When I moved to Northern Africa to begin my service with the local church as CBF field personnel, I invested the first two years in getting equipped for my long-term ministry. I enrolled in full-time language courses (French and local Arabic dialect) so that I could communicate well in my service and in my community. I attended an untold number of church meetings—learning the ins-and-outs of our unique context and congregational systems. I ate lots of meals with friends, figured out how to use the train system, and added to my daily step count bouncing around the city on foot.
This period of transition was essential as it helped me adapt to my new context and figure out life in a new place. It gave me time to learn French, to build important relationships, and to figure out how daily life works in a new and different place.
My life changed dramatically in March 2021. My first two years of foundation-forming were officially over, and my new position as a pastor of the national church came into effect. I stepped into this position alongside my friend and colleague, a pastor from Ethiopia, as we assumed leadership of our church’s ministry to sub-Saharan migrants and refugees in distress. Together, we provide pastoral leadership, administrative support and operational help to make sure this massive ministry program runs smoothly in nine different cities around our country. One of our first goals was to visit all nine of our teams around the country—to meet our volunteers, assess the local realities, and learn as much as we could about the ministry to which we were called.
CBF Ministry Funds had helped me invest in a car before we started our cross-country road trip. Having transportation has changed my life. I feel more like myself behind a wheel and I love the freedom that reliable transportation brings. It’s also been a huge asset to my ministry. In just under four months, I’ve already logged close to 10,000 kilometers of work trips. Our site visits around the country were rich, informative, and effective because of the flexibility that having a car provided.
We collected donations of baby clothes from all over the country and distributed them to our teams around the country—something that would have been unimaginable before having a car. We’ve been able to visit local partners and collaborate with other organizations because we’ve had transportation. And since very few people in my church have a car, it has already been a great resource for our church ministry as a whole.
My colleague and I frequently ask each other before meals, “What are you grateful for today?” On Tuesday, she looked back at me and said, “Today I’m so grateful for CBF.”
Thank you, Cooperative Baptists, for investing in our ministry. Thanks for making my long-term presence and service here possible, and for giving me the tools I need to do ministry well. You’ve equipped me with French classes and a budget automobile; you have provided me with community and prayers; you have made possible seminary training and ongoing professional development. Because of you, life will never look the same again.
Karen is a CBF field personnel appointed to pastoral ministry with migrants and refugees in Northern Africa. She is partnering with the local church as they minister to the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of the Sub-Saharan migrant community. Learn more about her ministry here.The CBF Offering for Global Missions makes possible the long-term presence of CBF field personnel like Missy. 100% of gifts to the Offering support CBF field personnel serving in the United Sates and around the world. Give online today at www.cbf.net/OGM.