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February 2010

Looking for roads to transformational development

“I see such truth in the idea that poverty is not a project; it’s not something that can be solved through our continuing to throw money at it, because at the end of the day the change we seek is less economy-related and more people-related.” -From an email from a friend. Read more…

Zeal without knowledge

North American culture generally views impulsiveness as a mark of a highly successful person.  My husband often quotes Napoleon: “The most difficult, and therefore the most valuable, is the ability to decide.”   So decide.  Quickly.  We love impulsive people because they seem fun to be around.  “Let’s climb on the roof of the dormitory,” they [...]

What if my hubby/wifey won’t go?

A young woman asks whether to put aside marriage plans because she and her fiancé aren’t interested in serving in the same country.  A husband divorces his wife after forty years with the biting remark, “You were always more interested in doing good than in me.”  A young couple contemplates whether to put off having [...]

What monsters know about life stories

When my daughter was two years old, she went through a season of cutting teeth that was more miserable than anything we had yet experienced as parents. Some days she would begin crying in the middle of a meal and not stop for an hour. We tried everything—pain reliever, rocking, singing, even leaving her alone [...]

More about Phakamile: Taking Time for God

I’ll be sharing this week at the Faith and International Development Conference at Calvin College, as well as a number of college and church gatherings in Michigan.  One story I’ll be focusing on in some of my talks is from chapter eight, “Just in Time: Phakamile.”  In this chapter, my daughter asks if we can [...]

Hope for the new generation

As I speak with college students and Christians in America today, I notice an undeniable new vibe among Christians.  Social justice is cool, mission projects are not just for the radical and rare, and incarnation is a concept that people have actually heard of, while some have even applied it to their lives.  While there’s [...]

Where will you be of use?

While I was at the Urbana missions conference in December, I spent some time wandering the huge exhibition hall full of organizations recruiting volunteers for missions and development work.  Here’s some comments I collected about the characteristics they’re looking for in volunteers, and how to pinpoint your calling in the maze of opportunities.
Q: What are [...]

Discussion: Where would Jesus be today?

In a previous post, I considered what it would be like for Jesus to be born in a slum of Nairobi Kenya today.  ”Let’s discuss this question,” someone replied.  So your thoughts are requested…  What would be today’s equivalent of a humble stable, where you might be surprised to find Jesus today?  Have you ever [...]

Ordinary stuff you can do

“What can I do to make a difference for people across the world from where I am?”  That’s a tough question for a missionary to answer, not because there’s nothing you can do, but because there are so many things!   Some people are called to move and go across oceans, but others are called to [...]

Beyond just naming issues

We’ve been trying to teach our kids new vocabulary words now and then at dinner.  Adam suggested “tardy” as today’s word.  The following discussion ensued:
Phoebe: I know what tardy means.  It’s like when you have to pick up toys.
Adam:  That’s tidy.  Like “everybody tidy up.” (A common sing-song with kids in South Africa).
Me: But I [...]