David: Linguistics Study in the Middle EastPosted on Friday, January 22nd, 2021
Hello... Meet David!
Have you heard those miraculous stories of Muslim people coming to faith? David had heard them too, but he did not know he would see God do those amazing things live and in person. Really, He had known for a while that he wanted to go overseas to serve the Lord, but he was not totally sure how his major in Linguistics would play into that goal. But once he saw the opportunity to study Arabic in Egypt, he was ready to pack his bags. He not only studied Arabic, he became fluent and comfortable living and working with his Muslim neighbors. Today David is using that skill to work with migrant communities in New York City.
>>Why are you glad that you went overseas in your 20's?
David: It helped set the trajectory for the rest of my life. Not necessarily in what I do, but in the way I want to walk before God in knowing Him through following Him into the lives of others. It gave me a global perspective that I'll never be able to shake, and I consider the experiences I had overseas and the things that I learned to be among God's biggest graces on my life.
>>What was your biggest barrier to going overseas?
David: I think the fear over support raising really got in my head. But once I went to GoWeek and was given training and a framework to accomplish it, it actually ended up being a rewarding process.
>>When you think about your experience in Egypt what are you most proud of?
David: I think I'm most proud of the extent to which I was actually able to learn Arabic and really get to build relationships with Muslims. Those were completely different worlds to me starting out, and now I'm really comfortable in those elements.
>>What is one thing about the culture or work in Egypt that you really enjoyed or appreciated?
David: Muslim cultures, in general, are incredibly devout. I enjoyed that it was so easy and second nature to have deep convos about God and faith.
>>Tell us about one of your craziest experiences:
David: This one time, I rode a boat through Somali pirate waters for two days to reach a secluded island that had very limited exposure to the Gospel. A colleague and I got to work with a local to help him open a gym on the island, and in turn we were able to share the love of Christ as we served them.
>>How did your experience living overseas positively impact your faith?
David: It taught me what it means to abide in the Lord and to walk by the Spirit. Those aren't fluffy terms, they're actions of dependence that are best learned by being in contexts where you have to depend on the Lord deeply.
>>How did your experience directly or indirectly impact your job opportunities once you returned?
David: It made me fluent in Arabic and also allowed me to understand and empathize with immigrant communities in new ways. When I came back to the states I was able to work with churches and nonprofits serving Arab immigrant populations in ways I wouldn't have been able to apart from going overseas.
>>What would you say to someone who was considering Map Years as their next step?
David: If you're considering moving overseas for your Map Years, just do it! Yea, there's lots to think through, process, and plan for in making sure you do it in a healthy and intentional way. But there is no time in your life like now that you're allowed to and encouraged to try hard things, learn, and even fail. Give God these years, and you'll be amazed at what he does with them.
>>Is there any other story or experience during your Map Years that you'd like to share?
David: I got to see Muslims decide to follow Jesus. Even though I'd read in books beforehand that when these happened it was often a miraculous event, it actually turned out to be a very long process too. That's how God works, a weird mix of process and miracles. One of my friends decided to follow Jesus, but it was only after 10 years of searching and asking questions. I only got to come in at the end and share my story with him, love him well, and pray for him. I ultimately realized that's what God is calling us to do in ministry. We cant orchestrate results, but we can journey alongside people as God leads us.
“If you're considering moving overseas for your Map Years, just do it! Yes, there's lots to think through, process, and plan for in making sure you do it in a healthy and intentional way. But there is no time in your life like now that you're allowed to and encouraged to try hard things, learn, and even fail. Give God these years, and you'll be amazed at what he does with them.”