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Interview with Henry & Betsy

Henry and Betsy share their experiences of coming to Christ after their marriage, how they felt called to bring to gospel to unreached people after hearing just how many places the gospel has yet to go to. They share their experiences of mission in Mozambique, how many of their colleagues struggled with lack of training which caused them to set up Didasko.

Check out the Didasko Website

See our other partners

If you're interested in unreached people groups, check out this video on our channel by Walt Chen:

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Interview with James Goss

James Goss is interviewed by Christine Paterson about his experiences of ministry in China, Mongolia and his native Australia.

For more info on Mongolia Care visit their website: www.mongoliacare.org

For more on Chinese Church Support Ministries (CCSM): www.ccsm.amccsm.org

 

James Goss is an old friend and colleague of Ross and Christine Paterson, based in Perth. He used to run Chinese Church Support Ministries (CCSM - founded by Ross Paterson), but now works with Mongolia Care, as well as in end-of-life care in Perth, where he lives. In this interview, James shares stories from his years of mission in China and Mongolia - including an experience of being arrested by the authorities. He encourages us on the topic of heavenly authority, spiritual warfare and the importance of prayer.

 

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Interview with Peter Askew

Peter Askew serves cross-culturally in the north of England! His title is “Operations Manager for the Antioch Network Manchester”, an Anglican initiative, which plants churches in ethnically diverse communities and on housing estates across the Diocese of Manchester."

 

For more on the Antioch Network in Manchester, go to: www.antiochnetwork.org.uk Peter Askew serves cross-culturally in the north of England! His title is “Operations Manager for the Antioch Network Manchester”, an Anglican initiative, which plants churches in ethnically diverse communities and on housing estates across the Diocese of Manchester." Pete is an old friend of the Patersons, Ross and Christine knew him when he was growing up in York, where his parents and they were involved in planting a church together – now known as Gateway Church in Acomb. In this interview Pete speaks of his own experiences as a young person working in different parts of Africa. But the real challenge he gives to the church in the UK is to see that “the world is now on our doorstep” - so many nationalities from across the globe now live within our borders that we can now obey the Great Commission just by crossing the street! However, we might still be well advised to get some cross-cultural training, and Pete kindly recommends FieldPartner’s courses to that end.

Peter benefitted from our Crossing Cultures 101 course - check it out for yourself!

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Interview with Christina Winrich

In this interview Christina shares openly about the challenges and joys of serving God in another culture. She shares movingly of how the Lord redirected her towards “less than 1% Christian” Japan and about the hard work of mastering a second Asian language with characters.

 

For more on OMF Japan, go to: www.omf.org/asia/japan

Christina Winrich was born in Wisconsin, came to faith as a musician working in France and then rashly offered the Lord a whole year of her life to serve Him in missions! After taking 3 short-term mission trips (one to South America and two to China), she landed up on a a year’s cross-cultural programme run by our Antioch School of Missions in China. Her one year ultimately became five in China, largely spent using her skills as a special needs educator, then teaching oral English in a university. After that, she went for specific Bible training in Canada and eventually moved on to serve in Japan with Overseas Missionary Fellowship. In this interview Christina shares openly about the challenges and joys of serving God in another culture (or two!). She shares movingly of how the Lord redirected her towards “less than 1% Christian” Japan and about the hard work of mastering a second Asian language with characters (though it does have a kind of alphabet as well!)

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Interview with Christine Paterson

Christine Paterson Interview

Co-founder Christine Paterson tells us about her life on the mission field from her childhood in Africa to present day working in Taiwan.

 

In this interview, Jen Bishop interviews Christine Paterson (co-founder of FieldPartner with husband Ross). Christine was born in Burundi of missionary parents, and lived in that region of Africa until she was 13 so her cross-cultural journey began really from birth. She had been through multiple experiences of culture shock before she even knew what it was! Exposure to Chinese culture after marrying Ross and joining him in Taiwan in 1975 was a further example of that. Gradually Ross and Christine became aware of how many things had been much harder for them because neither of them had had any cross-cultural training or orientation. This fuelled a passion to provide such training for those they were to sending to work in China and beyond. That physical school, a one-year stand-alone programme, became the forerunner for what FieldPartner is now – an online resource to help people thrive not just survive in a cross-cultural calling.

 

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Interview with Ross Paterson

We hear from co-founder Ross Paterson sharing his experiences from over 50 years in the mission field.

It’s more than 50 years since Ross Paterson (founder of FieldPartner with his wife Christine) left for the mission field, with the backing of just one church behind him. At the time he was single and determined and sure of God’s
leading, but he was also completely untrained in cultural terms. His first ten years spent in Taiwan were fruitful but they were also hard, as was the case for Christine when they married six years in.

By the grace of God Ross survived and has continued with longevity in service to China and the Chinese, but doing it the way we did is not what we recommend. That is what Ross stresses here, from his own experience. Indeed the very purpose of FieldPartner is to help those wanting to serve God in another culture to be well prepared for the challenges and then to thrive in their service.

In this interview Ross describes his own journey and how God called him clearly to serve the church and the people of China. Over the years he has lived a total of 23 years in Taiwan and a further 13 in Singapore - making a substantial part of his life spent in Asia. The Patersons still live in Taiwan, but plans are afoot for one more major transition back to the UK before too long!

Why not check out our YouTube Channel for more interviews, bible studies and other resources?

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Crossing Cultures 101

We have just launched our most recent course Crossing Cultures 101! It’s free to complete and consists of 3 online modules with several lessons in each, to be completed in your own time.

This is the course we wish we could have done before starting our missionary journeys - and, after learning a lot of things the hard way, it’s the course we would recommend to you!

Crossing Cultures 101, as the name suggests, is a very basic introduction to the subject of what it takes to move into a new culture and thrive there. In a sense it is so basic that it will probably raise more questions than it answers. But that might just be helpful! Better to start having the conversation before you go than to be shocked when you get there by issues you were not expecting.

We know from personal experience that having sufficient support and training is vital to thriving on the mission field. Our concern is that across the world, there are many who are setting off without those very things. This course won’t give specific help for adjusting to the actual culture you are moving to, but it will give a lot of general principles that will apply in any crossing-culture experience.

We think there are three different groups that would benefit from doing this course…

Firstly, those who feel called to go and are just beginning to research their way to finding out what is involved. I’d like to think this course would give you the basics and cover, with broad brushstrokes, the things you need to know as you begin to embark on this journey.

Secondly, those who have already set out on the journey and are discovering, perhaps the hard way, that there are a whole host of things you had not thought about before you left. For your encouragement, both Ross and I started out this way, with no cultural training, and we at separate times had to learn everything the hard way. We wish there had been a course like this that we could have done back in the day! It certainly would have helped.

And thirdly, our target is the churches that are sending folk out – for those churches to know, if they don’t already, what it takes to support those they send out well. If you fit the role of a sender rather than a go-er, you may prefer to skip the first two modules and focus only on the third. But on the other hand, doing the first two modules might also help you understand what those who have gone out are experiencing when they go through culture shock, for example, not knowing what has hit them. Finding that this is a normal part of the process of cultural adaptation will help mitigate the concern you might otherwise feel as you hear about their struggles. They will need your understanding to help them push through and come out reasonably intact the other side!

So that’s it - three modules, about 13 lessons in total, taking only about six hours to complete! There are other free courses on the site that you can also sign up for (go to: https://courses.fieldpartner.org/courses), and more will added in time. We will be there in support as well, and, in addition, we’d love to see fellow students form a cohort amongst themselves, providing mutual support and encouragement.

If you are reading this and you fit any of the categories mentioned above, I’d like to invite you to sample the course and give us your feedback in the box below. Or, if you know anyone else to whom it might apply, please forward the link to them as well.

Thank you for your interest and welcome to FieldPartner!

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Five things I wish I had known

A while ago my husband and I were talking with a friend about the huge task that faces us in setting up an online training school. In the course of about an hour’s conversation, Eric asked a telling question. He said,

“Ross, Christine – looking back over your several decades of experience in international living – and granted the fact that you didn’t receive any cross-cultural training before you went – what would you say now are the top five things you wish you had known before you went to Asia?”

Wow – what a great question!

Below is my own considered answer. For me, this list actually encapsulates the substance of a basic course I have constructed, called Crossing Cultures 101. These issues I am talking about now are some of the topics that are covered in this course. And let me just say here, if you would like to come on board for that course – or if what I say in these few moments resonates with you in any way, please do sign up! It’s totally free to join.

Click here to access the Crossing Cultures 101 course for free!

OK so let’s drill into this: Five things I wish I had known before I went!

1. The best time to build a strong foundation is at the beginning!

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But when it comes to life, ‘stuff’ often just happens, and sometimes good planning does not! Perhaps we only realise later that a bit more time taken early on, along with a lot more good input received from others, could have helped us build a stronger foundation for our marriages or our ministries. Looking back, Ross and I regret that we didn’t take time out at the time we got married to do some of our adjusting to each other in our own culture first. But we were young and zealous, Ross had already been in Taiwan for six years by then and was fully involved in student ministry, and I had two years of full-time language study facing me before we could start a family… We thought we didn’t have time for that, and besides, it was complicated by other commitments. However cultural adaptation, on top of marriage adjustment, were about to take a huge toll on us. If only we had realised how it was going to be and taken it slower!

2. More than we often realise, we are the products of our own cultures – and that can create unforeseen problems in the new culture.

The first module in my course focuses on this topic at some depth and, if you come with me, we’ll be checking out our assumptions and beliefs about the ‘right’ way to do things. Often, we are completely unaware of how our own socialisation influences the way we do life and the value judgements we make about others who do life differently. This shows up hugely when we arrive in a new culture.

Here are some danger signs to watch out for:

  • A tendency to reject what is ‘different’ from the way it is at home.
  • Wanting to enforce our own ways of doing things as ‘correct’.
  • Above all, we need to watch out for the things we tend to criticise or ridicule in the new culture…

3. The new culture will impact me too in distinct ways – that’s what’s known as Culture Shock.

In Module Two of my course I depict the whole cultural adaptation process as navigating a path between two mountain peaks – one being my own culture, where I belong and feel comfortable and the other being the new culture, which is at yet a mystery. In between these two peaks there is a valley, involving pitfalls and dangers and sheer hard slog. This is Culture Shock.
Not everyone navigates this valley successfully, but yet, the challenge of it can be an adventure that draws you on. In the course we will talk quite a bit about the anatomy of culture shock and what it takes to navigate through it.

And then there is Reverse Culture Shock (or Re-entry Stress) to navigate through as well, when returning home. This too is a ‘real thing’, but often more shocking because it is not anticipated! People assume that going back to their home culture after an assignment in a different culture will be completely straight forward and nothing to worry about. After all – are we not just returning home? Well, yes – but in the same way as you can never step into the same river twice (as the philosopher said!), you will be a different person after all you have been through, and the people and situation you are returning to will also have changed. That can make for some unwelcome surprises, which it is good to be prepared for. There will be a lesson in Module Two that deals with this issue as well.

4. I need support for my endeavour of navigating a new culture. Where and how can I find that? (We will be looking at much of what is involved in this in Module 3)

This brings us full circle to the first issue – how vital it is to build a good foundation and prepare well for our endeavour before we leave. That includes having good closure with those we leave behind and building a strong support base at the sending end. Why? Because we need to stay connected with those who know us well and are sending us out. We need their support and understanding, to involve them on our journey and keep them on side in what we are going through.
Here is one thing we strongly advocate for anyone going into another culture: find a core group of friends and family members who are willing to support you on this venture, be a sounding board for you and provide encouragement when you are struggling. They will be worth their weight in gold!
And look for support in other quarters too:

  • A culture coach maybe – someone who is ahead of you in the crossing culture journey and can give you some valuable tips.
  • Local friends who will explain the inexplicable and help you gradually to understand. If you are open and willing, they will be an invaluable resource.
  • A community of like-minded people who can encourage you.

Hopefully you will find that in the place where you are serving. But what if you don’t? This is where we in FieldPartner hope that we can continue to help, by providing an on-line community: others who may be at a different stage and are probably working in a different culture from you, but who can still encourage you and cheer you on.

5. Your choices impact your children in countless ways!

Of course you may not have kids, but if you do, you need to know they experience this journey very differently from you. Kids have the capability to ‘enter’ a culture and learn a language much more easily than their parents, but they may also feel deeply the loss of their former life. They may blame you for the discomfort and disorientation they are feeling. Embracing a new culture may come more easily to them, but going through that process will also permanently alter their identity. From now on life for them, even more than for you, will never be the same. So in Module 3 on my course, we will also be looking at terms like Third Culture Kid and Global Nomad, helping you (I hope) to think through the implications of your choice to move abroad as it might impact on your kids.

There are some definite upsides to this, but also some very real challenges. We will be looking at what some of those are.
OK so there you have it in a nutshell! Five things I wish I had known before I went. In actual fact, I didn’t know half of this for many years, but that is a story for another time!

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A Hidden Miracle.

So many events take place that speak of the grace and power of the Lord in answer to prayer, yet at the same time we may not hear about them if they take place in “closed countries”. When we do hear, we are encouraged and challenged to pray for the Lord’s work in other nations, knowing that He is faithful to hear our prayer on behalf of the suffering church.

The Story of Yazdan

In 2016 Yazdan, a young man living in a ‘closed’ Muslim country, became a believer in Jesus. Yazdan had met a believer on a work related task, and while working at the believer’s house, he saw Christian literature and a Bible on the desk, became interested in Christianity. After talking with the believer Yazdan gave his life to the Lord.
At that time, Yazdan was 15 years old. Yazdan soon became a successful evangelist and a church planter. He turned his little shop into an underground church gathering place. The same week as he gave his life to Jesus he invited his customers to his shop and testified about Jesus. 60 students turned to Jesus. During the next 5 years, he planted 13 churches and led hundreds of Muslims to Christ.

His Persecution

Because of his activities, Yazdan's parents got very upset as they were radical Muslims. They went to a religious police station and betrayed their son. Yazdan was put in prison after his own father had handed him over to police officers for his faith and spiritual activities. Because his father was a religious leader in the city and had a great reputation, Yazdan’s case was even worse.

During his stay in a temporary jail, he was visited by the mullah of his city. This leader urged Yazdan to renounce his Christian faith, telling him to confess before a camera that Christians gave him money to spread Christian literature; otherwise he would be hung publicly. Yazdan refused to renounce his faith, telling the mullah that even if they killed him by hanging 1000 times and then they raised him 1000 times from the dead, he would announce publicly 1000 times that he was in love with Jesus and that Jesus is his Lord and Saviour. As a result of this, the mullah became angry and said he would kill Yazdan with his own hands.

After this, the prosecutor accused Yazdan of crimes that he had not committed: international terrorism, drug dealing and rape. Thus they changed his offences from religious ones to terrorism and drugs; they did this so that his arrest would not come before the Human Rights Commission and no one would know about Yazdan’s case.

There was a big possibility that he would be executed in 2016. The court did actually sentence him to death but then commuted it to over 20 years in prison. The court offered his parents the chance to mediate on Yazdan’s behalf and to pledge their house as security but his father refused.

God's Grace

Folk who knew about his situation prayed that God would change his father’s heart. Finally, his father made the decision to be a guarantor for his son and Yazdan was released and expelled from his country. He is now safe and secure in another country, but for the time being, he is unable to talk publicly for security reasons – his parents are still in that country and they are in danger.

In answer to prayer the Lord reached out and rescued this faithful young middle eastern believer. Whether for one or for many, our heavenly Father’s promise remains true as we pray for believers and those not yet saved in other nations, as we enlarge our hearts for “the ends of the earth”.

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The Antioch Factor

5 talks of The Antioch Factor

In these 5 talks Ross shares his life’s message. He shares concerning what the Bible says about cross cultural mission being the heart of God’s plan for the church, especially focusing on the book of Acts and the early church. God has used this teaching in the US, Africa, India and Asia - where churches have adopted this teaching in Bible schools and essential training of believers.

The Antioch Factor #1
The first talk is a basic introduction. Ross starts with Acts 1:8 to show that Jesus divided the world into 4 different territories, and every church should involve in each of these 4 regions. But often we ignore the difficult one, “the ends of the earth”, even though Jesus told us to reach peoples who are different from us. This is a unique opportunity to think this matter through before the Lord.

The Antioch Factor #2
Ross in this second talk in the series looks at more verses from the New Testament, to show that cross cultural mission is a key part of the Bible's teaching from Genesis to Revelation. He then begins to look at the church in Jerusalem. He comes up with a very surprising conclusion which may shock you! Listen on to find out what that conclusion is!

The Antioch Factor #3
God gave the Jerusalem church 3 great chances in Acts chapters 8-11 to understand His global agenda, but they did not. Ross asks the question “am I communicating to you the strength of resistance to the Gospel going to the ends of the earth?” Ross then shows how God birthed the church in Antioch to move with that global agenda.

The Antioch Factor #4
Ross stresses eight key elements that make up the Antioch church. He states that Antioch churches do not grow up by accident or naturally, rather like weeds in the garden. We have to be intentional in making sure these elements are in play in our churches.

The Antioch Factor #5
Ross continues to stress that Antioch churches do not happen by accident. He gives more elements that need to be in play for us to become an Antioch church today, sending folk out and supporting folk to reach the nations.

Antioch Factor Infographic (PDF)

Antioch Factor Infographic (PNG)

This course is for you if...

You are not yet involved in cross-cultural mission and are not even sure if it is "for you":

  • You have no idea what the expression “cross-cultural mission" means.
  • You want a Biblical basis for cross-cultural mission.
  • You feel that God just wants you involved in a local church and nothing else.
  • You want to understand how God sees church and views the world. What are His priorities?

If you are already in the mission field and…

  • Are needing your vision and call refreshed.
  • Want to help your friends back home to “get the vision” and to stand with you.

 If you are from a sending church and...

  • Want to know why those ‘pesky’ people keep talking about God’s work overseas?
  • Have to help those the church is sending, but are not sure how to do that or even why to do that!

If you think this course is for you, click here to check it out.

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