Goer blogs

Contact On The Train

By Anthony on August 12, 2018 Track: Youth Development Region: Africa - North

I would like to tell a story about something that happened where I observed in myself a stress response to something cultural. I thought I would share this personal story because I’ve recently been asked about culture shock and what it looks like here in North Africa. Just recently after leaving language class with Nick and Annie (not their real names), we walked to the Metro station and boarded the train to go home. Nick and Annie work at my school and I am starting to become good friends with them here. They both are not cousins and each identify as “Christian” although, the government... Read more

Pressing In

By Anthony on July 23, 2018 Track: Youth Development Region: Africa - North

Arriving here a while ago, I remember being encouraged by my language helper to jump right into language and go for it with new friends by starting to put some sentences together. Except, sometimes just introducing yourself in the language can give the impression that you can speak more then you intended. Surprisingly, I found myself being laughed and teased at a bit, being slow to speak some words. I found it can be hard to even laugh at yourself when mistakes are just too much, making it more awkward depending on the culture. When I shared some experiences with my language helper, his... Read more

Identified Christians

By Anthony on June 20, 2018 Track: Youth Development Region: Africa - North

In some countries, people must identify their newborns at birth as either Muslim or Christian. These are the only two choices. This identity is literally carried around with the person and can often determine different privileges or drawbacks throughout their life. Combine this decision with the perceptions of shame culture, how difficult might you think it is to actually be told the truth? Since arriving over two months ago, I was at first surprised at just how many identified Christians are here. It was as if everyone not observing Ramadan was Christian and everyone that seemed to be... Read more

Weightless

By Anthony on June 20, 2018 Track: Youth Development Region: Africa - North

During Ramadan, life changes more drastically here. Outwardly, cousins fast from sunrise to sunset. Everyone else, are to respect that commitment, even when it is not expected. Inwardly, it is common for cousins to believe Christians will try to tempt them to break their fast, even if it is an unintentional sip of water. Displays that lack restraint can perpetuate the perception of neglect and disregard for cousins beliefs, increasing a divide, rather than bridging it. So, why then do cousins fast? On the Metro, it is now more common to see nearly every passenger reading their Quran on their... Read more

It's Here?

By Hope on June 15, 2018 Track: Youth Development Region: Africa - North

A year ago I was walking around Swaziland hand-in-hand with laughing kiddos who had dripping ice cream cones in their hands. Seven months ago I was accepted into a program at my University that sends graduates abroad to serve globally for two years. Three months ago I made the decision to spend my two years in North Africa on the Youth Development tract. A month ago I graduated from Azusa Pacific University. One week ago I arrived in Minneapolis, Minnesota for an intensive week-long training that would equip me for raising support. Now I am back in my hometown and ready to hit the ground... Read more

The Real Adventure

By Anthony on April 25, 2018 Track: Youth Development Region: Africa - North

There is a lot of history where I now live. Stone carvings, giant monuments, a full river, churches, temples, mosques, caves, parks, and desert places, the list goes on for literally 1000s of years. In a couple weeks since arriving, I’ve been reflecting on the gradual adjustment of calling this place home and my team home and this culture home. I think home is found in faith and as fun as it is to explore and share the places I’m now surrounded in, beginning to live here has instead been more about learning a way of life different than what I know while developing my faith to have discernment... Read more

Building Trust

By Anthony on March 19, 2018 Track: Youth Development Region: Africa - North

Over the past few weeks I have been praying about the many aspects of trust and ways I can practice it in new relationships, especially when the Gospel is best shared through weakness. I think there are significant, yet difficult aspects in building and sustaining trust in ministry. Significant because in ministry you are living to reflect the character of God, yet difficult because we are all sinful. How then do you build trust? This question I think comes up often because of how important it is in relationships and I don’t think there is a simple answer. Although, I think there are aspects... Read more

Breaking Glass Ceilings

By Anthony on February 26, 2018 Track: Youth Development Region: Africa - North

Have you ever thought about literally speaking the same language as an act of love? Probably not because love doesn’t come from language, yet it is an avenue. Rather, what I can gather from 1 Corinthians 13 is if I have the language ever so perfectly and speak like a local, and have not the love that grips the heart, I am nothing. Acquiring language can be difficult and these past few weeks, I’ve been able to put in perspective that learning Arabic requires that I participate by observing in ways I haven’t done before. To do more than see the world, but hear it. To listen for sounds which are... Read more

Heart of the Missionary

By Anthony on January 21, 2018 Track: Youth Development Region: Africa - North

I’d always associate “training” with athletics because I grew up playing sports. When missionaries go to “training” it can be a mystery in regards to cross-cultural training and language acquisition. What do you learn about and prepare for? Even after many retreats, camps, bible classes, church services, mission trips and teams, debriefs, and studies, I still try to think about what lessons God has for me; although, there can always be that lingering attitude of self-confidence to which I think “training” isn’t necessary. Before coming to North Carolina, I actually thought, “I’ve been on... Read more

Home For Christmas

By Anthony on December 26, 2017 Track: Youth Development Region: Africa - North

This month is particularly special for me because it marks one full year since I have been home from my time serving in India.  Reflecting back on that time seems so far away, although I remember how impacting it was to return so suddenly without realizing one year in the future I would be preparing to launch for North Africa. So many memories, emotions, people, places, and thoughts rush to mind and it can be difficult to focus, but one thing is certain, I prayed to God I would return home with the intention to get back overseas and it is because of His grace I have this opportunity, to be... Read more