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My Christar Apprenticeship: Hard Enough to Be Worth It

My Christar Apprenticeship: Hard Enough to Be Worth It

Leah* is a Christar appointee and seminary student serving in a Christar apprenticeship in the Dallas area. Here, she shares what’s she’s been learning and tells us how her apprenticeship is preparing her for ministry in South Asia.

The Christar Apprenticeship Program

The Christar apprenticeship program helps participants develop the skills they’ll need for effective long-term service. Apprentices live and minister among least-reached populations in the United States. Each participant also works with a local church and is paired with a mentor who has served in least-reached communities.

I come from a really small town in the Midwest. I have had very little cross-cultural experience and had never been to Bible school. I felt like the last person qualified to be a missionary, but God had given me a heart for the least-reached. I decided to trust that He would prepare me. At orientation [it was suggested that] I come to Dallas to do the apprenticeship and study at seminary in the fall. I went home, prayed and talked to my family and pastors. It couldn’t have been more obvious that it was the right decision.

So I applied to school and started looking for a place to live. I had never lived in an apartment before, so trying to find one was a new experience. God already had it worked out way ahead of me: I ended up in an apartment with four other girls in a neighborhood that is home to many refugees.

A New World

Living in the neighborhood has been a great experience for me. I went from a town where almost everyone was a white American to a community where I’m the minority. There are people from Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand and several countries in Africa. It’s been good to live in a place where my neighbors don’t speak very much (if any) English—to experience wanting to be able to communicate with someone but not being able to. It gives me a new perspective on the importance and difficulty of learning another language.

It has been fun to observe differences in the way people live and interact. Our neighbors are always doing interesting things, like sitting together in the yard eating acorns (which I didn’t know you could eat) or drying fish on their bushes. They are very friendly and hospitable. A family that is friends with one of my roommates invited us over to supper, fed us Nepali food and taught us a new game. I love all the neighbor kids! They come over to play games and make chocolate chip cookies. They also are very interested in Jesus, and read Bible stories with us.

Even seemingly small things like learning to drive in city traffic or having to cook for myself have been really helpful for me. God has had me doing things that I never would have imagined. And the best thing is, it is bringing me closer to Him.

A New Family

It’s been so good to have the opportunity to go to a South Asian church. The sermon is in English because [those who attend] are from all different parts of South Asia, but many of the songs are in their different languages. People have been so welcoming and willing to share about South Asia. They’ve fed me lots of delicious South Asian food, and I think I’m starting to get used to the spiciness! This church really has a heart for the lost, especially Hindu college students; it is a great opportunity for me to learn.

It has also been really nice being close to the Christar office. Anytime I have questions or problems, all kinds of people are more than willing to help. I get to meet up with others in the program and meet with the program director to talk about how things are going.

A New Perspective

This semester has been really challenging. There have been multiple times where I just didn’t know what to do. I felt hopeless and was sure I would never be able to learn and would never be of any use in South Asia. Those moments when I am on my knees crying out to God are usually when God has taught me something very precious and brought me closer to Him.

On a day when I was really discouraged, one of my roommates said, “If it wasn’t difficult, you would have to wonder if it [was] worth it to be here.” She’s right. Jesus told us it wouldn’t be easy to follow him. Verses like James 1:2-4 tell us we should be glad when we face trials because it helps us develop perseverance. God wants my character and attitude toward others to become more like His, and if I’m going to grow, it won’t be easy or fun all the time.

God has been teaching me that I can do lots of different things to change my behavior, but what He really wants to change is my heart. He has brought me a long way so far. I’m excited to see where He will take me from here!

Participate by Praying:

  • Ask God to use the Christar apprenticeship program to equip workers to serve effectively in least-reached communities.
  • Pray that the Lord will work through Christar apprentices as they minister among least-reached people.

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