A while back I was speaking with a pastor who had come from Europe to visit our own pastor. During his visit I had the pleasure of speaking to him about our Persian church and how God is using our pastor and the members of the church to reach Iranians in our area.
After several moments of speaking with him about my own background. He asked me how I had decided to start going to a Persian church seeing as how even though I was Iranian, I was for the most part born and raised in the United States and struggled with Farsi.
When people ask me this question, I immediately begin to smile as I reflect on God’s goodness and ultimate wisdom. I shared how during my years at Bible college, the Lord grew my burden for my own people and convicted my spirit to use my cultural background and my Farsi (or what little there was at the time) for His kingdom. Many nations were being reached for Christ, but I didn’t see many trying to reach Muslims, and I knew in the quietness of my heart that God wanted me to become radically involved in this harvest.
In Romans chapter 15 verses 20-21 Paul tells us:
“Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: But as it is written, to whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.”
This verse speaks to me in such a powerful way. God used it to show me that we MUST strive to reach those that are the most difficult to reach or those who don’t have easy access to the Gospel. We MUST reach the unreached. Cultural and language barriers are a huge aspect in reaching someone. If you don’t understand someone, where they come from, their experiences, or their beliefs, it can become difficult to build a relationship with them and reach them for Jesus. Although God has, is, and will use people in cross-cultural outreach, those who come from the targeted culture MUST use it as a bridge into their hearts and lives. They MUST use what God has given them for His kingdom. God points to this truth over and over again in scripture.
During the encounter at the burning bush, The Lord asks Moses: “…What is that in thine hand?…” (Exodus 4:2). (To my surprise, this passage was used in the message THIS Sunday morning…and He reminded me of this truth yet again.)
God then uses the staff in Moses’ hand to perform miracles. He took what Moses had—a simple piece of wood—and used it to reveal His glory among the Egyptians.
In 2016 God asked me the same question.
“My daughter, what is that in thine hand?”
I told Him: “My background, broken Farsi, and love.”
“Let me use it to reveal my glory.”
And just like that I said goodbye to everything I knew to see the miracles that God had waiting for me…to be trained in witnessing to my own people…to preach the gospel not where Christ was named…and to see God’s glory in a new way.
Maybe today God is pushing you out of your comfort zone and inviting you into a new ministry, a new job, a new season of life, a new (fill in the blank). Don’t panic, take a deep breath and let Him take you there, because THAT is where He will use you the most.
THAT is where you were made to be.