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The call of God can always be heard

Missionary Blogs - Fri, 09/26/2014 - 12:08
The Language of Whistling By Mart de haan I will whistle for them and gather them, for I will redeem them. —Zechariah 10:8 Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me”...

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Eighty Two

Ben Witherington - Bible and Culture - Fri, 09/26/2014 - 02:39
In his positive proposal (beginning p. 1332), Tom wants to argue that while Christians did not have literal priests, temples, or sacrifices, “if religion in the ancient world was the system of signs including myths and rites by which people were bound together as a civic unity in which both gods and humans shared, then [Read More...]

The Very Worst Buyers Guide to Ethical Shopping.

Jamie The Very Worst Missionary - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 20:28
When you talk about making a conscious effort to buy fair trade products from ethically responsible sources, you'll find there are A LOT of people who share that burden and sincerely want to change there consumer habits, but who don't know where to start.
 So today, instead of a nifty little raffle only one person can win, I want to give everyone a comprehensive shopping guide to aid in the search for positive ways to impact the world with purchase power. 
Shopping season nearly is upon us. *shudder*
Christmas is just around the corner, and I bet a few of you have already begun to accumulate the mountain of carefully selected gifts you'll give this year. The normal people rest of us are just gearing up, collecting ideas, making lists, stalking Amazon for the cheapest perfect expression of our obligation to give everyone we're forced to interact with a present for Jesus' birthday love for our family and friends on Christmas. There really could be no better time to share a buyers guide for all you conscientious consumers than right now! 
But there is one teeeeeny tiiiiiny problem.

See, the thing is.... uuuuuuuuuummmmmmm....
Ok. Fine. I don't actually have an Ethical Purchase Buyers Guide
What?! I'M SORRY!! Jeez, haven't you ever heard "it's the thought that counts"? Well, I THOUGHT about creating an awesome buying guide for you, but I am a busy-ass woman and I couldn't rearrange my whole freaking life to save you a few minutes of Googling for the good of all mankind. So, yeah, sorry I couldn't find time to do everything for you ..Sheesh. You can be so ungrateful. 
Oh, relax, I'm just kidding. 
Well. Not about the part where I said there's no buyers guide. That's true. There is no buyers guide. ...Not yet, anyway. 
*sigh* Ok. So far, this is the worst buyers guide ever. I admit that. 
It's just that, as I was thinking about putting one together, I realized it would be a lot of work a much better, longer, more comprehensive guide if we all worked together to create it. So, basically, I'm asking you to do some of the work for a change help out, and my hope is that you'll be so excited about this little world-changing collective that you'll jump in and make our list completely amazing. 
So... I made us a board on Pinterest (All the dudes are like, "Huh?"), and I want to fill it with all of your favorite, trusted, fair trade, ethically responsible brands and retailers. 

I tried to make it so anyone could pin to it, but apparently that's not a thing, so here's how this is gonna work:
If you want to contribute to the Very Worst Buyers Guide to Ethical Shopping: 
- First, click here to find the board called "Shop."
- Then, in the comment section add a link to your favorite fair-trade, slave labor free, ethically-responsible brand or retailer, along with a short description or hashtag of their products (i.e. #menswear #jewelry #coffee #shoes #handbags #kidsclothes #babyjunk #whatevs). - Later, we'll pin your link to the "Shop." board for the benefit of everyone. 
- Last, if you're on Pinterest, follow the "Shop." board to see whenever new options for ethical purchases are added. 
- If you're not on Pinterest, make your own list (I have no idea how. A pencil and paper, maybe? I can't even remember what we did before Pinterest.) and check back often for new additions. Or just get with the program on Pinterest. 
(Psssssst. Hey. I'm looking for a couple of volunteers to help pin new links as they come in. If you're interested in being invited to add to the board, raise your hand. Leave me a comment with your email address and I'll add you. Thanks!)
We're so close, you guys. Our super extensive, kickass, humanity-loving Buyers Guide to Ethical Shopping is practically a reality. Together, we're gonna change the game of gross American consumerism! I just know it. 
Shop well, my friends, shop wisely. 
Maybe this Christmas, when we're caught up in the madness of spending, the the chaos of wrapping, the love of giving, and warmth of receiving, our boisterous declarations of Joy to the World will be meaningful and True. Maybe this year, we can celebrate the birth of a Savior knowing we've made personal choices and leveraged our resources to do bring Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth, Peace and Good will toward men.
.......           ........           ........
Will you help me build a buyers guide for concious consumers? Pretty please?... 

My morning... Life in a barn in the bush.

Missionary Blogs - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 17:08
A typical morning... The Rooster crows at 2am. A neighbor's cock-a-doodles back. I wake up.By four am I'm usually finished solving the world's problems and back to sleep. Five am has the girls waking...

For the Love of Sydney: Why? What? How?

Missionary Blogs - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 16:12
After fifteen years serving in a missions capacity with YWAM, Ryan and I believe that ‘missions work’ encompasses everything from urban life tackling inner city issues to working for community...

Seeing Clearly

Missionary Blogs - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 14:42
God is always weaving the details of our lives.  Not a thread is placed outside of the design of his immutable purpose and eternal plan.  They may not always be placed as we would like them or where...

My morning... Life in a barn in the bush.

Missionary Blogs - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 14:08
A typical morning... The Rooster crows at 2am. A neighbor's cock-a-doodles back. I wake up.By four am I'm usually finished solving the world's problems and back to sleep. Five am has the girls waking...


Missionary Blogs - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 13:41
Hi.  My name is Regina and I'm addicted to taking pictures. HA.   Does that statement surprise you?  Seriously though I do love keeping my camera handy and photographing our...

CBM Urban Muslim Ministries Team

Missionary Blogs - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 12:19
Lucky, Patrick, Erica, Aisha and Laura In the Nairobi communities of Eastleigh, Pangani, Haruma, KyaMichael, and Kariobangi, Canadian Baptist Ministries has several initiatives that are strengthening...

Slow feedback loops

Missionary Blogs - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 12:00
Feedback can change our behavior. If I put my fingers on something hot and burn them, I get immediate feedback in the form of pain; causing me to jerk my hand back. I remember not to touch that thing...

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God— Part Eighty One

Ben Witherington - Bible and Culture - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 02:36
Chapter Thirteen of this opus is meant to be paired with Chapter 4, and the discussion of ‘religio’ in the Greco-Roman world. Now however the focus is on the intersection of Paul with that world, and not just a context description. There has been something of an allergic reaction in contemporary culture to the word [Read More...]


Missionary Blogs - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 02:09
August 30, 2014 BIG family (the more the merrier, right?) BIG vehicle (praising God for our 15 passenger van) BIG trip (5 weeks, 23 states, many many miles, wonderful reunions with friends, great...


Missionary Blogs - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 01:56
August 22-25, 2014 We spent 4 days in Harlingen, South Texas.  That’s where we lived for 4 years while Jeff was in residency.  We had a wonderfully full schedule and saw lots friends. ...


Missionary Blogs - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 01:56
August 22-25, 2014 We spent 4 days in Harlingen, South Texas.  That’s where we lived for 4 years while Jeff was in residency.  We had a wonderfully full schedule and saw lots friends. ...

Ethical buying? Don't worry, I can talk you out of it! (and a $50 Beautiful & Beloved giveaway)

Jamie The Very Worst Missionary - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 19:15
I'd like to be a responsible consumer.
I really want to leverage every dollar that passes through my possession for the good of others. ...In theory. In practice, I want what I want and I want it cheap and I want it now.
Maybe that's why it's so easy for me to talk myself out of choosing costlier, time consuming, ethical purchases over grab-n-go products at rock-bottom prices. Admittedly, I can be impulsive, self-oriented, and expectant of immediate gratification, so, for me, putting in the extra effort to buy responsibly with others in mind is kind of a lot to ask. It's practically impossible.
To pacify any unrest I might experience when thoughts of ethical buying mess with my shopping mojo, I've mastered some pretty compelling arguments against shopping with a conscience. Since these well reasoned excuses have served me so well, I thought I'd share, as you may find my process beneficial next time you're perusing the aisles of your favorite store. You're welcome.
The first thing I do is tell myself that when I buy products made in foreign countries, regardless of the factory conditions, I'm supporting their economy. I'm giving all those poor people a job they wouldn't otherwise have. That $22 shirt is probably keeping like 75 women from having to work the fields around the dusty villages where their families and children are, ...I mean, everyone knows it's better to be exploited as slave-labor working in a harsh, dangerous, oppressive environment than it is to be a farmer feeding your own family. It's hot out there in the sun!
Really, what else matters?!Then, if I find something I really want, I convince myself I can't afford to buy ethical products because things made by small businesses who pay regionally fair wages to their employees are more expensive than the same exact things churned out by a bunch of 9 year olds who practically work for free, and probably love it. (Do you know what I would have given to skip school and make wallets for rich people all day when I was 9? I would have traded a pinky finger! And I've heard some of these kids do.) Anyway. To prove that I absolutely cannot afford to buy the fair trade version of the shirt I'm holding, I carefully balance my Starbucks cup across the closest rack of hangers, then I pull out my phone and use my data plan to compare prices. I don't actually recommend doing it like this, because once my coffee fell and when it hit the ground it splooshed all over the jeans I was gonna get – super embarrassing! - plus, I had to go buy another latte... But, the point is, these mid-shopping internet searches always prove me right; The fair trade version of a $22 shirt is, like, $29. Who can afford that kind of mark up? Obviously not me...

As I'm walking to the register, if I still feel angsty over my soon-to-be purchase, I remind myself I'm only one person, and it's only a couple of bucks, and in the grand scheme of Life and the Universe this ooooonnnneeelittle purchase doeasn't really matter. Then I repeat this encouraging mantra for each of the 16 items the cashier rings up for me. I shouldn't feel personally responsible for taking any part in modern day slavery for buying a single shirt. Let's be reasonable, it's only one thing. Where's the harm in that?!
Usually, that's all it takes, but every once it awhile a purchase will eat at me for a minute after I get home. At that point, I have a choice, I can either get online and learn everything I can about the company I just supported and their product sourcing, or I can look at my bank account and remind myself that I already give money to organizations that are working to end slavery, so I'm good.
Good stuff, huh. ...Oh, stop it. There's, no need to keep thanking me. I already told you, you're welcome! I'm always happy to share helpful tips with my closest friends.
If you're so inclined... like, if you really, really wanted to... you could start to make yourself a list (or a Pinterest board) of brands, companies, and organizations who believe in and exercise ethical business practices, and those supporting the work of smaller businesses who empower at-risk populations by employing and educating impoverished and/or previously enslaved people. Not sure where to start? Here's a hint to get you going: Target® - yes, the most magical store in all the land - usually scores pretty well when it comes to standards in sourcing, and ethical business partnerships. *huge collective sigh of a relief* So go ahead and put Target on your list, then, right below Target, add Beautiful & Beloved.

“Beautiful & Beloved desires to make a simplepath for you to support individuals freed from slavery who are now empowered to earn a living in a safe, clean, and just way.”
Just a taste of so many great things....
Beautiful & Beloved partners with not just ethical, but redemptive manufacturers in Ethiopia, Cambodia, Nepal, India and California to distribute hand crafted items made by survivors of human-trafficking or extreme poverty. When you buy their products, you're driving an economy, honoring a family, educating a child, and using the power of your dollar to make the world a better place. That's why I'm so excited about today's giveaway, because it comes to you straight from the dignified hands of a Beautiful and Beloved artist. Enter below to win a $50 gift certificate to Beautiful & Beloved's online boutique, and then go pick out what you'll get if you win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy shopping, Everybody! Cheers!!!


Missionary Blogs - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 18:50
I've been bad at keeping up my blog. Life in the US this past few weeks has been fun. I've been speaking at churches - to young and old and all in-between! I've attended Bible Studies, a conference...

My Boys At The Dentist

Missionary Blogs - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 15:41
As I mentioned in a previous post the boys both recently visited the dentist for a cleaning.  We use a pediatric dentist in Guatemala City and we really like him.  Cruz has been going there...

Single Missionaries and Loneliness

Missionary Blogs - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 15:31
I came across a blog post today that nicely complements the article I wrote about loneliness and missionaries.  I've had two single missionaries tell me that I didn't mention singles in my...

and he’s home!

Missionary Blogs - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 13:04
Thank you so much to those who have been praying for Miguel. Just a quick update, Miguel was able to go home on Thursday night last week and he’s doing well and very glad to be home. He...

Our Part in a Miracle

Missionary Blogs - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 11:13
John 6:1-13 IntroductionWhat is your favourite miracles of Jesus? For me it is the feeding of the 5,000. Many people think and agree that if you assume that each man may have brought their wives...
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