If you visit a certain neighborhood in a large city in the Middle East, you’ll find 22-year-old Alyah* surrounded by children listening to her tell them Bible stories. They love this friendly, cheerful young woman with a big personality and look forward to seeing her every day.
Alyah had just become a Global Mission pioneer and had been assigned to a city with half a million refugees. She hadn’t been assigned a specific area and wasn’t sure of the best way to help. The only thing she was sure of was that she wanted to be a medical missionary like the ones who had come to her home country when she was growing up. For now, however, she was faced with what seemed like an impossible task: finding a community in a huge city where she could make a positive impact.
Alyah’s new home was close to an area where many refugee families lived. She came up with a plan to develop a health survey and then spend the next several months visiting the different neighborhoods. She thought that this was a good way to enter the refugees’ homes, get to know the families, and then determine the needs of the community. However, God had a different thought. After praying a lot for His direction, she felt impressed one morning to visit a particular neighborhood.
When Alyah got off the bus, she found herself on a street filled with very poor refugee children playing. She wondered why they weren’t in school. Perhaps this community needs a school for refugee kids, she thought. She began knocking on doors.
At first, the families were reluctant to speak with Alyah. When they discovered, however, that she didn’t have any type of survey, they opened up their homes and allowed her to come in.
Over the next few weeks, word spread that Alyah was to be trusted. One little boy offered to take her to meet all his friends. “He would bring candy with him, and when he knocked on his friends’ doors, he would give them the candy first. That made it easier for me to meet them,” Alyah says. More and more families invited her into their homes, engaged in discussions, shared their challenges and problems, and proposed ideas that could be helpful for the community. Some families even allowed Alyah to pray with them.
Alyah’s days weren’t without fear. Living and working in a country where Christianity isn’t accepted, she never knew what her fate would be. However, every day, God put someone in her life who helped her connect with the community. She understands now why God didn’t allow her to pursue her health survey idea. “God always sees the big picture and understands more than we do what approach works best in each situation,” she says. “Intervening in my plans, God opened up doors in a way that would never have happened had I conducted the health surveys.”
To see what’s happening in mission in the Middle East and North Africa Union Mission, visit m360.tv/middleeast.
Alyah asks that we pray for the work she has begun in that one small neighborhood in a very large city. She understands that the challenges are huge, but she knows that nothing is impossible for God.
* Name has been changed.
Global Mission pioneers
plant churches in areas or among people groups where there’s no Adventist presence
share the good news of Jesus through wholistic ministry, such as providing medical care, teaching agricultural skills, offering literacy programs, holding evangelistic meetings, and giving Bible studies
To donate, visit Global-Mission.org/giving.