Therapist’s skills are doors to hidden hearts
By Kerry Allan | Middle East
The Middle East is culturally complex, politically sensitive and uncertain, but faith conversations come readily for those, like SIM’s Faithful Witness worker Kate*, willing to invest time in relationships.
Faithful Witness sends workers to places where people have little or no opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus. Kate is currently the only one of their 52 workers across the world serving the Middle East where she uses her skills as an occupational therapist to slowly build relationships with mothers and work out how best to tell them about Jesus.
Kate has been serving in the Middle East for more than 20 years. In June 2022, though, she handed over the baton of leading a team in one country to move to a new location in a big city, where there are some Christian believers.
Kate partners with workers from other mission organisations already there, who can help open doors for her ministry, and she’s currently exploring partnering with a training centre.
“The centre’s taught English for many years and has a very good reputation,” she explains. “The couple who run the centre are now very open to using it for other types of training and we plan to run seminars for parents of children with autism.
“Eventually, we’d like to extend the training to staff at locally-run centres for children with learning difficulties and that would provide us with easy access into the community where relationships can be built up and go ‘beyond the business’,” she adds.
And while Kate’s excited to see how God will lead her in her cross-cultural ministry, she admits being a little daunted by the prospect of being labelled an expert.
“It’s very different from my morphed roles that I’ve become accustomed to, such as play therapist, physio, activity provider, family entertainer and counsellor!”
However, Kate is always happiest when she has plenty of children in her life and, since relocating, she’s connected with lots of children with special needs, especially those with autism, during visits to kindergartens linked to churches and on home visits.
“I have the privilege of seeing children who are kept hidden or at least out of the public eye. Mums here often feel they are to blame for their child’s special needs and frequently feel a deep shame.
“The parents notice and comment on how I interact with their children and this is such a great opportunity to share something of the source of my love and to pray that they get to see their children as our heavenly father sees them.”
•For new team members to join Kate and help her ministry flourish.
•For more ways and opportunities to get visas to stay on the field.
•For wisdom as Kate prepares to train parents and professionals.
* Name changed for privacy.