Couple Tag Teams?
So you have decided to let you light shine across the great divide in some far off distant land? Perhaps you are interested in humanitarian efforts, or perhaps some outreach efforts or a bit of both. So what exactly could that look like? Being on the scene for 20 years has given me some insights and I will share 4 stories of just that. Off course I will use fictitious mystery? names and so those folks can remain anonymous – though the light of their work still shines … over on the far side of the planet.
Tag Team One
Mr. and Mrs Smith? 🙂 I first met Sally when I started my 4th school overseas and she was a librarian. She was a very vivacious, warm and smiling lady. She was a Singaporean-American and had worked in international schools for many years. A teacher-librarian by trade she often integrated her faith together with her love of the primary school students. She was well beloved by all the staff and kids alike. I often chatted with her in the library or around school and her faith was very evident. Sally mentioned that her husband had started a church for the local expat Chinese speaking community. Many foreign international expat churches are mostly in English, but that leaves out the other communities such as German, French, Philippines, Russian, or Korean etc … They as a couple were seeking to fill the gap for the local expats and international university students from their community. So she was the main bread winner as her husband did the church planting and the church is still going to this day, even though they have returned to America for their children’s education.
Tag Team 2
Mr and Mrs Steves – were an American couple. The husband had set up a small factory and ran it while working here overseas. They were dynamic leaders in the local expat community church too. They lead services, did some lay preaching, church workshops for entrepreneurs wishing to start businesses overseas and the like …. Bob was a great mentor and small group leader to many Christians and exemplified the idea of tentmaker quite vividly on a daily practical basis. His wife was the channel through which they did humanitarian and outreach work. They had rented and renovated a suburb countrysidish set of buildings as a training centre for job skills and teaching English for countryside folks with just highschool etc education. Not only that but they were avid supporters of local Christian based orphanages and often volunteered in that respect while encouraging others to do likewise. I first met Bob at one of his entrepreneur workshops and then through church. He is less active now seeing he is retired and returned to the States, but is active there encouraging other do go overseas and be a light everywhere!
Tag Team 3
Mr. and Mrs Styles? 🙂 Jeff was a computer geek, looked like a computer geek with wide rimmed black glasses and was shy like a computer geek too. He had married to a local girl who was very active in the local church and he was the computer systems operation manager for an expat company. He was fluent in the local language, though shy and reserved while at work, but one on one he would talk you arm off on Christian things. They were both very active in the expat and local church and always where doing things with the orphanages, poor and local community. He and his wife had spotted an opening or rather a need for a Christian book store for the local community with Christian literature in the local language. They supported translation work for popular Christian works in the West to the local language and other projects. Again once their kids were hitting university they relocated for a bit to the States and then later went back to overseas – this time in Indonesia.
Tag Team 4
Mr. and Mrs Coffee Shop? 🙂 They were a rough hewn crew from mountain areas with several kids. They were keen on going into the interior of the country off the more beaten paths. They grew up in the Rockies and they used to roughing it and mountain climbing. Nate was his name and he was one of classmates from grad school. They had a special calling to go where few western folks go and they had the backing of their home church to go to Asia and start a business. Coffee shops were just becoming the in thing in the 90’s and so they were one of the first to start one in the far western regions in country full of tea drinkers. The novelty of the business, made it successful and the served many a coffees over the years. It was a great family entreprise and added some charm to the local business community. They had a natural in with the local folks to make friends, be a listening ear and share their faith in a quiet and gentle way. Because of the off the beaten track aspect of their location they homeschooled all their kids and that went fairly well too.
So those are a few snapshots of Christian Professionals Overseas in action. Whatever you can dream up may be possible for working and living overseas as seen above. I will perhaps share more stories on the those on the front lines serving overseas later… However, there are folks in every conceivable mode of work from Medical work, Fortune 500 Company Managers, restaurateurs, hoteliers and university students travelling around the world while serving overseas, making a living and raising families. So indeed in can be done. Dare to dream and start your adventure! 🙂
By CPO, From the Far Side of the Planet!