This country is definitely blessed and incredibly beautiful. By embracing all the extremes of nature - from sea to desert and the mountains to cliffs - it composes the most breathtaking symphony. I am totally in awe of God’s amazing creation and masterpiece here. His love and grace can be found everywhere.
On one side is the immense ocean - a nurturing, magnificent abundance of life, full of grace. On the other side is the boundless dry land, yellow sands, brown stones and rocks - where God’s grace is even more demonstrated on the traces of life through the yellowish grass and bushes, goats, camels, etc.
Such extremes of living environment show us how incredibly strong life is, as well as how powerful and amazing our Creator is. Living here is definitely not easy and most of the time the temperature can be above 110 °F. The local people have developed their own ways of living to adapt to the harsh environment. The dominant religion is Islam and there are a lot of restrictions, especially for women, including what they do and how they should dress. Even as foreigners, we have to follow most of the rules, so we don’t offend people.
My teammates had already been here for a few days, and upon my arrival they told me that finding women who were willing to converse was very hard because of all the restrictions. Most of the time the women stay at home, but when they come out, they are probably with their husbands. My teammates felt a little bit frustrated but we did not lose heart. We encouraged each other and every morning we prayed together before we headed out.
I met some people from my homeland here who followed God’s call to come to do His work about five years ago. They are all first generation believers and are the pioneers. From their point of view, it is indeed very difficult to do His work here. It is a lot harder even than in our home country. You may not see any results after months and months. However, they firmly believe that this place needs people to come and pave a way in the wilderness for our God, which moves me greatly.
“The harvest is great, but the workers are few.” (Matthew 9:37)
We definitely need more people to come to this land.
We have been earnestly praying for opportunities to make friends and have conversations with the local women. Our Father is great and He always provides!
One day, we went to an open marketplace and walked around for a while but did not find any woman to talk with. It was almost 9 p.m. and we thought it was about time to head back. When we passed by a little shop selling hand-made products, the two other girls and I slowed down our footsteps and looked into the window at pretty hand-made cushions.
It appeared no one was inside and we thought it probably would close very soon. When we were about to leave, I suddenly felt something telling me to go in (which now I know was definitely the Holy Spirit). I suggested we walk in and if they were closing, we would just leave.
We went into the shop and an elderly lady was talking on the phone. We looked around a little bit and she finished talking and turned to us. She said she was talking to her daughter who is studying in Canada.
We started talking to her and asked many things about her family. She was a retired teacher and now owned this little shop selling her hand-made products. I suddenly noticed a picture on the wall of a hand. I asked her about the meaning of the hand. She said that people hung the pictures at home to avoid the evil spirit.
I asked her if it has something to do with the religion and she said it was just superstitious. Then, we asked her some things about the Islamic religion and she also learned that we are Christ followers. We didn’t have much time to share more with her because the shop was about to close, but she gave us her business card and we decided to go back to the place to talk with her sometime next week.
This was our first conversation and we were so encouraged by the answer to prayer.
Susie* is a recent believer from a closed country who came to faith through the BSM on her campus. She was commissioned as a Go Now missionary this summer and served in the Middle East.
*name has been changed