Miriam* and her husband have taken a short term trip to a creative access area. We asked them a few questions about their experiences.
What made you serve short term?
We came here for 6 months principally to step into the space between ‘here’ and ‘there’. In the UK we live among people who come from ‘here’, who also travel regularly to see relatives ‘back home’. We are convinced that as ‘the wind of the Spirit blows through the house of Islam’, it will be blowing both ‘here’ and ‘there’. We want to be ready for that, understanding better how to relate to and serve this people group.
What is church like there?
Very recently, brothers, both local and overseas, have started meeting regularly to share the Word and to pray.
In our location, there is no church as we would recognise it. There are no buildings, no ministers, no songbooks, and no coffee rota, although we do have ‘notices’ which ensure that we are all kept up to date about security issues. It was sobering to consider over the Easter weekend, that there were probably fewer than 50 people in the whole country who knew anything at all about what we were celebrating – and that includes the workers and their children! Despite not having the outward trappings of church, between five and 15 of us have met each week to worship, to pray and to listen to sermons – sometimes from home churches and sometimes from leading names in the Christian world. Very recently, brothers, both local and overseas, have started meeting regularly to share the Word and to pray. This is an exciting development which, for a range of reasons, hadn’t seemed possible for the last few years. We are hoping that sisters will similarly be meeting before too long.
What does discipleship look like?
Following a recent gathering in a nearby country, some believers returned asking for more support and engagement with discipling. We’re excited that one of them is looking at translating a resource which is being used in a range of countries where believers from a Muslim background are coming to Christ and learning a new way of living. This will be quite an undertaking for him as he translates and then trials the materials with local brothers.
Will your experiences shape how you do ministry back home?
It’s been notable that the Bible is sought after here by people who have been impacted by workers in some way. It is read and re-read, as people explore what it is that we believe. We will be trying to answer the question: “What more could we do in the UK to get the Bible into people’s hands, despite the reservations they express?”
What’s the most important thing that you’ve learnt?
That God is working, sometimes despite our efforts, sometimes through our being alongside people, and certainly despite the forces which hold people. We return to the UK encouraged and with raised faith.
*Name changed for security reasons