On Assignment, Watching Him Work

My childhood dream had been to work for God in the Middle East, so I could hardly believe that decades later He called me to the very country where I had once imagined serving.  But dreams don’t always match reality, and after the first wave of excitement wore off, I felt like a fish out of water.  It wasn’t just a matter of adjusting to a new culture or the reality of being alone.

It was my assignment.  I was supposed to teach English to refugees, build their trust, and develop relationships.  But after months of classes, visitation, and “doing my duty,”  I felt I hadn’t accomplished anything in particular.  I couldn’t even think of a single instance where anyone was vaguely interested in spiritual things.  I wondered if I was in the right place, doing the right thing.

Then one day, as I was ending an English lesson with a particularly difficult family, the man of the house approached me.  “I want to ask you a question, but do not be offended.”  I knew him to be a very intelligent person, not easily satisfied. I braced myself for a challenge to my teaching style, my knowledge, even my motives.  

“What do you believe?” he asked bluntly.  My mind raced to change gears, to get beyond myself.  Before I could answer, he rolled out several more questions, probing every aspect of my faith.  Two hours later, I implied our discussion had to end because I had a previous commitment.  He came to the point:  “Could I have a Bible for my home, and could we study it together?”

My heart raced at an opportunity I’d never even imagined.  God was kind to meet my longing to be useful to Him, but I realized He was more intent on meeting someone’s search for Him.  And to think He could fulfill both by putting us together! 

  –A Global Mission Pioneer