Daniel* and Loretta*, long-term workers in North Africa, arrived in their host country passionate about using their gifts to reach locals. However, their main ministries – reaching out to artists and designing projects to help street kids and refugees – though successful, failed to provide something they needed to stay in the country: visas.
“Since we arrived, people are asking us, what are you planning to do,” Daniel said. “If God wants us here, we are not worried about it. But actually, we are humans, and we were a little worried about it.”
After watching a few friends leave the country, having failed to find the necessary sponsors, Daniel and Loretta prayed about a job opportunity in another area of the country. Although the job’s location was less than ideal, the employer promised Daniel a work contract once they moved. Until then, he secured a 6-month visa for the couple.
In the end, the employment offer fell through, and Daniel and Loretta needed another way to stay. “We had no way to have any kind of visa,” Daniel remembered. Their home currency had also fallen against the dollar, lowering their support level.
“Then another miracle happened,” Daniel said. He remembered another contact who had wanted to hire him the previous year, when Daniel was too busy running a different ministry. Daniel sent the man a message, writing, “If you still need me, I will accept the job.”
“Ok,” the man replied. “When can you start?”
Daniel wrote back, asking for a particular salary and for a residency visa.
“Ok, we want you here,” his then future employer responded. Daniel started working for the company two days a week but quickly increased to three days after his supervisors realised they needed him more.
The job is a good fit from a professional and a spiritual standpoint, Daniel said. His current position lets him use lots of creativity and gives him opportunities to talk to locals in an otherwise closed environment. Seeing God provide the visa also encouraged him and Loretta: “This helped us to understand that God wants us here,” he shared.
At the same time God provided Daniel an opportunity to earn money and procure a visa, he also gave Loretta a new job. A local hair stylist recently lost an employee, so she asked Loretta to work with her. Although Loretta actually wasn’t interested in accepting the job, she began to pray about the offer.
As she prayed, she realized God was not only providing another source of income but also giving her a new ministry. “I’m putting you inside their houses,” she felt God say. Indeed, the treatment requires her to spend three hours with the women, and Loretta returns to each house every three months. “It’s not easy to get inside these houses,” Daniel noted. Loretta’s job, also three days a week, “is already a very amazing opportunity,” he described.
“Lots of things are changing. We have totally different ministries,” Daniel summarised. “But these things came to us, we were not looking for them. This was total 'magic' from God’s part.”
Pray for God to continue to provide visas for Christian workers in North Africa. Pray for workers to have sensitivity in noticing and using opportunities to share. Pray that God would protect workers’ emotional and spiritual health and provide wisdom and security.
Nicole James is a journalist, ESL teacher, and adventurer. As a writer for OM Middle East North Africa, she’s passionate about publishing the stories of God’s works among the nations, telling people about the wonderful things He is doing in the world.