Editor’s note: David and Rebecca, regular readers of Go. Serve. Love and self-proclaimed ordinary people, recently contacted us with some crazy-cool news. Together-ready, waiting for God’s direction–they recently became global workers in North Africa, one of the least-reached regions of the world.
And all in a span of about six weeks.
They asked if they could tell you his story, told here in David’s voice. Bring it on, David.
My wife is a preschool teacher working on a counseling degree, and I am an MBA student with some freelance work.
We have not:
- Been to seminary
- Raised support
- Completed any formal “missions” training
- Been formally approved by a “sending agency” (Organizations are great! But not a requirement.)
We have no delusions of grandeur, no formal “ministry plan.”
No burning bush has been seen. We have heard no booming voice.
We are not “professional” religious workers. We’re ordinary people, folks.
What happened to some ordinary people.
My work was already mostly remote/virtual. And in July, both of our academic programs moved online.
In light of the shift, my wife and I wanted to earnestly consider if there was somewhere else in the world where we should go.
We were able to connect with several teams around the world, including a team that runs a financially sustainable English-teaching preschool in North Africa.
not an option.
Jesus ends each of the gospels (and begins Acts) with a command to go into all the world and to make disciples.
Still, somewhere in the range of 40-60% of the people in the world have virtually zero opportunity to learn about Jesus. There are no churches, very few Christians, very limited resources. These areas are called “unreached people groups” because they have essentially zero access to any true knowledge of Jesus.
These billions of people are born, live their lives without the hope of Jesus, and die without having the chance to even hear that Jesus made a way for them to be restored to a right relationship with God for eternity.
One of the beauties of the American life? In many towns, you can drive down “church row” and walk into any one of dozens of churches. We have easy access to learn about God.
This is simply not the reality in much of the world.
It has been a journey for my wife and I to arrive at this point. And not everyone will agree with us. But to the two us, the command is so clear.
The default should be to go; that is the command. Instead of anguishing over a “call to go,” we decided instead to consider if we had been clearly, specifically called to stay.
My wife likes to describe it this way: We never question if we should be faithful to a spouse. Nobody ever says “Meh, I’m just not really sure if the Lord has called me to that.” It’s a really clear command!
And yet we seem to pick and choose commands we want to take seriously.
Do we neglect “here”? Of course not.
But if Jesus called all of us ordinary people to go to all the nations, and if 2000 years later, 40-60% of those nations have virtually zero access to learn about Jesus, could we have missed something?
This is not prescriptive. But along with you, my wife and I dream of a world where more people at least realize this is possible.
Man, that was fast.
My wife and I learned in July that all of our school would be online. All of my work is already online.
Our initial response: disappointment. But with the Holy Spirit’s influence, we quickly shifted to “Ok, we can do this anywhere in the world.”
We began to prayerfully explore what opportunities were available.
Six weeks later to the day, our feet touched the sand in North Africa.
the whole world (and covid) in his hands.
COVID-19 has made international travel difficult for Americans. A lot of organizations have brought people back to the U.S. and are limiting travel.
While totally understanding the need for wisdom and risk management, we believe God is establishing the places and the times of people groups throughout the world. Ordinary people or not, we want to be faithful to our role in providing access for people to find Him.
A travel issue delayed us two days in New York City. Our team leaders in North Africa traveled physically to the airport to advocate on our behalf.
It was a rough trip. We are just now getting out of our two-week quarantine. But it was totally doable.
The journey before the journey.
It has been our heart to go and make disciples of all the nations for some time. We weren’t clear on the where/what/how/when, but were intentional in posturing for that eventuality.
Steps ordinary people took–that anyone can start doing today.
- We explored teams and organizations for several years through emails, video calls, etc. When the time came, we were able to reconnect and quickly identify current opportunities.
- We learned about cross-cultural relationships by befriending international students. (Click for more ways to reach out right where you’re at.)
- We built a network of counselors and advisors who understood our hearts and our journey who could give wise counsel.
- We lived well below our means. When the time came, we had savings to cover airfare/startup costs in-country/etc. (Check out thoughts here on the role of debt in going overseas.)
- We sought to develop skillsets that are easily transferable in many international contexts.
- We held our plans and ambitions with open hands, open to quick redirecting of our path.
Where we go from here
We never planned to be in North Africa this fall. Many are the plans in our hearts, but we know that ultimately God’s purpose will stand.
We are currently working through orientation and training with the preschool and settling into a new life here. So far, we’ve been able to interact with local teachers, parents, and children at the preschool.
Mostly, we are trying to humbly learn how to live, work, study, and play in a very different context. We’re just ordinary people seeking to be faithful to Jesus’ command to go to all the nations and make disciples.