Hey NCBC family!
This week for NCBC to the Nations, we get to hear an update from one of our own, Eli Manley. She played a big part in my growth with my walk with God, and I am excited to see how God will use her to impact others in the field. If you’d like to get more updates from Eli, you can sign up to join her newsletter! – Janna Josafat
How are you doing?
I’m doing really well! I’ve discovered a lot of Eastern cultures are very similar, so with my Greek heritage I’ve been able to avoid the brunt of culture shock. God’s been stripping away a lot of layers of my identity, and teaching me a lot about prayer, relationships, unity among believers, and relying on His strength alone.
One challenge is that the women here are generally turned off to spirituality. In our church service, we have a good number of male believers, but not a single woman believer. It’s a lot more difficult to find women who are interested in engaging in spiritual conversations, for a number of reasons.
Another challenge lies with redefining productivity. After working full-time in the American workforce, I’ve realized how much of my identity I’ve placed into accomplishing things and checking off tasks. In this kind of work, success is defined as faithfulness, for it is God alone who provides the growth (1 Corinthians 3:5-9). I’ve been learning to find grace with myself, stop filling my day just to fill it, and work at pleasing God rather than man.
Finally, living here isn’t too hard, but every attempt of communication has an underlying level of added stress. Buying toothpaste with a label I can’t read, trying to tell a taxi driver where to go, ordering water over the phone, trying to put data on my cell after the government shuts it off… these tasks that could be mindless in America now take much mental dexterity and energy. The constant feelings of incompetency can easily wear on me if I’m not placing my worth in God.
Ways God has been moving
Our church group has been growing! We have two believers who have joined our church who are interested in becoming baptized. A lot of the believers are interested in being discipled by the guys on my team, and it’s so cool to see their eagerness to grow. We’ve started having weekly hang-out nights on Wednesdays, and I think that’s really helped to foster community. We have also had several men visiting who are not believers (but are seeking), as well as some women! That’s a huge praise. We also have a couple women who are interested in reading the Bible.
There are 15 million people in this city – that’s too many for us laborers to reach on our own! Pray that God would lead us to the people who are seeking to know Him, in such divinely beautiful ways that all praise and glory would go to Him.
I struggle a bit with insomnia, so please pray that God would grant me the blessing of sleep!
Here are some people you can pray for by name who are interested in knowing God: Edith, Elif, Asiye, Selen, Omer.
I’d love to answer any questions anyone has, or talk more about my experience here. I usually send out a newsletter once a month. Here’s the link to subscribe if anyone’s interested: https://forms.gle/
Keep in touch!