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Season finale

Saying farewell to summer flowering, looking to fruitful dormancy


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In previous years I’ve written an annual column about my garden and what it’s teaching me about life in the great wide world. Here in late autumn we see visible decline that began at summer’s peak. The sun reaches maximum height with June’s solstice and the next instant, well before July 4th, the days begin to shorten. I may be just warming to long summer days, but in my garden the plants know. Outwardly in full flower, they in their wood and leafy fibers move imperceptibly toward dormancy. They remind us that seasons—for us all—do end.

And so it is for me at WORLD. I have had an extended season of fruit and flower, writing for the magazine in its earliest days, contributing in various ways into motherhood, and continuing long after my children grew up, headed to college, and embarked on their own adult lives. From a mother of one in the womb when WORLD began to four children, I am now a grandmother of three.

Few get to claim such longevity, especially when it comes in a turbulent profession wracked with upheaval from technology, politics, and wars. I began writing for WORLD on a DOS system, my story drafts sent by fax or landline modem.

I see a richly tapestried world of beauty and of need beyond U.S. shores. There the gospel is having its way.

Events of recent days and even the past year and a half began to reveal my time at WORLD coming to an end. In the pandemic’s early days, I felt the light waning, that my inability to carry out planned travel to places like Syria and Sudan was prompting me to examine my stems and leaves, to think about closing one chapter to begin another.

What a fraught year of examination it has been. For those who have read my work, it’s no surprise that my framework is at times at odds with conservatism and liberalism, with the strife and stridency that’s befallen American evangelicalism, and with some directions World News Group is charting.

I have my own stridency for sure, and my own blind spots. But I also see a richly tapestried world of beauty and of need beyond U.S. shores. There the gospel is having its way in beleaguered hearts, and Christianity is on the rise—in the way it uniquely does rise, not as a conquering battle-master but as a suffering servant, reviving the faint and giving hope to the weary.

To report on that work in our recent 9/11 anniversary issue, to see the church testifying to it in Beirut following last year’s massive port explosion, and to cover rescues of Afghans from the Taliban—these all have been my privilege in a difficult season where friendships and comfortable rhythms fray in pandemic America.

I am completing projects already underway for WORLD and beginning what I hope will be a fruitful dormancy. Those of you who read Globe Trot may find it in your inbox again when it relaunches on Substack. And you can connect with me via my author website (mindybelz.com) or via social media. I hope again to step into the world’s fray—but in new ways that may include another book, a fresh lens on world events, and an occasional look at what I’m learning domestically and from the garden.

Standing at the precipice of danger time and again has come with able support from WORLD editors over the years. I am grateful to my brother-in-law Joel Belz for taking a chance on a cub writer in those early days, to Marvin Olasky for sharpening, and to Michael Reneau in these latter days. I cannot say enough about my reporter colleagues, the ablest compatriots. Jamie Dean epitomizes their courage, integrity, and steadiness. For 17 years since she joined our staff with me as her editor, she’s been a rock when other things gave way. When a bomb went off nearby, she was the person I wanted on the phone while fishing glass shards from my pocket.

The fuel to carry on through these decades isn’t found in viewpoint journalism left or right. It’s found in promises of hope beyond our circumstances. In the words sung by the Porter’s Gate: “Every weapon made for war / Every gun and every sword / Will be melted in the flame / To be used for gardening.”


Mindy Belz

Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine’s first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afghanistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run From ISIS With Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C.

@MindyBelz

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Steve S

Thank you for the great street-level reporting over the years! will be looking forward to following globetrot on substack.

STIVUMOYO

In 1973 my paternal grandmother gave me a subscription to National Geographic Magazine. I continued the subscription for many decades, and in the process I learned from excellent writers how to construct a worthy sentence. I'm grateful for that, even with the skewed worldview that most of the writers had.
Now I have read World for years and years ... and I see that all of you, in a LIFE-giving way, have influenced me much more than the other magazine did. I just told my wife that the skill of those writers pales in comparison to your writers' skill.
Thank you all for wonderfully influencing us all for the KINGDOM.
Steve Hart
Billings, Montana

tbarnhart

Will miss you! Blessings on your new adventures.

Ken Lockridge

As we veterans are fond of hearing, "Thank you for your service!" I have enjoyed your articles for many years. Blessings!

nolo

Our family has been reading World since about 1992 I believe. Ove the years, you have widened our scope through valuable insight that has challenged and changed our perspectives and given us much to consider. Though we don't know you personally, your work has been a mainstay in our lives. We will miss your writing very much. Praying God's blessings upon your next season of life.

Salty1

We are sad to see you go and we are thankful for your work over the years. I pulled out an old World issue dated June 3, 1989 (Volume 4, number 8) and you reported on education’s grim report card. Sad to say but compared to today that report card looks refreshing compared to the garbage we see today.

I guess I always wanted to see some real gains in the cultural war rather than the slow sliding brake as our wagon gains momentum running down the hill of self annihilation which we see has happened or is happening. I greave for the youth confronted with such a mess and confused by it all.

What went wrong and did we truly fight hard enough against the forces that have led us here today? I guess my conclusion is we didn’t fight hard enough against the evil and that has led us here. But you and I may disagree on this and how to fight the cultural war, or exactly what we should be fighting. I pray you would think about this and the way forward. Forgive me for in my zeal sometimes I have lacked love and been hard on you and others.

As I look ahead at what the church in America is facing, it doesn’t look good, so I wonder if we are in those last last days when all evil breaks loose. Or will there be another awakening and revival bringing a worldwide revival inspired by the Holy Spirit working through His people. No matter what it is, we need to press on faithfully working to bring the Gospel and to change culture where we can. Blessings to you and your family and may your future endeavors continue to shine light!

SYMPHBOOKGIRL

Dear Mindy,
Thank you for faithfully providing eyewitness accounts in your travels, both yours and those of the families/individuals you've come to know and love.
Thank you for showing your heart in your travels, demonstrating I Thessalonians 2:8 in sharing stories around the globe.
It will be odd, no longer finding your column in World, but I bookmarked your new website and look forward to more stories of God's planting, cultivating, and fruit bearing in this next season of life. I'm excited for you in your new venture.
Soli Deo Gloria

BURNINGHEART

Thank You!!!! As you continue on your journey you will become more and more aware of the Church In Name Only (CINO). Please remember that where two or three come together in His Name we walk together in love in the presence and power of the Holy Spirt. May your journey be blessed as you are led along paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Grace, Peace, and Mercy be with you and your family. - Ron

WRA

You will be greatly missed but we are looking forward to staying connected.

Wallace Anderson, Ridge Haven

Momof6plus3

We will miss your reporting! Thank you for the hard truths and the encouragement to pray. We have lived in Europe for many years, and appreciate that you didn't write from the perspective of your comfy office in the US, but from the places you were reporting about, after spending time getting to know the people.
Your love for Jesus and for people of all nationalities and backgrounds shines through. I hope to be able to continue to learn from you.

HaichanMomof6plus3

I agree, Mindy's global perspective and desire to truly dig deep into cultures is something I greatly admire h appreciated as global nomad myself.

Russell in Japan

As a subscriber since the early days, I want to thank you for a sterling example of excellence in Christian journalism. You have demonstrated courage in traveling to the hard places, compassion in highlighting the needs of the suffering, and consistency in writing with integrity while upholding a Christian worldview. I will miss your voice in World, but I look forward to reading your work elsewhere. May the Lord bless this new season!

Man of Action

Thanks Mindy to a job well done and I hope your next season gives you joy and purpose.

TMCG3881

You have broadened my knowledge of the world, Mindy, and I appreciate that you have not reported from a political viewpoint but from street-level, eye-witness truth. “The fuel to carry on through these decades isn’t found in viewpoint journalism left or right. It’s found in promises of hope beyond our circumstances.” I agree with you and pray for a season of renewal and for God to continue using you to show others what He is doing. I shall miss your articles.

B Hoshiko

Mindy, I always enjoy and gain understanding through your articles. I am very sorry to see you leave WORLD. You have contributed to the excellence of its live coverage and editorial precision. But I know for sure that the Lord God is leading you to where He will use you for His purposes, so I ask His blessings on you and your family.

D & C Morton

We will miss your writing, Mindy, thanks for your service!
I haven't been able to pinpoint it but sensed a different tone, bias and style coming through over the last year. This is very concerning as I agree with the previous comment that I appreciated the way World writers like Mindy provided multiple perspectives along with solid Biblical insights for thought and family discussion. I hope World figures this out.

Mas Futbol

Godspeed Mindy Belz. The changes I have discerned are the frequent interviews with the Heritage Foundation and AEI folks on the podcast. I have great admiration for your courageous reporting and Janie Dean's as well. I look forward to reading more.

hankoreo

I’ve been a World Subscriber on and off for 10+ years. I hate to see this but things change. I haven’t noticed a direction change at WNG but I’m usually the last to pick up on those kinds of things! Mindy, I’ve always enjoyed your writing and I hope you’ll land somewhere else so I can continue to enjoy it.

TEAME

I read this with great sorrow but little surprise. The direction change at WORLD News Group has been revealing itself to this reader slowly, and now abruptly. I miss reporting that calls the reader to think rather than declaring what we should think. Thank you for all your contributions to my family's life for many years. Well done. Graciously ended.