Photo by Nicole Tarpoff
In the summer of 2015, I traveled to the small country of Oman (about the size of California) that is bordered by Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates. I was with a team of teachers going to teach English as a second language to high school students.
During my time in Oman, I saw God do amazing things. There are only an estimated 15 native Omani people who are Christian. It is not illegal to be a Christian, but it is illegal for an Omani to convert from Muslim to Christianity, and it is illegal to convert anyone to Christianity. Oman is one of the hottest places on earth, with temperatures that may exceed 120°F during the summer months. It is an extremely dry country and rain in the summer is very rare. We arrived in Oman by driving across the border from Dubai, UAE. There were 30 people, all Christians, in our teaching team—twice the number of native Omani Christians in the country. About an hour after we crossed the Omani border, it started raining! It rained the next day and the next day after that. The local Omani people who knew English said this was a “huge blessing!”
Our group was welcomed by the government to teach English, knowing we were all Christians, and we were very respectful of Omani culture and rules. After a week of culture and language training, we began teaching English to the high school students. The students were so respectful. One of the first nights I was there, I prayed, “I want to love these kids like You do.” Immediately, He showed me a glimpse of His love for my students, and I was overwhelmed to tears. This prayer was answered. Loving the students became very easy and they became my priority. When I woke up, all I could think about was how I might best teach them and love them. It was wonderful to pray for each of them by name every day. One of the best students in the class, M, asked in her work journal, “Why are you so nice to me? Why did you come to help us?” I wrote back to her, “I came because Jesus loves you and loves me.” One night, when I was looking at a world map and praying, God spoke clearly to me: “I’ve loved your people. Will you love mine?” Again, I was overwhelmed and encouraged.
Yet another answered prayer came near the end of the trip. Our group had been praying for Christian missionaries who had been in Oman for many years. They had experienced great difficulty making any connections or friends in the religious capital, Niswa, where we were all staying. Our team consistently prayed that God would break the barriers between the people of Niswa and the missionaries. Before we left Oman, this prayer was answered and the missionaries had made friends with some of the residents of Niswa.
As we left Oman, I thought of a story about two Iraqi missionaries who had served five years without one person converting to Christianity. Because of a warning from the Lord, they had to flee the country. On the way to the airport, they were feeling very defeated and felt as though they had failed. Then, they saw several fields that had previously been filled with rocks, but the rocks were gone and flowers were blooming in their place. God then told them that they had not failed, but that they had cleared the rocks so that others could come and plant seeds for the harvest. This is how I felt about our time in Oman. May God be glorified for comfort and encouragement when we feel defeated, for answered prayers, for the blessing of rain, and for wonderful new relationships!
A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.