Janée Angel, second from right, celebrates Christmas with friends in Belgium. Photo courtesy Janée Angel
ATLANTA – Since 2004, Janée Angel has taught and worshipped alongside Muslim refugees from North Africa and the Middle East who have found their way to Brussels, Belgium.
“I have a heart to work with internationals in an international setting,” said Angel, one of CBF’s field personnel. “Although I didn’t know much about working among Muslims when I arrived, I felt Belgium was the place God wanted me. Almost five years and a lot of experience later, I still feel the same way.”
Angel’s ability to build relationships with those she teaches affords her opportunities to minister on a more personal basis.
“Everyone knows I am a Christian – the English teacher,” said Angel, a native of Effingham, Ill. “They know I am in church every week. They know my priority to worship and know God. My Muslim students know more about God by the way I live. I am asked countless times about my God, my worship, my faith. If I meet people in the classroom, in the church or on the street I become the hands and feet of Jesus. We try to live out that idea by meeting the physical needs, educational needs, relational needs and spiritual needs. For me that is being the presence of Christ.”
One major change that has happened since 2004 when Angel arrived in Belgium, was her 2008 marriage to Hary, a man she met while attending the local Arab Protestant church. Together they open up their home for others seeking to know more about their faith.
“With his [Hary’s] help I have taken a giant leap into the Arab culture,” said Angel, a graduate of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill. “Together we open our hearts, our lives and our home to Muslims and Christians and disciple those who are seeking the truth.”
In addition to Angel’s teaching English in the community, the couple works with the local Arab church where they first met. Angel assists in worship and preaching. Together they lead Bible studies, disciple men and women desiring to know more about the Bible, feed the homeless and visit church members in their homes.
“Our goal is to help grow a sense of unity and connection in the Arab church. Sometimes we are disconnected with our diversity and need to feel the responsibility of the body of Christ,” said Angel. “We want to teach the church how to serve the Lord and others in a practical give-a-person-a-cup-of-water way. And we constantly have people in our home for dinner and fellowship. We are an open door.”
It is through that open-door policy where Angel sees the difference they are able to make in the lives of others, like the single Muslim woman who moved to Belgium from Morocco on her own. The woman lived alone and only left the house long enough to drive back and forth to work every day with no outside social life. Soon she began attending Angel’s English classes to brush up on her grammar, then she became a regular at a café Angel hosted on Friday nights at the Centre Oasis for English. It was apparent the woman was seeking a sense of community in her new city, and she and Angel quickly became friends.
When she asks Angel why she is so happy all the time, and not depressed like she is, Angel patiently tells her the stories of Jesus.
“She now celebrates Christmas with me and my husband. And her whole family knows about me. She told them the reason she is drawn to me is because she loves the way I worship my God,” said Angel.
As she looks to the future of her ministry, Angel remains open to the possibilities.
“As God opens new doors we are ready to walk through them, we are continually learning the art of flexibility in a foreign land and remaining sensitive to the Spirit,” Angel said. “We are looking to see His vision for the future and prepared to see changes along the way.”
To learn about partnership opportunities with Angel in Belgium, contact Chris Boltin at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thefellowship.info/angel. To financially support Angel’s ministry, mail your contribution to Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, 2930 Flowers Road South Ste.133, Atlanta, GA 30341 and write “Janee Angel” in the memo line.
CBF is a fellowship of Baptist Christians and churches who share a passion for the Great Commission and a commitment to Baptist principles of faith and practice. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.