Annabel Marlin* is the youngest in her family, who served as Trinity’s representatives in Kenya. At the age of ten, while helping her mother stuff envelopes for their newsletter to supporters she asked, “Why don’t you sign the letter with all of our names? We are all in this together.”
Yet when she came to the U.S. for college, Annabel struggled with what it meant to be “called.” She loved adventure, travel, and for a while contemplated being an MAF pilot. She made numerous vision trips with Trinity Church to Mexico, and visited Honduras, Romania, and the Bahamas. Missions had become part of her DNA, but she struggled to find what her career “niche” would be.
Between high school and college she attended a Perspectives class when Trinity partnered with the River Church in Redlands. She began to understand God’s worldview and missions, and found that missions is not just a philosophy, or a way of life, but that being a missionary requires stewardship and accountability.
In college, Annabel studied International Business believing that this skill could be used in any part of the world. Then she had an opportunity to go to Florida for seven months to be part of an “intentional training team” that focused on church planting. The team lived together in an apartment complex meeting weekly for church, Bible study, and outreach. At one point they actually had a Muslim and a Hindu meeting with them, and in the end gave a Bible to each in their mother tongue.
Since that time, God has given Annabel the desire of her heart. She is now working in the Arab world and is strengthened in her faith by the ancient heroes of the book of Hebrews. Their stories of faith tell her that God will see her through, they help her benchmark her faith, and they inspire her.
For Annabel it meant being flexible and being willing to change direction. The prison ministry she started working with involved teaching women a marketable skill that would provide a livelihood for them when released from prison. Annabel then chose English Consultancy which provided new avenues of service. She started a reading club that meets two or three times a month in her apartment. This venture facilitated both discussion and nurtured friendships where she can model the Christian life on her turf. As a stranger in a foreign country (Hebrews 11:9), Annabel by faith made her home in this distant land.
She loves to communicate and is diligent in learning Arabic, but there were some unexpected cultural adjustments, such as being misunderstood, being lonely, and learning the ways of the business culture. Arab shopkeepers close their shops every afternoon. However, not all keep the same hours, which can be frustrating. She also found that ethics in the host country often exacerbate issues such as the value of honesty vs. face-saving, which caused her to lean heavily upon (Hebrews 12:1)… run the race with perseverance. Time and prayer brought peace. God was faithful.
She lives in a small rural town where many of the streets are unpaved. The buildings are made of cinder block that tend to either trap the heat in the summer or the cold of winter, which reminds her that in heaven God is the architect and builder (Hebrews 12:10). Her diet consists of potatoes, vegetables, couscous and occasionally chicken. She is thankful to have electricity and running water. Annabel walks most places, but can go by bus or taxi to the capital about three hours away. Although she has adapted to wearing clothing appropriate to the Arab world there are times when young men use vulgar language to harass her, and there have been times when being followed has caused her heart to beat with alarm!
Her prayer is that the message of hope will be received since God has something better planned, and together with us, they will be made perfect, and by faith Annabel will continue to let her light shine for the Arab world.
* Name changed for security
By June Hedlund