Crossing Cultures

Small Successes

In El Salvador, many times we count the small successes as big ones. This weekend we are rejoicing in one such success. Three years ago, we were fundraising and in the process of transitioning out of our home in Pittsburgh. Our main goal for moving to El Salvador was to enter into the lives of the people of El Salvador, particularly the fatherless. We had a dream of seeing the fatherless connected with their true Father, and to see them begin a life-long journey of coming to know Him. Beyond that, we also came with the hope of bringing physical and emotional healing and seeing people’s lives change holisticly. The thing we have learned is that small successes come by small steps. Day by day, moment by moment walking through […]


Re-entry after our time in the States has been a little rough as we adjust back to a regular schedule, normal work hours, and a two hour time difference. The kids have handled it like champs, and they have become such great international travellers. We spent time in Maryland, visited my brother and his wife in Philadelphia, went to Pittsburgh, then returned to Maryland and took a day-trip to D.C. before catching a plane back to El Salvador. Despite a bout with the stomach flu, everything went smoothly and we had a great trip! We were really blessed by all of our friends, family, individual donors, and supporting churches who cheered us on during our visit. We had the opportunity to visit three churches, and to share with friends and […]

Check it Out

Today I am guest posting over at Missionary Mom’s Companion. If you are a mom, a missionary, or anyone intersted in cross-cultural life and ministry make sure you check this site out! In other news, Jon and I are celebrating TEN YEARS of marriage today! I can’t believe it! I’m so grateful for these past ten years and looking forward to ten more with such an incredible husband and father to my children by my side!

Intern Orientation Week

I can already tell that this summer is going to fly by! Last week was a great start with our Intern Orientation.  LeAnna and Heather will be working with us to do all of our ministries, get stuff done around the base, and host the teams that will be passing through El Salvador this summer. They are seriously awesome and we feel like we hit the jackpot getting to work with them all summer! Last week they had a full week with orientation to all of our ministries, training that focused on cross-cultural issues, and a brief overview of El Salvador’s culture and history including a visit to a local museum run by an ex-guerilla from El Salvador’s civil war. We ended the week with a trip to go hiking at La […]

Short-Term Season

The “short-term missions season” is upon us. Our kids are wrapping up their last week of school, and our summer interns are on their way to El Salvador as I write this. We will have North American teams and volunteers passing through our doors all summer long. We hope that it is a valuable experience for everyone. Short-terms missions have become a billion dollar “business” and millions of North Americans travel around the world each year to serve. This is a good thing, and many people have benefitted. We have been incredibly blessed with amazing volunteers who have come to El Salvador to learn from and encourage local missionaries and Christians. We also have seen people develop a heart for missions as a result of a short-term trip. This is a good thing! But […]


“I expected to stop making mistakes in Spanish by now.” “I never expected my son to have problems in school.” “I expected that I’d have a great support system of other missionaries.” “I never saw this coming.” Expectations. We all have them, we all compare our lives to them, we all struggle when they are not met. I think if you talk to anyone who is working in cross-culturally ministry (or heck, in any job or ministry) you will find that they have many unmet expectations. I know it’s true for me. I hold on to things that I want to happen, or wish desperately that they could happen another way, or feel frustrated when all my high hopes disappear in sleepless nights and painful conversations. “I expected it to be hard, […]


This weekend has been a bit of a whirlwind! It started last night when the kids celebrated many cultures around the world at their school’s annual “A Taste of the World” cultural festival. They attend an international school so there are students from all over the world in their classes. I love the fact that they are getting an education in such a culturally rich environment. As part of the festival, the students could view cultural exhibits presented by the parents, taste international food at food booths sponsored by the high school students, and participate in performing traditional dances. Ian’s class dressed as African animals and danced to music from the movie “Madagascar” while Tori’s class dressed in traditional Indian dress and performed to Indian music. This afternoon, we attended an event […]

Road Trip!

  Preparations are underway for Operation Roadtrip 2012. We are heading to Nicaragua for the YWAM Regional Conference for all the missionaries working in Mexico and Central America. This will definitely be the longest car trip our kids have taken in awhile. Back in 2009 we travelled across a big chunk of the U.S. , but we all seemed to have blocked that out. Any major trips since that time have involved airplanes. As you can imagine, this trip is causing quite a bit of dread excitement around our house The trip will take us from San Salvador, El Salvador to Diriamba, Nicaragua. Diriamba is located past Managua, somewhere around Granada. Mileage wise, it’s about the distance of driving across Pennsylvania. We’re not sure how many hours it will take us as we […]

Third Culture Kids

“Is it hard to live in a foreign country?” This was the last question that my kids were answering as they responded to a letter from a Sunday School class in Maryland last week. The letter asked some questions about life as a missionary.  Tori and Ian discussed them, and Tori wrote down the answers. But this one had them stumped. They weren’t even sure which “foreign” country the letter was referring to. I explained it to them and after a lot of thinking and a little confusion, they finally settled on answering that they missed their friends and family in the U.S. This conversation made me realize that my kids have made a transition into becoming full-fledged Third Culture Kids. TCKs.  They were born in the U.S.A., but they are […]

A Different Point of View

Yesterday afternoon Ian took me on a guided tour around his world. We rode bikes, tried to find different ways to help “ninja lego guys” survive a Tonka truck crash, and explored the garden. He showed me all of his favorite plants and kept up a steady stream of Spanglish conversation about his toys, and the dog, and his climbing tree. After our walk, I suggested that we sit down on the terrace. He had a different idea. He sat down on the hill in our backyard right in the grass and said, “Down here is better Mommy.” I was hesitant because the grass in El Salvador is really sharp (weird, I know…just how it is) but I agreed. Ian was right. It was better. From our view on the […]

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