“All my life, I had a plan that after high school, I would go to college,” said Resonate Global Mission volunteer Kara*. But then Kara learned about the opportunity to teach English in Central Asia.

“A part of me said that it would be perfect for me, to learn and grow and be better prepared for the life that I wanted to lead,” she said. “The other part was concerned about changing my future plans almost randomly.”

But as Kara learned more about the opportunity, it seemed anything but random.

A Dream to Work with Immigrants

“I want to have a career in translation and interpretation,” said Kara. “My huge dream would be to help immigrants coming into the United States.”

When Kara arrived in Central Asia, she met many students who dreamt of moving to, or studying in, the United States someday. Kara has the opportunity to support them before they move to the United States by teaching English. But she has found that one of the most important things she can do to support her students is to encourage them.

“No other teacher here does it,” she said. “No one encourages them or tells them they are doing a good job and that can be disheartening … but I have noticed that when I encourage, they gain courage and keep trying to do their best.”

Kara has earned her students’ trust, and that has opened up opportunities for deeper conversations about faith.

A Heartbreaking Question

One day, Kara asked her class a question to get to know her students better: “If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?”

Because many of Kara’s students dream of studying in the United States, it was little surprise to her that’s where most of her students wanted to go.

But Anara* surprised Kara. She said, “Australia.”

Because Anara’s response was so different from the other students, Kara was curious. She stopped Anara after class and asked why she chose Australia. “She had given up any hope she had of going to [the United States],” said Kara. “It was because no matter how good her English was, she didn’t think she could ever go to America wearing a hijab.”

Anara is a Muslim and wearing a hijab is part of her practice. Kara told Anara that she could still wear her hijab in the United States—but then Anara asked Kara a question that made her heart sink: “Do you believe all Muslims are terrorists?”

Sharing the Heart of Jesus

“I told her that I did not believe that and not all Americans believe that,” said Kara. “I will never forget the look of joy in her face … While I told her it would still be hard for her to come to the States, it isn’t impossible.”

Kara and Anara had a long discussion about Christianity, Islam, and their similarities. Kara was able to provide a different portrait of Christians in the United States and explain that Jesus loves—and died for—everyone.

“While she still remains a strong Muslim, she now knows a lot more about the Christian religion,” said Kara. “This interaction makes me think of how I am here representing the United States, and specifically the Christians of the United States.”

More than that, however, Kara is sharing the truth of the gospel in a broken world. It can often take many years and many long conversations for people to know and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Resonate volunteers like Kara are faithfully sharing the gospel when God opens the door—especially when conversations are difficult. Interested in joining them? Kara’s school is looking for a new teacher! Email Lisa Sochacki to learn more: lsochacki@crcna.org.

*Names changed for security