Monday, November 7, 2011

New book of biblical reflections provides support and encouragement to expatriates

By Michael Ireland
Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

CARROLLTON, GA (ANS) -- More than five million Americans live abroad, not counting military soldiers serving around the world. Added to those are five and a half million British citizens who live overseas, or around ten percent of the British population.

Cover artwork for Singing the Lord’s Songs in a Foreign Land, Biblical Reflections for Expatriates.
One million Australians, almost three million Canadians and an estimated seven million Chinese live outside of their own countries, plus others from every nation on earth.

These often adventuresome people are commonly known as expatriates or ‘expats’ for short. They live in teeming cities and small mountain towns. Others live in jungle communities or along the beach. And they are found in every country of the world.

The most common expats are diplomats, business people, oil workers, educators and students, missionaries, relief workers, employees of NGOs, Peace Corps volunteers or those who serve as maids, nannies, tutors or laborers. To those can be added millions of refugees fleeing violence or poverty and others dislocated by war or natural disaster.

“No matter where they are from each expat has experiences of unparalleled joy and excitement, new adventures, fascinating cultural differences, wonderful food and supportive new friends from around the world,” says missionary journalist Ken McHarg.

“Each also faces the challenges of living in another culture, learning a sometimes difficult language, feeling home sick, experiencing grief at the loss of what is familiar while asking God why He seems to have taken them so far away and why life is so difficult,” he said.

“Having served as the pastor or interim pastor of seven English-language international churches in five countries, I have seen expats who thrive in a foreign environment and others who have struggled with culture shock and other similar issues,” he said.

“The Bible speaks to these and other emotions. The Israelites lived in exile and felt deeply the pain and hurt of being in unfamiliar territory. Yet they found confidence in the Lord who, they discovered, was with them in the foreign land just as much as He was with them back home. Their perspective away from home was different, but God remained the same.”

McHarg says Psalm 137:4: “How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” expresses that lament of so many who have left their home country. Yet, the psalmist also affirms: “If I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139: 9-10).

Now McHarg has written a new book to provide encouragement and support to those who live overseas. It has been released in print and electronic versions.

Singing the Lord’s Songs in a Foreign Land, Biblical Reflections for Expatriates, written by MacHarg, a pastor who has served seven international English-language congregations in five countries, provides inspiration and insight for those who know both the excitement and struggles of living in another culture far from home.

“In this book of reflections, the reader finds biblical insight into those feelings and questions that they have while living overseas,” says McHarg. “They were written to be read on an extended but regular basis such as one a day or a week.”

The book’s topics include adjusting to a new culture, dealing with loneliness, cynicism, keeping pure in a tempting situation, preserving in the face of challenges and remaining faithful to the Lord in a foreign setting.

MacHarg has served as either the pastor or interim pastor of the Margarita Union Church and Gatun Union Church in Panama, First (International) Baptist Church and English Fellowship Church in Quito, Ecuador, Escazú Christian Fellowship in San José, Costa Rica, International Christian Fellowship in San Pedro Sula, Honduras and International Church of Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. In addition he and his wife were missionaries with HCJB Global in Ecuador and the Latin America Mission in Costa Rica and Miami, Florida.

Rev. McHarg has written seven previous books. Rev. He and his wife live in Carrollton, Georgia, when they are not serving a church out of the country.

In Singing The Lord’s Songs in a Foreign Land, Biblical Reflections for Expatriates those living abroad will find biblical reflections offering insight into those struggles and encouragement while living in a foreign land.

“I trust that you will find this book helpful or an appropriate gift for expatriates that you know. Don’t forget international students and others in your own community,” he said.

“Please consider giving this book as a Christmas gift for those expats you know. If you feel it to be appropriate, please forward this message to others who might be interested in this book such those mentioned above.”

The book may be ordered for $8.95from  . It is also available for $4.95 for electronic readers from Kindle, Nook and Kobo and via apps for other formats such as iPad.

For more information and a sample chapter see:  or write
Singing the Lord’s Songs in a Foreign Land, Biblical Reflections for Expatriates
By Kenneth D. MacHarg
Global Village Press
144 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1466475649
ISBN-10: 1466475641

You may contact Ken MacHarg:
On Skype: kenneth.d.macharg
By e-mail: 
On the Internet:

** Michael Ireland is Senior Correspondent for ANS. He is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London (United Kingdom) newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB UK, a British Christian radio station. While in the UK, Michael traveled to Canada and the United States, Albania,Yugoslavia, Holland, Germany,and Czechoslovakia. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China,and Russia. Michael's volunteer involvement with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department -- 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' (MIMM) -- of A.C.T. International of P.O.Box 1649, Brentwood, TN 37024-1649, at: Artists in Christian Testimony (A.C.T.) International where you can make a donation online under 'Donate' tab, then look for 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' under 'Donation Category' to support his stated mission of 'Truth Through Christian Journalism.' Michael is a member in good standing of the National Writers Union, Society of Professional Journalists, Religion Newswriters Association, Evangelical Press Association and International Press Association. If you have a news or feature story idea for Michael, please contact him at: ANS Senior Reporter

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