I'm a Jesus-follower, culture-crosser, and teacher who makes sense of experiences by writing them down. Because I've been welcomed by God into His family, my desire is to welcome others, especially those who feel they don't belong.
As a result of this and years of living among immigrants in the United States, I wrote Loving the Stranger: Welcoming Immigrants in the Name of Jesus. It's meant to be a jumpstart guide for individuals churches, and organizations who want to reach out to internationals but aren't sure how to get started. I started Loving the Stranger Blog in 2017 to continue the conversation, with the goal of "helping you build intercultural harmony one friendship at a time."
After living for years in Ethiopia as a "stranger" and being welcomed graciously and generously, I did my PhD research on how nonwestern practices of hospitality can revitalize the Western church's fellowship and outreach in the midst of the "loneliness epidemic." I currently teach Intercultural Studies courses for Columbia International University (Columbia, SC) and Evangelical Theological College (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia).
I'm married to a wonderful Ethiopian man and fellow researcher named Abeneazer Urga, and we have an eight year old son and a four year old daughter. My favorites include having long conversations with interesting people and drinking strong Ethiopian coffee, preferably at the same time.