How working abroad changed me

Living and working as an expatriate for an American company in a large city in East Asia for slightly over three years was a huge blessing for me, and God used that experience to significantly impact my life.  He changed my life through that experience in the following ways:  increased humility, strengthened Christian worldview, and fueled passion for sharing the gospel.

God used the experience to really humble me.  First, there was the language that served as a humbling tool.  I have so much more of an appreciation for people who speak more than one language and especially those who have to live and work using a language other than their mother tongue.  I arrived in the city with quite a bit of motivation and energy to learn the language and quickly enrolled in individual language lessons.  I learned some basics and developed enough skills to survive in taxis, restaurants, and stores.  I did not need the language for my job, though, and English was widely spoken in other groups and ministries in which I was involved, so the incentive to continue to develop my language skills diminished.  Nevertheless, I am thankful that God gave me a deeper appreciation for the challenges of learning another language.  Second, it was humbling for me to gain a perspective that the world is much bigger than life revolving around my previous (American in my case, but true for any country) setting and culture.  God allowed me to see the unique customs, culture, and worldview of the people in my new home.  I am thankful that God gave me this perspective and, in the process, increased my humility.

Regarding worldview, most people in my new home overseas had vastly different worldviews than me.  God used this to solidify and refine my Christian worldview and, hopefully, change the worldview of the person with whom I was interacting.  When people would find out about my Christian faith through normal conversation, they were very curious.  Many times, their understanding of Christianity was based on what they had seen from American television shows and movies.  This would lead to discussions of important topics such as our purpose in life, why we are here, how we got here, what’s after this life, etc.  While taking me out of my comfort zone many times, God used these discussions to help me be better prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks me to give the reason for the hope that I have.  (1 Peter 3:15)  I am thankful that God gave me these opportunities to share the Christian worldview, and I am thankful the gospel of Jesus Christ can withstand and overcome even the toughest and most challenging questions in life.

Coupled with strengthening my Christian worldview, God increased my passion for sharing the gospel with those who had not yet heard.  It was great to see the curiosity and questions asked by those who had little, if any, exposure to Christianity in the past.  I enjoyed seeing the journey God took them on of drawing them to Himself.  I had the opportunity to have a number of discussions about the Christian faith and to go to church with several people for the first time in their lives.  A couple months ago, I found out that my former language teacher, with whom I had also become a friend and keep in touch, was saved.  This was such a joy to learn!  Since being back in the U.S., God has continued to open doors for me to share the gospel with some friends I made overseas through social media.  God further stirred a passion in me for evangelism through an evangelism class I took a few months ago in my seminary studies.  I am thankful God invites me (and all of us for that matter) to be part of His story of sharing the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ with the world!

Jeff Nix is a Skybridge member.