Year abroad reflections

Emma Whitmarsh

I’m so thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to serve God in a foreign context and for the many lessons I’ve learned along the way. It’s been a real encouragement to know that my friends and family back home have partnered with me in this work for God’s kingdom by faithfully reading prayer letters, praying and sending messages. 

Living and working in a foreign language and culture is quite humbling. I tend to be quite a perfectionist but I’ve been constantly reminded that I am far from perfect and cannot reach perfection - and that’s ok! I can depend on God who is perfect and loving and equips me to do all that he has called me to. So when I feel unqualified or not good enough by my standards, I can remember that God strengthens me and gives me the privilege of being able to serve him effectively even when I don’t feel up to it. In fact, it’s in our weakness that God’s power and enabling shine through the most. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)

There have been difficult times: I thank God for the reassurance that he is sovereign and loving and is using my circumstances to conform me more and more to the image of his Son (Romans 5:1-5, 8:28-30). He will equip me to accomplish all that he has called me to. Admittedly that is not always easy to remember! Perhaps many of you are going through difficult times too - so let’s pray for each other as we strive to honour God no matter the circumstances. Pray that I will trust God and walk obediently by faith, joyfully persevering in order to give glory to God. 

In the many ups and downs of my year abroad, I have seen God’s constant faithfulness. He has kept me and strengthened me throughout so that I may continue to live for him joyfully. Praise God that the joy he gives isn’t dependent on emotions or circumstances. Let’s all continue to serve him wholeheartedly wherever he has placed us.

Emma Whitmarsh used her year abroad as part of her languages degree to serve a church in Belgium. Read more about what she got up to or find out how you can do the same.