“The Lord spoke very clearly to me. It was time to leave South Africa,” Jenny recalls. But her husband Williams wasn’t so sure. South Africa was their home. They had great friends, their kids were in good schools, and they had their hands full at their church.
Life was good. But in her heart, Jenny knew God was preparing them to for a new chapter. But how? And where?
One year later, Williams had a dream. “I was working in the medical industry, in a hospital, and being shown around by a guy named Dan,” he remembers. “My old friend from my school days, Omar, was also there.”
Now, there were a few things wrong with this dream. First of all, Williams had only ever worked in IT recruiting and human resources-type roles. The medical industry wasn’t anywhere on his career résumé or radar for that matter. Secondly, Omar’s presence in the dream was odd. Williams had grown up Muslim and had Muslim friends, but it had been ages since he had seen Omar.
Unsure what it all meant, Jenny and Williams began looking outside South Africa for new opportunities.
“The list was actually Canada or the Netherlands,” Jenny explains. They had friends from church in both places, so they planned a trip to the Netherlands, “just to check it out.”
Shortly after their arrival, COVID-19 shut the world down. What started as a 10-day trip turned into a 34-day stay as borders on both sides closed.
“Those 34 days was a time of really soul searching and praying,” Jenny shares. “Father, do you want us to leave South Africa and is the Netherlands the place for us?” they prayed.
Only three things did they know for certain:
“We don’t have the luxury of tourist visas for one year,” Jenny explains. And financially, living off of support or savings just wasn’t feasible because of the currency exchange. So, they prayed, dreamt, and researched.
“I don’t even know what I Googled,” Jenny chuckles. “I had no idea about Scatter Global but somehow, I came across the website.”
Scatter had everything they were looking for: the why behind what God was telling them to do, opportunities overseas, and it was job-centered. Jenny’s only hesitation was seeing the many available jobs in the Middle East - and she had no plans to move there.
Both Jenny and Williams had run away from everything Islam.
Williams grew up Muslim, but when he was 15 years old he noticed a change in his mom. “There was a joy in her that wasn’t there before,” he remembers. She had become a Jesus follower and shortly after, so did he.
“What I found in Jesus was so real, I never found that in a mosque,” Williams explains. “And I’ve never looked back.”
Choosing Jesus wasn’t an easy decision. Williams lost friendships and was even disowned by his family, but he fell in love with the presence of God and God’s word.
Jenny, on the other hand, grew up Catholic in faith, but culturally Muslim. Her grandmother was from the Middle East and kept the Islamic traditions and culture. So, when Jenny became a Jesus follower and chose to leave the Catholic church, they didn’t understand.
“My family could have understood me turning to Islam, but they didn’t understand this journey I was on,” she says.
Jenny was also disowned and kicked out. It’s only in recent years that relationships have begun to be restored.
So, while both Jenny and Williams were familiar with Islam and the Muslim culture and traditions, they had no real desire to move to that region of the world. God, however, had other plans.
“No, no, no, no,” Jenny was adamant. She did not see herself in the Middle East. “I loved Europe,” she said. “But it was in Europe, where the Lord started putting Muslims on my heart.”
During that month of lockdown in the Netherlands, Jenny started regularly seeing Muslim women and their children in the neighborhood park. Catching each other’s eye, they would exchange greetings and start chatting. Soon, Jenny wanted to connect on a deeper level with these women.
Meanwhile, Scatter Global’s recruiting partner had found Williams a potential job as the head of HR in the healthcare industry. He impressed during the interview and was offered the job. Five months later, contracts were signed and visa paperwork processed – Jenny, Williams, and their two kids were moving to the Middle East.
Those first few months were anything but easy, but God confirmed time and time again this was indeed the right step.
Remember that dream Williams had back in South Africa?
Well, here he was working as the head of HR for a large hospital when one day he was flipping through some old manuscripts when he noticed the name of a former CEO: His name was Dan – the same Dan who was showing him around the hospital in his dream. This was the confirmation Williams needed that yes - they were in exactly the right place.
And later, Jenny and Williams began working with an Arabic tutor to better learn the language and connect with their new neighbors and colleagues. The day they met their new tutor’s husband, they smiled at God’s goodness.
“Her husband’s name is Omar,” Jenny says, “just like in the dream. And we’ve all become good mates.”
Maybe you haven’t had a dream spark an international career move quite like Jenny and Williams. However, if you’ve ever thought about taking a global job or just wondered if God could use your life and work for a kingdom impact, our team would love to speak with you!
To learn more about available global jobs, connect with a coach on a 10-minute Discovery Call today!
Read more of Williams and Jenny’s story as they unpack their journey of working and building a life in the Middle East:
Written by Kristin Boyd