So much has happened in the last year that it feels like a lot longer since I first stepped onto the plane that would carry me to my new home on this side of the world. Relationships have been developed, a family adopted, rudimentary language skills developed, a love of teaching discovered, and an unexpected love and compassion has grown for the people of this island, just to name a few. It has also been a year of learning, struggles, culture shock, loneliness, heartbreak, and more.
My language lessons have evolved into conversations based around children’s Bible stories I read together with my teacher, trips to the market, cooking lessons, and visits to local’s homes (Prayer Point 1).
Relationships with a couple of my friends has led to me being adopted as their sister and invited to join them in celebrating Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan (almost like the Muslim version of Christmas). I have taught my first English class and loved it so much that I can’t wait to teach another one. As trust has been built, I have been able to have more and more open conversations about Jesus and all he has done for us. Together with a team member, we have begun meeting with one of my Muslim friends to read and explore Scripture, searching for answers to her questions about Christianity and Jesus (Prayer Point 2).
In the midst of all that, I have grown to deeply love these people and our local brothers. It breaks my heart to see the persecution that is happening to the people I get the privilege of walking with. I have sobbed time and again when brothers disappear or when I spend any length of time pondering how families can do what they do to their sons or daughters (Prayer Point 3).
This has been a year of learning how to rely on God in new ways in the midst of that and the loneliness that comes with being the only single woman on the ground. I have learned culture shock is an ongoing cycle and you never quite know what might trigger it. I have realized that, though I have left Canada, life there has carried on, and when I return to visit things will be different and I’m on a journey of learning how to deal with that (Prayer Point 4).
God never promised an easy life and the more I experience life, the more I cling to His promises.
John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” On the hardest days, I remember this verse and what God has asked of me, the promises He has given me, and the fact that He walks with me. Doing life with Jesus means simply listening and obeying. It’s a lesson that I am continually learning and trying to walk out.
Thank you for walking this journey with me.
- I made it through my first year!
- I get to study the Bible with a friend and share more about Jesus
- I have an incredible team surrounding me—that includes you!
- My local family
- My language learning growth
- I love teaching English
- Continued growth in my language learning
- The woman we are reading the Bible with, her eyes would be opened to the truth
- The heartbreak that comes with being here, that my heart would remain soft and open
- The loneliness, continued culture shock, and dealing with changes back home
- The brothers, the persecution they face, and their families
- I will visit another island north of here, for 2 weeks to help out the team there
Reaching the nations together!