Another Successful Orientation & Training Week

Each year, the WIM staff hosts new and prospective missionaries for a week of learning, growth, fun, and fellowship. Of course, there is always lots of delicious food, and this year was no exception.

Thank you very much to H-E-B, Las Palapas, Sue Saur, and the WIM staff for helping make this year’s orientation and training week an amazing success! God bless you all!

If you are interested in attending our next orientation and training week and would like to learn more about it, click here.

To the Wild Child (and the Church that doesn’t know what to do with them)

Written by Annaliese Myers. Original post appears here.

Dear Wild Child,

The world (and the Church) has never quite known what to do with you. Not quite fitting in the box, and not quite wanting to. The crazy one who fell in love with a wild, crazy, dangerous God. The one who so often feels silenced, invisible, because when you speak you’re told to be quiet. A still small voice calls you way out beyond where the waves break, and the world calls you crazy for it. You, the wild one, and who prefers a wild, raging ocean that sweeps you off your feet to a smooth sea where the swimming is safe. You live life climbing mountains, chasing adventures with God as your guide. You live whole heartedly, not taking the easy road, and because of that your mountains and valleys feel so much higher and lower than the others’. You, the one who can’t stay still, give in, or let go of your calling; it’s too much a part of you, as is the God who gave you it.

Wild one, I see you. You’re not invisible. You’re not forgotten. You’re not better off staying silent. Too often the only options we see are to shut you in, shut you out, or shut you up but just because that’s the way it is, doesn’t make it right. We need to hear you, and if the Church is a little scared at first, that’s okay. Find your people, the ones who cheer you on, instead of predicting that you’ll fail. I promise they’re out there, and God will lead you to them eventually; it just might take some searching. You are not bound to be silenced wherever you go. Give grace, but don’t settle for less than what God is calling you to. If that makes the Church a bit (or a lot) uncomfortable, that’s okay. It’s not your job to keep them comfortable, but to live courageous.

With Love,

Relentless

Dear Church,

I know you see them, the ones who aren’t happy to just sit in the pews on Sunday mornings and then go home. They want to start new ministries, not join old ones, and so often it’s easier to place labels on them or to say “We don’t have a place for you here,” than to support them in their callings. It’s certainly easier than facing the fact that although they make you uncomfortable, they don’t make God uncomfortable, and maybe the fact that you’re so uncomfortable with them, and the callings He’s given them, means it’s your heart that needs to change, not them. Chances are, God hasn’t put you into their lives to try to crush the life out of them and keep them quiet. The fact that you’re uncomfortable doesn’t mean God doesn’t have a hold of their hearts, doesn’t mean He’s not calling them, doesn’t make them bad, and maybe, if your biggest fear is being uncomfortable, something needs to change, and it’s not them.

Church, like it or not, you do have a place for them, but it’s a place that’s left empty when you decide to either kick them down or kick them out. I promise they’re not trying to start anarchy; they just do things a little differently sometimes. Church, I know they’re not perfect and their mistakes often seem huge. Frankly, most people aren’t trying hard enough in the first place to mess things up too badly, and, well, these ones aren’t having that particular problem. If you watch them fail while having the ability to help though, that’s on you, and their failures are not the cue for you to walk out and give up on them. Church, what if we stand behind them instead of rooting for them to fail?

Church, your God is the same as theirs; the God of the still, quiet waters is also God of the raging ocean. It’s not one or the other, but all of us, together and maybe, in them, you can see a side of God that you’d never seen before. Maybe the fact that your walk with God looks like a quiet, stable sea while theirs looks like a raging ocean, going (seemingly on a whim) to wherever God calls, doesn’t make you a better Christian than them.

Church, I know you see them, the ones who ask to be sent out, but you’d prefer they’d be less outspoken first. Church, they’re not worth less because they don’t fit into human boxes, because they can’t stay in the pews. God has their hearts too, and it’s not your job to try to crush their enthusiasm into common sense; that so often comes later. Yes, they’re wild, and yes, they’re not what you’d expect (or want) them to look like, but whether or not you like it, they are there, they will make a difference, and you do have a place for them. After all, this is the Body of Christ we’re talking about, and if you’d prefer these ones not be a part of it, then that’s something to take up with Him, not try to deal with yourself by cutting these wild ones off. Church, it’s not your job to try to break them into what you think they should look like, what you think they’re calling should be; chances are, you’ll end up breaking their hearts in the process. You have the choice to put them down, or to stand behind them. Church, treasure your wild ones.

With Love,

Relentless

Jewels in your Crown

Excerpt from “A Touch of Heaven,” a book by Walter Fleming

You will never know how many you have touched until you stand before God’s Throne to cast your crown at His feet. Everyone you touched for the Lord is a jewel in that crown. Let your life and your home be a little piece of Heaven where everyone who touches you will be blessed. Let your life be a testimony for the Lord and you will see, even in this lifetime, a change in you as well as in many you meet. The few you see now whose lives change will be only a drop in the sea of people you have touched. You will also be blessed by seeing all those whom you have touched will have touched so many more.

“It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it.” – 1 Corinthians 3:7-10 (NLT)

You’re invited to join us for International Conference!

Every three years, WIM missionaries from all over the world meet together in Texas for encouragement and training at the WIM International Conference. It’s like a big family reunion! Our goal is to help them recharge their spiritual batteries, reconnect with WIM family, and build greater vision for advancing God’s kingdom.

Date: July 21-25, 2019

Location: Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio North Stone Oak, 823 N Loop 1604 W E, San Antonio, TX 78232

What Missionaries Ought to Know about Laughter

Written by Dr. Ronald Koteskey. Original article can be found here.

When Martha first became field director, she had a mixture of emotions toward Peter. Martha was annoyed when Peter cracked jokes during field meetings, genuinely liked him because he was so funny, and envied him because he was so popular among other missionaries. 

As time went on she came to really appreciate Peter for what he did.  Martha realized that she was often so intent on getting the job done that she needed someone like Peter to temper her intensity at times.  She came to value his jokes and no longer envied his popularity.

What Martha did not realize was that Peter and people like him are more than just a help to leaders in maintaining team unity, they are valuable in many other ways including physical health, mental health, and social relationships in general.

Physical Health

 People often say that laughter is the best medicine, and that is often literally the case.  Laughter brings healing and renewal through the following physical changes.

  • It relaxes muscles all over the body, and that relaxation may last for up to an hour.
  • It lowers stress hormones which have an effect on the whole body.
  • It releases endorphins which make people feel good and may even relieve pain.
  • It boosts the immune system making it less likely that individuals will become ill.
  • Although blood pressure may rise briefly during laughter, such laughter lowers blood pressure overall.
  • It helps people relax and fall asleep.
  • It has many of the effects of exercise (although it cannot replace exercise).

Mental Health

Laughter is good for mind as well as body.  Here are some mental health benefits.

  • It makes individuals feel good so they can keep an optimistic outlook.
  • It reduces anxiety, fear, anger, and sadness.
  • It helps people relax so they can stay focused to complete tasks.
  • It allows individuals to see things from a more realistic point of view.
  • It creates psychological distance to keep people from feeling overwhelmed.
  • Social Relationships

Shared laughter is good medicine for social relationships.  It is a requirement for strong relationships and has the following effects.

  • It produces positive feelings to strengthen emotional connections.
  • It produces a bond which protects against stress and disagreements.
  • It allows individuals to lower their defensiveness so that they can disregard criticisms and doubts.
  • It lowers inhibitions so that people stop holding back and avoiding others.
  • It lets individuals be more spontaneous and express their true feelings.

In general mutual laughter heals resentments and hurts helping to unite people during difficult times and see each other’s points of view.

Laughter in the Bible

Not all laughter is good for us.  The Bible mentions two kinds.  Basically “laughing at” someone is bad, and “laughing with” someone is good.  Laughing at someone in scorn or ridicule is not good medicine.  Here are some examples.

  • They will laugh at him saying… (Psalm 52:6).
  • I have become a laughingstock to my friends (Job 12:4).
  • But they laughed at him (Matthew 9:24).

Here are some examples of laughter as good medicine.

  • He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy (Job 8:21).
  • A feast is made for laughter (Ecclesiastes 10:19).
  • Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with shouts of joy (Psalm 126:2).

The same event may produce both kinds of laughter in the same people at different times.  This was the case with Abraham and Sarah in events surrounding the birth of Isaac.  When God told them they would have a child, both laughed in derision.

  • Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself… (Genesis17:17).
  • Sarah laughed to herself as she thought about it (Genesis 18:12).
  • God was not pleased with their laughter and rebuked them—and then rebuked Sarah’s lie about it (Genesis 18:13-15).

After Isaac was born, Sarah laughed, but this time it was healthy laughter.

  • Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me” (Genesis 21:6).
  • At God’s command, Abraham gave the name Isaac (Laughter) to the son Sarah had borne (Genesis 17:19 and Genesis 21:3).

Who says that God has no sense of humor?

Jesus’ Humor

Asking parents to name their child “Laughter” after they laughed in derision when told they would have a baby shows God’s sense of humor.  Likewise, we find Jesus’ sense of humor as he talked to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24). Here are the events from their point of view.

  • They were walking along the road when a man they did not recognize joined them (vv15-16).
  • Jesus asked them what they were talking about, as if he did not know (v 17).
  • One of them asked Jesus if he knew what had happened in Jerusalem (v18).
  • Jesus asked, “What things?” as if he did not know (v19).
  • They told him about the crucifixion, as well as their dashed hopes, and confusion (vv19-24).
  • Jesus called them foolish, rebuked them, and asked if Christ had to suffer (vv 25-26).
  • Then he explained prophetic Scriptures, still not revealing who he was (v 27).
  • When they neared home, he pretended he was going on, still not telling (v28).
  • They urged him to stay with them, so he did, still not telling (v29).
  • As they ate with him, he gave thanks and broke bread—and suddenly they recognized him! (vv30-31).
  • Then he disappeared! (v31).

Of course, then they remembered cues that should have let them know who he was.  Imagine yourself in Jesus place watching their puzzlement and laughing inside!

Getting Started

Anyone can get in on laughter which is free, fun, and easy to use.  Living in another culture provides many things to laugh about.  Here are some tips on getting started.

  • Count your blessings.  It is harder to begin laughing when thinking about things that make you sad, so literally write down a list of things you are thankful for, such as medicines that prevent or cure diseases.
  • Smile at people.  Like laughter, smiling is contagious in most cultures.  People will often return your smile, and that may lead to laughter.
  • Laugh at yourself.  Stop taking yourself so seriously.  Instead of trying to hide your embarrassing moments, share them with others so that everyone, colleagues, nationals and even you can get a good laugh.
  • Move toward laughter.  Sometimes laughter is the result of an “inside” joke for a small group, but more often it is “public,” and people enjoy telling it again.  If you do not understand, ask, “What’s so funny?”  Not understanding humor often occurs before you know the culture well.
  • Keep things in perspective.  We cannot control many things that happen to us, especially the actions of other people toward us.  Rather than getting angry, laugh about those absurdities in life in both your passport and host cultures.
  • Read the comics.  I enjoy “Pickles” because it pokes fun at people my age.  The cover on one of the books of those comic strips on our table says, “The older I get, the better I was.
  • Watch a funny TV show that you like.  “Americas Funniest Videos” makes me laugh out loud, but my wife empathizes with people who fall down or run into things.  DVDs of your favorite funny shows are probably available.
  • Hang out with funny people.  Find other missionaries who can laugh at themselves and at the absurdities of life and can find humor in a variety of things.
  • Spend some time with children.  Young TCKs know how to play and take life lightly.  They can laugh at nearly anything.
  • Post reminders to “lighten up” on your office wall or screen saver.  How about a picture of yourself with a mustache drawn on it?  How can you take yourself seriously if you see that all the time?
  • Do something silly.  Help someone wash their car and end up with spraying each other with water!
  • Put on a silly skit for others on your team.  Of course, in the skit, poke fun at your own agency—not malicious fun, but humorous fun!
  • Share your language goofs!!  Thinking they are talking about being embarrassed, Americans learning Spanish often tell people they are pregnant (embarazada).  Beware of false cognates.

The more you laugh, the better it is for you!  Have fun laughing at yourself.