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Leaving a Steppingstone

Leaving a Steppingstone

Their interactions could barely be called conversations. Marcy,* then an intern in Middle East, didn’t yet know enough of the local language to clearly communicate the gospel through it; Nina, who was in the lowest-level English class offered by the school where Marcy served as a teacher, understood very little of Marcy’s native tongue. Yet each day, as Marcy waited with Nina for her father to pick her up, the two attempted to communicate.

Over the course of Marcy’s two-month trip in the summer of 2009, a half hour at a time, the two formed a bond. When the last day of class arrived, Nina grabbed on to her and started crying, lamenting through her tears that Marcy was going back to America and that she would never see her teacher friend again.

Marcy had been thinking about her impending departure as well, and about the student she’d leave behind—a young woman who didn’t yet know the hope of Christ. She’d purchased a journal, and in the front, she explained the gospel in English. Though she knew Nina wouldn’t be able to read it, she still wanted to leave her friend with a testimony of the good news.

As she handed Nina the journal, Marcy said, “I know that you can’t read this now, but I hope one day your English will be good enough for you to understand what I wrote for you below.” Then, she shared as much as she could about the gospel using her growing skills in the local language.

Two years later, Marcy returned to the same community and tried to find Nina, but learned she had moved. For the better part of a decade, Marcy wondered what had happened to one of her earliest local friends and prayed that she would come to understand the good news.

Finally, in 2019, Marcy began to see God’s answer to her prayers when she found Nina. Though Nina still spoke very minimal English, Marcy was now an experienced long-term worker fluent in Nina’s language. Marci was invited to visit Nina’s family and now counts Nina as one of her closest friends.

A year after the two reconnected, Nina brought up the gift Marcy had given her over a decade before. “You gave me this journal when you left,” she said. “I still have it, and I still don’t know what this letter says to me.”

Marcy joyfully offered to translate. “It was really powerful,” she recalls, adding that she has since talked with Nina about the gospel many times, and that the two have done Bible studies together. Though Nina hasn’t yet accepted the message of Jesus, she continues to be interested and curious.

“Back [during my internship], I never would have thought something I did or a friendship I had could really impact someone that deeply and that it could be used as a steppingstone in their spiritual walk,” Marcy shares. “Short-termers can definitely have an impact.”

Participate by Praying:

  • Praise God for using short-term workers to plant seeds of the gospel in the hearts of people who haven’t yet heard it.
  • Pray that Nina will embrace the gospel and become a powerful testimony in her community.
  • Ask the Lord to work through those planning to serve short term this summer for His glory as they assist long-term teams in reaching people groups without access to the good news of Jesus.


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