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Bridging Cultures Podcast

Bridging Cultures Podcast

We know you care deeply about the world beyond your four walls. So do we, that’s why we created the Bridging Cultures podcast.

When you listen to this podcast. you can expect engaging interviews from community leaders and innovative entrepreneurs in economically emerging countries. You can tune in to hear these interviews and some witty banter from our awesome hosts. While most of the episodes are engaging with leaders in other countries, you can also expect some educational Q&A with special guests from Resurrection’s global staff. Join us as we dive into season 1 for inspiring stories of empowerment, sustainability and resiliency. 

Episodes are released every Wednesday.


Show Notes

SHOW NOTES – Season 6, Episode 5

Imagine being orphaned at the age of 16…a child yourself but also responsible for four younger siblings.  With no place to live and unsure of where the next meal is coming from, you have little  hope that things will ever get better.

That’s where we meet Leah when this episode begins. And she’s not alone.  More than 150 million children worldwide are orphaned, or in circumstances where they are leaders of their family.  For these kids, life revolves around survival.  They may resort to begging or stealing.  Worse, they may be exploited or abused.   

BUT…as we have seen all season, empowerment changes everything.  Hear how ZOE Empowers  helped Leah and her family overcome poverty and experience meaningful lives.  

ZOE Empowers

Through a three-year, locally-led program, orphaned youth are organized into groups of 60-100 children and receive micro grants, life skills, and vocational training to become secure, healthy, and connected community members.

To learn more about ZOE and how you can help:


Like and Subscribe

What a powerful way to end Season 6!  Be sure to like and subscribe to the Bridging Cultures Podcast so you won’t miss a single episode of our next season.

As always, thanks for listening.

With love, the Bridging Cultures Podsquad

The best way to help someone is to build their capacity.  If you give assistance with finances, their next question is always “when are we going to receive again.” I want more for my people than to live in such a way.

  • Moffat – Malwaian Chief


In ths episode, we hear from two men in Malawi – Nelson and Mofu – who came to be chiefs in different ways, but whose leadership is empowering and improving their communities in significant ways.  You’ll hear about a vision to build a secondary school, allowing children to continue their education without having to travel such a great distance.  And how solar lighting has improved the safety and quality of life for families.  Their love for their commuities is genuine.  In addition to their full-time jobs, they make sure they are available 24/7 to help those in need, give advice and resolve conflicts.

Sheree even shares an inspiring story about a beloved pink cowboy hat-wearing chief. 

Opulence, Malawi

We’ve heard about Opulence Malawi in previous seasons, and again in this episode.  They just do so many good things, it’s hard not to share.  Follow them on their Facebook page: Opulence, Malawi. Or visit


As always, thanks for listening.

With love, the Bridging Cultures Podsquad

SHOW NOTES – Season 6, Episode 3

During this season, we’ve focused on empowerment (to give someone the authority or power to do something).  In this epsiode, James and Sheree discuss the crippling effects of disempowerment (to deprive someone of power, authority or influence., or make weak, ineffectual or unimportant).  Disempowerment can take on many forms  but today we meet Silopeter, a Ugandan man who struggled with alcoholism but found empowerment and transformation after simply being invited to attend a bible study in his community. 

Photo or video of Silopeter


Uganda Counseling and Support Services

In Episode 2, we heard about the education and training UGSS provides to communities.  They also bring hope to communitiers through bible studies, church services, youth and women’s ministry and church planting.

In Case You Were Wondering

James and Sheree, we love Silopeter’s unique gift to you, but we’re dying to know…how did you get the chicken through Customs? And was she a good traveling companion back to Kansas City?  

As always, thanks for listening.

With love, the Bridging Cultures Podsquad

SHOW NOTES – Season 6, Episode 2

In this episode, you’ll meet two young women,  Teawa and Kesacha who grew up in Uganda with few opportunities and little hope for the future…until they were empowered by an organization that offered training and educaton to help them achieve their dreams.


Providing Hope in Uganda

Uganda Counseling and Support Services (UCSS) began in the region of Bulike where its 48,000 residents had nothing – no clean water, medical care, schools, electricity or sewage system. As they provided education for the children, clean water for the community and training to produce crops, the community became more and more self-sufficient and relied less on outside resources. The vision is to replicate this model one community at a time until all of Uganda is transformed.

Meet UCSS Founder, Ronald Kaluya,

As a teenager, Dr. Ronald went for burial in Bulike and came face to face with true suffering. The people there had nothing: no fresh water to drink, no medication to treat their diseases, no opportunity to send their children to school, and they did not have anything to do economically.  When they wanted water to drink, they walked miles to fetch dirty water from a pond shared with the animals. If their child was sick, they could not get medication to treat their child, even when treatment would cost less than ten dollars. Most impactful of all is they had no exposure to the love of God.

This experience would never leave his heart, and he carried it with him everywhere he went. In 2011, Dr. Ronald finished studies in America and founded a nonprofit called Uganda Counseling and Support Services whose mission is to improve lives and spread God’s love to people in remote communities by meeting spiritual, emotional, and basic physical needs.

In Case You Were Wondering

Who won the arm-wrestling match?  Did James win as Sheree predicted, or did her Italian genes take him down?  The people want to know!

As always, thanks for listening.

Love, the Bridging Cultures Podsquad

SHOW NOTES – Season 6, Episode 1

Season 6 is all about empowerment, and who better to kick things off than Hugo Ngwira, who lives and breathes empowerment in his community.  You may remember Hugo from a previous season….a remarkable man who has helped communities reach sustainable solutions for food security and clean water.  He is also the Chief Executive Officer of Opulence Malawi (check it out here:  (


The Big Idea(s)

Hugo reminds us that empowerment is never a quick fix. It requires relationship – a willingness to listen and understand an individual or community’s strengths and weaknesses, and then  build upon that. It also requires looking inward.  One needs to be happy before they can transfer happiness. They need to be a loving person before they can love others.  We must look at ourselves before we can bring change to others.

This and more.  So many words of wisdom in this episode. 

The Last Word

Believe it or not, Sheree and James actually gave Hugo the Last word! 😊 And a powerful last word it was.  “Without God we cannot change the world. We rely on the power of Christ for us to bring change to the world and empower people.” 



As always, thanks for listening.

Love, the Bridging Cultures Podsquad

We’re happy to see you here for Season 5, as we share incredible stories of angels — both  supernatural and everyday people like us.  Pastor Scott Chrostek joins us in this first episode, and although he swears it is above his pay grade, we still really appreciated hearing his thoughts on angels.  Thanks for stopping by Scott!

Our Guest:
Pastor Scott Chrostek
Scott is the Executive Pastor of Ministries and Programs at Resurrection Church, a United Methodist Church with multiple locations in Kansas City and a growing online community.  Before his current role, Scott helped launch Resurrection’s downtown location in December of 2009.  Scott is also the author of three books: Pursuit, The Misfit Mission and The Kaleidoscope Effect. 

Want to learn more about angels? 

Visit to watch Resurrection’s 2023 Advent sermon series,  Angels: God’s Messengers of Comfort and Joy. 

In 2022 – as Russia launched a full-scale invasion, the Ukrainian flag became prominent as people worldwide displayed the blue and gold colors in support of the country.  Ukraine’s official website ( shares a moving description of what the flag represents:


  • A symbol of hope, as it flutters over resilient Ukrainian cities and towns.
  • A symbol of support, as blue and yellow fill squares and news feeds around the globe.
  • A symbol of resistance, as people continue to make and protect Ukrainian flags even under the temporary occupation.
  • A symbol of sacrifice, as it covers the coffins of heroes who were killed defending the country.

Have an angel story? 

Share with us on Facebook at


In Case You Were Wondering
Sheree’s quote about visitors being equivalent to stale fish after seven days was close…sort of.  The old expression is actually “Fish and houseguests smell after three days.”  We do appreciate Sheree giving fish the benefit of four extra days though. 😏 
We are honored this season to share the immigration stories of brave individuals from __ countries who had to leave their homes under extreme circumstances in search of a more hopeful future.
Blessing, shown here with our very own Pod Squad member Sheree Reece…one of the few opportunities we’ve had to conduct an interview in person. 
In this episode we hear directly from Blessing, who fled the Congo with his mother and siblings.  Traveling 200 miles on foot to Malawi, Blessing took on more and more responsibilities as his mother’s health declined and they had to leave belongings behind that they could no longer carry. Listen to his story and prepare to be inspired! 
Where Is She Now
Blessing now lives in Kansas City while working, attending classes, volunteering with his church’s children ministry and interpreting for refugees through Jewish Vocational Services.  Whew!   
In Case You Were Wondering
Blessing mentions Chichewa  (pronounced chuh-chay-wuh) as a language he needed to learn when he arrived in Malawi.  Chichewa is widely spoken by about 9.6 million people in parts of East, Central and Southern Africa. 
Want some trivia to stump your friends?  There are three universities in the United States that offer resources for learning Chichewa:  
  • Michigan State University
  • Stanford University
  • University of Berkeley, California.  

We are honored this season to share the immigration stories of brave individuals from __ countries who had to leave their homes under extreme circumstances in search of a more hopeful future.cordion Content

In this episode we hear from Belen who migrated from Ecuador to the United States…not once, but twice.  The first time, at the age of three, she came illegally with her mother who left the rest of their family behind so she could earn income to pay off debt.  Although Belen returned to Ecuador at age 10, she migrated once again as a teenager– this time legally – in an effort to expand her education and pursue opportunities in the U.S.    Belen shares the pressure she felt to fit in with college friends, and the sacrifices she made to assimilate to a new culture.  Now, many years later she is intentional about sharing her heritage with her children. 
Where Is She Now
Belen, who now goes by Micaela, lives in Cincinnati with her husband, Drew and two children.  Drew is a worship minister and Belen owns her own digital marketing company named A Swell Space, where she helps small businesses and brands enhance their online presence.  
In Case You Were Wondering
In honor of Belen and her foodie dreams, we’re including a recipe here for one of her favorite meals, spicy seafood soup. Looks delish, right?


  • 2 pounds large shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 Knorr Caldo de Camarón bouillon cubes
  • 1 medium russet potato (peeled and diced)
  • 1 medium zucchini (diced)
  • 3 teaspoons ground pasilla chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground ancho chili pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 fresh lime (cut into wedges)




  • Prep shrimp and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a soup pot and saute the onion, carrots and garlic with the bay leaf,salt, pepper and oregano until onion softens.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, bouillon cubes, potato, zucchini, and both types of chili pepper and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • Add shrimp to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes or until opaque and cooked through.
  • Serve with lime wedges and garnished with chopped cilantro.


This is Belen

We are honored this season to share the immigration stories of brave individuals from __ countries who had to leave their homes under extreme circumstances in search of a more hopeful future.
At age 14 Fabiane and her family were living a good life in the Congo.  But a civil war was brewing, and in 2002 they left in search of a safer, more peaceful place.  Instead, what followed was a  horrifying story of murder, sexual violence and daily challenges.
Where Is She Now
Fabian has been in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp for years with her siblings and five children.  Although the camp was built in 1994 to accomodate 12,000 people, it is now home to more than 50,000. Crime is sky rocketing, mugging and killings occur frequently, and she does not feel safe.  Even basic needs like food and clothing are difficult to acquire.
Mentioned in the Episode:
Fabiane received aid from PLAN International, a development and humanitarian organization that advocates for children’s rights and equality for girls:
Organizations that help migrate and integrate refugees:
Jewish Vocational Services –
Della Lamb –
Catholic Charities –
We are honored this season to share the immigration stories of brave individuals from __ countries who had to leave their homes under extreme circumstances in search of a more hopeful future.
In this episode Leika(sp?) tells her story.  You will be entertained by her humor, amazed at her perseverance and saddened by the circumstances she encountered when she arrived in the U.S. Being from a prominent family in Columbia, her social status meant nothing here and she was actually seen as “lesser than.”  This was evident upon her arrival when she had an opportunity to attend a camp in North Carolina to learn English and work with kids.  Instead,she learned her family had paid $5000 only for her to work as a housecleaner for the camp manager.  Listen to learn how Leika not only survived but thrived! 
Where Is She Now
Spoiler Alert: Leika’s story has a great ending.  She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three children, and frequently travels to the US-Mexico border to help asylum seekers prepare for court dates. 
In Case You Were Wondering
To learn more about the Asylum Narrative Translation Project, visit and click on “Border Response” and then “Asylum Narrative Translation Project.”
We are honored this season to share the immigration stories of brave individuals from __ countries who had to leave their homes under extreme circumstances in search of a more hopeful future.   
In this episode we hear the story of Rodny, who had to leave his home country of Haiti in search of work and a safer life for his family. 
For many years, Rodny made a very good living as an interpreter for foreign teams who provided humanitarian assistance to his struggling country.  When President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in 2021, it left Haiti without a functioning government and with no answer to increasing gang violence. 
When A “Do Not Travel” alert was issued for Haiti, teams were unable to return and Rodny found himself without a job. With no other options, he took his wife and young daughter to a safer community and started to plan his  dangerous escape from Haiti.  
Where Is He Now
Rodny is safe and working as a security guard in Boston and is hoping to bring his wife and daughter to the United States as soon as they are able to secure visas.  
In Case You Were Wondering…
This is what breadfruit looks like.  It has many health benefits like controlling blood pressure, managing diabetes and bolstering immunity. How cool is that?  And hey, if it smells like fresh baked bread, count us in!

We are honored this season to share the immigration stories of brave individuals from many countries who had to leave their homes under extreme circumstances in search for a more hopeful future.   

In this episode we hear the story of Marwa, who was forced to leave her home country of Afghanistan when the Taliban invaded the capital city of Kabul in 2021 and took control of the country. She was working for NATO at the time and knew that anyone in that position — particularly a woman — would be in serious danger.  Marwa endured five long days on a bus, surrounded by chaos and gunfire, waiting to escape the city. 

Thankfully, Marwa is now living safely in the United States, working for Helping Children Worldwide {HCW), an organization that supports children in need and empowers families through education, health care, mentoring and case management. In her role, she sends mission teams, participates on the HCW podcast and is creating a documentary on vulnerable children.

To learn more about Helping Children Worldwide visit:

  • Lisa and Melissa, good friends with differing political views….we love to see it! 
  • Lisa – Wife, mother, masters student and director of software development.  Describes herself politically as “left of center.”
  • Melissa – wife, mother, grandmother (soon to be again) and leans “right of center” in her political views. 


  • Immigrant – a person who chooses to leave their country.
  • Asylum Seeker – a person whose life is at risk due to political unrest, natural disaster, etc. and are waiting to be granted access to live in another country.
  • Refugee – a person who has been granted access to live in another country but are limited on what they can do or where they can go.  They often live under poor refugee camp conditions for lengthy periods of time. 


  • There were an estimated 2 million immigration encounters at the U.S.-Mexican border in 2022…a 37% increase from 2021.
  • More than 3.5 million migrants left Afghanistan in 2022. 
  • There were 281 million international migrants in 2022. Europe and Asia accepted 87 and 86 million migrants, which means 108 million are spread across other continents.
  • The U.S holds 12% of 2022 migratory people. 

Thank you for joining us for this introduction to Bridging Cultures Season 4. We are excited to be back! 

Each season we all collaborate to brainstorm and strategize the topic, and then plan out the episodes, schedule and guests.  In this episode we thought it would be fun to get to know us a little better. Here’s what we’ve been up to since the episode was recorded.


Podcast roles:  interviewer, talking head, final listener and gap-filler

Since the recording of this episode: Sheree visited her 50th state, Alaska, with her husband. “It’s a beautiful state filled with friendly people and incredible views and wildlife.  Why is this glacier blue you ask???? Wellll… fun fact:  It’s because the ice is so densely packed that the longer wave-length colors are absorbed while blue, the shortest wavelength color, bounces back so that is what our eyes see.  How cool is that?!?”  #sciencenerd #todaysfunfact


Podcast roles: Interviewer, and doer of other duties as assigned.

Since the recording of this episode: Joyce has at the very last minute found someone to alter her wedding dress, finally ordered a cake, and booked her hotly debated honeymoon destination. Viva la Mexico! This is all in the last week or so… for her wedding on August 5th… We like to procrastinate.  Joyce happens to be getting married to the most amazing Assistant Director of Latin American Ministries – Alex McCarty (he actually just volunteers for everything). That’s what’s new.  Feel free to send me all your Mexico travel tips. 😊


Podcast roles: Producer & Co-host

Since the recording of this episode: While he hasn’t had the opportunity to camp recently, he’s been spending his free time at baseball tournaments and his favorite:   spending time outdoors with his boys. His new puppy, Ember, has added excitement to their lives. She’s a Labrador Retriever and also LOVES the outdoors. 


Podcast roles: Co-host & social media

Since the recording of this episode:  Courtney completed her first triathlon!  Friends & family cheered her on to the glorious finish.  When asked if she will she do another one, her response is “it’s too soon”.


Podcast roles:  Tech Guru, Sound Mixer, & Final Audio Editor

Missing from the episode but we promise he’s real! 


Podcast roles:  Editor, show notes creator and part-time cat herder

Since the recording of this episode:  Kathy and her husband, Gary moved into a tiny apartment while in between homes.  Now their dog Lizzie has even less space to let her crazy out!  😳 Happy to report that everyone is adjusting fine…with lots of walks.