The long-term short-termer

25 Aug, 2017 | Turkey
Megan R.
Short-term OMer Sandy (right) practices guitar with a member of the TACO team.
“Going on a short-term trip expands your mind, your prayer life and your world,” says short-term OMer Sandy*, from the US.

Sandy knows this better than most, as she’s done about 25 short-term trips to Turkey over the course of 31 years. At the beginning, her trips lasted about a month at a time. Then she increased it to three months at a time. This year, she has committed to spending nine months in Turkey.

How does she manage to take so much time off from her nursing job in the States?

“Everybody has vacation, right?” she smiles. As she’s become older and more financially secure, she’s also increased the time she spends serving on the field.

God gave Sandy a heart for Turkey when her husband’s job with the military took them there for two years. She wanted to share the gospel with people but wasn’t sure how to start. That’s when she met some long-term OMers who put her to work using whatever skills she had.

Sandy’s creative skills have allowed her to help with ministries like music outreach and painting. Recently she’s been helping refugee children express themselves through art. She also plans to paint a mural of Noah’s Ark and the rainbow at the children’s centre to represent hope after the storm.

But on a more practical side, she’s also helped with nursing clinics, earthquake relief and even washing dishes and cooking meals for a Turkish church retreat.

Although her Turkish is limited, she gives tracts to every waiter, taxi driver and shopkeeper she meets, and she always carries an extra Bible in her purse.

“When I was a new believer I’d hear, ‘Pray for these guys in Ukraine, these guys in Poland, these guys in Mexico...I couldn’t follow up on all those prayers,” she confesses. “So, I adopted this country, and I saw myself as an intercessor. I know this country. I know these cities and these people. I know the ministries here. I’m always praying for them, and I can see the fruit of my prayers and my labours that way.”

The more Sandy prayed and saw the country’s needs and needs of the long-term workers, the more she saw what she could do to help.

“[Long-termers] need encouragement; they need support,” she shares. “When they see me, they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, the world hasn’t forgotten us.’”

Since long-termers have a better grasp of the language, she says, short-termers can help by doing some of the smaller tasks to free up their time.

“The pastor shouldn’t be waiting on tables,” she says. “There are all sorts of those ‘waiting on tables’ jobs like carrying equipment, painting the church, helping with children’s programmes, that free up the long-termers to go and have conversations.”

Since she’s spent so much time in Turkey, some people have questioned why she doesn’t just become a long-termer herself?

“I think it’s valuable to come for a few months at a time because then you can be an ambassador at home as well,” she explains. “I have so many opportunities to share with people, including non-believers, about what I’m doing.”

She has also opened the doors for her church in the States to bring teams to Turkey to serve. She hopes some of these short-term trips will lead to long-term calls.

“Our pastor brought his whole family with four daughters,” she shared. “What a cool family vacation! You’re serving and you’re seeing cool places. We should always be thinking of serving God. I wouldn’t want to use my vacation any other way.”

*Name changed

Credit: Megan R. · © 2017 OM International This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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