Are you there and wondering what it looks like to work in a different culture or country? What experience one can expect? In addition, if you are a follower of Jesus, how to pray and support such kind of people? I have a short story to share about my own experience.
To begin with, I believe in Jesus Christ who has saved me and made me his own forever. I grew up in a believing family where I was taught the gospel. Now a single man, I live and work in the islands.
It is now four years since I started my journey as a Gospel worker. After completion of university studies, I joined iServe Africa, an organization in Kenya that engages young people as apprentices in organizations right across Kenya and outside with a long term goal of influencing leadership in Africa and the world by raising a generation of servant leaders and faithful carriers of God’s word who will then go on to impact the world wherever they are. I was later seconded for a cross-cultural exchange program in Uganda.
During these 2 years, my desire to work in other cultures began to grow. It was amazing learning of God’s agenda in the whole world and that he has called us to participate in the work that he is already doing. Our response is to joyfully obey him and join in what excites His heart for His own glory. Just like Dr. Livingstone, an earlier worker to Africa, I consider it a privilege to obediently follow God. So I am not ashamed to tell everyone about Him. Romans 1:16, “for I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” After prayerful considerations, I moved to the islands to serve with a tour operation firm, as I am passionate about tourism.
However, working in another country is not easy, especially for the first few years. Leaving your family, friends, and the environment that you are used to over the many years is difficult. Going to a strange country, meeting new people, culture, language, foods, religion, weather, and a different way of doing things calls for the sacrifice of self. I am grateful to God that in His goodness He has continually reminded me of His ever near presence with me.
Soaking myself in God’s word, I am encouraged by Abraham’s response to God’s call. Asked to leave his country and relatives to go to a new place with his wife, he did not hesitate and though not easy, he believed what God told Him. God promised to bless Him, make his name great in all the nations, and give him a place to live. God later fulfilled those promises since Abraham believed. God’s faithfulness to Himself should be our clarion call to obey Him.
After about nine months, I love the people of the islands. I am daily learning their local language and their way of living. They are always happy to teach me their language and culture. Being Muslim believers, they are also keen to ask if I do believe in Allah, or why I do not go to the mosque or do the five prayers. I am always candid with them that I believe in Jesus and tell them how He changed my heart. I tell my story of how I came to believe in Jesus. In addition, if they have questions I answer them with honesty and integrity (I engage in evangelism through engaging in such questions, as it is always a good way to begin the conversation).
The climate is a great challenge since in the islands it is often hot. I have had to get used to sweating all the time. Learning the local language as well takes time. Sometimes I am not motivated but I thank God for his help all through. I can now converse with people, though I still do not get many words. I hope to keep improving as time goes by.
Therefore, I am committed to working with diligence and love in whatever my hands find so that I can be a blessing to this country and the people. I desire to live among them in a manner worthy of the gospel that they will see God’s love and glorify Him. 1 Peter 2:12 “keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
Blessings to you.
In God’s vineyard,