TESTIMONIAL: Only one life

By Ken*, long-term worker

Many people take advantage of retirement to live more comfortably, but Ken chose to step out in faith and go overseas to share Jesus with Arab people.

A deep love for Arab people

When I moved to the Arab world in my sixties, I knew that some considered me a little crazy! However, it was not a rash decision, but an outworking of God’s leading in my life.

Beforehand, I had faced a crossroads in my life about twenty years earlier. The Lord led me to leave a previous place of employment to join an office team of a Christian charity working with Arabs. The switch cost me some considerable pension benefits, but God reminded me of His faithfulness — He was far more reliable than any pension provider!

The day I started that role, I read Peter’s vision of unclean animals in Acts 10. My Bible notes asked, ‘What feelings do you have towards a group that prevents you entering wholeheartedly into Christ’s purpose for the world?’ I asked the Lord to give me a fresh love for Arabs.

Asking God for a clear sign

Marrying later in life also turned my world upside down! Liz* had taught in the Middle East and studied Arabic. We talked about living in the Arab world at the time of my retirement. But when someone on the field encouraged us to seriously consider relocating, we sensed the Lord might be guiding us to go on mission.

Praying with a desire to know His purpose, we set a date for a firm decision either way. With six days to go, Liz sat listening to the radio. A new novel was being serialised about a couple who ‘moved to the Arab world in obedience to the Great Commission…’ Our intended location was even named! We were stunned. We understood clearly that our Heavenly Father was answering our prayers.

‘I asked the Lord to give me a fresh love for Arabs.’

‘Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last’.

Obeying His leading

Our Christian family were supportive; my frail parents encouraged us to move ahead. My father died before we left, and my mother passed away a few years later. Having no children has made this move easier, although there are plenty of people from our home nations whom we miss.

We’ve been here now for a number of years and the Lord has opened doors for us to make wonderful and timely connections with people. We’ve had the opportunity to share Scripture and pray with several Arab friends. We even have the privilege of studying the Bible with some people.

The words of C T Studd stir me to keep making every season in life count for God: ‘Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last’.

*Names have been changed for security.

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