Costa Rican OMer Sofi* recently completed vision trips to two very different Mediterranean countries: Spain and Turkey.
Sofi had been praying about serving God overseas in a long-term capacity. She thought certainly Spain might be a good fit, as she already speaks Spanish, but she was nervous at first about visiting Turkey.
However, Sofi was surprised to find that the culture in Turkey actually reminded her of her own home in Costa Rica.
For one, the diet was similar—they ate a lot of bread, rice and even beans. She also noticed that people were warm and open to friendship, just like back home. The people of Turkey even looked similar, she added. “I feel like I am just walking the streets in Costa Rica.
“I sent my parents a photo of a Turkish girl and said, ‘Look, I found another Costa Rican!’” she laughed. They couldn’t believe it when she told them the girl was Turkish.
In Sarah Lanier’s book, “Foreign to Familiar,” she suggests that the population of the world can be roughly separated into two groups: ‘hot-climate’ (relationship-based) cultures, and ‘cold-climate’ (task-oriented) cultures. Much of Europe and the West are considered cold-climate cultures, but, in fact, many OMers from South and Central America find it relatively easy to adapt to life in the Middle East because of the similarities in the two ‘hot-climate’ cultures.
Sofi comes from a family of dentists, and her parents would like for her to stay home and take over the family practice. However, she is committed to go where the Lord is calling her.
When she first thought about visiting Turkey, Sofi had a few nightmares about it. She asked God to take away any anxiety and reveal Himself to her in a new way. That day, she attended a prayer chapel where she found a book on the names of God.
The one that grabbed her attention was Jehovah Immeka, meaning the Lord is with you.
“As I finished reading that, He took away all my fear, all my anxiety, the dreams stopped, and I knew Him in a different way,” Sofi shared.
“Do not be afraid,” is her advice to others. “Even if your church doesn’t support you, or even if people tell you you’re crazy—I’m a dentist. I have the whole future arranged, and people will say, ‘You are crazy,’ and I am that for Jesus.”
Now that her trip is over, Sofi will return to Costa Rica and continue to support her local church while she works toward returning to Turkey long term. “This life doesn’t belong to me, and if my Father tells me, ‘Go,’ I will go,” she said.
Pray for Sofi as she discerns the next steps and works toward raising support. Pray for the people of Turkey who need to hear the good news. Praise God for raising up workers for His harvest.
*Name changed for security