Since we’ve been given the biblical mandate that we all belong to each other {Romans 12:5, NLT}, this fall at (in)courage we wanted to spend some deliberate time together unpacking what that means.

To focus on what it means to love my neighbor as myself.

To open our hearts for dialogue about what it might look like to walk around in someone else’s shoes.

So we’re hosting a conversation there every Wednesday for the next few weeks about what it looks like to do life in a way that reflects the timely truth that we actually are better together. Won’t you join us as we invite writers from our community to share what doing life Better Together has looked like in real time for them?

And then consider what living life — like we are better together — might look like for you too.

09092015_Lisa-Jo Baker_South Africa

My friend Crystal Paine had never traveled further abroad than the Dominican Republic when she took an 18-hour plane ride with me to South Africa.

She was coming to see first hand the community center, water point, and vegetable garden our blog readers had built together through our partnership with Help One Now in South Africa.

It was hot and often uncomfortable. There were plenty of awkward moments. Because anytime you open your door to your neighbor, whether they live across the street or across the globe, it can get bumpy.

I asked Crystal if she’d share some of those moments with you all — a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to walk around in someone else’s shoes and someone else’s story that is so totally different than your own.

Because sometimes that’s the best way to discover what we have in common.

09092015_LIsa-Jo Baker_Crystal Paine in South Africa

From Crystal (also known as Money Saving Mom):

I am the girl who is afraid of meeting new people. The girl who doesn’t like to go outside her comfort zone. The girl who doesn’t like unknowns. The girl who had never been on an airplane for longer than 5 hours.

But I had this deep down peace in my heart that this was the next step in my journey. That I wasn’t just supposed to send money or encouragement from far away. That I was supposed to step outside my comfort zone and GO.

To meet the local leaders and hear from them personally. To see the needs with my own eyes.

To experience what life is like in South Africa. To better understand the struggles of this community. To bring encouragement and hope to those who are working tirelessly to make an impact.

Stepping outside your comfort zone and taking risks isn’t usually glamorous business. I think we sometimes idealize what risk-taking will be like.

We picture wild adventures. Thrilling exploits. Amazing feats. While that is often some of what happens, there’s usually a whole lot of awkward and hard work in between.

In fact, in between all the wonderful things on our South Africa trip, there was also a fair share of sweat, dirt, vomit, and tears involved. I’m learning that’s part of the whole stepping-outside-your-comfort-zone gig.


Keep reading more of Crystal’s behind-the-scenes take on her trip to South Africa with me over here.

And download the free printable: A Prayer of Our Deepest Thanks over here.