When the recruiting company Stacy* was working with to find a job overseas asked her where she wanted to go, she was surprised by the question. “Wherever you need me,” she answered. “God is going to use me there.”
With global experience ranging from a medical practicum in East Africa to a travel nursing position on the US-Mexico border, Stacy enjoyed immersing herself—and her family—into new cultures, and she was open to wherever God had plans for her next.
As an OM partner, the recruiting company was specifically looking to place Stacy somewhere she could serve using her medical skills, where the majority of people she’d be working amongst had never head the gospel message. A couple leads fell through, both in Southeast Asia and the Arabian Peninsula (AP). Then a position opened at a hospital in another Gulf country, and Stacy signed the contract and got on a plane.
Life of faith
Immersed for the first time in an Islamic context, Stacy quickly realised how their religion impacts everything Muslims do, from how they eat to how they interact with people to how they raise their children. In addition, she learnt that Arab culture is intensely relational. “Until you develop really strong personal relationships, it’s hard to present something new”—including the gospel, Stacy explained. “They grew up thinking Jesus was a prophet,” she added. Therefore, simply telling them He’s the Son of God would likely not be effective. “You have to live in such a way that makes them ask questions in order to then tell them about Christianity or show them how it’s different from what they were taught,” she shared.
And since many people in that part of the world see her home country, the USA, as the land of golden opportunity, the fact that Stacy chose to move to the AP is a great conversation starter.
“I’ve had questions from all different cultures about why I’m here,” Stacy said. Her answer—that God called her to the AP—“leaves them questioning and wanting maybe to know more,” she explained. Too, the way she lives her life reflects the hope she has in Christ. “I’m not anxious about COVID or dying. I’m not anxious about what will happen to my children… I have faith and a hope that God will take care of me and them.”
Most countries in the AP have a significant percentage of expat residents; in some cases, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait, foreigners vastly outnumber indigenous Arabs. For Stacy, that international flavour adds to her experience. Rubbing shoulders with people from around the world in the hospital and in her daily life, she sees how God is continuing to use her to be salt and light to people from places around the world where the gospel is not known.
Stacy recognised her own need for a Saviour early in life around the age of nine or 10, and she attended a Christian college where she continued to develop her faith. But her enthusiasm for working in her profession overseas first stemmed from an opportunity her husband had to temporarily work in East Africa. When her family relocated for the first time, they thrived in the unfamiliar setting. With that experience in mind, Stacy started looking for positions to use her medical degree in another country. It took nine years for that dream to become a reality.
During that extended period of waiting and with the changes brought by the coronavirus pandemic, she accepted a position as a travel nurse with the US Border Patrol. “It was a good opportunity to start working with different cultures…It also gave us a chance to travel as a family and learn to be uprooted and learn to not have somewhere to call home,” she recalled.
As Stacy interacted with the various people who came across the border, she recognised some common themes amongst them, despite the diversity of nationalities she encountered. “Learning how people become so desperate to go somewhere else, and for them to be uprooted, too…I think that really impacted me because when we went to the AP, it’s a bunch of different cultures that I work with.” Understanding some of the political or economic reasons that cause people to emigrate helped Stacy develop compassion and pay attention to individual’s stories instead of casting judgement on them.
“I don’t want to focus myself on a particular group of people,” Stacy said. Every conversation can be a chance to speak the Word of God, which will not return void. “I appreciate working with all different cultures,” she shared.
God’s promises and provision
Though she’s still relatively new on her journey of working as a medical professional in the Middle East, Stacy firmly believes that “when God promises something, He will provide.” In both her personal and professional life, she sees Him intervening and answering prayers. “That’s been very encouraging to me, finding answers to prayer and knowing that God is in control,” she said.
Taking every situation before the Lord—including things like the hospital not having enough staff to cover a shift—helps turn Stacy’s heart toward the Lord and recognise the ways that He provides.
“It’s just everyday life, but for us they’re small miracles,” Stacy described. “It shows that God’s in control and that we can rest in the assurance that if we’re living for Him and focussing on what He wants, He will provide what we need.”