Zac Wilson recently visited North Africa on a short-term mission trip and shares about his experience on the field.
Making your way around an unknown city (where the people speak a different language) may seem like a daunting experience. Take away the use of Google Maps and all of a sudden it becomes a real challenge. This was the situation that me and two of my teammates found ourselves in.
Our mission was given to us in the form of a piece of paper with places to visit around the city and at each place we had to find out information and complete certain tasks. The idea was to connect with the locals and to get a taste of the day to day life in North Africa.
Several conversations about directions and a half hour later, we finally reached the Metro. Not the best start if the challenge was based on time! BUT the whole point was to chat to people and already my perspective of the locals was changing.
Due to our poor Arabic map reading skills and our probable lack of common sense we got lost a lot. A lot. When we asked for directions on the street, I expected a point in the right direction or at most a short explanation of where to go. Instead, they would take the time to walk with us there and chat along the way. People literally went the extra mile to help. Some even gave us their phone number in case we needed it later on in the day or wanted to meet up with them in the city. It turns out a pretty good way to tell people about Jesus is getting lost for the lost.
Their eagerness to help wasn’t my only highlight of the day. We each left in the morning with a Bible in Arabic to 'forget' on a park bench or a public place and pray that somebody would pick it up and read the Bible for the first time. We sat down outside a mosque to pray for Muslims and I felt God tell me that this was the place I should leave my Bible! We saw a man pick it up and start to read with a smile on his face. God was also at the centre of the rest of the day. Certain challenges involved praying for the community, visiting churches and visiting biblical sites. Also we tried to show love by handing out sweets to kids alongside starting conversations with people.
I would definitely say my view of this community and the Muslims in it have changed because of this experience. Some of my faith in humanity has been restored by this! If everyone could be as helpful around the world, we would live in a better place.