“But what are you actually doing in West Africa?”
This is been the hardest question to answer as I prepare to go to serve in West Africa. My response internally usually has come out as: “What other questions can you ask to a goer?”
Now, do not misunderstand my question. I want to share with people God’s vision and purpose for me in West Africa. I am excited to dream how He will be using me in ministry while I am there! I want to answer the vision question. I simply struggle with the base of that particular question.
1. It comes from a Western mind set.
As Americans, we are valued by what we do. Our job defines how we relate to other people in multiple social situations. Its connotation is also very individualistic where you are the person involved in the doing – and no one else.
2. God will be doing things through me.
Without a doubt, God has called me to this ministry. He is the mover and shaker of my future “doings”. God has placed this on my heart for specific reasons and sometimes the “doing” is not fully part of why He has called me. I sense a calling to live out Isaiah 52:7 - as the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion: "Your God reigns!"
3. When I explain what I will be doing – it does not fit into the perceived understanding of what a ministry worker does.
Language learning will be a HUGE part of God’s ministry for me in West Africa! This is not a steppingstone to something else He has for me – it is central to His calling on my life. When you learn someone else’s language, you can talk to their heart and not just their head. Languages will open doors for me in music, literacy and storytelling ministry. Although, it is not something I will do for a couple of months and then move onto other areas of service.
I want to share with you with some questions to ask, that came to mind, to answer what God has in store for me!
What does a typical day look like for you in West Africa?
How has God been moving in your relationships with your West African friends?
How has language study brough you closer to God and the people around you?
How has God used the gifts He has given you in ministry? What gifts are you excited to use in West Africa?
How have the people seen God in what you are a part of in ministry?
The list could go on but these are some questions I am dying to answer!!! Some of them I cannot answer fully yet since I am just starting this month. I am so excited to learn a new language with the help of the local church in my area. I cannot wait to see how He uses my social work skills in active listening and community-centered transformation. I cannot wait to bring people closer to Christ through worship! I have the vision of Psalm 100 where it says:
“Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into His presence with singing! Know that the LORD, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
Let be so now and forever more! To Him be the glory