Meet Caleb - A Grad from North Africa
Q: Give us a little background about your testimony/story and how that led you to looking for an organization like Cafe 1040.
A: I grew up in cultural Christian home in South Georgia and became a committed follower of Jesus after my freshmen year of college. I ended up reading a book called Insanity of God. God used that book to help plant the desire in me toward missions. After reading that book I started to look into what missions was. Shortly after I moved to Athens and became involved in Wesley Foundation and the Wesley 10/40 group within the organization that was a partnership between Cafe 1040 and Wesley.
Q: How did you find out about Cafe 1040's program?
A: I had already been exposed to Cafe 1040 through friends who had been through the program. I was able to hear their testimony of what he program was like and it was really encouraging. I really trusted those people.
Q: Why did you choose Cafe 1040 over other programs or organizations?
A: I trusted the friends and their experiences with Cafe 1040. I had no intentions of going, but was encouraged by others to go through Cafe 1040. One of Cafe 1040’s missions mobilizers was able to mentor and guide me toward the decision. I went into the meeting thinking I was going to say no, but left the meeting with a yes on the table.
Q: What overseas experience, if any, did you have before going through Cafe 1040's program?
A: I had been to Asia and Haiti, but both were week-long trips. One was for a missions conference with Pioneers. I was there to facilitate a summer camp for missionary kids. It was a great experience to learn what it looked like to grow up in a different culture as a third culture kid.
Q: Why did you choose your location for overseas?
A: I chose North Africa out of a desire to potentially live and develop relationships long-term with Muslims. I had to opportunity to befriend internationals during my time in Athens and had already cultivated a few relationships with Muslim friends and I wanted to learn more about the Arab worldview.
Q: What was most encouraging for you during our 3-month program?
A: The experiences I received through the guidance of the team leaders in North Africa prepared me in such a way we knew what was coming, but also we didn’t know what was coming. It includes the emotional aspect, and the preparation and the intensions of their leadership. They took us to places of why this happened, why they chose to do things the way they do and as Christians, how do we respond.
Q: Describe an experience you had that impacted the way you thought about missions.
A: We spent some time away from our city for about a week and it was a really difficult week. It was actually one of the most difficult weeks of my life. Being secluded in this place. I was not just away from family and friends and things that were comfortable. We were away from our team leaders and language as well. We were confused with our interactions with locals in our homestays. We walked away from that week highly discouraged, but we were equipped, consoled and we continued again. They mentored and prepared us for that spiritually. We were given great guidance and direction. This is a takeaway you can build on.
Q: Tell me about any relationships you created with locals.
A: The ease and the freedom that you have to go up to people. People want to talk to Americans. It’s a blessing that we cannot take for granted. It was easy to go into most any setting and ask for directions, ask for advice on what to order and people would be eager to jump into conversation with us. Especially if they knew English, they wanted to practice with us. We would practice the language and we were learning with them. We were able to ease into relationships with locals centered around language and it was very organic. We were walking through a neighborhood and a lady walked outside of her home and asked if we were Americans and she invited us to come inside. We were able to meet her family and see her home.
Q: Did this experience give you more clarity and confidence on your calling? How?
A: Yes, I did. I was pretty much 100% set on going long-term before my semester with Cafe 1040. I wanted to learn, grow and develop as a Christ follower in an overseas context. It was affirming and equipping on how I want to go one day. I am fully aware of what all goes into being sent well.
Q: Would you recommend Cafe 1040’s program to others/friends? Why?
A: Yes, I recommended to people before I went and I would absolutely recommend the program to friends.
Q: If you could summarize Cafe 1040 into one sentence, how would you summarize our program?
A: Cafe 1040 does a great job preparing you for long-term missions and it equips you in areas of life that you did not know you needed to be prepared for.
Q: What would you tell someone who is considering Cafe 1040?
A: There are lot of options for your summer, fall or spring whether it be an internship with your local church or a part-time job, but there are very few things that will equip you and be as beneficial as going overseas with Cafe 1040.