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Getting to Know…Esta Felder

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Esta* is an RMM worker who has lived and worked in the Middle East for the past twelve years. She will be coming back to the U.S. for a home assignment from June to September. We hope the following interview will help you become better acquainted with Esta and her unique ministry in the Middle East.

Where are you from in the U.S.? How do you stay connected with your family, friends, and supporting church after being gone so long?

I lived in New York City for twenty years and still consider my home church to be there. But while figuring out how to make this calling a reality I moved to the town my sister lived in at the time, which was Seeley Lake, Montana. I didn’t grow up there but during the two years I spent there, Mission Bible Fellowship became my home church. They have been supportive from the beginning and even though I was only in their congregation for those two years, they have remained faithful in their prayer and financial support more than ten years later. I send them monthly updates, and every furlough I spend a week there speaking in church, at ladies luncheons and Bible studies, and also spend time socializing. They are always a huge encouragement to me. God put a deep connection between us that doesn’t seem to diminish.

What is the heart of what you are doing in your country?

My goal is to spread God’s Word through the plays I write. We have the promise that when the Word of God goes out, it does not come back empty. I research every play as if I were writing a sermon. It’s important that every play comes straight from the Bible or carry a message that comes straight from the Bible.

What is a project you are doing right now?

It’s a play with five actors about patience. When we’re impatient, it’s like we’re trying to jerk our lives out of the hands of the Father. We don’t believe or acknowledge that our times are in his hands and it’s him we are waiting on. It’s at those moments we either reflect God’s glory or we reflect our own will by throwing a fit because we’re not getting our own way. This is a play about that.

What parts of your life and work do you find the most challenging?

The most challenging part would definitely be casting the plays and setting the rehearsals. There are about 14 million people in the city I live in and it is quite spread out. Travel can take up to two hours one way for some of the actors to get to rehearsal. These are young people with full-time jobs, and/or school, so to make a commitment to be in a play is not easy for them. And organizing it is not easy for me.

What is the most different aspect of the culture you live in versus your home culture?

To avoid being rude, people tend to tell you what they think you want to hear. Also, appearances are more important than reality. This causes more problems than if they were just realistic and honest, especially when you’re trying to organize something!

What is something that the culture has taught you and that you want to internalize?

This country is famous for hospitality. I’d like to internalize that more. I’m not someone who likes to host people–ever. As an introvert I think that’s okay sometimes, but at the same time it would be nice if it could rub off on me more.

What is the typical way you get around?

I am blessed to live near the subway. I can take the subway and change to the tramline or ferry to get almost anywhere. The buses are to be avoided if possible because traffic is so bad most of the time you can be stuck for hours.

What are some of your favorite things to do for fun?

The most relaxing thing I enjoy doing is taking a long walk along the channel with friends. It’s the one place in my city where there are sidewalks. There are places to stop and eat or just have a coffee. And the view is beautiful. Otherwise, going to concerts is another thing we love to do.

What your favorite local food?

It’s a dish called Beti. It’s lamb wrapped in dough and served with yogurt, tomatoes and peppers.

What is the most recent prayer that God has answered in your life?

I was praying that the next play, the one about patience that I mentioned earlier, would go smoothly. The day of rehearsal I got the dreaded text—an actor dropped out. Someone in the family was sick (the most common reason). I prayed about what to do. God gave me another play that fit, with some re-writing, the number and gender of actors that were already coming. Even though they had put in the work for the original play, they graciously switched gears. So now we’re doing a different play, shorter and not the one I planned, but clearly the one God wanted. And I got to practice what I was preaching.

Esta, thank you for serving God so faithfully where you live. We are excited to hear your stories about how your plays are impacting people and about the many opportunities that he is giving you. We are praying for you! Thanks for sharing your life with us.

*Name changed and country name omitted for security reasons.