According to the gospel story, God came into this world as an ordinary man, and experienced the struggles and joys, the failures and triumphs, the fears and hopes of his community. “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” (John 1:14, MSG). He loved His community so much that he was willing to die for the sake of its restoration. I am so privileged and joyful to embody this story in my Central Asian community. In 2017, it was time to start the next chapter of my life. Having served as a principal of a Christian school in England for over 20 years, I felt I had done the best I could and didn’t want to outstay my welcome. I resigned from my job but still wanted to teach a few more years in a new place. Little did I know that God would guide me to my forever home in a far-away land. Growing up in England, I experienced many comforts. Perhaps these comforts were talking when people laughed at my plans to work in Central Asia: “You’ll probably end up living in a yurt in the middle of nowhere, milking goats, and teaching in a wooden shack.” I knew that wasn’t accurate, but I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Even though the process of coming to Central Asia involved loads of red tape, God made my transition seamless and gave me peace concerning my decision. I had been abroad lots of times with packaged holiday deals. Coming to live in Central Asia opened up my eyes to a new culture. Central Asian people are predominantly Muslim, and they are longing for connection with God. When moving here, I felt an urge to immerse myself in the culture. I moved into a busy downtown neighborhood, started to learn the language, and developed meaningful connections with co-workers. Now, I feel I belong in this community, and I am in love with the people here. As I am prayerfully reflecting on settling here after retirement, I realize God loves the people in every neighborhood, and has sent me to be in this one to reflect His love.
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