When I moved to the field, we were allowed to bring one Bible for our personal use. It was a legit reality that luggage could be searched, and we didn’t want to give any reason for further scrutiny. Beyond packing my Bible, I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t give much more thought to feeding my soul. “I’m sure we’ll figure it out!” could be my life motto. And we did. God worked in our naivety and was so kind to us.
But here is what I wish I had known: just as it took me a while to figure out how to feed my body because the markets and the food were so exciting, but so different, it took me a while to figure out to how to feed my soul in this new environment, too.
Here is what I wish I had had: a simple resource to hold my hand and help me stay connected to God while I connected to my new life.
One of my favorite chapters to write in Getting Started: Making the Most of Your First Year in Cross-Cultural Service was “God and You.” That chapter explores the ways your relationship with God changes in that first year. No surprise, my desire is for every person to stay connected to God, but especially during seasons of great disruption like moving to the field. Given that it was one of my favorite chapters to write, I will now tell you my least favorite part: not all of it made it into the final edition.
Getting Started was too long, and when I ruthlessly had to cut it, one of my favorite sections in my favorite chapter did not make it. It was a painful truth that something I had worked on and been eager to share . . . didn’t get the green light from God via the editors. This is part of the life of ministry, isn’t it? While I didn’t get the green light, I also didn’t get the red light, I got the yellow light. “It’s not time for these words. They will be lost if you insist on them being included. Their time will come, just not yet.”
When I’m excited, the worst message I can get is, “Wait.” I hate it. But I trusted (and hoped) God had a better plan for those words and the ways He wanted to use them in the world.
Today I am excited anew for those words because they have grown into their very own book! It’s a short book, more of a workbook, for someone in their first year. It is small enough that it could slip into your suitcase, and it is portable enough that you can get it on Kindle and use your own notebook. Without further ado, meet Connected: Starting Your Overseas Life Spiritually Fed.
As I studied the fruit of the Spirit, they seemed to follow the perfect path for someone adjusting to cross-cultural life. So, this book focuses on a fruit of the Spirit each month and helps someone in their first year adjust to the realities of life on the field, while staying connected to God.
In this book you will journey through the fruit of the Spirit. You can picture it, can’t you? Starting with a foundation of love (month one), adding to it joy (month two), then focusing on peace (month three often needs an extra dose of peace!), and then patience (month four), kindness (month five), goodness (month six), faithfulness (month seven), gentleness (month eight), and finally self-control (month nine), you stay connected to God.
This book is intended for people in their first year, but even if you’re not in your first year you can benefit from Connected. If you’re in leadership or work with member care, Connected could also be a resource to use with their first-year folks to create a common language and shared experience.
Liz, an advance reader, said, “I really liked how Connected was simple and straight to the point and didn’t box you in with feeling like you had to answer it in the Sunday school way!”
Because part of growing and developing as a cross-cultural worker involves celebration, let’s celebrate this new resource! Leave a comment and two of you will win a hard copy (if mailed in the U.S.) or a copy on Kindle (anywhere in the world). What fruit of the Spirit are you enjoying or needing these days?
Let’s also celebrate that God is a God of Connections! Connected to Him and connected to the places and people He calls us! The winner will be awarded on Friday evening MST. Comment, share, and celebrate!