“I got involved in my profession as a civil engineer mainly because I liked math and science,” said Charles*. “I liked the idea of being able to point to a building and 10, 20, 30 years down the road being able to say, ‘I worked on that building.’”
After high school, Charles went on a short-term missions trip, where he felt God leading him to pursue fulltime ministry overseas. However, with his college plans already lined up, he struggled. “I felt that it was either-or,” he shared. He didn’t think he could earn his degree in civil engineering and follow God’s plan for his life.
But Charles’ mentors and people at his church encouraged him to pursue his education, noting that a degree could open doors in the future. “From the first day on campus, I had confirmation after confirmation after confirmation that getting a college degree was the right thing,” he said.
“God used that time at university to build me up and to strengthen me as well as prepare me to go into a place where doors aren’t open for traditional overseas missionaries.”
Today, Charles is a construction manager in the Middle East—“basically doing the same thing I was doing in America,” he noted. But now, the majority of his coworkers are Muslim.
“My job is my ministry,” he emphasized. He develops natural relationships with his colleagues by driving around work sites together, sharing lunches and visiting each other’s homes. This is the essence of OM’s Marketplace Worker initiative, empowering ordinary christians to share the Gospel in some of the least-reached countries of the world.
“I have many opportunities to interject truth into conversations with guys at work and basically share my life with them and allow them to see that I am different.”
A coworker came to Charles’ desk one day and asked if he had ever heard of the music group on his phone. “Sure, I’ve definitely heard of Hillsong United,” Charles said.
Later that day, when they were visiting a jobsite, the man played the same song over Bluetooth, its lyrics echoing through the truck: All I need is You, Lord, is You, Lord…
When Hillsong United scheduled a concert in the Middle East, Charles bought two tickets and invited his coworker. His coworker told Charles he couldn’t go because he didn’t have a cross necklace.
“Dude, I don’t have a cross necklace!” Charles responded.
“Yeah,” his coworker replied. “Yours is in your heart.”
“It blew me away that he recognized that I carry Jesus in my heart,” Charles shared.
“I feel blessed that I can combine my passion for civil engineering…with getting to be a witness for Jesus, getting to shine truth and shine light in dark places and building relationships with Muslims.”
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