I spent many hours in community exploring the richness of God’s salvation, and his work in his people spurred my desire for others to share our joy in Christ. So, after graduation, I became a Church Missionary Society (CMS) missionary in North Africa. I’ve been here for the last three and a half years, working as a teacher and living alongside my Muslim neighbours, sharing about Jesus whenever I can.
In many ways I’m still a newbie, still coming to grips with Arabic and with ministry here. I’m very thankful for my college training which equipped me well, in ways I’m only beginning to grasp.
Here are a few snapshots to give you an idea of how College prepared me for my life as a missionary.
At work last year, we ran weekly literacy classes for five older women. They’ve spent their lives looking after families and haven’t learned to read or write in their own language. The highlight was always the morning tea after class. As we ate sweets and drank tea, the women shared about a huge range of topics—everything from funny stories of grandchildren’s antics, to struggles with widowhood and shame. We laughed and mourned alongside them, and I drew upon my College training in pastoral care, Christian ethics, and the breadth of the Bible to share Bible stories that spoke into their situations.
Churches in North Africa (praise God there are small local churches) meet in homes, and usually face harassment, and sometimes harsh persecution, from authorities and neighbours. Chatting with the few local Christian sisters I know, I can be overwhelmed by their situations and the sometimes poor decisions made by missionaries and locals alike. My ideas of church are challenged, and the disorder of leadership, finances, and teaching can do my head in. However, reflecting on ecclesiology and church history subjects, I’m encouraged to remember that God has always graciously worked through messy humans to bring about his good purposes. Just as he does that in Sydney, he’s doing it in North Africa. I will add that the benefits of Church history have somewhat surprised me—it was not my best subject at College!
I’m part of a mission team with people from all over the world. There’s an inherent beauty as we reflect something of Revelation 7, however there are also great challenges as we interact with each other’s different experiences and expectations. Sometimes I feel at sea amid lots of unfamiliar ideas and practices of Christianity, but I’m thankful that because of College I’m very clear on the main things, and have been equipped to be discerning as new ideas come up.
Missionary life throws you into the unfamiliar, but Moore taught me to fix my eyes on our amazing God, and to trust in his plans and purposes. In missionary training, there’s nothing more important.