The Blog

30 Aug

Living in the Cycle of Grace: The Confession of a Burned-Out Missionary

It was an intense season of ministry—a season where I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to “get results” and impact people around me for Christ—and also a season where it wasn’t really working. Depression, discouragement, and burnout were lurking. And underpinning it all was confusion. Hadn’t God called me to ministry? Why weren’t things going differently? I felt defeated.

Perhaps you’ve been there too—trying so hard to accomplish and live into the things you feel called to, but losing your sense of life in the process.

15 May

Moving With God: Deeper Than Optimism, Hope Is a Virtue

Poverty is in front of my face.
I cannot move it.

Every single day I wake up and I go to bed looking at poverty and misery.
And I suffer when I see how people suffer.

I feel so helpless to solve these problems.
I get angry that people don’t work to solve their own problems.
I lose my hope that things will ever be different.

But God answered me in my hopelessness and gave me a new understanding.
God said, “Jose, in this kind of ministry, you have to live out hope from virtue, not optimism.”

05 Apr

Suffering Servant, Risen Savior: Wrapping Up Our Suffering Series

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
–Jesus (John 16:33)

Over the last two months our blog has followed the journey of pilgrims on the path of suffering. We have leaned in to hear of their experiences—their troubles—and we have had the chance to glean of the wisdom born of their struggles. Our hope in wrestling through the reality of suffering was that you would find encouragement and counsel for your own times of challenge and that you would reach out to grab the hand of the Savior who walks beside you no matter how dark and long the road may be.

If this series has connected with you or helped you in some way, we would love to hear about it! Please drop us a note. How have you known the presence of God in your suffering? 

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02 Apr

Cemetery Easters: Death and Resurrection Life

We had a tradition of going to the graveside Easter morning.

Somewhere between sunrise service, Easter breakfast, the overfilled sanctuary of Easter service, and the hunt for Easter baskets, we squeezed it in—my mom, little sister, two brothers, and me. Standing in snow, shivering against the Minnesota cold, I would open my Bible and find words of resurrection:

On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever.

30 Mar

L(am)ent Devotional: Finding God in the Forsaken

PSALM 22:1-5 (NASB) | “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; and by night, but I have no rest. Yet You are holy…In You our fathers trusted…To You they cried out and were delivered; in You they trusted and were not disappointed.”

Sooner or later every Christian will experience something of this sense of desolation. It’s the desperate cry of a soul that has sacrificially responded in obedience to God’s call, but then found him to be mysteriously absent.

28 Mar

Suffering That Produces Life in God's Kingdom

I had a vivid moment when I was growing up. My parents were pastors and they were struggling significantly in their marriage. I was young, maybe six years old, and felt a lot of uncertainty, fear, and pain in seeing them struggle and not knowing what the outcome was going to be. Would they stay together? Would they divorce? I remember kneeling at that age and asking Jesus to come and help—just kneeling in my room by myself—and receiving a lot of comfort. It was a really sweet moment. Things did not get resolved right away, but my parents’ marriage was eventually restored and there was a lot of fruit that came out of that crisis. So I was able to see God’s restoration firsthand, and how he was hearing my prayers and accompanying me all along. That was a key moment for me. Later in my life, while praying, I felt the Spirit saying, “I planted devotion through that suffering.” Although there was a lot of struggle in my suffering, there was something deep being planted about relating to Jesus in those difficult moments of my early life.

26 Mar

Not Even Safe At Church: Suffering From Our Ethnic Divisions

I wasn’t playing dress up. It wasn’t Halloween. And nope, I wasn’t at a sci-fi convention. But people thought I was wearing a costume.

It was high-school culture week, traditional clothing day. Being mixed-race, I had a plethora of cultures to choose from, and I decided to represent my Native American heritage.  

I proudly adorned myself in my regalia: complete with deer hides, rabbit furs, and a touch of my own beadwork. With a draping of abalone shells that made me sound like a delicate wind chime as I walked by, I was off to school.

23 Mar

L(am)ent Devotional: Loss and Limitation

LUKE 22:32 (NIV) | “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

This was the last Passover meal that Jesus would share with his disciples. It was the weekend of the crucifixion, and he spoke frankly about his upcoming death. The disciples had heard this before but were still in disbelief, unable to imagine the future without the Master. And none was more vocal than impetuous, passionate Simon Peter. It was Simon who gave the bold proclamation that the other disciples hoped was true: “You are Christ, the Messiah.” Jesus announced that this was God’s revelation and gave Simon a new name: Peter, the rock. Simon Peter vacillated between his two names, but he would grow into his new name.

21 Mar

God, Where Are You?

Three. The number of shootings in our neighborhood in the last month.

Three. The number of students inside the school room pierced by a stray bullet.

Three. The number of middle school girls I spend time with on Thursday evenings.

Three. The number of times I run each week, giving me ample opportunity to wonder and question and grow soreness in my aging knees.

Questions whirl in my head like a tornado. Doubts creep in like the ants feasting on our dining room floor. Feelings of overwhelmedness hang on me like a tired three-year-old.


19 Mar

How to Help People Who Are Suffering [Video]

In the middle of putting this series on suffering together, one of my close friends experienced a devastating loss. Despite the fact that I have walked the road of deep suffering and loss in my own life, and the fact that supporting people through suffering is a passion of mine, I felt surprisingly afraid. Afraid of showing up at the wrong time or saying the wrong thing. Afraid of the unknown expressions of grief I might encounter. Deeply caring about their suffering, but deeply afraid to move toward it. So I did the culturally appropriate thing—making a meal—and did the terrifyingly bold and countercultural thing—showing up without an invitation on their doorstep. And then I just sat with them. And it didn’t make me feel good about myself; in fact, it was hard. I didn’t know what to do, except to show up and communicate love.

So when I had the chance later that week to ask our Staff Care and Development team leader Alex for advice on how to care for those who are suffering, I did!




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