Archive for the ‘Serving Overseas’ Category

Behind the Facebook photos

Monday, June 19th, 2017 by Camilla

What kind of pictures do your friends involved in cross-cultural ministry post on Facebook? What kind of things do you hear from them?

Christians in cross-cultural work can feel that need-help-1221821-639x579supporters, friends and sending churches expect them to be ‘conquering heroes’. This means it’s easy for cross-cultural workers to focus on the good stuff when communicating with their supporting team. Generally, it’s not a lie but rather an attempt to stay positive, and to avoid giving anyone the impression that they might be ‘failing’.

In reality, cross-cultural workers face a variety of challenges, starting before plane tickets are even booked. Raising the financial support required to take an unsalaried position with a mission organisation can be tough, especially as here in the UK it’s not very appropriate to talk about money.

Challenges once overseas include old stereotypical favourites like language learning, culture shock, bugs and getting used to new foods. There are many less well known ones too such as disagreements with other missionaries, marital problems or singleness made worse by the pressures of being in another culture, not enjoying the job your supporters are enabling you to do, or the discrepancy between the super-Christian some people think you are and your own perception of how little you’ve actually ‘achieved’. Read a refreshingly honest account of the reality of everyday life of one family in cross-cultural ministry here.

What can I do?

  • Ask. If a friend working overseas writes in a newsletter that they are ‘struggling’, support them by showing concern and asking for more details so you can pray more effectively. If you haven’t had an update or newsletter recently, ask how things are going.
  • Share. Communication with friends working cross-culturally should be a two-way street. If they ask what’s going on with you, it’s because they want to know.
  • Be understanding. Let your friends in cross-cultural ministry know that it’s OK if it’s not going well. They’re doing something amazing for the Kingdom and opposition is completely normal. Let them know you understand that it’s hard.
  • Encourage. A phone or Skype call can be hugely encouraging when things are hard. Also, most cross-cultural workers are very excited to receive anything in the mail. Popular gifts include chocolate, clothes and DVDs – and no one turns their nose up at a card just expressing that you are thinking of them! Ask if it’s safe to send things through the post, what they would like to receive, and, more importantly, how packages going into their country should be labelled.

This story was originally published on our blog in August 2015.

I want to be a lion tamer!

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 by Martin Horton

In all honesty, if you looked at a survey of the most exciting jobs ever created, lion taming would be near to the top, whereas accountancy would probably be nearer the bottom. However, accountancy is an incredibly valuable profession, both in business, society and Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Right now one of our most urgent needs is for an accountant to work with a project in Papua New Guinea (PNG). You may remember that we wrote about this in June last year (Volunteer to make a difference). This position has been vacant for a long time but is crucial to the running of the office. It would be a significant answer to prayer if it was to be filled by the right person, be that a volunteer or someone who feels called to serve with Wycliffe long-term.

We also need an accountant in Cameroon. The team recruited a local accountant in November 2016 and feel that an additional, more experienced accountant could greatly help get their accounting done.

You may be wondering why Wycliffe needs more than just Bible translators. The fact is, we can’t accomplish our translation work without other people taking on crucial support roles. As a recent prayer letter from SIL* Chad mentioned, it is positions like these that keep their well-oiled machine running.

Please stand in the gap for these teams and pray that the right people will feel called to these two roles.

  • Please pray that God would provide the right person to support the local accountant in SIL Cameroon – a team player with the right skills who has caught the vision for Bible translation.
  • Please pray that God will answer the prayers of the team in PNG and send them the accountant that they urgently need.
  • Please pray that people’s eyes are opened to the many different and varied roles through which they can volunteer or serve with us, either in their home countries or overseas.

Find out how your skills could be used to support Bible translation. Alternatively go along to one of our First Steps events which act as a great introduction into the world of Bible translation.

Pray regularly for Bible translation projects! Sign up to receive our magazine Words for Life which is packed full of interesting articles as well as our prayer diary giving daily prayer needs.

*SIL is our primary partner.

A day in the life: Michael Greed

Monday, December 19th, 2016 by Camilla

When you think of a typical missionary, what goes through your mind? We’d like to introduce you to a key player in our main partner organisation, SIL, whose workday probably doesn’t look quite how you’d imagine. Michael Greed works from his home in Finland as Communications Director for SIL Eurasia. We asked him what a typical day for him looks like:

The alarm goes off at 7. After breakfast I do half an hour of back, shoulder and muscle exercises, knowing that I will be sitting at a desk for most of the day. My wife and I then share a Celtic morning prayer liturgy together, and I follow this with David Suchet reading a chapter of Jeremiah. I prefer the audio Bible for my personal devotions nowadays.

desk-2-003-3At around 9 I gravitate to my desk. First I check incoming emails. More than 20 new messages have come in overnight. I am copied on an exchange of emails between Global Communications and a team leader in the Caucasus about the website celebrating the language and culture of a particular people group. Sounds exciting! I make a note to follow up with an article in the SIL Eurasia website I am constructing.

As Communications Director for SIL Eurasia I send out a monthly bulletin to all Eurasia staff. I compiled it yesterday. Today I receive a note from the colleague who was reviewing it, giving me a green light… but first check the hyperlinks, some of them don’t work! I correct the links and send the bulletin out. I included in it a request for ‘Welcome!’ in the languages of Eurasia, and before the day is out a number of colleagues have responded with ‘Welcome!’ in the language they are working in. I add these to the home page of our upcoming website. I also add more resources (links to language maps) to the resources section of the website.

Over mid-morning coffee I browse the headlines from The Guardian (online) and read a couple of articles. It’s my turn to cook dinner today so around 12.15 I go and turn the oven on…

The afternoon is devoted to my dissertation. During the summer I interviewed 12 mission leaders, and MissionAssist have transcribed the interviews for me. Today I make mindmaps of these interviews. I am surprised at how helpful I find this, having someone’s thoughts all mapped out on one page. So I write a Facebook post to this effect.

Monday evening I’m at a Bible study (in either English or Finnish) and Thursday evening there’s choir practice. Tonight I realise I’ve not added a new post to my personal website for a while… but I’m too tired to think about that now, so watch Jeeves & Wooster instead.

Are you excited about Bible translation and skilled in IT, finance, teaching, or something else? Wycliffe Bible Translators, SIL and our other partner organisations need people with all kinds of skills to help make the Bible accessible to people all around the world. Find out more about how you might be able to use your skills for Bible translation!

Strapped for cash – send prayer!

Thursday, November 10th, 2016 by Camilla

Several of our members working overseas have written to us requesting prayer for more financial support. The drop in the value of the pound, combined with regular fluctuations in support due to, for example, supporters having to decrease or discontinue their financial contributions, means many members have recently taken a big hit.

help-153094_640Many understand the emotional toll of having to tighten your belt over an extended period of time. When you are living in an already stressful situation it can bring you to tipping point. It can even cause you to question if you are in the right place or whether the decrease in finances are an indication that God has something different for you.

Please stand with us in prayer for our members overseas who find themselves struggling financially:

  • Ask that God would provide more support for our members working in other countries, from sources expected and unexpected.
  • Bring the emotional impact of this drop in support to God, and pray that members would know that their true foundation can never be shaken.

We hope to be able to write soon and report that these prayers have been answered!

Connect with a specific member who you can pray for or support financially!

National baking week: Rosemary and time for God

Thursday, October 13th, 2016 by Camilla

Next week is National Baking Week. In preparation, we’re opening up our regular spot for some creative prayer. We’d like to encourage you to pray for missionaries on the field – and make something special at the same time.

Use the prayers below as a guide and pray as God leads you for friends you know serving overseas, or for Wycliffe missionaries currently in training who are preparing to start service in the New Year.

Meet my favourite savoury scones – great for serving with soups, stews, or just on their own.

img_9261Rosemary and thyme scones with garlic and gruyere

350g self-raising flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

a good pinch of salt

85g butter

1 tbsp each of fresh rosemary and thyme, chopped

1 clove crushed garlic

150g gruyere or parmesan

284ml pot buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7/fan 200C. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl. As you sift, praise God that he sifts and refines us as necessary, not to make our lives harder but for the sake of a better end product. Intercede on behalf of those serving overseas, and ask for God’s grace during trials (which can feel magnified in an overseas setting) and the strength to trust him.

Chop the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Thank God for all the people God has placed in overseas workers’ lives to make them rich – families, friends, church communities, colleagues and more.

Add your flavourings and stir lightly. As you see your mixture become speckled with green throughout, thank God for the little things he fills people’s lives with that make all the difference – small encouragements from friends, a smile from a stranger on a difficult day, or waking up to the sound of birds in the morning.

Tip in the buttermilk and mix lightly and quickly to form a soft dough. Knead very briefly (don’t overwork it!), then roll out to 2cm thickness and cut into sixteen 5cm rounds (or make more, smaller ones). Thank God for his body, the church – that we are all part of the same body, working together under Christ. Church life can often be difficult in overseas settings – ask God to bless workers overseas with church communities where they can find fellowship, grow and be themselves.

Put your scones on a lined tray, and bake for 12-15 minutes, until risen and pale golden. Praise God for his provision for all those working overseas, in terms of financial and prayer support, accommodation and more. Enjoy your fresh-baked scones with a bowl of soup or a cup of tea!

Want to pray more? Check out the range of prayer resources on our website!

What can I pray for when I’m praying blind?

Thursday, September 1st, 2016 by Jo Johnson

Technology has revolutionised our ability to communicate well with those working overseas. When I first went overseas the only way to communicate with family, friends and supporters back in the UK was via airmail letters and we only had the opportunity to send and receive them when we went to town or someone from town visited us. Sometimes that would mean no communication with home for three to four weeks.

SK_Moz_7_41pNow of course we have email, Skype, various social media and instant messaging opportunities as well as mobile phones. These have made instant contact a reality but even so internet connections are not always available and mobile phone network coverage can be patchy. What do we pray then, when those we pray for haven’t been able to get in touch?

One family who works in West Africa recently broached this issue in their regular prayer letter. Here are their suggestions of how to pray. Depending on who you’re praying for, not all the items will be relevant, eg family-related items. If you’re praying for a single person, why not pray for other relationships with friends and colleagues and against loneliness, instead.

  • ‘Pray for us each to remember God as we go through each day. We’re blessed that our routine accommodates our quiet times well, but it’s easy to forget about God once we’ve finished reading the Bible!
  • Pray for us in our marriage, that we would be patient and understanding towards each other even when we’re feeling hot, tired and frustrated!
  • Pray for us as parents; our children are growing up in a very different context to anything we knew at their age, and we need constant wisdom to know how to help them make sense of life and to point them to Jesus.
  • Pray for our children that they would trust in Jesus as their saviour. Having parents as Christians does not give them an automatic pass into heaven!
  • Pray for us at work, that we would be joyful and diligent and make a useful contribution to the work of Bible translation.
  • Pray for us in our neighbourhood, that we would see and seize every opportunity to share our faith, and that God would work in our neighbours’ hearts to soften them to him.
  • Please pray for our physical protection from illness, accident and disaster, and the faith to trust when these things threaten us in reality or imagination.’

If you are looking for more information to help you pray for Bible translation, why not check out our goody bags? Use them alone or share them with your friends or small group.

Behind the scenes

Monday, July 11th, 2016 by Camilla

‘I don’t think I have a lot of skills that would make me a good traditional missionary; my contribution lies in technical behind-the-scenes work, so it’s really satisfying knowing that my day-to-day work facilitates Bible translation in a very real, very tangible way.’

In last Thursday’s prayer post, we asked you to celebrate with us that we’ve got so many new members, and pray with us for more volunteers as well as members. Jo also wrote that we’re not just looking for ‘traditional missionary types’ – God loves diversity and the pool of people who serve overseas is no exception!

Check out this video from one non-traditional missionary serving with Wycliffe.

Click here if the video is not visible.

Want to know more about how you could get involved? Check out our roles page!

Holding the rope

Monday, March 21st, 2016 by Camilla

‘I will go down into the mine if you will hold the rope.’ William Carey

Got a friend working in missions overseas? What’s your role? Do those staying behind have one at all? Western, individualistic cultures encourage us to think of missions as solitary undertakings – but missions should ideally be a partnership between the missionary, the organisation and the church.

RopeHow can the missionary facilitate real partnership? Share! Meet with your church and other supporters before you go and help them to see what they will be contributing to by partnering with you in mission. Talk about your calling, help them to see what God is doing in the country he’s called you to. When you get out there, keep sharing! Share stories of everyday stuff and exciting stuff, post a picture of your child meeting locals, blog about cultural faux pas, and when prayer needs come up, share them with your supporters. Information fosters partnership – details about your life, and pictures help people feel connected.

What can the church do to demonstrate true involvement? Ask questions! Make sure your missions committee or church is well-informed about the missionary’s vision, calling, and assignment. Show the missionary you value them and that your support is more than just giving donations. Praying for their ministry and personal spiritual health, as well as regular communication are vital. Despite email, Skype, WhatsApp and more, missionaries can still feel isolated and alone on the ground. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking all their other supporters talk to them every week and send them regular care packages – in reality most missionaries need a lot more encouragement.

For more on caring for church members overseas, check out this blog post about how sending missionaries is more than putting them on a plane.

Behind the Facebook photos: Let’s pray

Friday, August 7th, 2015 by Camilla

How do you pray for your friends involved in cross-cultural work? How much do you know about their day-to-day life? Do you picture friends in cross-cultural ministry floating from one victory to another, constantly feeling the favour of the Lord upon them like the sun on their back?

need-help-1221821-639x579Following on from Monday’s reality check about what everyday life is like for many cross-cultural workers, we want to talk about how we can be effective pray-ers for friends working overseas. Because believe it or not, cross-cultural work is not an endless string of success stories punctuated by encounters with exotic animals, new foods and funny cross-cultural misunderstandings. Cross-cultural workers often try to put the best possible spin on things and may be giving you the impression that everyday life is a bit easier than it really is.


How can I pray?

  • Be specific. Use the specific prayer requests in newsletters, and if they’re not specific enough or recent enough, ask for more details or an update.
  • Use Scripture. Another option is to use Scripture to pray effectively for friends in cross-cultural ministry. A great resource to help you get started is the article God Bless Justin in our prayer pack Focused prayer: Kingdom results.
  • Persist. If you don’t see answers to prayer straight away, keep praying!
  • Pray with others. Finding it hard to remember to pray? Set aside time to pray with others for friends working overseas, or agree with others on a time when you will all pray on your own.

For more about what might be going on behind the Facebook photos, see Monday’s post.

Journey With Us – GOfest 19-21 June 2015

Monday, June 8th, 2015 by Nick

It’s not long now, in fact 10 days 14 hours, until GOfest starts later this month! These will be an amazing few days of exploring God’s heart for the world, what he is currently doing and how you can be a part of it. To say we’re excited is an understatement! There’s a packed programme of speakers, seminars, worship, exhibition space and youth and children’s programmes with plenty of opportunities for you to engage, reflect and relax.

To get a taster for what it’s like Paul, an IT specialist exploring a sense that God may be calling him to mission, shares his family’s experience of GOfest [14] [last year:]

Coming to GOfest was very helpful for us. There is a real advantage to looking into someone’s eyes when they are talking to you and knowing what feels right

…We had two organisations we wanted to talk to. When I look back at the conversations I had with the people on the WEC* stand I know that God was at the center of it all – he simply anointed those conversations. The first person we spoke to was not at all pushy, just very relaxed. She then introduced us to someone who was in a very similar role to the one I was looking for. We had a great chat but what was truly amazing was that he literally answered all the questions that we needed answering without us needing to ask them! It is times like that, you realise that God has his hand on the situation.

Added to which the whole environment of GOfest was excellent for seeking God’s calling, from the honesty of the speakers to the feeling that you are in a place with people who are in the same position as you – all looking, praying and seeking God’s calling for them. There is a real sense of unity to the festival.

Read the rest of Paul’s story.

This year we have an amazing line up of speakers: James Hudson Taylor IV, Rosalee Velloso-Ewell and Dr Joseph D’Souza to name a few, as well as Pete James who will be returning from last year to lead the main meetings in worship.

GO2015logoSo pack your camping bags, prep your Sat Navs (or cast your finger to the wind), pick up your Bibles and come journey with us from 19-21st June at GOfest 15.

For all the information you need, including how to register, visit We look forward to seeing you there!