My Journey in Becoming an AFM Cross-Cultural Worker
Originally posted at: https://anglicanfrontiers.com/my-journey-in-becoming-an-afm-cross-cultural-worker/
by Raina, an AFM Cross-Cultural Worker
All throughout my childhood, I heard countless stories of missionaries going to unreached parts of the world to preach the gospel. Hudson Taylor, Elisabeth Elliot, Gladys Aylward, my eldest sister, the list went on. For me, the question wasn’t if, but when and how I would go. I’m so thankful that in God’s perfect timing He led me to an unreached people group in West Africa.
On a cold January day in 2016, I moved onto campus at the Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago. I’m a 4th generation graduate, and I was the 4th of my siblings to study there. I had seen and heard many testimonies of the Lord equipping people for ministry at this school, so I was looking forward to discovering where in the world (literally) God would lead me and how He would use my love for theology.
In October 2018, during my final semester at Moody, I still wasn’t sure where to go next. How was I supposed to find a sending organization that cared about the unreached, the Church, and Anglicanism? Thankfully one of my professors pulled me aside after class one day. “There’s an Anglican priest coming to campus who does church planting in unreached places,” he said. That priest, you guessed it, was the Rev. Chris Royer, PhD, executive director of AFM.
I joined AFM in 2019 and did my pre-field training while obtaining my M.A. in Biblical Exegesis from the Wheaton College Graduate School and working at Starbucks. The combination of missions, academia, and sharing my faith in the secular workplace enabled me to apply my training immediately,
albeit in a very different context to where I am now.
This past February I landed in West Africa, joining a team led by an Anglican priest and a pediatric cardiologist. Together we’re constructing the nation’s first pediatric hospital.
Right next door, we’re building a chapel that will host the first Anglican services in our town. We then hope to construct a surgical center and a seminary, both designed to serve the immediate needs of our community. We also plan to train local medical personnel and church leaders to go out to other parts of the country to expand the ministry. As you can see, this big, exciting, groundbreaking, and God-sized task is full of present labors and future hopes.
The immediate day-to-day work, however, is learning the local language. It turns out that a seemingly small, sometimes boring, and very tedious task is absolutely necessary for what matters.
For example, I was able to share the story of the woman at the well in French with my neighbor. She was intrigued and asked many questions about the living water, everlasting life, and Jacob’s well. Then I worked on learning how to tell that story in her native language, which is the predominant local language. Even though she had already heard the story in French, tears came to her eyes when she heard it in her native tongue. Hearing gospel stories in a common language can certainly be life-changing, but hearing them in your heart language is exponentially more moving and transformative.
The heart of AFM is to share the gospel with those who have not yet heard and to plant indigenous churches in places where the church is not yet established. Just like the woman at the well, many are still waiting to hear the good news and tragically still seeking water from wells that run dry. Will you help us tell them?
I invite you to consider giving to AFM’s Great Commission Fund so that additional cross-cultural workers like myself can be trained and sent to tell the world about the living water of Jesus.
May your holiday season be filled with joy, victory, and peace that come from knowing Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.
If you’d like to stay up-to-date with Raina’s work in West Africa, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.