Missions Launch

Helping those who help the world

Urbana: Calling missionaries since 1946

by Melissa Chang |

Missions Training, Planning to Go

worship the Lord

Photo by dtcchc

This week in Urbana, Illinois, over 20,000 potential future missionaries are gathering together to consider their calling, worship, pray and study missions.  they will listen to speakers, purchase books, and finally end their week with an opportunity to pledge their lives to missions.

Urbana was started in 1946 after WWII when the country began to gain a burden for the world they learned of through the veterans. Since that time, over 250,000 students have attended over the years.

Besides focusing solely on missions for a full week with international speakers and missions experts, the students also have an amazing opportunity to talk and even interview with over 300 missions organizations to find which ones are out there and might be best for them.

Urbana is an amazing event and is responsible for helping many many missionaries to the field. Even if you missed it this year, it is worth checking out the next time it comes around. The students praying about their futures could also use your prayers, so please remember them.

Even if you couldn’t attend, they have some excellent videos of their main speakers that you can find on the Urbana09 website. Please visit to see what is happening this year and what the topics are.

If you want to pursue or learn more about missions but can’t attend Urbana, there is an amazing class that is held all around the US call Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. This class is excellent even for those who did get the chance to attend. So either way there is a chance for you to learn more about God’s heart for the nations and your place in His plan.

Featured Twitter Missionary: ChinaKat79

by Melissa Chang |

Missions Twitter

Welcome to China

Tweets from ChinaKat79

RT @mandythompson: If you’re scared, you’re going to find every reason 2 not do what you know you need to do. W/ faith, you just do it.~Bono

@bradpalmore Contrary to popular belief, I have not seen 1 fortune cookie in China!!

Whoa, watching The Sound of Music in Chinese is a whole new experience!! ;) Of course, the music is still in English.

I must be running on pure adrenaline!! I even went to Chinese class & understood most of it! ;)

The stars look so beautiful tonight! It is 19 degrees out there-brrrr!!

What an incredible weekend!! I am so blessed-my cup truly overflows!

Ha, just heard our team member preaching at GR this morning “I don’t believe you have to go to China to go to heaven…but it might help” ;)

@dcmba You should have seen Ikea in Beijing today!! Craziness!!

Words cannot even describe how full my heart is and how thankful I am God is allowing us to be part of this amazing opportunity.

@jamhess I am trying to let Him guide, or else I’m pretty sure I would have never ended up in China! ;) He’s really teaching me 2 trust Him!

Oh my word, I am so in love w/these people!! Am looking forward to going home, but it really is going to be hard to leave. Such blessings!!

Just had such an amazing seeker’s study. Discussed Romans 5-SO powerful!! 

@csoutherland Yes it is & it’s pretty awesome worshiping in a diff. language, but I’ll admit I do miss singing in my native tongue at times!

I took a leap of faith & need YOUR help to stay here. Can you help us bring the Good News to China? http://tinyurl.com/btlfeet Thanks!! :)

I am preparing to send out my latest e-newletter from Beijing!! If you are not on my list…why not?! Let me know if you’d like to be added!

How many of you can say you have bargained (sometimes in a different language) for your Christmas presents?! ;)

We are all missionaries. Wherever we go, we either bring people nearer to Christ, or we repel them from Christ. ~Eric Liddell

Headed out soon to teach the Bible to my Wed morning ladies-I really love them!! Last time this year!

Man, I have been having so many more lonely moments lately, but God will sustain me! Praying 1 day I can share my adventure w/someone :)

RT @jclayville: i could more easily contain niagara falls in a tea cup than i can comprehend the wild, uncontainable love of God.

Headed to my first Chinese class in over a week…hope I remember everything!! :)

Ok, 11:30 & now to sleep. Talking w/friend from high school about our work in China-I LOVE it when people are interested!! :)

For the record, it REALLY bites to be alone in another country and sick.

Ugh. So tired…can’t sleep. Need to drift off & dream in Chinese soon ;) Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream…

@prudychick Thanks!! I would love to share with you how God brought us to China! It is late here, though-so I will try tomorrow.

RT @perrynoble: Jesus said the harvest is plentiful-let’s live, pray, believe & share Christ w/others like we believe what He said is TRUE!!

We had a new lady tonight who was asking some amazing questions. Never been to a study in China. Look fwd to talking more w/her!

RT @chineseteachers: hallelujah = ?????????

March of the Unqualified

by Carol Grace |

Should I Go?, Spiritual Issues

Think you have to be perfect to be used by God? A lot of people are disqualifying themselves and waiting and waiting until they are perfect until they allow themselves to be used by God. However, there are a couple of problems with that logic.

First of all, no one on this earth will ever be perfect. If you are waiting for that, you will be waiting till the day you day.

Secondly, it’s not your strength but God’s Spirit that will perform his work. He just needs those that are willing, and He will take care of the rest. He can even use your mistakes to accomplish His will.

Thirdly, if you look at the Biblical “greats” of the Bible who did amazing things for God, you will see that they all had tons of flaws, imperfections, and sins… yet God used them anyway.

Watch this video from Igniter Media for a great reminder that God doesn’t use the qualified, but the willing.

If you want to find more great videos, Igniter Media has many to choose from on their website.

Famous Missionary: William Carey

by Carol Grace |

Famous Missionaries

open map

William Carey was a famous missionary to India. He was called the “Father of Modern Missions” because he was actually one of the few missionaries of his time. In fact, when he told his pastor about his desire for missions, he got yelled at. “Young man, sit down! When God pleases to convert the heathen, he will do it without your help or mine!”

However, nothing stopped him from following his convictions. He didn’t even care where he went as long as it was where he was most needed.

“To know the will of God, we need an open Bible and an open map,” he used to say.

As a child, Carey was extremely poor and worked as a shoemaker. He had no education, but he taught himself languages, and ended up translating the scriptures into over 40 different languages. He also was a really hard worker. In India, he took a job at an Indigo factory just to get to know the local people of the village where he lived.

At the end of his life, he had founded a mission that had 30 missionaries, 40 teachers, 45 stations and almost 600 church members. In addition, he helped form the English Baptist Missionary Society, which has reached thousands in different parts of the world.

So, no matter what other people think of your plans, you can be confident in where God is leading you. What do you think He might have in store for YOUR future?

To read more visit http://www.hyperhistory.net/apwh/bios/b3careyw.htm or purchase his biography at Amazon.com.

Mongolia: Etiquette, Customs, Facts and Vital Information

by Lizbeth Pereira |

Mongolia

snow landscape2
Photo by chenyingphoto

FACTS & STATS 

Location: Northern Asia; between Russia in the north and China in the south.

map of mongoliaCapital: Ulaanbaatar

Climate: Desert, continental with large variations in daily and seasonal ranges.

Population: 3,041,142 as per July 2009 estimates. About 36% of the population live below poverty line, while the unemployment rate is about 2.8%. Mongolian economy is based on agriculture and dairy for the large part and they also have considerable mineral deposits. Copper, coal, gold, tin, and uranium make for industrial production and foreign direct investment. China is the biggest trading partner and receives about 70% of Mongolian exports. The country has succeeded in paying off its huge foreign debts to Russian and looks set to play a part in the Asian economic scene.

mongolian childrenEthnic Make-up: Mongol 94.9%, Turkic 5%, Others including Chinese and Russian 0.1%.

Religions: Buddhism 50%, Shamanism and Christianity 6%, Islam 6%, Others 38%. The Mongolian Constitution grants the freedom to practice any religion; however, proselytizing is frowned upon and may face governmental intervention. Christian missionaries have embarked on various projects in Mongolia even in the face of bureaucratic harassments.

Language: Khalkh Mongol 90%, Turkic, Kazakh, and Russian.

Government: Parliamentary/ Presidential.

ponyTravel Issues: Travel to Mongolia requires a passport valid for at least another 6 months and a Mongolian visa permitting you to enter the country. Foreign nationals intending to stay in Mongolia for more than 30 days are required to register their presence with the police within 10 days of arrival. Those arriving for a period of up to 30 days need to apply for an Entry and Exit Visa and those staying for more than 90 days need to apply for an Entry Visa. If arriving by train, you can apply for a single, double, or multiple entry Transit visa. Visa applications have to be made to the Mongolian consulate.

Health & Safety: No vaccinations are mandatory, but precautions are advised against Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and B, Tuberculosis, Malaria, Tetanus, and Typhoid. It is also advisable to get up to day information regarding any influenza epidemic at time of travel. Use bottled or sterilized water for drinking and washing purposes. Avoid unpasteurized milk and go for tinned or powdered variety.

mongolian archers

SOCIETY & CULTURE 

little girl in mongoliaThe People

The Mongolian people hold fast to their ancient culture and remain largely unaffected by other influences. They live a pastoral life herding animals such as cattle, sheep, camel, and horses. The nomadic tribes are referred to as Five-Animal People for this reason. Their houses are called ger and are made of felt-like material which can be taken down without too much trouble and transported elsewhere. Traveling Mongols never carry supplies as it is the Mongolian way of life that every traveler be welcomed and fed, no matter what.

The Religion

Mongolia has no state religion but Buddhism is the major belief that guides their lifestyles. Shamanism and to a lesser extend, Christianity and Islam also have followers. They are tolerant of all faiths but frown on blatant proselytising.

mongolian horse racingRole of Family

Mongolian families can be quite large, though not necessarily extended. It is quite common to have a number of children and include old parents. Generally, families tend to follow the nuclear model. In rural areas, married couples have their own tent and inherit a share of the family herd. The eldest son usually inherits the parent’s tent and herd of animals. Families live close to their kin as part of the same herding camp.

Men engage in herding and trading of animals while women take care of the home chores such as milking yaks and preparing food.

mongolian hawk trainerAncestors

Respect for ancestors pervades the social fabric and they are honoured before every important event and on special days of the dead. In a home, the hearth symbolizes ties with the ancestors.

Recreational Activities

Mongolians have a rich repertoire of songs and music for every occasion. Horse riding is taken up with a passion and children are said to be able to ride a horse even before they can walk.

Anything else important for this culture

Inside a ger, the altar space is kept holy. Do not point your foot towards this area when seated; neither should you point anything sharp, such as a knife, towards it. The central support columns in a ger is believed to be a link to heaven in addition to symbolizing the husband and wife of the family, and as such, should not be used casually to lean against or support yourself. It is considered inauspicious to spill milk inside a ger. Never stand on the threshold of a ger, but gain entrance immediately.

Family outside of ger
Photo by The Wandering Angel

ETIQUETTE & CUSTOMS

mongolian shepherd girlMeetings & Greetings

Greetings are confined to a handshake and a nod of the head and are not prolonged affairs. Women may just smile and offer a verbal greeting such as “Sain bainuu”, which means “How are you?” Hugs are reserved for very close friends meeting after a long time.

Courtesy

Social hierarchy is a given in Mongolian culture as in most Asian communities and respect for older people are palpably shown. The suffix “-quay” is added to the name when addressing an older person. Never overtake an older person or walk in front of them. Always take off your gloves, even at sub-zero temperatures, to shake someone’s hand in greeting. It is impolite to take someone else’s hat and wear it. 

mongolian skyGift Giving

After you’ve enjoyed the hospitality of a Mongolian family, it would be a good gesture to discreetly offer the children some token of your appreciation, which can then be passed on to the parents by them. Do not offer parents money directly.

Dress Code

Western attire is suitable in the big cities for both men and women. In rural areas it would be wise to keep it casual depending on the weather, or go ethnic. The traditional Mongolian dress is a single body length piece with a bright sash, called the Deel.

man in gerDining Etiquette

Dining will usually be seated on the floor on or on low stools. It is rude to refuse anything offered and you are expected to take a bit of everything. On festive occasions, a bowl of liquor will be passed around, of which you have to at least pretend to take a sip, if not actually enjoy one. The ritual includes dipping your index finger into the brew, flick a few drops upwards to the sky, sideways to the wind, down to the earth, and touch your forehead for the ancestors. If offered snuff and you do  not want to or know how to use it, just  smell the tobacco and pass it on with your right hand.

Visiting a home

Mongolians have a high sense of hospitality and go all out to welcome visitors. Once you’ve been welcomed into a home, men often exchange snuff boxes. It is good etiquette to accept even if you do not have one of your own to offer in exchange. Tea or fermented milk will be served in small bowls and this has to be accepted with both hands or with the right hand supported at the elbow with your left.

Communication Style

Mongolians in the rural areas rarely speak English or any other language other than their own. However, they smile warmly to indicate welcome and appreciation.

 Inside Ger
Photo by Ironpark

Dos and Don’ts

Guests are welcomed unannounced at all times in a Mongolian home, but it is not acceptable to knock on the door to announce your arrival. Instead, stand back and yell “Nokhoi Khori!” which means, “Hold the dog!” This needs to be done even if there’s no dog. Do not take off your hat indoors, but it is acceptable to slightly dip it in greeting. Ensure your sleeves are rolled completely down while offering or accepting anything. It is rude to accept things with rolled up sleeves. Do not whistle indoors. Do not point your legs northwards as that is where the altar is located. If seated on the floor or on a low stool, do not stretch your legs outward but fold it under you. Fire is considered sacred and so it is sacrilegious to burn rubbish in it or put it out with water. In cities, the minimum age is 22 years for alcohol consumption and 18 for smoking.

Hawk, rosy cheeked girl, shepherd girl and landscape by tiarescott
Girl in pigtails by chenyingphoto
Contest photo by John Pannell
Man in ger by Wolfiewolf
Pony by yeowatzup

Famous Missionary: Amy Carmichael

by Carol Grace |

Famous Missionaries

kids in india
Photo by
Pratham Books

Amy Carmichael was a famous missionary to India. She ended up being a surrogate mother to literally hundreds of orphaned and unwanted children there.

Even as a child, Amy was filled with compassion towards others. Once, she and her brother helped a homeless woman that the rest of her village viewed as an outcast. People started looking down on her for helping the woman, but she didn’t care. Ever since, she began helping people that others viewed as outcasts only more and more.

She once wrote, “Can we follow the savior far, who have no wound or scar?”

Although she felt called to India, others tried to stop her. They said she was too weak and frail. One missions organization wouldn’t even take her because they didn’t think she could handle the rough life overseas. But she didn’t let that stop her. She not only took in hundreds of children, but she stood up and fought against the caste system and for the rights of women.

So, no matter what your limitations, God can use you to make a difference for Him. He doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. What do you think He might have in store for YOUR future?

To read more visit http://www.hyperhistory.net/apwh/bios/b3carmichaelAmy.htm or purchase her biography at Amazon.com.

Lost in Translation

by Carol Grace |

China, Language Acquisition

Learning languages can be pretty difficult at times. Here are some real signs found in China with a few translation issues of their own:

chinglish
Photo by Augapfel

lost in translationg
Photo by Helga’s Lobster Stew

it's all chinese to me
Photo by Click Cluck

chinese english signs
Photo by Box of Badgers

chinese billboard
Photo by rheanna2

private vegetables
Photo by xiaming

 don't be edible
Photo by Augapfel

Mission Trip Possible: Reason #12 to Go

by Lori McCarthy |

Should I Go?

crossWhen I’m standing face to face with Jesus, I want to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

I often wonder what it will be like when I’m standing face to face with Jesus.  What will I say?  Even more importantly, what will Jesus say to me?  After reading over the Parable of the Talents found in Matthew 25:14-30, perhaps like me you want to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”  (Matt. 25:21 NIV)

The Parable of the Talents is about a man who was going on a journey.  While he was away, he entrusted his property to his servants.  To one he gave five talents, to another he gave two talents, and to the third he gave one talent.  When he returned, he found that the servant whom he had entrusted with the five talents immediately put the money to work for him and gained him five more talents.  The one he gave the two talents to had earned him two more talents.  But the servant he gave the one talent to went away and hid his talent in the ground. 

In return for their hard work, the first two servants were rewarded with the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share in your master’s happiness!”  (Matt. 25:23 NIV)

Instead the other servant who hid the one talent in the ground until his master returned heard these words, “You wicked, lazy servant! …You should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.” (Matt. 25:26-27 NIV)

Each of us has been entrusted us with the incredible honor, as well as responsibility, of making disciples of all nations.  But first we must be willing to do our part if we want to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”  (Matt. 25:21 NIV)

Photo by midiman

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