Safety Security Advisor

Central Asia, Other, 12-23 months, 2+ years / Job ID: 1484

A faith-based NGO working in an insecure environment impacts communities in areas of health economy and social empowerment.

The appointee will advise on overall safety and security management for the organisation provide training and oversight for the local security manager monitor and interpret the current security situation liaise with other relevant security entities and assist in critical incident management.

You will need experience in security management experience living in an unstable security environment and a collaborative attitude and good relational skills. You will need to be calm in a crisis to be a good communicator and team player and be willing to learn language and culture of the host country.

Capacity Building Catalyst

Central Asia, Other, 12-23 months, 2+ years / Job ID: 1497

A faith-based NGO working in an insecure environment impacts communities in areas of health economy and social empowerment.

Our organisation is in an exciting transition period of building capacity and releasing greater responsibility into the hands of local staff. The person in this role would be responsible for assessing the needs of our staff and facilitating the planning and provision of the necessary development.

We are looking for someone who is experienced in training with good organisational skills and good people skills a confident person who is a good communicator and a good networker. You should be able to see the big picture and be willing to travel within the country. and to learn the language and culture.

English Language Teacher

Central Asia, Other, 1-11 months, 12-23 months, 2+ years / Job ID: 1485

A faith-based NGO working in an insecure environment impacts communities in areas of health economy and social empowerment.

The job involves preparing and teaching English language lessons (written and spoken) for National Staff who need to upgrade their English skills for their job.

You need good interpersonal skills and a minimum of a TOEFL teaching qualification or qualification in teaching. You should be a native English speaker or demonstrate excellent command of spoken and written English. You should be a good communicator be confident and patient and be willing to learn local language and culture.

One person among millions

Five pairs of eyes watched us in silence. Five daughters half-hidden in the furtive darkness of the ramshackle bamboo hut. Probably they had never seen foreigners before. Probably our clipped, studied pronunciation of the national language was to them an alien tongue. Curious– suspicious, they peeked out from behind a beam separating the guest area from the sleeping space in their home. Separated from us by a far greater distance than wood and shadow could show.

Our journey had begun that morning, when we embarked on a four-day motorbike ‘faith journey’, with only the bare bones of a route sketched out, and even less of a plan of where we would eat or stay the night. We had turned off the main road onto a bumpy dirt track which would eventually taper alarmingly round the edge of a mountain. Having just nearly crashed the bike in a rocky quagmire, I felt like I had already learned enough faith for one day.

Then the tropical downpour began. After miles of jungle, we suddenly emerged into the edge of a small village, where we rushed for shelter under the eaves of the first shack we came to. As we pulled in, the man of the house returned from foraging in the woods. He looked at us with surprise but invited us in, offering dried-out day-old rice: all he had.

While we ate he began to pour out his heart, telling us of his poverty, his anxieties for the future, the sickness that prevents him from working in the rice-fields and forces his wife to face the daily labour alone. Finally he shared his terrible fear that one day, when his five daughters grow up and get married—and ‘ownership’ of them transfers from parents to husbands—he will have no son to look after him, in life and in death: as an aging father needing care then as a dead ancestor demanding offerings.

His fear was real. His ethnic group are deeply enslaved to spirits, and conservative in their views on the value of women. Yet he loved his daughters. He cradled one gently in his arms and spoke softly to them all. He was not ashamed of them; only of his own failure to produce a son.

Before we left to continue our journey, I asked if I could say a blessing over him in the name of the mighty Lord Jesus who makes impossible possible. The One who has Himself walked the road of suffering and grief, who brings hope to the downhearted and love to the unloved.

“Oh! This Jesus, I’ve heard about Him before.” The man’s eyes had lit up, his voice animated. “It sounds like a good story. I’d like a book about Him so I can read it for myself.”

This may be the only interaction I ever have with this lonely father. He represents one person among millions, one ethnic minority among hundreds. Yet we were brought together to hear something of each other’s stories; to accompany and encourage one another on our journeys of faith. The short-lived downpour and unexpected welcome provided a glimpse of God’s ongoing interactions with us. A reminder that He paves His way—and makes His home—in isolated, forgotten corners; among downtrodden, destitute people; in lost and longing hearts.

Clara is a long-term Interserve Partner, living and working in South East Asia.
Name has been changed.

Under the Fig Tree

Your tears are not the only outward sign of your deepest pain
Your need is desperate
Your words are filled with horrors
You scramble to fill a bag with warm clothes for your children
For your baby

Your house is cold
Your cupboards are bare
Your plumbing is leaking
Your children are crying, unruly, aching to get out
But this cold room is the only safety you know
How can you start again here?
Your life has been torn apart
Senselessly

Your son is in a different land
Kept apart by distance, money, weather, borders By governments
Those in their warm clothes and heated houses
Those who have a responsibility to care
They have failed their duty to you
They plot and plan, distanced from the horrors
Why is this world so unfair?
Why you?

You live in a land that is barely welcoming
A place that is now your ‘home’
“How can this place be home?”
It doesn’t feel safe

How can you possibly process the death of your child, your son?
You have other children to care for, a family to hold together
Your mother, your sisters, your aunties, your community are not here
You are alone
Isolated
You long for a place to belong in this strange wintery land
For someone to hear you, to see your struggle, to care

“I hear whispers about people who care
who provide warm clothes
who offer a warm drink
where children can fill their bellies
A place where people like me can find community with others who have faced the same horrors
a warm place, a family
Free from discrimination
Who are these people and why do they care?

“There is something different about them. They are defined by love. How can I know this love?
Where is this place?
Could this be a place where I am accepted?
Could I find community here, are there people who will care about me?
Could I find a hot drink, food?
Would they be this generous?
Will I find light from the darkness here?”

My friend you are welcome here
come and meet the one who cares more deeply than any human
to find shelter under the
Fig Tree

Rochelle wrote this poem during her short-term placement with refugees in West Asia.
Name has been changed.

Archaeology is my love language

When we think about how God’s love motivates us to love others, it can sometimes be hard to imagine how we can do this. How do we love our neighbours? Even harder: how can we love people scattered across the world? For me, doing my job as an archaeologist is a way to love Central Asians – by helping them understand the story of Christianity in their own countries.

Why does history matter?

The Bible is a history of the people of God. God is always reminding Israel of where they came from and where they are going. It reminds them of who they are:

Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we travelled. And the Lord drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.” (Joshua 24:16-18)

The history of God’s love and salvation for Israel is what makes them want to serve him. And for Christians, the story of how God loved and saved us through Jesus is what gives us our new identity in Him! This history of faith is central to our knowledge of who are.

History is our story too

History is often only seen as the stories of important people or events. But archaeology and history also have the potential to uncover the stories of the everyday lives of ordinary people. We already know the power of personal stories: we share the testimonies of God at work in our lives and the stories of others who have gone before us. For the Christians of Central Asia, archaeological research on the church in this region helps them appreciate the history they can own for themselves. Making a decision to follow Christ is usually seen as a betrayal of family and heritage. Yet archaeology has the power to show that Christians have been there for hundreds of years and Christianity has a legitimate place in contemporary society as it has had in the past. Being a Christian does not conflict with being Central Asian.

Archaeology sounds romantic and full of adventure. In reality, it is hard outdoor work, long research hours, and getting very sunburnt! If that stills sounds fun to you, a career change could be in order! Each day I begin excavating around 5am. We set up to shelter ourselves from the sun and throughout the day we shift our shelters to make sure we keep enough shade to protect us. I spend most of the day hunched over a grave site, carefully and slowly excavating the soil. I work in dust, dirt and mud, and the sun blares over us as the day goes on. The afternoon is spent processing artefacts and getting enough rest before the next day.

We go through this hard work because we know it is worth it, not just because we love it. We love others because God loved us. We want to unearth stories of the God of love at work in people who have gone before. We want to demonstrate the continuity of a community of faithful Christians in this region reaching back into history. This can also show people of other religions that they are loved by God. Archaeology is one way to love others so, well, hand me my trowel!

Victoria served her short-term placement at an archaeological dig in Central Asia.
Names have been changed.

A taxi driver with a searching heart

I looked up and down the inner city street, suddenly quiet from the usual rush of traffic. I needed a taxi in a hurry and, in this city of over 60,000 taxi drivers, not one could be found. I began walking quickly to a larger thoroughfare, quietly asking for the provision of a quick, safe ride home. I had classes to teach at my university in a couple of hours. I spied a taxi some distance ahead, stopping to set a passenger down, so I sprinted and got there just in time. Falling into the back seat in relief, I gave hasty directions to the driver.

With my eyes closed, I thought back over the morning’s errand—a kind of ‘mercy mission’ to take some necessities to an elderly patient in hospital. To fit this in before classes began I had decided on the luxury of taking taxis there and back. On the way in, I had shared the gospel with the taxi driver and left him with a little booklet to read. When I first arrived in this city, I had heard about the plight of taxi drivers and their relentless schedules which gave little opportunity to hear the good news. I’d decided then that if I ever paid to take a taxi, I would share the love of God with the driver. But today, I’d already done that, and I was tired and needed to be rested for my classes.

There was a niggling thought in my head, though. What if this driver never hears of Jesus? This taxi had been a timely provision for me. What if God had appointed this driver to hear the good news today, and I didn’t tell him? What is stopping me, really? I kept wrestling with my need for a rest and rationalising my excuses. Finally, I opened my mouth.

The taxi driver was friendly, and listened intently as I shared with him the core of the good news—the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and the forgiveness and eternal life he offers. “Have you ever heard this before?” I asked. “No, I haven’t,” he replied. “Well, not completely. The passenger just before you was a Christian too, and she started to tell me but her journey came to an end too quickly. So I didn’t hear it all.”

I was stunned. This day, the Lord had appointed two of His children, in a city of 22 million people, to talk to this taxi driver. And he had prodded me until I’d opened my mouth. The driver continued, “And I want to know where I can find a Bible. I’ve been trying to find one for a while but I have no idea where to look.” I couldn’t believe my ears at hearing this earnest desire. There are a lot of bookshops in my city, but a Bible is hard to find.

His enthusiasm grew as we talked. As we drew up to my high-rise apartment block, I took a risk. “My apartment is up there,” I said, pointing to the second-highest floor. “I have a spare Bible up there, in your language. Would you wait for me to get it for you?” “Really? Yes, of course! I’ll wait here as long as it takes!” he replied. At my apartment I made a beeline for a hidden drawer under the spare bed and drew out the precious book. I added a Jesus DVD, also in his language, to the gift. The driver delightedly accepted the materials I offered with a sincere “thank you” and a promise that he would value and peruse them all.

I never saw him again. I don’t know if I’ll see him in heaven, though I hope I will. But I know that on that day, the love of God compelled me, along with another of his children, to share the grace of the Lord Jesus with one taxi driver who had a searching heart.

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all.” 2 Corinthians 5:14

Julia has lived and worked in Asia for over twenty years.
Names have been changed.

ESL Club Facilitator

West Asia, Other, 1-11 months, 12-23 months / Job ID: 1643

The international church is a typical city congregation of expats but with Korean Farsi and Turkish congregations in addition to the English one. Elder-led the church is broad evangelical and community oriented. It has existed for nearly 30 years. An English conversation club is being held at the church for locals interested in developing their English conversation skills. This church is located in a suburb where locals are accepting of the presence of foreigners and many are interested in learning English.

The English Conversation clubs are a new outreach of the church and provide a natural way for social encounters shared experience telling ones story and building friendships with locals. This short-term position is for a native English speaker interested in participating and encouraging discussion at an English conversation club. This individual should preferably have completed a TEFL course but this is not essential. The club is held two nights a week and aims to create meaningful activities to encourage conversation amongst the participants and native English speakers. The Facilitator would be responsible for planning interesting activities to engage the local participants in conversation to assist in the development of their English conversational skills. As a facilitator he/she must also be able to respond when help is needed (vocabulary grammar pronunciation etc.).

We are looking for a native speaker with a good grasp of the English language who can develop creative and engaging activities to encourage conversation. An ability to work cross-culturally with other expats and with local citizens creativity passion and flexibility are all good characteristics.

ESL Convo. Club Table Host

West Asia, Other, 1-11 months, 12-23 months / Job ID: 1602

The international church is a typical city congregation of expats but with Korean Farsi and Turkish congregations in addition to the English one. Elder-led the church is broad evangelical and community oriented. It has existed for nearly 30 years with a strong focus on refugee work strengthening the national churches and cooperation and unity among Christians.

The English Conversation clubs are a new outreach of the church and provide a natural way for social encounters shared experience telling ones story and building friendships with locals. Table Hosts engage with local participants from the community sitting on a table with a small group and modeling and encouraging them to further their conversational skills. These table hosts are guided by the ESL Club Facilitators and therefore are not expected to plan the activities. Currently the program runs 2 evenings a week.

The ideal person for this role will have a good grasp of the English language good communication skills be able to talk in a group and encourage conversation enthusiastic and positive. An ability to work cross-culturally with other expats and with local citizens creativity passion and flexibility are all key characteristics.

Counsellor

West Asia, Other, 12-23 months, 2+ years / Job ID: 561

This ministry was started by some of our partners in 2014 to address the long-term impact of childhood abuse which is rampant in the local and refugee communities. This is a non-official group including a few licensed counsellors.

There is need among the expatriate national and refugee communities for counsellors. This country has a high attrition rate among its expatriate workers and counsellors can help stem the flow. There are also enormous needs in the local community which could be addressed by a qualified counsellor. This job could be done through the local or international church or independently.

We are looking for a short-term licensed counsellor who can help with English-speaking expats and nationals or a long-term counsellor who can learn the language and get involved at a deeper level.