The Soldier With Burning Eyes
Plagued with doubt and discouragement, I wondered why I was here.
When my plane touched down on the tarmac, it was a dream come true for me. I had wanted to visit this country for years, and now I had the opportunity not only to live here but to serve God here as well.
Funny how God has different plans. Within a short time, He rearranged everything, and I found myself living in a nation that I would not have chosen to even visit.
During the first week in my new world, I was in perpetual culture shock. Everything seemed chaotic to me: the unfamiliar language, the traffic, and the frequent power outages. It didn’t help when my cell phone, my only source of communication, was ruined because of the voltage differences. I lay awake at night, wondering how I was going to survive an entire year in this city.
One morning I was awakened by a terribly loud noise. I looked out the window to see a car exploding a kilometer away from where I live. My college classes are often canceled due to shootings on the street. Nothing about my existence is safe, yet God constantly protects me.
The pastor with whom I lived initially was accused of proselyting and forced to leave the country. The accuser then focused on me, trying to establish a link between the pastor and me and questioning why I am here.
Not all my challenges have been external. Sometimes, plagued with doubt and discouragement, I too have asked why I am here when it seemed like all I ever did was study the local language.
Then one day, I met a young soldier who invited me to eat with him in a street café. We talked about culture, my country, and finally, my religion. We became friends and began to meet often.
On one occasion, he asked me how I pray, and I gave him an example. We ended up talking about Christian beliefs, and I shared how as an Adventist Christian, I don’t drink alcohol or eat pork and that I worship on the seventh-day Sabbath. He was very surprised and interested.
A few days later, we met again with two of his friends. After a quick conversation, he looked in my eyes and asked me why I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Amazed at this opportunity, I shared a few key reasons for my faith in Jesus’ deity.
Eventually, he asked me whether I could get him a Bible because he wanted to learn more about Jesus. I have never seen such burning desire in someone’s eyes.
I was able to get him a Bible, and I put tabs on special verses that talk about Jesus. I also gave him a link to an Adventist Website so that he could contact someone if he has more questions.
I couldn´t understand at first why God sent me to this place. But now I understand that it was for the purpose of helping to lead at least one person to Jesus.
I miss my home country, and I do not really feel comfortable here. But as long as God wants me here, this is where I’ll be.
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