Friday, November 27, 2015

Going from Hero to Foreigner in One Day and Why It's Worth It

You’re on deputation or furlough. Every church welcomes you with smiles. You put up your display, pass out prayer cards, meet and greet, enjoy Grandma’s casserole and Aunt Suzie’s famous coconut cake. You give your testimony and show your DVD presentation. You’re the center of attention. The church is emphasizing missions, and missionaries are the stars. Some churches even treat you very special with gift bags and fruit baskets. Life is good!

You go from church to church. You sing missionary songs. Your heart is full—as it should be. After all, this is your calling and your life! We are missionaries! (Do I hear an Amen?)

The day comes, and you board the plane. It may be the first time or the tenth. You buckle up, sit back, hear the roar of the engines, and you look down on your home country as you soar upwards. Reaching cruising altitude, you’re above the clouds and able to relax—unless you have two toddlers and a baby. In which case . . . you’ll try to relax the best you can, once you get to your field.

Your plane lands, everyone claps for the pilot, and you wait in lines for passport control and baggage. Then comes the next journey—however you get to your city, your town. Ox carts, anyone?

You’re there! On your very own mission field. People look at you funny. Really. Staring. Do you look that strange? You walk by a window and look at your reflection. Yep, you look weird. You’re the foreigner. They can tell! If you open your mouth, it’s even more obvious. What an accent! Even if you’re fluent, the natives gawk at you.

And, you’re not longer a star.

You’re an oddity.

Gone are the flag-festooned missions conferences. 
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. This is missions! This is real missions.

“Lord, send me anywhere.” You sang it last week. Well, now you’re “anywhere.” You asked for it! (Insert smiley face.)

Why is it so different? Why are you so different?

You just became the foreigner. And, on top of that, you’re the foreigner with the foreign message. A God of love? The gospel of peace? The Son of God Who gave Himself for everyone’s sins? It’s foreign to them.

But, it’s for them, just as it is for you!

It’s the best message in the world.

Consider the gospel perspective. Let’s start with John 3:16. Yes, I know you know it by heart—in several languages—but it’s important. We’re going to read through verse 18 to really bring it home to your heart and your field.
  • For God so loved the world, (every single person in the whole, wide world. That’s why you’re going to your field. You really believe this!)
  • that he gave his only begotten Son, (Jesus is the only way!)
  • that whosoever (anyone from any nation)
  • believeth in him (Our mission is to tell them what this means.)
  • should not perish, (What powerful motivation! We want everyone to know how not to go to hell!)
  • but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (Jesus’ purpose in coming to the world is to save it. We can share this!)
  • He that believeth on him is not condemned: (Glory!)
  • but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (Sadly, much of the world is condemned already. We must share the gospel with them!)

It’s our duty. The Apostle Paul understood this. He said, I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise (Romans 1:14). (By the way, Paul was a foreigner, too, when he went to Greece and Turkey.)

God bless you as you share the greatest message in the world. God bless you as you put up with prejudice, hardships, sporadic electricity, lack of heating, washing your veggies in vinegar (and bleach and other stuff), religious opposition, persecution, and all the rest. God help you to make friends where you are—even though you’re different.

God give you fruit for your labor.

It isn’t easy to make the transitions. Each time we cross from one world to the other, we adapt. On most fields, there’s a sense of loneliness and loss. 

That’s why our focus is so very important. It needs to be on Jesus. It needs to be forward, not backward.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him 
endured the cross, despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:2)

And they sung a new song, saying,
Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof:
for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood
 out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.
(Revelation 5:9)

Just think: in heaven, we’ll all be missionary “stars”—glorified, sanctified, and praising God—beside those who’ve come to Christ on our field. 

Jesus is worthy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A BMW Thanksgiving

I have to admit...

I didn't really celebrate Thanksgiving in the States.

Oh, sure... our family got together. We ate turkey and banana pudding and pumpkin pies until we could barely move. On a few occasions we even took a few minutes to say we were thankful for things. Once we even made a "thankful tree," and hung leaves with words written on them of what we were thankful for.

But in the comfort of America... in the luxuries and abundance... I never really understood true thankfulness for little things. Our "thankful tree" would look very different if we made it today.

Coming to the field has been such a blessing in my spiritual growth. I am sad that the Lord had to take me to the other side of the world to teach me true, heartfelt, deep gratitude.

And I am not alone. Several BMWs took the time to share with us things that seemed so insignificant to them in their passport country, but now on the field they are true treasures.

If the BMWs got together and made a "thankful tree," what would their leaves say?

Have you every gotten on your knees and thanked the Lord for your turkey... with tears in your eyes? When 12 pound turkeys cost $70-$120, It's a tough thing to swallow. Yes, many BMWs substitute chicken. So when that turkey unexpectedly goes on sale... or someone sends a check specifically for a turkey??? I promise you will fall to your knees and thank the Lord.

Sending an email, using Skype, and Facebook posts? Have you ever poured your heart out to the Lord about how precious these things are? When your child or grand babies are thousands of miles away on Thanksgiving, your gratitude for these modern conveniences will flourish.

Creative Skype with Grandparents

Do you take birthday gatherings for granted? BMWs have learned to treasure getting together with friends for a birthday cake.

Have you spent time in prayer thanking the Lord you got at least one thing done today? I can promise some BMWs have.

Have you ever turned on the shower and broke out in praise and thanksgiving because there was hot water? Or even that there was water at all?

If you have ever seen a woman holding a box of cranberries and crying? Or maybe it was cream cheese or blueberries or butterscotch morsels or chocolate chips or Pepsi Cola or CHEDDAR CHEESE... To many people, these things are nothing. They walk into a store, grab a bag of brown sugar, pay, and leave. But a BMW? She realizes just how precious these items are. You are likely to find her praying over a pumpkin... thanking the Lord for loving her that much. And if she gets a CAN of pumpkin, she may just have a running spell. Do I need to even explain what happens when butter goes on sale?

Have you ever put clothes in your washing machine, pressed the button to start it up, and started singing a song of God's grace? If you ever have to wash your clothes by hand for a lengthy period of time, it will put a song in your heart and thanksgiving in your mouth to have such a wonderful contraption. And for a BMW, having a dryer can bring you to singing three part harmony all by yourself. Yes, we are thankful for appliances.

By the way, did I mention gratitude for OXY Clean? It's real.

Have you ever been humbled in prayer over thirty minutes of quiet time? If you ever have to take care of a children's home with twenty children, you will find yourself shedding tears of gratitude to the Lord.

We have all walked into a doctor's office, seen the wait, and grumbled. If you are a BMW, you are more likely to walk in, see the line, find a place to sit or stand... and then praise the Lord for affordable, quality care. It is rare on many fields.

And lines??? There is something precious about learning to give thanks because you are in the top 150 for the petrol line. When your children sit around the dinner table and pray, thanking the Lord for diesel fuel and bacon... you realize the Lord has truly done a work in the hearts of the whole family.

Are you a Sunday school teacher or women's ministry leader? When is the last time you have praised the Lord for your Sunday school curriculum or Bible study helps? There are BMWs all over the world on their knees regularly thanking the Lord for materials like that. They have learned their value because many of them have had to labor for a long time to translate materials, write materials... or even just collect the materials over time.

Peanut butter... I could have added it to the grocery store scene above, but peanut butter deserves a section all to itself. I am convinced more prayers of thanksgiving have gone up for the gift of peanut butter than for any other grocery item.

Easy access to clean public toilets? Yes, you learn to appreciate those things. How many times have you thanked the Lord for them?

Encouraging emails, letters, and packages? It was sweet to get those things in the States, but they never gripped my heart the way they do on the field.

Smooth roads... Oh, I could park on this topic for hours! (Excuse the pun... I couldn't resist.) When a road gets paved here, my whole family bursts into praises!

I remember complaining in the States when it rained. It ruined my plans. But on the field? Water is life. It fills the cisterns. It keeps the electricity on for extra hours. Rain? Yes, BMWs have spent many hours thanking God for rain.

Speaking of electricity... You will never understand true gratitude for electricity until you begin thanking the Lord for an extra hour of electricity.

So many BMWs do not get to experience the changing of the leaves in Fall. They long for it and have learned how to spot the slightest change of color from a great distance. Oh, they truly have learned to appreciate the autumn leaves.

Have you thanked the Lord lately for your past? BMWs do it regularly. They have seen the Lord's fingerprints in their past preparing them for what they are doing now... and they are truly thankful.

Have you praised the Lord today for Pinterest and for "from scratch" recipes? When you don't have access to marshmallows and saltines... you will grow in gratitude for these things.

How thankful are you for your warm clothes and your heater and your boots in winter? These things have produced mountains of praise on many fields... and for other fields, a cold spell of 70 degrees makes choruses of thanksgiving gush forth.

Have you ever sat in a church service and thanked the Lord that it was in your own language? Have you ever sat in a Christmas cantata/Easter pageant/teen singspiration/Awana or Masters Club meeting/ladies meeting and couldn't control your praise that you even have access to these things?  What about church fellowships like simple hay rides and camping trips? Go without those for a while... your gratitude will swell like the tide. It does for us.

Do you want to see thankfulness ooze from every pore of a BMW? Hoist the Stars and Stripes high and start playing the national anthem.

You see, Thanksgiving isn't the turkey and dressing. It isn't getting together with family (though we sure do love the rare opportunity!) It isn't football games and parades. If it were these things, many BMWs couldn't celebrate. But the heart of Thanksgiving is... well... giving thanks!

We may be spending Thanksgiving thousands of miles away from our families. We may be eating giblets and refried beans with nationals or other missionaries. We may have to substitute a chicken for the turkey. But praise the Lord that He is teaching us the true meaning of Thanksgiving! We BMWs are blessed beyond measure. His grace is sufficient today... and every day.

And for that... we give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving from
Baptist Missionary Women
around the world!

(Thank you, ladies, for sharing your hearts and thanking the Lord for His goodness... even in the little things.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dinner Rolls

Thanksgiving is almost here! 
Let the baking begin! 
Thanksgiving is definitely one time of the year that I love to bake dinner rolls to compliment all the other delicious food we are blessed to enjoy as we give thanks to God for all He has done for us.
A friend of mine gave me this recipe years ago after we were invited to her house for dinner and she served these rolls. They were SO delicious I had to try to make them myself. They have been a part of our Thanksgiving table ever since!


2 pkg. dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shortening
** (I substitute a baking margarine which has a similar texture to butter flavor Crisco)
3 eggs, beaten
6-6 1/2 cups bread flour (I use an all-purpose)


Soften yeast with water, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, microwave milk and shortening until melted. Add milk and shortening to mixture along with eggs. Stir in flour a little at a time. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic. 
Cover and let rise for one hour. Punch down dough. Shape rolls into balls, place onto baking sheet (they can be touching but better to not crowd too many on one sheet at a time), cover, and let rise for 30 minutes. 
Bake at 180 Celsius (375 F) for 15-18 minutes.
Makes three dozen rolls. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Racist Missionary

Jonah is an anomaly.

His book is unique among the prophets because it is entirely autobiographical. He did not desire the incredible ministry successes he experienced. God took the initiative to show His grace to the Assyrians by sending them a missionary. Jonah was not merely apathetic about this, he was antipathetic--he did not want that ethnic group to be converted. They were a different skin color, language group, and geography from him; and their culture was vastly different. He wasn't interested in their conversion.

And after ten years on the mission field, I can see that Jonah was not the only missionary to struggle with racist feelings.

What, a racist missionary? Isn't that an oxymoron? How could a racist be a missionary? Well, emotions of bitterness and cynicism towards the people on your field don't come all at once. Missionaries don't ever go to the field thinking that they could even become close to being racist! After all, they've given up everything because of their love for another people group, right? Nevertheless, negative emotions towards the very people you want to love can creep in over time after many adverse culture-shocking experiences. (Look at the results of "culture stress.")

jonah gourd
Jonah is a good bad example of NOT loving the people to whom you are sent. Thus Jonah's story is a great starting-place in a biblical discussion of racism. Jonah was "very angry" when God showed mercy to the Ninevites. So God used an object lesson of a quick-growing, then quick-dying gourd, with some gentle questions, followed up with a gentle, insightful rebuke to show Jonah that his hatred towards the Ninevites was wrong.

And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd?

And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:  And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

~Jonah 4:9-11
Who are these persons that God is talking about? Who cannot tell the difference between their right and left hands? Isn't it the children? In other words, some litmus tests of whether you are racist or not are the following:
  • if you are unable to show love towards people from another ethnicity
  • if you wish for genocide including the children
  • if you believe that a person from that race cannot be converted, or
  • if you believe that all the people in that culture are only bad, thus even the children have no good potential.
I still remember a defining moment for Seth and me as new missionaries. We had just moved to a rural village in South Africa and were visiting neighbors in an attempt to meet them and learn their culture. We came across an old man who had been almost raised by Swiss Presbyterian missionaries who pioneered missions to the Tsonga people. They had sent him to school abroad, and his English was excellent.

Trying to answer his wife's questions as to why we were there, we began evangelizing, assuming that they knew basic ideas of salvation and the Gospel because of their background as staunch Presbyterians. Imagine our surprise when his wife inquired what we meant by "salvation." She queried, "You mean, baptism?" Startled, Seth began expounding the Gospel. Her husband cut us off with an eye-opening statement: "Oh, you'll never get them to understand details like that. These people will never get the details."

The Gospel? Details? Sadly this man was a living example of his own stereotype.

I remember another shocking scene in my first year here. Our landlord came over drunk one night to visit with us. I will never forget him pouring beer on the hood of our pick-up truck for his pet monkey to lap up, while saying, "This chimp is smarter than any of those * blacks."

After years of ministering to a pagan culture, missionaries can get very discouraged from witnessing repeated sinful behaviors. They can get bitter from attacks or disappointments by untrustworthy people. They can become cynical, wondering if fruit is real or how long it'll last this time. Harmful generalizations are made: "These people are all like that. They will never get better."

Missionaries to less civilized people groups eventually have to deal with the question, "Why are these people like that?" When a missionary hits that disillusioned stage of being so frustrated, it seems that two paths lie before him. He can explain the deficiencies he sees in another culture in one of two ways:

He could say that those people are like that because they are inherently inferior. They are simply unable to become an enlightened, Christian culture. He could become like our landlord, bitterly saying that the people have no more hope than animals. In other words, he could become a racist.

We have decided to take the second path, however, which explains stereotypical problems of another race with this answer: The Devil has blinded their culture for so many thousands of centuries and they have had so little common grace given to them, that they need a lot more time and work of the Holy Spirit to reflect Christianity in their culture. (2 Cor. 4:4) In other words, it is Satan we are fighting, not people.

Missionaries need to guard their hearts and thinking about pagan cultures. If you don't believe that cultural sins and deficiencies are strongholds of Satan, and that these are spiritual issues deserving of your empathy, you will become a racist missionary, constantly embittered and frustrated instead of responding with compassion. Because if the answer is not that the Devil has a stronghold in that culture, then the answer is that those people are just inferior, inherently, for centuries. And that is racist.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

12 Days of Christmas Giveaways! Coming Soon!

Starting December 1, here on the Baptist Missionary Women Blog,
we will be hosting
12 Days of Christmas Giveaways!

The giveaways are for anyone with a US address.  So, if you're living overseas, that's okay, just find a friend or family member willing to let you use their address.  All of these items have been donated by our Baptist Missionary Women.  

If you have something you would like to donate to our giveaway,
please leave a comment or send us a message via facebook.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Peanut Butter Cookies

(Originally found recipe here)

YIELD: About 30 cookies


½ cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
¾ cup white sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Sea salt, or other light tasting flaky sea salt


In a large bowl, beat together butter and peanut butter using an electric mixer until well combined.
Add sugars and continue to beat until fluffy.
Add egg, milk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon of salt and mix just until blended.
Roll balls of dough in white sugar before placing on an ungreased baking sheet.
Press down lightly with the prongs of a fork to create a criss cross pattern.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not over bake.
Sprinkle lightly with sea salt as soon as you remove the cookies from the oven.
Let cookies cool on baking sheet for at least 3 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Life of a Missionary in One Word

It happens so often.

We are asked what it is like to be a missionary.

It's difficult to explain actually. Oh, not because we are confused about the work and ministry of missions. It's just that what we do cannot be so easily summed up in a quick, passing conversation.

But I think we have done it.

Several BMWs submitted pictures to try to help us all see what it is like to be a missionary.

Come join us as we show you...

Missions isn't just feet.

It's hands.

It's hands that comfort and cuddle the sick, the weak, and the helpless.


It's hands that bake...


And muffins... 


And baby showers.

It's hands that chop...

Hands that roll...

And hands that fill soup bowls.

Missions is hands that dig...

And hands that garden.

Hands that sort...

And hands that can.

It's hands that stuff envelopes.

It's hands labeling tracts.

It's hands that give invitations...


And hands that give Bible verses.

It's hands that give flowers...

And hands that give the Gospel.

Being a missionary is hands that help...

And hands that heal.

It's hands that encourage a spouse to keep on preaching.

It's hands that hold a steering wheel for hours.

It's hands that glue...

And staple...

And organize...

It's hands that strum...

And make beautiful music...

It's hands that play...

And hands that work...

And build...

And teach...

And snuggle up with a book...

It's writing hands...

Thank You cards...

Hands practicing a language...

And hands speaking a language.

It's hands that plan...

And hands that design.

A missionary is hands that create...

And hands that operate.

It's hands that wash...

And wash...

And wash...

It's hands that serve and share a cup...

And it's hands that pray.

Ultimately, the life of a missionary is hands that point the way.

It's hands that pack and go...

Hands that take hold of the hands of others and help them navigate the road of life...

It's grabbing a walking stick, hitting the path, and leading the way for a people God has called you to.

It's hands that reach out...

Hands that love.

There is no greater demonstration of what the life of a missionary is than the nail scarred Hands that not only willingly went to the cross, but they were the same hands that picked up a basin and a towel to wash feet... 

What is it like to be a missionary?

It's hands.

"And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it."
Psalm 90:17


(Thank you to all who contributed pictures for this post.
Your hands are treasured.)

by Charity, Southern Asia