Thoughts on life by Teri McCarthy


Heroes, Transitions, and Faith

Posted by admin in April 20th, 2015 | 2 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

Whenever I write a post for this blog, I always wish that it could be brilliant. I wish I could be a brilliant writer, but I’m not. I have this deep desire to write profound thoughts as well as thought-provoking ideas. I’m that land-locked penguin that wishes she was a swan. But that doesn’t stop me from trying.

Sadly, after five years here in lovely Lithuania, Daryl and I are moving back to the USA. But leaving Lithuania is not the only big change. After nearly 20 years of working with IICS (now called Global Scholars) neither Daryl nor I will be with the organization any longer. Our departure from Lithuania inadvertently becomes our departure from IICS.

Wow. Big change. Big transition.

Here’s a piece I put together for our colleagues and friends. My words, though not eloquent nor terribly weighty, do come from the heart.

Greetings from cloudy and very cold Vilnius! Spring in Lithuania is more of a state of mind than an actual season change. I hope and pray that you are flourishing in your walks with God, your host cultures, your classrooms, and of course your families! All of you—each of you—have been a tremendous blessing in the lives of Daryl and me. We are so grateful to God for you.

After much time in prayer and a lot of waiting on God, Daryl and I have come to the conclusion that this will be our last year in our beloved Lithuania. We started in 2010 in Klaipeda, and then we moved to Vilnius in 2011. We have loved our five years here and experienced great joy and blessings during our time. We tried to walk in obedience to God. As Frank and Jo Peters have said, perhaps our call here was to clear out rocks and prepare the soil for others.

Maybe we planted a few seeds. I hope so. We did build wonderful relationships and loved our students, colleagues, and neighbors with all of our hearts. We pray for them each day. I think the Lithuanians realize how much we love them. One of my students told us recently, “You came here to deliver a message and you did it well. We heard the message.” He didn’t make a decision for Christ, but we trust God in all of these matters.

Of course our leaving Lithuania also means our leaving IICS (Global Scholars). I started working in the IICS office in 1996. Back then the office staff was Daryl, a part-time accountant, Ralph Stewart, and occasionally Bill Bontrager would pop in to volunteer, and me. We saw a lot of miracles in those days because God always shows Himself mighty when we are at our weakest.

Daryl and I have been witnesses to many amazing things over these past 20 plus years. But to my mind, the IICS professors are the greatest miracles of all. Each and every individual is an answer to our prayers. Without a doubt IICS/Global Scholars wouldn’t exist today if it wasn’t for all the men and women who said yes to the call of the unknown and unpredictable. We love and admire these brothers and sisters in Christ so very much. They truly live out what Dan Harrison wrote so many years ago,

“Every generation stands at the burning bush…and faces the option of saying yes to Yahweh. You don’t have to say no—you can just do nothing, and that will be your answer. Detachment, apathy and selfish pursuit of comfort are all a clear response. But you have the opportunity of going against this cultural pull; the privilege of entering the most challenging, difficult, painful, rewarding, and joyful station life offers; the option of pursuing…the call of God on your heart” (Romancing the Globe—The Call of the Wild on Generation X).

I thank God for selfless men and women who said yes to this call. It has been an honor to serve with them.

Daryl’s heart and my heart are filled with gratitude as we reflect on all the great adventures we have experienced over the past 20 years. We’ve seen some incredible miracles: last-minute funding coming in for a professor (Richard Smith), job openings NONE of us expected (Jennifer and Jason Lewis), favor with men and women in authority beyond our wildest expectations (Roger Ford, Frank Peters). We watched in utter humility as men and women were willing to leave families, comforts, homes, job security, and lifestyles in order to go anywhere God led them and all for the right reasons.

Men and women like Paul and Pauline Gibson, Brian and Angela Coffey, The Romanowskis, Layne Turner, The Allisons, Tom and Leslie Johnson with their three kids in scary Belarus and dozens of others who were willing to go where no one else wanted to and to pioneer new territory. I think about our own Steve and Rebecca Garrett here in Lithuania whose belongings sat in customs for three months—no furniture, no clothes, no books, and yet not one complaint as they sat in their empty apartment waiting for their things. What a privilege God has given us to have a front-row seat in the lives of these heroes of the faith.

My greatest reward has been watching the beauty of God in the lives of these very talented, very well-educated, and extremely good people. I am grateful. We were honored to live out, alongside these brave men and women, 1 Corinthians 2:9, “’What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ — the things God has prepared for those who love Him.” We watched as God revealed those things He had prepared and it was wondrous! We rejoice in every life and in every family member of those IICS professors who made history. What a privilege indeed!

So, wondering what’s next for these two old birds? We are too. Daryl has taken a wonderful position with Forum of Christian Leaders. He is in charge of the Christian Academic Leaders Network here in Europe. He is so well-suited for this job. Young academic leaders desiring to follow Christ in their discipline are eager to learn from an older and wiser mentor. It is amazing to see Daryl with such new energy and vigor. He’s traveling all over meeting with young leaders in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and England. He is truly in his element. We rejoice in God’s provision.

For me? Well I have applied to a few jobs at universities in our area. I can always teach English. The University of Kansas has a language school that regularly needs teachers. I’m at peace and believe God will open the door He wants me to walk through. But we would really appreciate your prayers as we transition back to America.

It will be hard to say good bye to everyone here in Lithuania. My duties at the university go through June 30. Daryl has a conference in Cambridge, July 7-14. After packing up five years’ worth of stuff and clearing out our apartment, we will return to the States on July 17.

Whew. It feels so final to have it in writing. There are a lot of things in this world we cannot control—circumstances, governments, people. But there is one good answer to anxiety, fear, and frustration—surrender–complete and total surrender to God. I can’t control this world, but I can give up total control of my life to a Heavenly Father and know that in His capable hands I’ll be just fine. Peace.

Am I a Pharisee?

Posted by admin in March 1st, 2015 | 4 comments 
Published in freedom, obedience

Recently I received an email from a sister in Christ calling me a Pharisee. Hmmm…a Pharisee? The dictionary gives two definitions of Pharisee: 1) A Pharisee was a member of an ancient Jewish sect that emphasized strict interpretation and observance of the Mosaic law in both its oral and written form; 2) A hypocritically self-righteous person. I think my sister was probably referring to the second definition. And maybe she’s right. However, it is that first definition that I was really aiming for – in a New Testament kind of way. I think anyone who knows me, knows that I live in a black and white world. I am devoted to absolutes: right/wrong, good/evil, yes/no. I am teaching a semantics class this semester and I repeat again and again, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” Yup. Pretty black and white.

Sadly our world is often lived in the gray areas. Gray. Dismal. Unclear. And if you try to draw clear distinctions, as I am prone to do, then there is the question of being judgmental. Are we as followers of Christ ever directed by Scripture to be judgmental? And what is Christ referring to when He […] Continue Reading…

Walking About On My Own

Posted by admin in May 11th, 2013 | 5 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

I hate being a hateful person who hates people. A good friend of mine wrote to me today, “You know one of the reasons I want to be in heaven is I want to see what it feels like to have no sin in my life—I am not sure how we get rid of the hate and frustration…and I am sure my sin clouds my view of things. So I would love to know what it feels like to have no sin.”

It was the first time I’d ever thought of Heaven in those terms—as being sin-free living. To me Heaven always has meant seeing Jesus (yay), being healed of all of our diseases, getting along well with others, and being able to live in peace. But being completely free of sin hadn’t really entered my mind; not like that. I read my friend’s words and just started to weep. Yes. I want to be free from sin. I know I’m forgiven each time I ask God to cleanse me of my sin. And I know the Holy Spirit works in me to convict me of sin and help me to overcome it, but I can honestly say […] Continue Reading…

A Postcard from the Ledge

Posted by admin in December 4th, 2012 | 9 comments 
Published in faith, Lithuania, obedience

I love being in Lithuania. Especially on days like today when the sun is shining and there is fresh snow on the ground. A delicious 21 degrees Fahrenheit is for me a perfect temperature. But not all days are like this…some days it’s a struggle. Not because of Lithuania, but because of homesickness, missing family and friends. I often wonder what am I missing in the lives and events of those I love back home in America?

Obedience means different things to different people. For some it is raising a family; for others it is starting a small business or keeping financial records at an organization that provides humanitarian aid. For Daryl and me it has meant to travel 5,057 miles away from home to live as strangers in a foreign land. We are deaf—we have no idea what is being said around us. If someone was to call out, “FIRE”, we’d have no idea what was going on. We are illiterate: as academics it is a difficult struggle to not be able to read or write; not to comprehend something as simple as a label on a jar. We are mute: we can’t answer when people speak to […] Continue Reading…

Patches of Godlight

Posted by admin in October 1st, 2012 | 5 comments 
Published in faith, Lithuania, obedience

In our apartment building here in Vilnius we are required to clean the common areas/entry areas of our building every third month. There’s a list on the door as you leave the building reminding all the tenants which month is their month to clean. Welcome to the cooperative neighborhood of a former Soviet State. September was our month.

It’s not that I mind this duty so much, it’s more of a hassle than anything else. Daryl and I do clean the area together, sweeping, dusting and mopping. We also shake the welcome mats and clean off the sidewalk leading up to the building. But to be perfectly honest, it’s not my favorite thing to do. Once I just half-heartedly swept and didn’t even mop! There are times when it is our turn that we take a paper towel and spot clean. Not really the right way to do this job. Argh! (Not the pirate argh, more like the ugh argh).

But recently Colossians 3:23 kept rolling around in my head, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Not just when you get paid? Not just when people are watching? Not […] Continue Reading…

Who Remembers Second Place?

Posted by admin in May 23rd, 2012 | 9 comments 
Published in Lithuania

Okay, I gotta start out telling you how all this came about. I wanted to read the Book of Acts this year and remind myself of the life and times of the early Church. This has to be at least my 20th reading of this book, but for the first time EVER something hit me. Let’s look at these verses then I’ll explain.

Acts 1:21-26: “‘Judas must now be replaced. The replacement must come from the company of men who stayed together with us from the time Jesus was baptized by John up to the day of his ascension, designated along with us as a witness to his resurrection.’”

(Insert: So we’re talking about 120 people. And out of that band of Jesus’s followers they selected two…)

“They nominated two: Joseph Barsabbas, nicknamed Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed, ‘You, O God, know every one of us inside and out. Make plain which of these two men you choose to take the place in this ministry and leadership that Judas threw away in order to go his own way.’ They then drew straws. Matthias won and was counted in with the eleven apostles.”

For me, this story illustrates perfectly how guys […] Continue Reading…


Posted by admin in November 21st, 2011 | 5 comments 
Published in Waiting

I spend a lot of time waiting these days. Waiting for the bus. Waiting for FedEx. Waiting for OTR carpools. Waiting for water delivery. Waiting for laundry to dry. Waiting for translation. Waiting for Daryl. Waiting in line for groceries. Waiting.

Funny thing about waiting in a foreign land–it’s not like waiting for a checkup in the doctor’s office back home or teeth cleaning at my dentist’s. For those things I usually take a book, a favorite magazine and a nice cup of coffee and actually enjoy the wait. Waiting in that way is different. No real worries like, “Did I misunderstand my appointment?” “Am I sure I’m waiting in the right place?” “What’s holding things up?” “What am I missing here?”

Waiting in a foreign land is more difficult than in one’s native country. Why? Well there are two main reasons: one, if you don’t speak the language you are a deaf, illiterate mute. Secondly, you can never rest while waiting in a foreign land because you are constantly looking for cues, clues, watching others, ‘on alert’ in case an announcement is made and the crowd moves. In a foreign land you are always defining, redefining, interpreting and most […] Continue Reading…

I’m Simply Not Good Enough

Posted by admin in August 10th, 2011 | 8 comments 
Published in Lithuania, missions, obedience, teaching

We are one week from leaving for Lithuania and we still don’t have a place to live. But I keep humming the Christmas carol, “No crib for a bed…” Even the Son of God on His advent to earth didn’t have a place to live. That strikes me as so strange. It wasn’t like God didn’t know He was sending Jesus to earth during a census. That’s so odd to me. Is there a lesson in that? Probably.

I’m still struggling with certain aspects of leaving the U.S. We kept our grandsons for several days last week and I found myself crying at every funny phrase, every hysterical expression, every tender moment. How can we leave such precious ones behind? Will they forget us?

I found myself saying a bad word on Monday when I dropped something on the floor. What a mouth I have! And yet I want to use this same mouth to proclaim the Good News of Jesus to the lost. I’m such a weirdo.

We’re trying to get packed and I am fretting over what to take, what not to take, what we’ll need, what we don’t know we’ll need and over and over in my head […] Continue Reading…

Heading Back to Lithuania

Posted by admin in June 5th, 2011 | 3 comments 
Published in Blessings, Lithuania, prayer

Sorry guys. I think I promised not to use my blog for newsletters and self-promotion! Ugh. But again, I’m up against a timeline and so wanted to let everyone know how God has answered prayers and opened doors. Please forgive the format.

Abraham heard from God at Ur. God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. Paul had that Damascus Road experience. And Teri McCarthy? Well I heard God as I was coming out of the ladies’ room at Vilnius Pedagogical University. (Of course you did!) It was May 12, 2009. Daryl and I had just met with university officials working to place IICS professors in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania.

After our meeting, I went to the ladies’ room. When I came out, the bell rang dismissing classes. Suddenly I was caught in the helter-skelter of students running to and for; from one class to the next. As I stood there everything went kind of slow motion. I started hearing students’ voices clearly and distinctly. My heart started racing. I stood there for what seemed like minutes, but was actually just seconds. But something happened to me in those brief moments in that crowed hallway and I […] Continue Reading…

Am I Free or Just Loose?

Posted by admin in March 3rd, 2011 | 3 comments 
Published in freedom, obedience

Annie Dillard makes a very interesting distinction between freedom and just being loose in her book An American Childhood. Daryl is reading this book to me as part of our evening ritual. Dillard’s phrase, (used to describe her father that quit his job to travel the river), keeps rolling around in my head, “He wasn’t free so much as loose.”

So I have to ask, what’s the difference between free and loose? I think it’s a very important question. It makes me think of the Chinese legend about the Jealous Empress and the Favored Concubine.

The Empress hated the Concubine because she was the Emperor’s favorite. The Concubine was always happy and singing and she was a beautiful dancer. Every night the Emperor would ask the Concubine to dance and sing for him. She was doted on by all of the Palace because she was pleasant and kind and happy and beautiful. The Empress was beautiful too, and of excellent royal breeding, but people didn’t dote on her. So in a fit of jealousy and anger she had the Concubine kidnapped and hidden away in a prison-like fortress many days’ journey from the Capital. On occasion the Empress would […] Continue Reading…

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  • Heroes, Transitions, and Faith
  • Whenever I write a post for this blog, I always wish that it could be brilliant. I wish I could...
  • Am I a Pharisee?
  • Recently I received an email from a sister in Christ calling me a Pharisee. Hmmm...a Pharisee? The dictionary gives two...
  • Walking About On My Own
  • I hate being a hateful person who hates people. A good friend of mine wrote to me today, “You know...
  • A Postcard from the Ledge
  • I love being in Lithuania. Especially on days like today when the sun is shining and there is fresh snow...
  • Patches of Godlight
  • In our apartment building here in Vilnius we are required to clean the common areas/entry areas of our building every...

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