'In Australia, there's spiritual need. People usually have everything they need, but no rest'
Emmah’s story | Doing mission work, the other way around
“I grew up in a village in Kenya. When I was seven years old, I had an encounter with God. I was in a room by myself, singing a song that I’d learned at Sunday school. Suddenly the room was filled with the awesome presence of God. I started crying. It was so peaceful.”
“I said, ‘God, I know you’re real, and you’re here. I know you love me. Please forgive me.’
“It was a life-changing moment. Afterwards, I told my mum and she looked at me – she didn’t seem to understand my experience. From that day on, though, I knew that God existed. I had a passionate desire to serve him.
“After school, I went to university in Nairobi and I studied commerce. I still recall God providing for me miraculously. It was an expensive university, and I wondered how to pay the school fees. One day, the financial aid officer called me, out of the blue, and said she felt strongly that the university should give me a scholarship. I didn’t even know the university gave scholarships!
“During those years at university, God started speaking to me about Australia. I don’t know why he did. All I knew about Australia was in Home and Away and Neighbours. But God’s voice was so clear to me. He said, ‘I have work for you to do in Australia.’
“I knew it was God’s voice and leading, but I put it aside for a long time. I met my husband and married him. We had three kids. I got a good job working for the Kenyan government in gender issues and then for the United Nations. My husband worked as an architect. We were settled in our own home. We were very happy. I really, really love Africa! There is so much work to do in Africa. At the same time, one of my colleagues was from Melbourne. He said, ‘Stay in Kenya! People are so happy and friendly here!’
“I agreed with him, but God kept putting Australia on my heart. I tried to put it off. Then God said it was time. Everything came together. Our pastor in Kenya went to Australia and he came back and asked my husband and I whether we would consider going to Australia to do mission work.
“I resigned from my job with the UN. We started preparing. We went to Bible College. God was working in our hearts. It’s funny because normally people come from Australia and Europe to Africa for mission. We were being led the other way around. God kept saying to us that he wanted us to partner with him in what he was already doing in Australia.
“We arrived here in December 2017, with nine suitcases. We had no jobs, but we had visas and we found a rental place and my husband found a job in architecture. Our kids settled in school. It felt like God was working in miraculous ways. We experienced a lot of kindness in Australia. The people here are very kind to foreigners.
“After some months, God started giving me opportunities to partner with the churches. I now work with Greater West for Christ. There is so much spiritual need in Australia. When missionaries go to Africa, they often provide food and medical assistance, because there is physical need. It’s different the other way around.
“In Australia, there is spiritual need. People usually have everything they need, but they don’t have rest or quietness. There is restlessness and anxiety and depression. People are seeking happiness in having things or doing things. They’re often putting their confidence in their own abilities. But we have to realise we can’t do everything and we must depend on God. We can’t solve all our problems and we must put our confidence in God!
“In Exodus, Pharaoh said to Moses, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him?” (5:2). Pharaoh had also created a system that was very efficient, and he thought he didn’t need God. But it can never work. It’s an idol of self. We must find our rest and peace and confidence in God. That’s what I feel called to share.
“There are so many opportunities to serve God’s people in Australia! I love this nation.”