Missions Launch

Helping those who help the world

Missions Twitter: Week of 7/31/09

by Melissa Chang |

Missions Twitter

cartoon twitter birdHere at MissionsLauch, we have decided to post what’s going on out there in the world of Twitter surrounding missions. You can find our new Missions Twitter Log each Friday. Also, if you do use Twitter, please follow us at @MissionsLaunch. Happy Friday!

michellecastle: Is inspired by the faith of our missionaries, always ready to to where god leads

bretta75: I think I need to plan annual missions trips to poor countries. When I returned from Rwanda I had zero desire to be part of the American Drm

Bryan_Ferrell: God help us fulfill the great commission

chrisjohn_e3: A week from tomorrow we leave for Brazil to help spread the gospel and create new disciples. Please pray 4 us

jross1133: Pray for the medical missions team that is still in Panama. They will see 300 of Panama’s poorest today. Pray that God will touch their …

chrisandcaleb: If you can’t be a missionary, support one. Please RT

jtkwilliams: Saw a missionary friend last night who’d been expelled from China.

blogthereligion: Pastor telling story of first missionary in Burma. Evidently his scars in jail for being Christian lead to believers.

AvahD: @MelissaEGilbert I have family living in Africa as missionaries,adopted a little boy who was left in a field. thanks for what your doing!

SkiptheZip: @Lecrae Just had a friend return from a mission trip to Haiti. He said it reminded him how blessed we are and the need to preach the Gospel.

jmoore08: to the airport 2 leave for Africa! Mindful of generations of missionaries who knew they’d probably never come home. Avg life expect? 16 mos

wesleyskinner: Powerful to be in a stadium full of missionaries singing “here am I, take my life…”

Susana’s Story-Finding Christ in the Amazon: Part 1

by Heather Carr |

Peru, South America, Stories from the Field, Uncategorized

amazon jungle light
Photo by jonrawlinson

Susana rolled the rough brown root in her hand.  She wept as she raised the deadly plant to her lips and began to chew.  She would rather die than witness the slow starvation of her young children.  She  waited for the white clouds she had seen engulf so many fish in the river to crowd out her pain.

Later that night, missionaries Larry and Addie Garman found themselves awakened by loud weeping sounds coming from the river.  They knew they were in for a long night.  The couple had been living in the Amazon jungle long enough to understand that traveling the river at night was treacherous, and never taken lightly.  Their waiting would come to an end as two small boats beached nearby.

 By the dim light of a flash light, Larry began to recognize the small crowd climbing ashore.  The weeping women were accompanied by men carrying a stretcher.  His trained eye immediately recognized the barbasco poisoning.  “No, not Susana.” Larry thought as his eyes took in Susana’s ashen face. 

Larry’s mind began to replay the time spent in church with Susana as a child.  The first Vacation Bible School session they had shared with the other Aguaruna children.  Her amazement at her first experience with crayons, and the moment she accepted Christ as her savior.  Larry was saddened by the thought that this young mother’s life would likely be over before dawn.

Read Part 2 Here

Read Part 3 Here


Larry and Addie Garman retired from the missions field in April, 2009.  The couple’s work lives on in Peru through the construction of the Larry and Addie Garman Missionary Training Center in the country’s second largest city, Arequipa.  To learn more about the center, visit the Extreme Nazarene Ministry website.  Additional information about the Extreme Peru projects are featured in Engage Magazine.

The Parable of the Lost Dog?

by Heather Carr |

Contextualization in Missions, Peru

puppyWhile living in the jungle of Peru, missionary Larry Garman found himself facing a challenge he hadn’t prepared for. While organizing his thoughts for the Sabbath message he routinely delivered to his small native congregation, Larry came to the realization that his message on the Parable of the Lost Sheep was going to be more difficult to convey than he first imagined. The meaning of the message would surely be lost or diluted by the fact that the Aguaruna people had never seen sheep before.

With the help of a lost puppy, Larry found that a sheep in dog’s clothing was the solution he was searching for. One night that week, Larry and his wife, Addie, were awakened by the call of an Aguaruna Indian woman wandering the jungle. As you can imagine, the jungle is no place for wandering after sunset. When Larry inquired as to the reason for this woman’s night walking, he was told that she was searching for her lost puppy.

Dogs play an important role in Aguaruna culture.  They assist the men of the community with the hunting of game for food. Puppies are reared by the women of the village until they are old enough to join the hunters. The people of this Peruvian village may not have understood the value God sees in them through the traditional tale of a shepherd’s joy, but they were able to understand the heart of this message through Larry’s adaptation of Jesus’ words. The Parable of the Lost Dog is just one example of the many creative ways God is reaching his children.  

Photo by wsilver

Missions Twitter: Week Ending 7/24/09

by Melissa Chang |

Africa, Missions Twitter, Stories from the Field, Tanzania

africaWe at MissionsLaunch like to let you know what’s being tweeted about in the world of Twitter surrounding missions. This week our theme is “Tweets from the Field.” We have especially been enjoying the tweets of mamaafrica who has been a long-term missionary to Tanzania for 5 years. Read and enjoy. Also, be sure to follow mamaafrica on Twitter. Happy Friday! 


mamaafrica: Brick making has turned into a marathon today.

mamaafrica: We have a clear sky, we have the usual soft wind and this day has been like all others

mamaafrica: Four year old boy just outside fence whistling and walking with a brick on his head. Walks ten feet and stops to wave at me

mamaafrica: The child does not know he is poor. With loving people around him and work being his play, he is rich.

mamaafrica: @rileynathan Congratulations! Mission work is so rewarding. God is blessing you. You will see

mamaafrica: Holding a baby who held his arms out for me to pick him up and hug him again and again and again was so wonderful.

mamaafrica: He had been left in an empty home for days.

mamaafrica: Found covered with bug bites and extremely malnourished he was taken to the Musoma Orphanage.

mamaafrica: Pictures of our work here in Tanzania http://bit.ly/DEHSe

mamaafrica: Had a Sanitation and Hygiene class for women of Bunda.

mamaafrica: Love being with God’s animals in Africa. http://mamaafrica-tz.blogsp…

mamaafrica: http://twitpic.com/8r2x7 -Children eating the papaya as they make bricks. Joy of giving

mamaafrica: Living in a country with no books is hard. Even with the problems in the U.S., you are so blessed with reading

mamaafrica: Watched an amazing African sky while electricty was out.

mamaafrica: http://twitpic.com/6c0wu – when you are 5 it is your turn to carry the baby on your back.

mamaafrica: http://twitpic.com/6c0m7 – Children who see no white people are afraid of Mzungu. A little boy in church next to me

mamaafrica: @MissionsLaunch Thank you so much. Just had a group showing the Jesus Film every night/ week. If we had a projector we could do it in Swhil

mamaafrica: Tuesday morning: Tea Toast and Twitter. All is well in Tanzania.

mamaafrica: Just found out that I too have malaria. Ugg. Feeling the war in my blood right now.

mamaafrica: Just heard a helicopter. Have not heard that in 5 years.

mamaafrica: is waking up to a soft rain. I like to think my same rain is cooling off the animals in the Serengeti just over our hill.

mamaafrica: Because of pounds of new bio-filters 450 more people for will have clean water.

mamaafrica: When I see the school going up, I hope I can use it to make a difference

Photo by sly06

Thailand:Etiquette, Customs, Facts and Vital Information

by Lizbeth Pereira |

Asia, Cultural Sensitivity, Thailand

Photo by René Ehrhardt


mapLocation: Southeast Asia; bounded on the West by Myanmar and the Indian Ocean, on the Southeast by Malaysia and the Gulf of Thailand, on the East by Cambodia, and on the Northeast by Laos.

Capital: Bangkok

Climate: Hot summers with tropical rain and cool winters

Population: 63,038,247 according to 2007 estimates. The Thai economy has recovered from a major slump in 1997 and now sees a steady growth due to a rise in exports, industry, tourism, and private consumption. Unemployment rate is just about 2%.

Ethnic Make-up: Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, Others 11% Religions: Buddhist 94.6%, Muslim 4.6%, Christian 0.7%, Others 0.1%. The government guarantees freedom to practice the religion of your choice, and evangelism is legal.

swimLanguage: Thai, English

Government: Constitutional monarchy

Travel Issues: For a 30-day stay, visitors hailing from U.K., U.S., Australia, Canada, EU, and Japan do not require a visa, but must have a valid passport and a confirmed return ticket. Others can obtain an entry visa at the immigration checkpoints at major ports of entry. You need to note that queues for this service may be interminably long.

For visits longer than 30 days, you need to apply for a visa at the Thai Consulate in your country. Submit a completed application form, with 2 passport-sized photos, visa fees, stamped, self-addressed special delivery envelope, an international health certificate, and a letter from a Thai business partner if requiring a business visa.

Health & Safety: Immunizations against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Tetanus, Diphtheria, MMR, and Japanese encephalitis are strongly recommended. You should also be aware of the risks of avian flu, traveller’s diarrhoea, malaria, and HIV/AIDS infections.

Dehydration is something you should watch out for when being out in the tropical sun. There is a smoke haze hazard in the northern states which might trigger respiratory ailments. Watch out for jelly fish stings while swimming in the sea.

Photo by Butch Osborne


fruitThe People: Thais are very informal, friendly people famous for their smiling countenances. Traditional values and conservative behavior mark rural life, while the cities are epitomes of modernity. They are very hospitable and eager to please, and make visitors welcome.

The Religion: The religion of the majority is Buddhism, followed by minorities of Christians, Muslims, Hindus and others.

eyesRole of Family: Families in rural areas continue age old lifestyles based on farming and agriculture. Women take up the duties of running efficient households and bringing up children. They are subservient to the rule of the male but have total control of the home economy. Men rarely interfere in home affairs and often have no clue as to the intricacies of household management.

Ancestors: Thais have enormous respect for their ancestors and have various rituals and commemorations to honor their dead forefathers. The ancestors are counted on to help in times of need and bring good fortune, if suitably venerated.

Anything else important for this culture: Under the smiling countenances lie deep rooted traditional values of respect, discipline, and manners. Respect for elders is palpably shown in greeting and body language.

Photo by RussBowling


Meetings & Greetings: The traditional greeting is called a wai, and you do this by holding your palms close in front of your chest and bowing slightly. The higher you hold the palms, the more the respect. The highest is reserved for monks, elders and senior family members. Hello and Good mornings are equally acceptable in business circles. It is customary to shake hands as a form of greeting. Handshakes are never vice-like but rather limp. The former is considered aggressive and insulting.

soupCourtesy: Thais believe it is rude to disagree outright, and so always seem to agree even when they are not inclined to do so. It takes practice to discern their covert disagreement. It is considered rude to talk ill of monks, the royal family, or important persons.

Gift Giving: It is customary to give gifts to cement a relationship, though it is never done in the initial stages of a meeting. If after you have reached an agreement and find that everything is going well, you can consolidate your new relationship with a gift. A gift is also considered appropriate when invited to someone’s house.

Never use black or white gift wrappers; red is considered auspicious. Do not gift leather items to Hindus, or alcohol to Muslims.

hutDress Code: In spite of a reputation of a frivolous nature, the Thais are a surprisingly conservative society. Especially when travelling through rural areas it is recommended that women cover their shoulders, arms, and knees. Men can get by happily in shorts. In business circles your casual attire might not raise eyebrows but you would most certainly be considered low brow. It is best to suit up to impress your Thai counterpart.

Dining Etiquette: Dining is serious business and seen as a means of consolidating relationships than a mere exercise in consuming food. Traditional seating involves sitting on the floor and eating off low tables. While seated on the floor you need to keep your legs folded by your side. If you find that uncomfortable, you can sit any which way you like but make sure the soles of your feet are not pointed at anyone. Some foods are best eaten with your hands, but others can be eaten with a fork and spoon.

Visiting a home: When visiting a home, take along a suitable gift. Leave your footwear outside the home. Thais are extremely hospitable and will bombard you with their care and concern.

Photo by RussBowling

Communication Style: Thais have a placid bonhomie that makes conversing with them a lesson in relaxation. Aggression is considered a sign of weakness according to Buddhism and so you’ll be hard pressed to find them lose their tempers as often as the rest of us. They go to great lengths to not lose face, which means to avoid being disgraced in public either through arguments or shouting matches.

monkDos and Don’ts: When visiting temples, make sure your attire is suitable. You need to be fully covered and dignified in your behaviour. All statues of Buddha, even those in a state of ruin, are considered sacred. You should not indulge in frivolous behavior in their vicinity. Women should avoid looking at monks or making eye contact with them. Do not touch people on their heads or point your foot in anyone’s direction. This is the height of ill manners

It is important to note that the king of Thailand is deeply revered by the Thai people and should never be insulted.  Even when folding money, it is polite to make a 3-way fold so as to not create a crease on the face of the king. On certain days, a majority of people will wear yellow shirts to show honor to the king.

Photo by tootafunk

Map by Steph & Adam
Monk by Akuppa
Soup by joaquinuy
Village hut by Mot the barber
Fruit by Alaskan Dude
Floating kid by hélê
Boy’s eyes by Sarbil Olivier

Who Can Be a Missionary?

by Melissa Chang |


We often think missionaries are special super spiritual types, but in reality, they are just regular people like you and me. People who might not know what they want to do with their lives, people with doubts, people with families and jobs and troubles and fears and dreams. This funny and down-to-earth video is a great reminder of just how non extraordinary missionaries really are.

by Maxime Soumagnas

Missionaries from Maxime Soumagnas on Vimeo.

Missions Twitter: Week of 7/17/09

by Melissa Chang |

Missions Twitter

cartoon twitter birdHere at MissionsLauch, we have decided to post what’s going on out there in the world of Twitter surrounding missions. You can find our new Missions Twitter Log each Friday. Also, if you do use Twitter, please follow us at @MissionsLaunch. Happy Friday! 


wmarkjohnson: RT @prayformissions: Pray God’s peace would rest in the heart of every missionary around the world today.

Wowena: RT @lecrae: Jesus was the ultimate missionary. Left Heaven for Earth.

simplyecclesia: @DMosley God didn’t wire me to be the President of the United States, He wired me to be a missionary. And I think Him :)

Chikabadododo: I want to be a missionary to Bangladesh. I just watched @uncultured video on youtube and I feel for those people so much. I want to help.

paulkim: Had lunch with 2 missionary friends this week. It’s good to be reminded of what God is doing in different parts of the world.

ClintDarst: “You don’t have to go to Africa to be a missionary. Your mission field is the ground between your own two feet.” Frank Barker-flightpath.

hawkcreek: RT @trevorbarton Met with a missionary who is soon headed to a restricted area. His passionate obsession with the nations I found contagious

jackgivens777: good to hear from my daughter Amy, extreme team missionary in the jungles of Peru. Training and conditioning complete, ready to be assigned.

ldubois2: Pls pray for Missy Camiola in Nigeria missionary mom of 4 who has malaria. She’s bringing gospel 2 wmn in prison & brothels pry 4 healing

rachellelucero: @DMosley but i’m realizing more that i’d like to do missionary work more, we’ll see what God has planned.

JuliaStar27: It’s like my Grandpa told my mom, “Don’t let Jenny do anything crazy and dangerous like becoming a missionary or something…”

Why Go? Reason #1: Missions Gets the Focus Off of You

by Athelda Ensley |

Should I Go?

kids in cambodiaThere’s nothing like realizing the greater good, the bigger picture, to cure selfishness! Work in missions has been notorious for further transforming the life of an already transformed individual. There’s something about seeing the conditions of those who are needy and suffering which promotes thankfulness. Many missionary testimonials voice this great change in their lives.

Participating in missions assignments, whether short or long-term, seems to affect people in drastic ways. Teens who’ve spent their summers catering to the needs of others often come back with a stronger sense of God’s love. They also are able to see more of the world and to know that it doesn’t revolve around them.

Don’t worry though, teens are not the only ones who realize, through missions, that there has been a focus problem in the past. Adults also share stories of finally
realizing what a big world God created and what big needs that world has.
Missionary work takes people out of their comfort zones, ushering them into
unfamiliar territory.

The best thing about this type of scenario is that it requires us to place more of our cares on Christ. Work in missions doesn’t simply help those people at large who do not know the Gospel, it helps the workers and us, as well. They come home and share their stories, paint vivid pictures of their travels and allow us to see outside of our own little world. In that way, missions give us all a better perspective of who we really are versus who we need to become.water slides

Photo by venetia joubert sarah…

Mission Trip Impossible: Dumb Excuse #10 – Who Me?

by Lori McCarthy |

Should I Go?

we want you“I’m a loser, and nobody would want me to go anyway.”

Translation: “I don’t believe in myself, and I don’t think anyone else believes in me enough to invite me to go either.”

Having a very low opinion of yourself can be troublesome if you’ve been called into the mission field. Not only because God can’t use you that way, but also because we often use it as an excuse why we can’t go.

If excuse # 10 sounds like you, then you need to realize that it’s a lie from the pit of hell. Therefore, instead of buying into the lie that we couldn’t possibly become a missionary, we need to get in agreement with God. The truth is if God says you can, you can!

To get in agreement with God we have to get in agreement with what His Word says about us. For instance, from His word we know that God created us in His own image.

As far as needing an invitation is concerned, consider The Word of God a standing invitation. The Great Commission alone is a formal invitation for us all to “go and make disciples of all nations.” Don’t you get it? Long before you were even born, you were already invited. You were already chosen by God to be Christ’s ambassador, prepared in advance for His good works.

If that’s not enough, consider this blog your invitation.

Therefore, since God believes in you, and I believe in you enough to invite you to “Go”, then excuse #10 is invalid and you can no longer use it as an excuse.

So what’s your excuse? The Bible says, “Choose this day whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15 ESV) Are you ready to take the leap and serve the Lord?


Photo by Chris Owens

Missions Twitter: Week of 7/10/09

by Melissa Chang |

Africa, Burundi, Stories from the Field

AFRICAWe at MissionsLaunch like to let you know what’s being tweeted about in the world of Twitter surrounding missions. This week our theme is “Tweets from the Field.” We have especially been enjoying the tweets of daninreallife who is on a short-term missions trip to Burundi. Read and enjoy. Also, be sure to follow daninreallife on Twitter. Happy Friday!
daninreallife: Africa in 8-days. I’m ready. I’m ready. I’m ready… I’m so ready!

daninreallife: In church in Burundi watching offering collection, mostly cash and 1-chicken.

daninreallife: Sun has set over the Congo, cool breeze blowing, God is good.

daninreallife: Sunday in Cibotoke: we are beyond internet connection, I can only transmit via phone. We also learned water is not on 24-hrs but whenever.

daninreallife: Sun has set over Congo, sky darkening. Sipping tea in thick humid air, reflecting on Burundi church planting campaign.

daninreallife: In Burundi, on hill surrounded by cows & people. 3-gospel presentations going @ same time. Cool!

daninreallife: In Burundi, shared Jesus w/ a Christian family. Children sang songs for us (new for me). We prayed together. We left the kids our lunch.

daninreallife: NOOoooooooo!! Left my shaving kit in Burundi! Tooth brush, soap, shampoo, razor… All gone! Oh well, I’ll still look good in 10-days.

daninreallife: In Burundi, our bus driver, who became a Christian last week, went w/ e-cube & led 6-people to Jesus!

daninreallife:Love my translator. Choir dancing (not singing) in front of me, translator leans in & says, “They dance”. Uhh, thanks, I’m not blind.

daninreallife: At Burundi Rwanda border customs made us unload all our bags & searched them…

daninreallife: Almost out of “hand wipes” they go fast when water is out at hotel. 12-days to go in Africa. :-(

daninreallife: Going to bed tired, filthy & sweeting in Burundi. Good day 5-Americans, 11-Burundi & 2-Tanzanians shared Jesus w/ 1201-people, 472 prayed.

Photo by  Jonas B

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