You never know when God will tap on your shoulder…
I received an email recently from someone in a closed country who has been sharing with a woman and her husband. The woman wants to attend a UT PhD program, and my correspondent was directed to me by someone who knew of our faculty fellowship. The writer was looking for believing faculty to assist in the application process and ultimately to continue sharing with the couple upon their arrival.
In this case, I became involved simply because I am the contact person for our faculty fellowship. If no one knew me as a believer, then I would have missed out. Who knows that you are a servant of Christ? There are times and places where it is wise to be undercover, but rarely should we be undercover from each other.
When I travelled in grad school, my advisor was always amazed that I never needed a hotel because there were always brothers in Christ with whom I could stay. I may not have known them personally, but all I needed to do was find out a contact at our sister church on that campus or in that city, and they came through with some guys who had a couch or extra bed. Just that was a witness to my advisor.
As faculty members, we don’t have to travel the world to have a global impact. The Lord has placed His people throughout the world, so that we can work together in all places. As folks with whom we minister move on, we can prepare a place for them when they land by contacting believers there, and even provide support along the way. This is how our body works—transporting needed resources to their destination and getting some types of cells to the right place. It only makes sense that the church does the same—moving or receiving people that all may be supported in times of need.
There are many ministries who desperately want to partner with Christian faculty. When we travel, we have a platform internationally that few do. It is surprising how open we as faculty can be, even in closed countries, just because we are scholars, especially from American universities. We have more freedom to be light abroad than we often do at home. Also, when international Christian faculty come to the States to study or speak, they want to have fellowship with believing colleagues here. What a wonderful blessing to find someone in your field from across the world with whom you will also share eternity. Talk about a long-lasting collaboration!
If you are an undercover academic, I exhort and encourage you to contact Faculty Commons or other faculty ministry, just to let them know you are there. They can often tell you of other Christians on your campus or in your area, can provide resources for encouraging you in your walk, and provide a conduit for you to have a global impact with your faith.