Editor’s Note: This is another installment in our “Single and…” series where we will interview singles from all walks of life. It is our hope that you are encouraged by the stories of people who have a similar journey as you, who share the same dreams you have, who face the same hurdles you do, and who can remind you that you are not alone.
Everyone gets asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Amanda Brock could’ve answered that question easily: She wanted to go to medical school and become a pediatric surgeon. She had no idea the adventure her life would one day become.
Amanda has had the opportunity to serve on the volleyball court at her university, in the jungles of Peru, in a country ravaged by war in the Middle East, in the Sahel of West Africa, and many other places in between. It’s an adventure that she’s thankful for on most days and other days…not so much.
She’s living a long way from her home state of Texas, but we caught up with her recently to get a glimpse of what it’s like to be single and on the mission field. Here’s what she had to say:
Tell us a little bit about where you’re serving and what your ministry looks like.
Amanda: I’m serving in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. Burkina is a small land-locked country, about the size of Colorado, in West Africa. Bobo is the second largest city in the country, but feels more like a large village. The people are friendly, the driving crazy, the roads pothole-y, and there are sheep, goats and donkeys EVERYWHERE! I truly love it here.
My team and I are here to share the gospel with a people group that is considered unreached, the Jula. My work has extended beyond just that group alone, though. I live in a growing city and my time gets spent with many friends from a variety of different people groups. Day-to-day life would find me in the courts of my friends catching up on their lives and continuing with our Bible story set.
Everyone loves to hear a story, so that is the easiest way to share the gospel here. Another aspect of my ministry is encouraging our Baptist churches in town. Discipleship is something that is lacking here, so it is my desire to deepen our churches understanding of the gospel so that they are equipped to go and share for themselves. It’s a process! And this year, we hope to begin doing Ebola education in our village churches so that when Ebola arrives in Burkina, the people have an idea of how to best respond and protect themselves.
How did the Lord lead you to Africa?
Amanda: That’s a loaded question! And maybe one I’m still trying to figure out. When I started the process of going with my organization, I wanted to be back in South America (where I had lived for two years). However, that was not where the Lord was opening doors. It took close to two years to match me with a job. It was during this time that the Lord was really chipping away at me. I was slowly learning to let go of the things I wanted and the conditions I was placing on God’s call and beginning to trust his leading…wherever that may lead. Well, it led to West Africa and to Burkina Faso—a place I had heard of maybe once in my life. He definitely took me on the roundabout way, but I am thankful for the journey thus far.
Tell us a little bit about what your community looks like there.
Amanda: I have been blessed with an incredible community here in Bobo. I have a team of 3 other single girls and a mission community made up of both singles and families. They have been my lifelines. We do holidays together, study the Word together and just live life together. It is an amazing thing. One family in particular has welcomed me in as one of their own. It is nice to have a place to belong and to have people that love you on the good days and the bad.
Do you think your singleness makes your calling more or less complicated?
Amanda: Yes. It definitely has its complicated moments. Being a single female in a Muslim part of the world and in a place where women aren’t viewed highly makes ministry very difficult. But, being a single allows families to welcome us in as part of their family. It has opened many doors to share the message through stories.
What has been both your greatest struggle and your greatest joy while living on the mission field?
Amanda: From a ministry perspective, one of the greatest struggles and sources of frustration is the culture. There are days it just seems like an uphill battle and that you’ll never get through to them. Their way of life is so entrenched in the culture they have grown up in and it dictates how they do life and how they view things. One of the greatest joys is seeing the Lord break through the walls that their cultural way of thinking has built. To journey with friends as they hear the truth, process it all for themselves, see things that need to be changed to line up with Scripture and then to put them in practice. It is a huge joy.
On a more personal note, I come from a big family. So being half a world away from the ones I love with all my heart takes its toll. It is a huge struggle to stay here some days. However, while that struggle is very real that Lord has been so good to surround me with others. And to see the Body of Christ function out here is such an amazing thing.
Do you know someone who is single and on the mission field? Will you email them this post to encourage them?