville, God sent me back home to care for my father who was diagnosed with cancer at 59 years old. Oh, God pushed me to do hard things. God and I wrestled, and I fought Him internally but He wouldn’t relent. He loved my Dad too much! He used me to pray with my Dad and other reluctant family members.

Do you ever feel like it’s harder to share with family than with complete strangers? I did!

I recently shared on the IMB Women’s Blog about 4 Ways to Live Sent.  You can read the full here.

Learn more about our online training resources here or call 865-660-6863 to schedule a training workshop for your church or organization.

June 14

Making Disciples: Spiritual Preparation

Are you looking for resources to use to prepare your team? Well, let me share with you a couple of my favorites!

One ThingOne Thing: A Gospel Centered Life On Mission is hot off the press, and I love it! I got the chance to use this in-depth Bible Study to train a short-term team going into an area of unreached peoples. I was blown away with this holistic study and how it allowed each person to examine themselves first as a disciple (knowing, loving and obeying God), then how to make disciples (connecting, sharing and equipping). Author Ben Harrell uses his family’s life experiences which make it very personal, real and sometimes raw. This is a great in-depth study of God’s Word and mission! Available on Amazon: www.amazon.com

TradecraftCoverTradecraft: For The Church On Mission is another favorite of mine. The authors, from The Upstream Collective, expertly outline 9 missionary skills that every follower of Christ should practice and that are foundational to missionary thought and activity. Things like: Following The Spirit, Mapping, Exegeting Culture, Building Relationships, Persons of Peace, Contextualization, and more. I have used this book with many teams and find it very practical and effective. It is filled with knowledge that is easy to apply in our everyday lives of being disciples, as well as, engaging other cultures overseas. Available on Amazon: www.amazon.com

The Sending Church DefinedIf you are a Pastor or church missions leader, I think another must read from The Upstream Collective is The Sending Church Defined. The team at Upstream gathers pastors together at their regional Sending Church Roundtables to discuss and collaborate on what it means to be a ‘sending church’ and what that looks like in their particular context. They found that although many people used the term ‘sending church,’ they didn’t all agree on what it meant. So through more discussion and collaboration they began to draw out a definition. This is what evolved:

A Sending Church is a local community of Christ-followers who have made a covenant together to be prayerful, deliberate, and proactive in developing, commissioning, and sending their own members both locally and globally, often in partnership with other churches or agencies, and continuing to encourage, support, and advocate for them while making disciples cross-culturally.

Because words matter, they spent months breaking down the definition word by word in blog posts. It has been made into the book mentioned above and I highly recommend it! It is easy and fun to read. Available at: www.createspace.com

I know you will love these as much as I do as you mobilize others to live on mission!

March 19

Are You Providing Child Protection Training?

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In our Fundamentals for Cross-Cultural Missions training course we cover, well…the fundamentals. You will find sessions on Biblical Basis, Culture Shock, Worldview, Spiritual Preparation and Overseas Safety and Security. While I think these cover some general topics, what else might you need in your training?

In the next few EquipTips, I am going to cover some resources that may help you go deeper in your training. You can subscribe to have the EquipTips Newsletter delivered to your inbox here.

Are you providing Child Protection Training? I’ll admit this isn’t the most pleasant subject, but it is important. We all want to protect the children we are working with, protect our volunteers and protect our ministry/organization.

Are you doing your due diligence with background checks on your volunteers? Providing them with guidelines of acceptable behavior?

February 9

“They aren’t doing it.”

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January started 2015 with a full calendar of trainings.  It was great to spend time with churches and agencies that are committed to equipping!

I was asked, “What do you find to be most lacking in training for churches serving cross-culturally?” Sadly my answer was, “They aren’t doing it!”

That may sound harsh, but I often hear, “I wish I had known all of this, before I went on my first trip.” or “I wish we had been using this information all along.”

It is never too late to start! I know you are busy and it may seem overwhelming. If you or your organization are working, serving, or studying cross-culturally, please invest in some pre-trip planning and preparing.  You won’t regret it.  As a matter of fact, everyone will thank you for it. Don’t leave home without it!

We have a variety of options for you:

Online Training Sessions-Five different sessions covering the fundamentals starting at $4.99.  Watch these individually at your own convenience, anytime or on any device.  These videos stream from our website and come with downloadable handouts and reflective questions for discussion.  You can also purchase the whole course and train a team as well.  Watch a promotional video here.  See sessions here.

Online Overseas Safety and Security Session-If you are traveling/vacationing cross-culturally, you need to watch this session! Traveling globally brings the excitement of new cultures and sites, but also potential risks as you enter into a foreign context.  Prepare yourself with:

  • Pre-travel planning
  • Packing-what to bring and what to leave at home
  • Types of Crises and how to best deal with them
  • Situational awareness
  • Food and water safety
  • Information Security

Customized Training Workshops: We specialize in customizing a workshop specifically for your church or organization.   Do you need to raise up and train leaders?  Do you need a deeper Safety and Security workshop?  We can help you with face-to-face interactive workshops that, like others, will leave you saying, “I really walked away feeling well equipped and even ready to help others prepare.”

As the travel season nears, I would love to talk to you and help you with resources that meet your specific needs.  Email me at info@equippedtogo.org.

June 4

‘Bad Charity’

Rescuing Charity Panel Discussion

Yesterday I attended the third session of Rescuing Charity sponsored by local churches and non-profit organizations in Knoxville, TN. I am thankful for the time and energy put into this subject because I believe we can cause more damage than good by the unintentional actions and messages we relay in the name of ‘charity’ and in the name of God.

Yesterday’s presentation was a panel discussion featuring mostly Haitian professionals from Beyond Borders who seek to help the people of Haiti build movements to liberate themselves from oppression and isolation. They seek to end child slavery, guarantee universal access to education, end violence against women and girls, and replace oppressive systems with those that support dignified work and sustainable livelihoods.

After the January 12, 2010 devastating earthquake hit, Haiti was flooded with over 10,000 NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations) and billions of dollars. This does not include churches, of which there are thousands. Many of the projects failed because the organizations did not work with Haitians to accomplish what they needed. They came with their own ideas of what the people of Haiti needed and often Haitians were not even at the table when they were planning the projects to rebuild.

April 7

Entering the Darkness

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I recently returned from Recifé, Brazil where I was serving with The Upstream Collective on a Jet Set Trip.  We visited several ministries in this city to see where God was already working.  One of these was Shores of Grace.  After spending several hours with them and touring their ministry center we asked if a few of us could join them the next evening as they did Street Church in the downtown streets of Recifé.

I’m not going to lie, I was apprehensive.  We were going into the bowels of the city at 9 pm to bring children who live on the street together to worship in song and just love them.  We had been told of the drug addictions and human trafficking that so many were subjected to, but we were unsure of what to expect.  The three of us that went that night prayed together and I also prayed silently as I felt tremendous responsibility for these team members.

November 8

A Tip on Exchanging Money Internationally

 

Just a word that the new US $100 bills are now in full circulation.

With several new security features, the most notable (and perhaps the

most unsightly…) is the blue 3-D security ribbon with images of

bells and 100s. The new bills were initially released October 8, 2013

and, by the end of October, the new bills will have filtered down into

coffers around the world.

 

When the Federal Reserve places new bills into

circulation, many foreign banks and money changers quickly refuse to

take the older “obsolete” bills, causing problems for

travelers who carry the older (but still just as valuable) $100s. Word

to the wise, when traveling internationally it is best to bring

the new $100s for exchange beginning now. Otherwise you

could find exchanging your “old” cash harder than

expected.

October 22

Following God

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Today we have a guest post from Jennifer Z. who is using her college degree to teach ESL in South America. Jenn shares how God planted the seed to teach early in her life and used many things to get her ready for her assignment.  She challenges us all to wait on Him and say ‘yes’ when the time is right.  Enjoy!

As I have been reflecting on the last couple of weeks here in Suriname I was reminded of the movie Chariots of Fire. In the movie Eric Liddell says that he feels God’s pleasure when he runs. Not many people get to say they have lived or are living out their dreams. I get that privilege.  Since I was little, all I wanted to be was a teacher, and as the Lord became the most important thing in my life all I wanted to do was teach people about God. In Suriname I get to live out my biggest dreams to tell people about Jesus and teach. Whatever you are doing in life right now…do you feel God’s pleasure?

The journey to be able to live out my dream was not easy and not without challenges. God gives us passions such as teaching and missions. I knew at some point I would be living and working overseas. With this knowledge I became proactive; in college my degrees were going to help me get overseas. I read many books to help me prepare. After college I thought I would go overseas right away but God wasn’t finished preparing me. After a while I realized that it was time to start looking for a job overseas. I prayed and asked God for some very specific things with the school that I would be going to. He fulfilled each request above and beyond what I expected.

Everyone has a gift that the Lord has given you. Do you believe it is meant to be shared? Are you using your gifts for His glory?

Once you surrender to God and allow Him to use you, be prepared. You will have opportunities arise. Are you prepared for the opportunities that God opens for you? Whatever opportunity God opens be prepared to go through it with conviction and belief.

With taking this step of faith you will not regret it. There is no better place to be than in His will. There also is nothing better than knowing that where God has you at this moment is exactly where you are supposed to be. Take a leap of faith!

July 29

The Upstream Collective and more…

1011347_10151812862129052_1765465717_nFormer political prisoner speaking at Robben Island

Photo by Larry McCrary

The Upstream Collective is a ministry that helps churches and individuals think and act like missionaries. One part of the work they do this is host Jet Set trips that take local pastors and leaders out of their local context and into a foreign culture to prompt missionary thought and practice.

For the last 10 days they have been on the ground doing this very thing in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa with Ed Stetzer, the President of Lifeway Research. Larry McCrary and Rodney Calfee, two of the four authors, have been putting practice to the missionary skills they outline in their book, Tradecraft: For the Church on Mission such as mapping, contextualization, finding persons of peace, etc. You can get the book here.

Equipped to Go works closely with The Upstream Collective and we thought you might be interested in some of the ministries visited during their time in South Africa.

The Door of Hope, in Johannesburg, seeks to help meet the needs of abandoned, abused and orphaned children in South Africa, by providing loving and stable Christian environments, so that they may grow up to be people that have a positive effect in South Africa and the world.

You can watch a video here: The Door of Hope