“The Mission is God's”

Yours truly back in September, in my first ever article for the Team Arequipa Newsletter:

Because of Jesus, reconciliation overcomes brokenness. Hope overtakes despair. Wrongs are righted. And it’s the church that carries on the mission. Christians are to be conduits of God’s presence. Jesus is still the one sustaining everything, and it’s still God’s mission, but Spirit-led people are called to live out the New Creation in the midst of an old one. 
And so Katie and I—after 5 years of married life and preparation and 5 months of dedicated time with two sending churches—are moving to a city in southern Peru at the end of the month. 
Why? Because of God’s mission.  

The bigger story we believe we're a part of is God's. We know the beginning, have a glimpse of the end, and have a humble role to play in the meantime. We believe it's a story for everyone, everywhere. It's what makes every follower of Jesus a "missionary." And it's what gives our life meaning and purpose, whether we're in Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Zambia, Mississippi, Italy, or—now—Arequipa, Peru. 

Come to the Table

Come to the Table

Some of the best memories of my life have been made around a table—meals about which I can’t help but say “What a feast!” Before reading this book, I hadn’t connected my own experience of community around the table with the Bible’s motif of table fellowship. John Mark Hicks connects the dots for us from the table to God’s story and invites us to reclaim the Lord’s Supper as a missional meal of which Jesus is the host.

The Shaping of Things to Come

The Shaping of Things to Come

This book challenges the attractional model of church in the Western world with the incarnational model, dreaming of a church which is reborn with God’s mission at its heart. It’s a change of mindset that imagines what happens when we stop talking in terms of us and themin and out and start following Jesus by reflecting God's image in the midst of.

When Helping Hurts

When Helping Hurts

The authors frame poverty alleviation as “the ministry of reconciliation: moving people closer to glorifying God by living in right relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation.” We all have broken relationships that are not what God intended them to be. This book offers a model of ministry to whole people. It aims at walking with the poor as we embrace our mutual brokenness and work together toward reconciliation.

Spades, Medicine, and Homophones

After a month of Spanish language school, I have realized a few things:

  1. I cannot explain the game of Spades in Spanish.
  2. I also cannot explain the U.S. medical system in Spanish.
  3. The English language is ridiculous.

In the middle of trying my best to explain the U.S. medical system to Betty in Spanish (which is something I can’t do in English) I became frustrated with trying to learn Spanish. And then we had a conversation in English that made me realize how much harder it would be to learn English in all of its craziness.

My teacher for the past month has been Betty, a woman born and raised in Arequipa; growing up she wanted to be a veterinarian, but when there was not a university in Arequipa for this, she had to change her plans and so she decided to become a teacher. She teaches Spanish for a living and is fluent in Spanish, English, and Portuguese. But, as any normal person whose first language isn’t English, she would sometimes ask me to explain to her how to say things in English.

So the conversation started like this:

In Spanish you say: “Me duele el estomago” which literally means “My stomach pains me”.

In Spanish you also say: “Me duele la garganta” meaning “My throat pains me”.

However, in English it is a stomach ache and a sore throat.

But we never say a sore stomach or a throat ache.

But you can also have a sore on your leg, and be a sore loser, and birds can soar through the sky.

Different spellings, different meanings, but sound the same.

And it was in the midst of explaining this to Betty, that my already elevated respect for people who speak English as a second language grew even more, and I became thankful that the Spanish language is not as crazy as English. Because we all know…I need all the help I can get.