One South Asian village, near to where I live, suffers from high levels of fluoride in the groundwater. This has caused stunted growth and bone deformation among many children, to the extent that some cannot even walk. After teaching the villagers about the problem, equipping them with testing kits and filters, and facilitating a community garden with plants full of important minerals, the health of many children has started to improve. One boy who previously could not stand up can now walk.
As an environmental engineer I find natural opportunities to share my faith, gain trust and bless the community. When I conduct community water surveys, I meet families who invite me into their homes. One particular family I visited was delighted when I prayed over them the Numbers 6:24-26 blessing
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
in their language before leaving their home. I can use these open doors to look for people of peace who are interested in hearing about the Good News. It’s a joy to give God glory not only through my testimony but also through meaningful scientific work.
We run a chemical supply company that works with manufacturers of metal ornaments. Over the past 6 years, through this company, we have developed many natural relationships among a previously un-engaged people group we intend to reach.
We are able to give real benefit to our customers by offering healthy, environmentally friendly chemistry solutions. We have been influential in seeing several companies giving up harmful practices. It’s just a drop in the ocean when dealing with issues in a developing country, but every bit helps. It’s a privilege to be a voice and catalyst for change. It’s also great to bring technical expertise into a relationship. Our technical knowledge is something our clients respect and that respect carries over when sharing things of eternal value. It can be a struggle to balance business, family and ministry, so we have found it takes a team of people working together with a variety of gifts. For us this includes business skills, scientific knowledge and ministry giftings. When you have a good team, the benefits of business and technical training are great. We are able to visit neighborhoods and be in homes to share the good news of Jesus because of the doors that opened up to us. Even last week we were able to meet the mayor of a nearby city and pray for him.
Roger, what’s your scientific field and why are you passionate about it?
I’ve had opportunities to love and care for Muslims across this region through my scientific research in coral reef ecology. Coral reefs are places where God’s beauty and glory shine – or at least it used to. Increasingly, through overfishing, pollution and climate change, the world’s coral reefs are dying. The vast majority of coral reefs in the Indian Ocean are found along the coasts of the majority of Muslim countries. From Indonesia to East Africa, reefs are important for providing protection from storm damage and also as a food source.
How does your work as a scientist connect with your desire to share the gospel?
At first I saw it simply as a job, but as I understood more, both scripturally and scientifically, I realized there is no way I could claim to love God and my neighbor if caring for reefs was simply a means to an end. While providing real help and care for both the reefs and the people who rely on them, I am almost always asked to share the motivation for my presence there – which is ultimately the love of Christ. Field research has provided hours, days and months out in ‘the wild’ with Muslim co-workers who I now call friends. That time builds relationships, trust, and provides the space to share the hope that I have in Christ, for both people and the reefs.