“God gave me the calling to be a shepherd,” says Jordanian Pastor Shadi Bqain. “In Matthew 9, when Jesus was walking through the land and he sees the people, he said, ‘many fruits, but no servants.’ He is the main shepherd, but we partner with him.”

God’s calling voice has led Shadi’s life since he was young, and he pursues obedience at every opportunity. At 19, Shadi attended a Palm Sunday service and sensed the Holy Spirit touching his life. While reading John 3, Shadi began crying, confessing his sins and asking for forgiveness. He began sharing the gospel with everyone—friends, neighbors, strangers on the city bus—Shadi’s passion for following Jesus grew stronger each day.

One year after committing his life to Christ, Shadi sensed in his heart a voice saying, “Shadi, you are for me.” Compelled but confused, Shadi knew that there was “something burning in my heart,” but he did not yet see where the words led. Not long after, God opened a door to study at Eastern Mediterranean Nazarene Bible College in Jordan, where he also volunteered with a global evangelism organization. The path was growing clearer.

After college graduation, Shadi spent the next five years serving the Church locally, in Jordan, and globally, traveling to more than 20 countries to help develop young believers in their faith. He spent time teaching Sunday school and learning how to shepherd other believers, helping with a small house church in Zarqa. God had a plan and a purpose, and he was making a way.

When the house church grew and sought a permanent pastor, Shadi was offered the position twice but refused. The church approached him a third time, while Shadi was traveling to Djibouti. That night, during an hour of prayer and time in scripture, he heard a clear voice say: “Shadi, remember when Abraham obeyed me and gave his son to me.” Shadi says, “To be honest, it was hard to accept that voice, because I told the Lord, ‘I don’t want to be a pastor, I want to continue my life as a missionary, traveling outside. But Lord, I will obey you.’” At 23, Shadi accepted the role and became one of the youngest Nazarene pastors in Jordan.

Over the next decade, Shadi and his wife, Azhar, watched the little house church blossom, growing into a larger building with land.

Shadi’s role of a shepherd expanded, too. He began serving on the school board for the Church of the Nazarene’s two Jordanian schools. “It was funny that later I was the one signing the contract and renewing contracts with the teachers that were my teachers,” Shadi says. “I was not a great student… But what God did in my life was amazing, especially to come and serve at the school. It’s important for teachers to believe in their students.”

Over the last 20 years, Shadi has also spent time shepherding prisoners at 17 prisons scattered around Jordan, ministering to those society has forgotten about. Life is full, and the load is heavy.

“I need strength from the Lord to continue to obey his voice,” Shadi says. “Sometimes I feel like I want to stop, but I know God wants me to continue to help people. To help people trust in God…I will obey him.”

-article written by Sarah Norris