Darkness in a colourful place
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Knowing that at any moment you could be asked to leave the country you’re working in, means that mission partners have to be creative in how they share Jesus. One AIM mission partner working in North Africa shares how they seek to always have Jesus Christ on their lips.
Darkness in a colourful place
Many think of this part of the world as a dark, hard place to be… desert, camels and heat! In fact our country is colourful, bright, vibrant, warm and friendly. People here are incredibly hospitable, and it’s not unusual to be invited to someone’s home within the first week of arrival.
But to deny that there is a darkness would be false. People are blinded to the truth, bound by rituals that control their lives and culture in order to gain favour with Allah. Every day we hear the call to prayer and are reminded that they are lost – that’s why we are here!
Strangers in a strange land
People here are amazingly friendly and hospitable. They appreciate very much when we make efforts to learn their language and are eager to help us learn about their culture. But no matter how much language we learn or cultural adaptation we do, we will always be foreigners. This is not necessarily a negative thing as being a foreigner allows us freedoms for sharing about Jesus that perhaps locals wouldn’t have. We are also able to capitalise on the ‘curiosity’ factor of those who want to meet us because we are from abroad. Even this can open doors for sharing the good news. Our status however, can put others at risk. There are a handful of believers here, and some workers try and meet with them periodically to encourage them to gather together. In doing this though, workers have to be so careful, our movements are monitored and we could unwittingly highlight the presence of believers to the government. There is already a fear of informants which discourages Christians from gathering together. Often the result of that though, is a lack of fellowship and feelings of isolation. Please pray for trust and boldness for them and for us.
To be here, well, we’ve had to get creative! We use the skills and experience that the Father has given us and apply that to life here. Some workers run businesses, others are involved in charitable endeavours. Whatever you do for your ‘job’ at home, with a bit of modification you could probably do here.
Whatever role we have, we aim to be as intentional as possible – to have the name of Jesus Christ on our lips at all times. Whether it is buying bread for breakfast, meeting with a client to discuss business, dropping off children at school, or drinking tea with a friend, we want to be ready to share the truth.
It is very normal to talk to people about religion. We try to make a point very early on in our relationships with people to ensure they know we are God-fearing people. We don’t want there to be any surprises later on! So, talking about God can be quite easy – talking about Jesus however, is more difficult.
Talking about Jesus
As such, we consciously think about everyday situations and consider how we can introduce spiritual truths. For example: on a beautiful sunny day we might say: ‘Isn’t God good to have given us a beautiful day? It’s like a gift from him.’ When buying from a busy shop owner we could say: ‘I can see God is providing you with good business. Did you know that the Bible speaks of God being our provider?’ With anyone – even in a taxi: ‘I was reading in God’s Word this morning and God showed me…’ When someone shares a problem: ‘Could I pray for you right now?’
Conversations about Jesus though, are not without risk. We know that at any moment we could be asked to leave the country – with little or no opportunity to pack or say goodbye. We know that we are ‘observed’ and our activities are monitored. So we are careful with wording, who we meet with and use ‘common sense’, but at the end of the day we serve a sovereign God.