"The Lord had said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you." Genesis 12:1
Although I had traveled out of the country before, the very idea of living and working in another country was humbling and very spiritual for me. I had been working in corporate America for several years and then around 2008, when the economy turned for the worse, my husband and I found ourselves trying to figure out our next move in life. We had no idea that teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in other parts of the world would take us on a spiritual journey.
During our travels, each time I laid eyes on God’s majestic creations--like the erupting volcanoes of Costa Rica, the tribes of Africa, and the oasis in the middle of the Omani desert--I found myself fascinated by the amazing beauty, diversity, and power of God’s work. Moreover, one of my most humbling experiences while living abroad was when God blessed us with our son Nile while teaching English in Oman. Going to and from the doctor’s office in a foreign country can be a scary experience. God provided us with great care and protection despite our own fears.
Another particularly strong connection to God was through our time in Oman. Oman is a predominantly Muslim country, which is very peaceful and looks and feels as if you are stepping into one of the stories of the bible...the aroma of frankincense, the diverse people wearing white robes with sandals, prayers spoken aloud throughout the neighborhoods from local mosques, people walking quietly with heads bowed, seemingly praying. The expression of “peace be unto you” with each greeting was common, even among strangers.
On one trip to the ancient tomb of Salalah, camels roamed freely and kindly greeted us as we made our way up to the top of a mountain. The tomb of Salalah, according to local tradition, holds the body of the prophet Job. We also visited the ancient ruins of a palace belonging to the Queen of Sheba. This ancient land (Saba) and the people (the Sabeans among other names) were also written about in the Old Testament. Despite the critics who might question the existence of these places where biblical events occurred, I was moved by the possibilities and experienced a closeness to God more than I had ever felt before.
Finally, as a couple, the quest of traveling and working with my husband helped us to form an even stronger bond. Throughout our travels, we made it a point to pray and to stay connected with God even while living among people whose religious practices were different from our own. Venturing into the unknown forced us to rely upon our Christian faith as a guide and to have faith that not only did God bring us to have these wonderful experiences, but that He would also return us home safely to see the faces of our loved ones.
Editor Note: We are so blessed that Mecia's travels and experiences have now led her to serve on our staff as the Coordinator of our ESL Program and Community Outreach.