It’s 5am and still dark. I’m barely awake as the plane lands. I have come to this Middle East city to visit our workers and learn about their ministries.
Over the last couple of months, I’ve had the privilege of visiting all four of the Middle East countries in which, thanks to our merger with MECO UK & Ireland, Serving In Mission now has experienced workers — and opportunities for many more to join them.
In the first city, I sit in a schoolroom with a group of teachers drinking tea and eating pastries. Love that amazing Middle Eastern hospitality!
The teachers tell me about their school, show me their curriculum, sample lesson plans and materials, and explain how they use creative methods to make learning fun. They’re so enthusiastic I find myself wanting to go to their school!
Before you question my sanity or age, I should explain this is a language school and Arabic is being taught. Learning Arabic is foundational to our long-term ministries in the Middle East.
As well as learning to read and write Arabic in this city, you will grow to understand the local culture; while living here you will build relationships with local people.
Language-learning is not only a necessary precursor to ministry — in this very relational culture, it is ministry. If you have ESL teaching experience, you could combine learning Arabic with teaching English.
In the same city, a learning centre for refugee children provides hope for kids living in difficult situations.
What appears at first to be just a large house, turns out to be somewhere 450 children come every day to receive a quality, Biblically-based education.
Many of these children have escaped civil war in Sudan, and the centre provides a safe learning environment and psychological support. It is full to capacity and the directors would love to expand.
When I ask them if they have opportunities for people to get involved, they just laugh. Of course they do!
They are looking for a director, a volunteer coordinator and a finance manager, as well as teachers for all subjects, especially art, music and computing. They also need short-term volunteers who will come and read with the children, helping them improve their literacy.
Could you come and help? You’d be joining a caring, committed staff, making a real difference in the lives of children who are often treated as outsiders and looked down on by the host community.
Opportunities for teachers are everywhere in this part of the world.
In another city, a Christian school is looking for qualified teachers for all subjects, plus short-term volunteer teachers who don’t need any formal qualifications.
Perched on a hill overlooking the city, this is a large well-established school for children from kindergarten through to secondary school. It also takes children with special needs and needs volunteers to help them.
The school is owned and run by a church denomination, but the students come from all religious backgrounds. Teaching here would provide a unique opportunity to reach children with the gospel.
As one teacher told me: “This is the only school in this country that teaches the Bible every day.”
The school provides accommodation and even a small salary for teachers. If you’ve ever thought about using your teaching skills in a new country, this would be a great place for you!
There are also great opportunities for people with business skills and experience. One of our workers is already running a business producing and exporting products made from local materials.
In several cities, local NGOs and ministries are looking for help from people with administrative and business skills.
You could be a part of an NGO that is transforming lives through vocational training; or a ministry that is making theological education widely available; or one that’s producing literacy materials in a local language.
You could work alongside local believers to reach out with the gospel through development.
There are so many opportunities!
Not sure where to start? Come and invest a year or two learning Arabic as you explore ministry here.
You’ll receive a solid foundation that will equip you to serve throughout the region, and as you learn the language and culture, you’ll learn to love the Middle East and its people. The only qualification needed? A willingness to learn!
By Middle East Personnel Director