Through her grandmother, Adriana was challenged to go on short-term mission trips during her undergraduate years.
Through these trips she recognized that God was calling her to interfaith communities because of their unique needs.
One of these short-term trips was to Nigeria with SIM for a one-year term serving at a city community centre. Adriana enrolled in a catering class offered through the community centre that taught culinary skills to women in the community. Although the community centre is directed by a Christian man, the board is made up of a mix of Muslims and Christians. On the first day of class, Adriana noticed a young Muslim woman around her age. She came to the class with her infant daughter. The woman didn’t seem to have any interest in getting to know Adriana. “It’s difficult because most Muslims and Christians in the city don’t interact. These religious divides are deeply rooted in the history of Nigeria and aren’t easily changed. In the middle-belt of Nigeria historical tensions are especially high.
A lot of women in the community would come to their first course at the community centre reluctant to interact with anyone who did not share their faith. This young Muslim woman, Amina, clearly wasn’t any different.
Adriana was enrolled in the catering course as a student so she was perceived as a peer even though she is of a different faith. Over time, barriers broke down. Amina became Adriana’s closest friend in Nigeria. “It was a very beautiful thing,” Adriana said as she described their relationship. Amina showed Adriana great hospitality. When Adriana’s parents came to visit, Amina showed them hospitality as well. Adriana shared her faith with Amina and she shared hers with Adriana. “I’m so thankful for her friendship,” Adriana said, “I may never see how her faith journey pans out, but our friendship opened up opportunities.”
Adriana is set to return to Nigeria for a two-and-a-half-year term. This time, she will go to a different city that has a larger Muslim population. While she’s there, Adriana will conduct ethnographic research for her Master’s degree. Her goal is to learn the story of Hausa Muslim women. Adriana explained, “I don’t know where this will take me, but I want to understand their experiences so that I can learn how to help and share the Gospel with Muslim women in these communities. I want to learn how Muslim women communicate faith when they don’t have a position in the public [sphere].” In the future, Adriana hopes to share what she learns by making it accessible to fellow missionaries and people in the West.
Adriana sees herself continuing to serve through missions. Looking to the future, Adriana says, “I believe that God will continue to call me to where I need to be. It may not always be Nigeria, but I feel that it will be to continue working with Muslim women.”
To support Adriana, go to www.sim.ca/adriana-myland