Six weeks in Africa started Nicole on a journey into cross-cultural ministry. The next step in that journey took her to France …
I became a Christian at a young age and, after learning more about mission and the needs of countries in the 10/40 window†, I felt called to help meet these needs. I knew I must work towards what God was calling me to do. After a six-week mission trip to Africa, I felt a strong connection to people from the region and knew I had to learn French to minister to them in the future. So, I looked for opportunities to move to France, to learn the language.
Finding the right fit
I was introduced to WEC by a friend, who showed me the website. At that point, WEC had an opportunity in France in the exact area I had trained in: film and photography. Everything just fit together! It was clear that I had to do it.
I went to the beautiful region of Alsace, in the east of France. While there, I spent two-and-a-half days a week learning French, and the rest of the week making videos for social media and joining in with events for students and refugees. We had plenty of opportunities to meet people from different backgrounds, as Alsace is a very diverse area.
New friends, new insights
I loved having conversations about faith with students, finding out more about what they believe and answering questions about my faith in return. Sharing in my new friends’ cultures was definitely a highlight. I never before imagined I would have friends of so many different nationalities! I learned new things all the time and got to eat lots of delicious traditional food. I also made friends who were refugees from Syria and Iran: they were the most generous of all. I spent time with them, helping them with their children or housework, and they loved to cook for me.
I never before imagined I would have friends of so many different nationalities! I learned new things all the time and got to eat lots of delicious traditional food.
It was eye-opening to meet Syrian refugees. I had seen news reports but that made it all feel distant, and you don’t often meet someone in London who has fled their country because of war. Meeting people my own age and hearing how they had spent hours on a boat, fearing for their lives, really brought it home to me. I have friends whose houses were bombed; who have physical scars from their experiences. It’s comforting to know they are now safe, but heart-breaking to know there are many more trying to flee equally dangerous situations.
Rising to the challenge
Language was definitely a barrier in some situations. Communicating with my Middle Eastern friend was hard, for example, but Google Translate is a lifesaver! Evangelism to people of another faith is often challenging, as they already have deeply-held beliefs. Often their faith is built into their cultures and communities., and they could lose their families, friends, communities and reputation when they give their lives to Christ. So, it can take years and years before we see our friends getting saved. We have to trust that God is continuing to work in their hearts in the meantime.
An unscheduled break
I had to break off my stay in France because of COVID-19, but I am now back for another four months. I will finish my placement, improve my French and then move back to the UK, where God is calling me to new things. I am not entirely sure what 2021 has in store for me, but I am excited to find out!
I would 100% recommend a short-term mission. You learn so much and get to be a part of something much bigger than yourself.
I would 100% recommend a short-term mission. You learn so much and get to be a part of something much bigger than yourself. Also, getting a taste for mission like this can often be a springboard to something else. For me, having a taste of Africa has propelled me onto an exciting journey with Jesus. If you are reading this and considering a short-term trip, don’t let any practical worries hold you back. God is our provider: he will make a way!
Is God calling you to serve in another nation or culture? Why not consider a short-term ministry placement? You can read all about WEC Short Term here.
Email us to find out more about our various placements.
†The 10/40 window refers to the regions of the world, between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator, with the least access to the christian message.
Find out more about our Short Term / Gap Year ministry
WEC’s Short Term programme is geared to fuel your passion for God through a hands-on experience.
For a Solo Trek, we aim to match your gifts and time-frame for a short-term cross-cultural faith-filled adventure with God. We will place you alongside an experienced missionary in any one of over 80 countries, where you can serve God, share the good news and grow in your faith.
Alongside Solo Trek, we encourage Church Teams to organise and run your own short term cross-cultural trip. Feel free to get in touch if you would welcome some tips to get you started.
Read more about Short Term / Gap Year here.
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