Allowing Our Hearts to Be Shepherded Abroad

The thing that used to scare me most about working overseas was the thought of answering to supporters back home.

I had heard the horror stories.

We had friends scraping the bottom of their budget to make ends meet each month.

We knew of overseas servants losing essential funding without a warning or an opportunity to raise more support.

We had heard about expats forced to come home when their sending fellowships weren’t pleased with their success.

Will this be my story? I thought. Will I have to continually defend myself and the work the Father has asked me to do? I don’t have the energy for that!

So at the first sign of misunderstanding between our supporters and us, I balked.

I’m telling you girls. This was not my most shining moment as a Superstar Christian.

I told my husband we didn’t need our sending fellowship or its money. I told him that the Father would provide somehow because it was obvious to me what He had asked us to do. Even if other people didn’t get it.

We got this, team, I said.
We’ll show them, I said.

We don’t need no inexperienced, uncultured committee to tell us how to do ministry.

That’s what I told my husband on Conflict Day 1. In a ghetto accent, mind you.

I’m confessing this to you, in this little corner of the Internet, because I think we’ve all felt threatened by the volatile relationship between our senders and us.

Sometimes it feels impractical that we answer to boards and overseers that have no idea what our daily lives look like.

They don’t understand our cultures like we do.
They don’t understand our ministry like we do.
They don’t understand our limitations like we do.

But it seems they want success stories. It seems they are only interested in a good return on their investment (i.e. our paychecks).

So we are tempted to embellish our reports. This little tightrope walk of clinging to our financial support is tricky business, you know.

Coffee outings with girlfriends become ‘ministry debriefings.’
Wet market runs are reported as ‘building relationships with nationals.’
Family Sabbaths are labeled ‘personal prayer and study time.’

We over-spiritualize and exaggerate the reality of the mundane in this life abroad. And while I totally understand this temptation, I believe it’s only driving a greater wedge between those who send and those who are sent.

Let me tell you the rest of my story.

My husband and I are supported by one single Body of Faith. Just one. And as incredible as that sounds, there was a time when it honestly freaked me out.

It felt like we were putting all of our livelihood into one shaky relationship with a group of people who may or may not be able to go the long haul with us.

In a training session back in the U.S.—before we ever reached the field—our organization facilitated a workshop between our senders and us.

During this workshop we were asked to respond to a case study in which a teammate was caught viewing pornography. In the hypothetical situation, there was a group of elders coming to visit the field team within weeks. What would we do? How would we handle this situation?

It was an easy answer. We would protect our teammate. We would cover for him, give him time and space to heal, and do our best to make sure no one found out about this cardinal sin.

Our trainers asked us a pointed question, which caught me off-guard. In this situation, you had shepherds coming to visit your team. Why in the world would you not consider sharing this news with them?

Before I knew it, I was looking into the eyes of a shepherd from our sending fellowship and telling him exactly why this thought never crossed my mind. I spoke an honest truth.

I had never felt like our senders truly wanted to shepherd our hearts. I’d always assumed they cared more about the work they were sending us to do than our personal spiritual health.

There was a look of immediate understanding and appreciation on the face of my overseer. It was as if, for the first time, someone had articulated the disconnect between this shepherd and his flock. And I was the sheep crying out for care.

From that day on, I have felt nothing but overwhelming support from our senders. I have felt understood, loved, and trusted.

We truly have a unique relationship with our sending body, and I hope I can share more with you in the comments below.

But what I want to be sure to say here is this: Our senders are people, just like us.

They appreciate our humanity, too. And most of the time, they are thankful that they weren’t the ones called to do this work we’re doing abroad.

They love us, admire us, and wish to support us.

They usually just don’t know HOW.

And I think it’s time we told them.

I think it’s time we disassembled our defensive fronts of perfection. I think it’s time we opened up about our struggles. I think it’s time we let our senders know that we, too, are working out our Faith.

It’s time we allowed ourselves to be vulnerable. It’s time we gave ourselves permission to mess up. It’s time we quit trying to have all the answers.

Ladies, it’s time we give up taking care of ourselves and we JUST LET SOMEONE SHEPHERD US.

We need to welcome the idea of being sent out. We should value the age and wisdom of our senders. We must appreciate those who have given of themselves so that we can GO.

My prayer today is that those of you who dread compiling newsletters and making reports will be lifted from this burden. My prayer is that those of you who feel isolated and unknown by your senders will be open and honest about your needs from these networks.

Being sent out is not just about our financial needs. It’s not just about the prayer for the people we serve.

It’s about all of us. Our emotional well-being. Our freedom to be transparent. Our desperate need to be understood.

Trust and grace are essential elements in the partnership between those who support and those who are supported.

May some learn to be better senders, as we learn how to be better at being sent.

What hurts have you experienced as you’ve navigated the relationship with your supporters? How have you found healing in this process? What wisdom do you have about how we can be more transparent with our senders?

30 Comments

  1. Lindsy Wallace March 26, 2015

    Ah! I wanted to high five you so bad last night when I read this: “I think it’s time we disassembled our defensive fronts of perfection. I think it’s time we opened up about our struggles. I think it’s time we let our senders know that we, too, are working out our Faith.
    It’s time we allowed ourselves to be vulnerable. It’s time we gave ourselves permission to mess up. It’s time we quit trying to have all the answers.”
    YES! Yes, yes, yes. We are so very new to this “having senders” thing but so much of the advice we’ve been given, or what I have perceived, has rubbed me the wrong way.
    My husband and I attended a nine day training on support raising/ministry partners/etc. last fall and an older much more experienced overseas worker said to me, “I hope you take your kids to the beach all the time. I wouldn’t post pictures of it, but I hope you do it.” and my heart sank a little because what is implied in that comment is that our senders don’t value family time. That they don’t value time in God’s creation. That they want us to be worn out and dog-tired and not refreshed. And it just made me sad.
    I still have all these questions swirling in my head as I’m learning how to write newsletters – I don’t want to just share what they want to hear; what benefit is that to either of us? How is that a Partnership if I am shielding them from what is truly going on in the lives and hearts of our family and our neighbors – the people they SENT us to minister to?
    I kinda feel like, no I do feel like, that’s me NOT believing the BEST in them. If I believed the best in them, wouldn’t I be willing to push them out of their comfort zones a bit? If I believed the best in them, wouldn’t I be willing to have a conversation about how important refreshment is for a family living on task 24/7? If I believed the best in them, wouldn’t I be willing to equip them with resources that have been helpful for us and not shy away because they might think that author is a little “out there”?
    So, yeah, I can’t wait to read the wisdom others have in this. As a classic over-sharer, this is hard for me. And I just want people to GET IT. For the love, just to get how close to the heart of God the marginalized are and how holy the work of living among them is.

    1. Lauren Pinkston March 26, 2015

      That training sounds fantastic, Lindsy (minus the side comments of negative ‘encouragement’). I really love what you’re saying about believing the best in those who are sending you. And respecting them enough to tell you what you’ve learned, what you need, and how to just GET IT. So many of our senders have not been equipped to really know how to care for us. They aren’t well-read on the psychological processes of ministry, and are basing their understanding of our needs on the superhuman (and super private) Ms of old. Until now, it’s never been acceptable to talk about our brokenness, our humanness, and nee for regular retreats. I truly think it’s our responsibility to share this training and understanding with our senders. All for the glory of the Father so that we can continue pouring out our lives to the broken humans of the world.

  2. Ashley March 26, 2015

    Before we came to the field, we contacted several members of our fellowship to support us. A lot of them joined our team. We asked our fellowship to support us, too. They did a fundraiser for us. I was elated. And then we came and nothing came from them (the fellowship) for years. We asked again, and they said they weren’t on board with what we were doing. (Their focus was more local and more about planting fellowships.) This drove. me. nuts. I complained to my husband all the time. He always gave them more grace than I could ever muster.

    A few years ago, we stayed on the field 2 years in a row. Because we couldn’t go back and see many of our supporters face-to-face, we decided to make a video, portraying the local culture, people, and what we did on the daily. My hubby worked tirelessly…I’m talking many hours slicing and dicing this video together. He even asked our Teacher the maximum time he could make it so that they would still show it during service. 3 minutes. Got it. Not a second over. We followed up twice. They still hadn’t shown it. My heart broke for my hubby. Again, he showed multitudes of grace while I continued to fume. (I still don’t know if they ever showed it…gah!)

    Fast forward to the home assignment we just finished. I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder walking in those doors. Not towards the general population, but towards the ones who make the decisions. Didn’t they care about us? We poured so much into that place before leaving! Couldn’t they show some support in return?

    Fast forward a bit more…we met with a few of the Teachers and they had been in discussions about changing their policies about supporting overseas workers, and we were the guinea pigs. We got interviewed in front of the entire congregation. They held a luncheon for us–it was packed, with more wanting to come in. The lead Teacher vouched for us, encouraging everyone to support us.

    Long story, long..I was completely humbled. The Father knew what he was doing. May I remember to trust Him alone instead of whatever man I think should be doing what I want.

    1. Amy Young March 26, 2015

      I did my own fuming when I read they didn’t even SHOW THE VIDEO. I almost want to say, link it here, we’ll watch it :)! I’m thankful your patience has paid off and the relationships with your fellowship can go deeper.

      1. Ashley March 26, 2015

        Tell me about it. I still get a little peeved thinking about it. But, we showed it at our luncheon! Um, I can send it to you if you want. 😉

        1. Lauren Pinkston March 27, 2015

          If you’re sending out the link, add me to the list! I want to see it!

          I’m so glad things are going better…I despise those seasons of feeling isolated and undervalued. On the other hand, do you ever wonder if–like in our situations–a lot of people are missing out on the healing that comes through the Father working in peoples’ hearts and restoring relationships? I sometimes think we give up too easily when we meet resistance instead of fighting for one another. And I’m the absolute worst at this…I really think I’ve missed out on so many partnerships with incredible people because I gave up on them too soon or didn’t consider their value long enough. Thanks for helping me think and delve into this thought a little more!

           

          1. Monica March 27, 2015

            Laura,

            We have tried for over 8 years to heal whatever rift there was with our sending chucrc.  They refused to communicate with us.  It was not about us giving up.  We are still trying to find someone who can mediate this situation for us.  Not because of expectations, but because we (maybe wrongly) valued the relationship.

  3. Brittany March 26, 2015

    Oh how beautiful this post!  I can usually identify with most of the posts here on VA, but Lauren, when you write, I feel so mentored by you!

    We are so very blessed to have been sent by a body who loves us well.  I mean, in a church of 10,000+ members, you’d think we’d easily get lost in the shuffle.  But one of the pastors Skypes with us every week, we get loved on and prayed for by several home groups, and people we have never met join our support or prayer team every few months…all because our church loves us so well.  I know that is NOT the norm, and I do not say that to boast in any way.  I say that because in spite of such loving, tender care of us, I still worry.  I just said to my husband this week, “I don’t even know what to put in a prayer update because I feel like people would read it and think we aren’t doing anything!”  I get concerned about what pictures I put on social media or which frustrations are okay to share.  Yet, I have nothing to base that on except rumors of other people’s experiences and my own attitudes as a sender (which I’ve been for far longer than I’ve been a M in the field!).

    We try to be very open with our supporters and send out regular updates that relays how God is working (even if He seems to “only” be working in our own life) and we try to always be vulnerable about how we are doing.  Our desire is to have meaningful communication so that our senders feel they can be open.  However, people don’t really respond.  Our desire is that people would communicate with us if they need to stop giving rather than just drop us silently.  Or if they have concerns, come to us about it rather than talk with our families or other supporters.  So I’m not sure how to better open the lines of communication, but we are trying!

    1. Lauren Pinkston March 27, 2015

      Brittany, you are so kind. I am so new to the field, I am definitely mentored by the women who comment on this space. And I always appreciate the conversation you bring!

      It sounds like we have similar stories. This sounds crazy to most people, but we send out an update every week about what we’ve done, who we’ve seen, and where we’ve experienced the Father moving and working. I like how you said that’s the filter you share successes through, because ultimately, we are all handcuffed when it comes to Kingdom work. He provides the increase. He softens the hardest of hearts. We just show up in our faithfulness and going. There were so many weeks over the last year where our reports were only about OURSELVES–because that’s where the Father was doing the greatest amount of work from what we could see.

      I felt many times like I shouldn’t be using other peoples’ money to just come overseas to learn, be stretched, and to grow. How selfish of me! 😉 But through His molding of our hearts, the doors to local people have opened like floodgates. “I can’t work through you until I’ve worked in you” is the Word I keep receiving from the Lord.

      Your supporters will see this in you…this humble spirit and wonderful attitude. Keep doing your best to share the REAL you!

  4. Lisa March 26, 2015

    Yes!  Transparency is what I long for and I try, as often as I can in my blog and newsletters, to be real about what we are going through.  I want people to understand that we are just like them, but living in a different context.  But, it seems like there are periods of time where there is just nothing glamorous happening and you do wonder what to put in that newsletter so that people don’t think you’re just hanging out overseas on their dime.  It’s an ongoing challenge for me to remember that God’s grace is not dependent on how much I work for Him and that I don’t need to work for my supporters either!  I will say that last year we went through burnout and sent a pretty open letter to our supporters about it, since it meant we’d be coming off the field for a few months.  We had more positive responses and encouragement in response to that email than we’ve probably ever had.

    1. Lauren Pinkston March 27, 2015

      Lisa,  it makes my heart so happy to hear about God’s people loving each other. I’m so glad you have a network of people that are willing to wrap their arms around you when you are open and honest about everything from the mundane to burnout. Based on some of the other situations women have so bravely shared here these week, it’s confirmed for me what a unique thing it is to be sent out well. Counting my blessings!

  5. Monica March 26, 2015

    Thanks for your encouragement. We have not had the
    same experience. We WERE supported by
    one church with a fsw independent supporters. 5 years ago, when we were having some marriage
    issues, we asked them for help. The pastor at the time and one of the elders came out to us on the field and spent a week. We were honest and open with them and felt we had good communication.

    They left us with all sorts of promises of prayer and emotional support and “accountability”. We
    never had contact wîth them after that. We have sent newsletters and reports but all contact has
    been initiated by us. We have been home once since then, but were told we could not even greet the church.
    Recently they called a new pastor we have met once. This June will be his firsf AGM and he sent us a letter saying that he will have us removed from membership because he feels we our “disruptive” as we coninue to communicate with members of te congregation about our situation and he has decided our ministry is not valid.

    We feel we have been amputated. This comes at a time when, my husband has besn told he’s losing his eyesight and I am having extreme medical problems.  We are barely surviving.  Emotionally, I am spent, physically I am in pain, spiritually I feel dead.  I feel as if God placed us here and just left us.  Will he ever come back, I am not sure at the moment.  Everything is raw and each day is a bit worse.  We have zero finances.  We get most of our food from a local food bank run by the national church.  I cry myself to sleep at night, and I wake up crying in the morning.  We have no idea how things will change and I particulary, my husband is the optimist, I think that light at the end of the tunnel is a train coming at us.
    We are totally isolated.  There is absolutely no one we can turn too.  In April my husband will have eye surgery to try and restore some of his vision.  I will be on the other side of the country having major surgery. Both us totally on our own, not even each other and to tell you the truth I have no idea how we will get through April.  Normally I would say God will make a way, but at the moment I do not even have the strength for that.
    Thats my experience of letting myself be “shepherded”.  Does it mean I have given up on transparency, no not really.  Does it mean I will be WAY more guarded in the future….I think so, but I hope not.

    1. Monica F March 27, 2015

      Oh Monica, I am so sorry you and your husband are experiencing such pain and isolation right now.  I read your post several times and my heart just really goes out to you.  Are there individuals in your church who can advocate on your behalf?  Is it possible for you and your husband to have your procedures done in the same country?  How about your agency- have they come in to care for you?  I know our organization has a special fund set up for situations like this, so I wonder if yours does as well.

      I can tell through your words that your heart is wounded and feels such rejection.  Even though you feel abandoned, the Lord does see YOU and is present with you.  I wish I could give you a hug.  And I really like your name:)  Praying for you.

      1. Monica March 27, 2015

        MonicaF.,

        Thanks so much for your response.  Its a great name!!  We Monicas have to stick together.

        My husband and I will be in the same country, just 400 km apart.  It is not possible to do in the same place.

        Since the new pastor has come to the church, those who would have advocated for us have left.  They have “grown” from over 300 when he came to just over 60.  63 to be exact if you take us out.

        We have worked/lived in 5 different countries over the years and never had an agency.  This is the first time that has been a problem.

         

        Thanks for praying, you have no idea what that means to me.

        1. Lauren Pinkston March 27, 2015

          Monica, I am SO SORRY I am just now responding to your comments. We have been hosting guests this week, and my time (and internet) has been all soaked up. :/ Your story is proof that we have a LONG way to go in improving M care and sending. So many times drama in a fellowship back in America floods over into the lives and ministry of the overseas work it supports. I get so sick to my stomach when I hear stories like this…we have such a hard time loving people, especially those in the household of faith. And what I mean is, people have a hard time loving us. I feel like it shouldn’t be so hard, but where there are people, there is sin. And where there is sin, there is mess. I’m so, so sorry you have been affected by the changes in your sending fellowship, and that you have been less than supported. The kingdom at large is feeling the effects, but your hearts and livelihood are an immediate need.

          I will be praying for your physical and emotional health. You have quite a month of April ahead of you, which isn’t easy coming off of months of exhaustion and questioning your support. Please let us know how we can be a better social network for you here.

          And one more note about finding a mediator. We had a group out of Dallas, TX, serve as the mediator between us and our senders. They would have to agree to it, which is totally out of your control, but if your senders are willing to welcome a mediator, I know our organization would be willing to talk to you. They specialize in equipping churches to send people out, and this training between them and us was invaluable to our launch overseas and continued support. Feel free to contact me privately (lmpinkston@gmail.com)  if you would like me to connect you with some resources there! I know exactly what you mean by needing a mediator, and I think this is wise on your part.

          Blessings to you, sister. Thanks for sharing with us here.

          1. Monica March 28, 2015

            Laura,

            Thanks for your reply.

            Its very tough because I do not think they will consider a mediator.  They feel (or the pastor feels) they are the final decision makers.  What would be the point?  If they have decided we are no longer valid, why continue?

            I suppose contacting someone would be helpful, but I am almost sure they will refuse.  If not refuse, they will act as if they accept just to save face.  I just simply do not have the emotional energy for a fight.  Thats sounds horrible, but its the truth.

            As for how you can support me (us)  I have to honestly say, I do not know right now.  I am pretty raw at the moment.  I do have my days when I think not surviving the surgery might be a positive thing.  What we need is practical, hands on kind of stuff.

            Blessings,

            Monica

  6. Jeanne March 27, 2015

    I think this about says it all.

      1. Jeanne March 28, 2015

        Laura, its sad but true.  The other sad thing is that we are often “out of sight, out of mind”

        My husband, who is a psychologist, has also written extensively on support for overseas workers on the field.  For some years he did a 2 week orientation/training for folks just  before they went to the field.

  7. Monica F March 27, 2015

    Thanks for this post. We have been so blessed over the last 15 years by our main sending body- various leaders and teams have visited us… and individuals have visited us as well.  This makes such a huge difference.  When we first started considering taking a Sabbatical,  we contacted various supporters, family friends, and our sending Bodies to get there input.  The responsive was overwhelming, and people were saying things like, “It’s about time!”  “Do it!”  “We’ve seen your life….take a rest!”  What a blessing.  Of course, things haven’t always been rosy, and about 8 years ago one of our sending Bodies split- and the fallout was devastating.  To be on the other side of the ocean was very difficult.

    I think one thing that has changed for me over the years, is to really let the people sending me, just be who they are.  I understand if they are too busy to come visit, send a care package, or don’t even have time to read my newsletter immediately.  But, it is so encouraging when we ‘come home’ to hear them say, “we’ve been thinking of you” or “tell us more about what it’s like there.”  Anyway, over this Sabbatical year we have just been so incredibly blessed, also, by the SPACE that our Bodies have given us.  NO expectations… Again, blessing.

    1. Lauren Pinkston March 27, 2015

      This is great, Monica. Before we moved overseas, we went to live with our sending Body for eight months. During that time, we really got to know the people there…know their hearts, about their jobs, and their hobbies. It was so wonderful to really feel like we knew who was sending us out, so that (like you said) when we don’t hear from them constantly, we know they are busing doing life themselves! Communication is SO EXHAUSTING, right?

      I like how you said you want to let the people sending you to just be who they are. I had never heard of this before, but our training organization also trained our sending Body, and as mediators, they said, “Don’t you dare call Gavin and Lauren and ask them how many people they are teaching if you aren’t willing to have them ask you the same question. If you want to know what is happening in SE Asia, then they have a responsibility to ask you what is happening in Middle Tennessee.” This was HUGE in setting a tone of mutual accountability for all of us. It took the pressure off of us to produce superhuman results, and also gave us a love and interest for what was happening outside our front door. I have so appreciated how this relationship has made us less *saviors* and more DISCIPLES. Disciples walking along other disciples back home. <3

      1. Ashley March 27, 2015

        Wow, I love that quote above! I’d have to do a heart check to make sure I had pure motives while reciprocating the question, but so very true. I’m thankful no one has ever asked us this. Maybe a roundabout question of “how’s ministry” or something, but never “how many have you led to Christ?”

  8. F March 28, 2015

    I’m posting anonymously this time. Sorry about that, but I think it’s necessary.

     

    We’ve had something of an interesting road with this topic, and the title here may be exactly what we need to do: allow ourselves to be shepherded. It’s hard though. After many years on the field “independent,” we’re kind of set in our ways. We do have a sending church, but no organisation, and our relationship with our church was always very organic. We never sat down and wrote anything out, or even discussed overly much. But now… they say that they want to be more of an official sending organisation for us. It’s just coming across a little awkwardly, though, because so far, all we’re seeing is that they want to apply rules, when it feels like they really don’t even understand us. It’s also complicated by some other things that I won’t go into here. Anyway, I would appreciate prayer! And if anyone has practical advice about helping people to be our senders–especially long distance, especially after they actually sent us out so many years ago–I’m all ears. Thanks!

    1. Lauren Pinkston March 29, 2015

      Thanks for sharing your current situation, F. It is unique, indeed. Again, I highly recommend our training organization. They will work with any denomination, and are a really good resource for mediating the hard conversations.

      One exercise we did before launching was to write ‘covenants.’ We wrote one  as a family, pledging our loyalty to keeping our marriage and parenting practices healthy. We wrote one to our sending Body, pledging to be honest and truthful, holding fast to Father as we fulfill out commitment abroad. We wrote one to our teammates, pledging our loyalty to them, as well, seeing them through good times and bad. And our sending Body wrote one to us! They framed it and gave it to us on the day we were officially sent off.

      These were kind of like marriage vows, and it may sound silly to some, but when times have been hard, those covenants have pulled us back towards truth, grace, and finishing the good fight. Hope this helps!

  9. Anna March 28, 2015

    We’ve been very blessed with our main sending church.  They had some overseas workers, but no one they knew personally or with whom they had a close connection.  We had been attending the church for four years, and they got to go through the whole process of getting started with them.  It’s been fun to see them learn with us as we go.  And they have been incredibly supportive and encouraging in so many ways.

    1. Lauren Pinkston March 29, 2015

      This sounds incredible, Anna! I was so thankful we had time with our senders, too. But four years?? Wow! What a learning experience for everyone, I’m sure. That’s fantastic!

  10. Anne March 29, 2015

    I grew up in a church where my parents still attend.  They have known me pretty much my entire life.  We married in the church, and then we knew we were called to the overseas field.  Language acquisition took 2 years.  When they prayed for us and sent us out we felt secure.  We had discussed with them a sending agency and did not feel it was needed.

    While we were on the field, we had no contact from them.  No newsletters, no emails.  When we emailed them, sometimes we got an answer.  My parents were in the middle.  They became the go betweens.  They ran interference between us and the church.

    After 4 years on the field their support stopped.  They were our sole support.  Attempts to contact them failed.  I finally called my parents who said  they did not believe it.  They said “oh you’re just trying to get more money”- I was shocked and devastated.  I asked them to contact our bank at home.  They were our agents, so they could.  My mother emailed me to say, yes I was right, no money had been deposited.  She then called the church swore it had been sent, but she had the banking information.  After 2 days of wrangling, money was finally placed in our account.  Next month same thing, this time my father got involved. Again, after several days the money finally came.  The next month, my father emailed me to say the church would not be supporting us anymore.  We were SHOCKED!  What was worse my parents would not advocate for us.  They would not speak on our behalf.  Would not tell us what was happening.

    We shared our situation with others we were working with.  My husband had been volunteering at a local international school and they offered to take him on as a paid teacher.  So we were not left totally on our own.  We did cut off all communication with the church as well as out parents.

    We were in country 7 years all together.  The main reason we stayed 3 years was that we had no money to return home.  It took us 3 years to raise the finances to get home.  We have been in our home country 5 years now and have had no contact with the church or my parents.  They have 6 grandchildren they have never met.

    So please forgive me if I do not want to “shepherded”.  We have left the “institutional church” all together to meet with a small home church of about 4 families.

    I have many reflections on that time.  I did not see when I was in that church just how abuse and cultish it really was.  Cutting off your own daughter because the church says, sounds a bit cultish to me.

  11. Teresa August 3, 2015

    What is a “ghetto accent?”

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