I'm Busy Right Now
Madagascar, Democratic Republic of the Congo
“Could you just send someone else? I’m busy right now.”
I had heard the Lord calling me to the mission field, but being a promising student in computer science in Madagascar, I thought a yes to the call would only hinder the bright career I had dreamt of for so long.
I was brought up in a nominal Christian home by a single military father. My mother had passed away when I was only six years old. “Discipline” and “excellence” were the words I heard repeated the most as I grew up. I became self-dependent until the day I heard God say to me, “Serge, you cannot do anything apart from me!”
After some inner struggles, I gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ in July 1996. Shortly after that, I heard Him calling me to the mission field.
At university, I met a strong Christian girl, Olivia, whom I married in December 2002. Interestingly, she had the same call for missions and hoped to serve God through translation and interpreting, her areas of study.
We prayed about missions while preparing for married life, but I was not at all convinced that one day I would become a missionary. God persevered, though, and was very patient with me. It took eight long years from the time I had heard the bell ringing, calling me, to accept serving God full-time
In October 2000, the year Olivia and I met, she traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, to attend a Christian retreat. There, she happened to sit next to Wycliffe worker Nancy Bagge on a bus. God worked through their conversation, and Nancy connected Olivia with two Wycliffe men in Nairobi. They informed her that a project to translate the Bible into some languages in Madagascar would start the following year. In June 2001, Olivia was invited by Katy Barnwell, who had initiated the project, to attend the first workshop and she gladly joined the teams.
I still didn’t find any interest in joining Olivia in this work until a year later, in September 2002, when I served with the project during my annual leave. By then, Olivia knew for sure that Bible translation was the field where God had called her. And as the years went by, God increased my interest and confirmed that He needed both of us to serve Him full-time in Bible translation.
As our desire to serve God increased, so did our fear of leaving everything behind, especially our “financial security”—our well-paying jobs. It took us two years to decide to join Wycliffe. As soon as we accepted God’s offer in early 2004, He sent another dose of peace and joy, adding to what we already felt. Olivia’s family was very supportive, while mine thought I had lost my mind!
We first went back to school for more training at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology and we both eventually graduated with an MA, yet not knowing what would come next.
In the course of the two-year program, Wycliffe Africa built a relationship with us. We realized then that God had already prepared the way for us. He next saw us through our membership process. We are currently serving our Congolese brothers and sisters in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. I am the Language Programs Team Leader and Olivia is a Translation Consultant in Training. I also serve as a Language Software Consultant in Training. I am also doing computer support (computer setup and software installation, computer repair, advice, purchase, etc.) until needed IT personnel arrive.
I am really busy right now—working for God in Bible translation support. Glory be to Him alone!
Originally published by JAARS in Rev. 7, Every Nation People Language, Spring 2009.
Download image from this story