Several years ago, the possibility of taking my family overseas to a new country became a reality. Since then, our lives have been anything but predictable. Looking back, if I had known what I know now, I would not have been filled with doubt, fear, and hesitation. Instead, I would have been filled with expectation and excitement.

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For nearly a year before our family moved overseas, my mind was constantly processing the losses my young children would soon experience.

I recently experienced culture stress. The situation: the purchase of a new refrigerator and the fact that it took two weeks for it to be delivered, which meant two weeks of storing my food at my neighbors’ house and two weeks of rearranging my schedule to be available on days the refrigerator might be delivered. This ordeal led me to think about culture shock, ...

The first day I met "Karla," she was sitting at a table in a class I was substituting. Her eyes were big and fearful of this strange American teacher who had just walked in.

The first time I walked into JinXiNanFang Hospital I was eight weeks pregnant.

This time of year I’m reminded of how life springs forth from the dry and barren ground and from trees that appear to be dead, like they will never come back to life. This reality reminds me that new life is always preparing to emerge unexpectedly from whatever loss or death I'm experiencing.

"So, why should I join IDEAS?" I love this question. In fact, I never get tired of it because it is the exact question a possible volunteer or long-term Associate should be asking. 

Why do I work? Am I having an impact? Is my work worth something? These are questions we all ask ourselves at some point in our lives. We want to know we are working towards something more than just a way to earn a living. That our work has some greater value. When I took a position in Jordan with IDEAS, I had no idea how important these questions would ...

Our thoughts and mindset determine how we view life, learning, and failure. Our minds are always observing and deciphering what's happening around us and what we need to do as a result. Sometimes we interpret life through a certain lens or particular mindset.

We asked an IDEAS Associate, who recently began working with our refugee project in Cyprus, to share how serving refugees has transformed her life.