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Creative access locations can be isolating and, at times, dangerous. We asked one of our missionaries who works in that context why they have chosen to serve there.
I live in a place which intermittently causes me to think about issues of security. In fact, I can’t tell you where I am, or the people I live among, as our intentional presence here is provocative to the religious authorities who rigidly oppose any turning away from Islam. Over the years I have lived here, I have gained some degree of acceptance in our local community (where we seek to speak of faith and are known to be followers of Jesus), but there remains the insecurity of knowing it could all end very suddenly and we be made to leave.
True security in Christ
Practically, we limit many of our activities, in response to historical physical threats against Westerners here. But actually, I have learnt a particular contentment about living here; the words “some trust in chariots (or rather land cruisers!) but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7) have become particularly real for me. Learning to be wise and not hampered by fear has been part of the adjustment for each of my team at some time.
Before I moved here I enjoyed great ‘security’ in my work as a surgeon. People knew what I could do, valued it, and the work itself was a source of much satisfaction. Although I delight to be able to practise surgery here and endeavour to train others, it has proven to be at times frustrating and disappointing, and this is in part due to local people having very little trust.
So the question is, why am I here? Why do I bother?
“The short answer is one of obedience to the call to go and make disciples of all nations.”
Why do we bother?
The short answer is one of obedience to the call to go and make disciples of all nations. A longer response includes a desire to see Jesus’ name exalted, and him worshipped, by my friends and colleagues, that they will know the joy of salvation.
The people here are zealous in the practice of their religion. Many hunger to follow the straight path, and yet hardly any have heard the good news. In fact, children are taught in schools to hate Christians, and their minds are filled with untruths about what we do. So, as we live here, we seek to confound those untruths by how we live, demonstrating a compassion for others that reflects the Lord’s concern for them, walking in a way that is understood culturally to be good and upright, that our words may find hearing in the hearts and minds of those who listen.
It is pretty rare that people ask us why we are here and are eager to listen. Yet we do get opportunities to speak and share truth and hope. There are a number of local believers in our city that we know of (and trust there are many more!), and we delight to be able to meet regularly in twos or threes for fellowship. Over recent weeks, in another town close by, there has been a handful of young people turn to Christ. Praise the Lord with us, and please ask for wisdom in knowing how to most helpfully disciple them, knowing that Jesus himself is building his church.