Stuart & Wendy

Brown


Serving in Mexico, Latin America Caribbean


Stuart and Wendy Brown are on temporary special assignment for 2018-2020.

Wendy is the Missionary in Residence at Evangel University. She teaches New Testament Literature, Intro to Intercultural Ministries, Best Practices, and Working Cross-Culturally. Wendy is also the faculty adviser for World Changers Missions Fellowship* and a mentor for our next generation’s global workers.

Stuart works full-time with AGWM International Ministries at CompassionLink. CompassionLink is a team of dedicated consultants who partner with missionaries and national churches worldwide to create and restore healthy communities. Stuart is specifically working with the Sustainable Development team and is involved with numerous projects such as aquaponics, water filtration, hydroponics, improved agriculture, square-meter gardening, solar cooking systems, and much more.

Previously, Stuart and Wendy served with Teen Challenge Mexico (Reto a la Juventud) in Mexico City. They preached and taught at Teen Challenge on a regular basis and other venues by invitation. Stuart loved playing futbol with the guys weekly and Wendy enjoyed teaching ESL every Saturday. 

Before that, Stuart and Wendy directed a children's home in Jamaica as well as taught at the Assemblies of God Bible College.

Find out more about Stuart and Wendy and their current ministry endeavors by checking out the links below to their Facebook group, blog, and newsletter.

*World Changers is a student organization whose mission is to facilitate students’ discovery of how God is working in the world and how they can become involved to raise awareness of God’s worldwide work.  It brings students into contact with missions through service, key speakers, and focused prayer.

 



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Recently, I visited with a kind and dedicated professional in her office. Before we got down to business, we chatted a bit as people like to do (well, as extroverts like to do, and as introverts loathe to do). Realizing that I am a global worker, she mentioned she had been on a few short-term, cross-cultural trips. The small-talk portion of our meeting ended when she related to me how she wanted to eventually bring her young son on a cross-cultural trip so that he could know how fortunate he is.

“So, he could know how fortunate he is.” I smiled weakly as her words hung between us. I wish I had the presence of mind in that moment to ask her to finish that thought. But thanks to newfound allergies, my congested and scratchy-throated self could only offer her one of those I’m-just-going-to-smile-at-you-weirdly-and-not-comment-because-you-seem-like-a-nice-person-but-what-you-just-said-sounded-a-bit-odd-to-me looks.

My untimely loss for words led to a momentary silence and an awkward segue before we proceeded to talk about other things. Yet, if I could go back and grab those words out of the air, I would ask her to finish her thought, “How fortunate he is … to what?”

How would you respond?

I imagine we might say things like: “I want my son to know how fortunate he is to live in the US.” “I want my daughter to know how fortunate she is to want for nothing.” “I want my children to know how fortunate they are to have nice things.”

But what does our responses say about what we value? Or what we think God values? 

I propose that wanting to participate in a cross-cultural trip so that we can know how fortunate we are, is a rather unfortunate reason to go and often an unfortunate by-product of going. Many short-term trip participants return home with the guilt-induced revelation, “We don’t know how good we have it here,” while the rest of us applaud their enlightened view. But I dare say, we are missing something quite profound about cross-cultural trips if we come back with the flawed notion, we are more fortunate than everyone else in the world because of what we have (or what we know, or whatever). 

I appreciate the professional I chatted with. I believe her genuine concern and generous spirit make her the effective professional that she is. I appreciate she wanted her son to learn gratitude (for I trust that is what she meant and probably would have clarified if I gave her the chance). But I don’t believe we nurture gratitude through comparison. I believe comparison nurtures something far less virtuous.

Comparison focuses on what I have and what (I perceive) you don’t have. And feeling fortunate for what I have (and what you don’t) and assuming what I have is better (and what you have is not) isn’t gratitude. It’s pride. Likewise, “We don’t know how good we have it here,” isn’t a testimony. It’s a confession. An unwitting acknowledgement that we think our stuff (our know-how, our whatever) is superior.

Here’s the thing, going on a cross-cultural trip isn’t about being the sole provider or even the better provider of material resources (or knowledge, or whatever) to the people we meet wherever we travel. It’s about, at least in part, humbly showing up with what we have to offer, truly valuing what other people have to offer, and intentionally learning from the other how we can work together for the glory of God. Gratitude playing an essential role in that whole dynamic.

I believe we can nurture gratitude wherever we go, when we pause to appreciate God’s grace wherever we find it. And let me tell you, we can find God’s grace everywhere, for God is everywhere. The next time you travel to a foreign land (or down the street, for that matter) I challenge you to ask yourself a few questions. Ask yourself if you can see the face of God in the people you pass; if you can feel the presence of God in the hands you grasp; if you can discern the voice of God in the languages you hear. Because if you can, you are fortunate indeed.

And for that, we can be truly grateful.

Our family walking near the Zócalo in Ciudad de México 2012.


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