Meet Iris – A Grad from South Asia
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 going to church, I was saved when I was six years old and I can remember telling my mom that I wanted to be a missionary. I don’t even know where I got that vocabulary or where it started. I just knew I wanted to go and tell people about Jesus.
Q: How did you find out about Cafe 1040's program?
A: I had heard about Cafe 1040 and I knew I wanted something longer than a week trip. When I found out it was in the 10/40 window I learned more about why you are there and it made me want to go even more! I met a guy at Passion conference at 2016, he was a grad from North Africa and he was the one that told me about Cafe1040. He said that he would connect me with a mobilizer and he did.
Q: Why did you choose your location for overseas?
A: I prayed about it for a long time. I didn’t have preference. The more I prayed about it and thought about the locations and after talking to my mentor, and praying, I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. The Lord directed my steps towards South Asia.
Q: What did you enjoy most about your time there and with our program?
A: I enjoyed the entire program, but one of the coolest things was that I was in the darkest place, but having such an intimate relationship with the Lord. I was stripped of all comforts; it was just me and the Lord.
Q: What was most encouraging for you during our 3-month program?
A: My mentor with Cafe 1040 was the most encouraging thing for me. I couldn’t imagine going through those three months without my mentor. It was awesome to learn, grow and be celebrated by someone. I had never had anything like that before. They were able to ask my challenging questions.
Q: What was the most challenging thing for you?
A: One of the most challenging things that I didn’t think would be hard was getting over homesickness. It was a different type of homesickness. It was challenging when I was missing my family that I couldn’t just call them or Face Time them. I had to figure out how to be present where I was when I was there. It was so encouraging to be with the team. We were built stronger because of each other.
Q: What surprised you most about the culture?
A: I was shocked how Western the younger generation is. They enjoyed coffee shops, they dressed like me. It was cool to see the balance of the traditional culture and a newer modern culture.
Q: Tell me about any relationships you created with locals.
A: There was a lady that lived right under us. One day she invited us in and I had been praying that the Lord would open a door so that I could speak to someone. The next day she invited us in. I thought I would be in there for 5 minutes, but we were there for 2 hours. She welcomed us and wanted to know about me and tell me about who she was. We saw her almost everyday. It was cool to be able to pray for her specifically knowing a little bit about her.
Q: Did this experience give you more clarity and confidence on your calling? How?
A: There was a moment in the summer that I was like, “I can do this.” This feels like home. I feel homesick for South Asia now! It’s a really cool balance. It definitely gave me clarity. I have confidence to say yes. I don’t know what else I would want to do other than tell people who Jesus is. Cafe 1040 gave me that confidence to say I know I can live there, survive and enjoy it.
Q: If you could summarize Cafe 1040 into one sentence, how would you summarize our program?
A: Cafe 1040’s program allowed me to taste and see what long-term missions is and help me to say yes!