You may remember The World as 100 People. It went viral a few years back—a helpful attempt to explain who lives in our world according to a number of different categories.
Do you realize Earth’s population has doubled in size over the last 50 years, now exceeding 8 billion people? More than half of them live in Asia! If you represented the planet’s population as just 1,000 people, using UN data from mid-2023, you’d have 178 in India and 177 in China. Sweden and Honduras would be down to just one person each.
Interested in the big picture? Find some food for thought in a brief article called Better Than You Think, in which Philip Yancey reflects on the message of Hans Roslin (author of the 2018 book Factfulness) about the state of the world.
Items May Have Shifted: When Missionaries Get Rerouted, by Maxine McDonald. Pioneers, 2023. 146 pages.
Many of the most popular missionary biographies paint a picture of heroic figures, often in primitive settings, who stay for many years and become beloved by the people. But things are different now. Pioneers found that half of its field workers who had served for ten years or more had lived in more than one country. Often they saw themselves as “lifers” with a one-way ticket to the first place on their hearts, but issues with visas, civil unrest, health, or family needs took them somewhere they never expected. So, how do they navigate that? What’s it like?
Hear four American missionary couples and a single woman, all serving with Pioneers, tell their stories in Items May Have Shifted.
This book is currently available in three formats. Help yourself to the one that fits your budget and reading preferences.
Pick up the paperback on Amazon or elsewhere (US$15.99)
Disclaimer, I work for Pioneers and was part of the editorial team that created this book. It’s part of our ongoing effort to demystify missions for those who would go and those who send, that both might have a more accurate picture of what it takes and what it may look like to serve cross-culturally in today’s world.
Another new article argues that churches do the future missionary and the church a disservice if they make the sending process too easy or give in to pressures to send out those they aren’t sure are ready to go.
Maybe you’ve seen how hard it can be to build a healthy partnership between church and parachurch (some say “parasite”) groups. One reason? They have different goals. When it comes to missions, the typical church is most interested in seeing their people engaged—an inward focus. And that may drive mission priorities more than it should.
Maybe you’re done decking the halls, shopping for your nearest and dearest, and shipping those glittery cards and thoughtful care packages to ministry partners who are far from home this Christmas. In case you’re not, browse the Christmas page from OSCAR, a UK-based mission information source. It includes Christmas items you can buy to support mission efforts, alternative gift ideas, and other links.