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Bingham Academy, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Oksana Specht, teaching as missions, international missions

Teaching as Missions: A Unique Way to Serve Internationally

Did you know that there are many ways to serve in international missions, beyond the more traditional sense of planting churches? One of the many roles to play as an international missionary is teacher. For years, CMF has partnered with Bingham Academy, a Christian school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, sending qualified teachers to educate students from Ethiopia and all over the world, sharing the love of Jesus in this way. Several other CMF missionaries have taught in other contexts all over the world, from local schools to homeschooling other missionaries’ children.

One such CMF missionary who is teaching at a school, Oksana Specht, just moved to Ethiopia to teach at Bingham Academy in August. Below, she shares some of her firsthand experience in teaching as missions and why it’s a unique and important way to share the love of Christ worldwide. 

How did you come to decide that you wanted to serve in international missions through teaching?

Growing up, my family had done multiple small missions' trips to places like Morocco and Kenya. I felt a passion for this work and could feel God's call in this direction. Anytime on these trips, I gravitated to working with elementary students and specifically, students with disabilities to empower them. However, in my head, I could not see myself being a "typical" missionary. So, this caused me to focus on my passion for students and pursue teaching as a major while putting aside mission work. But when I went for a couple months to Kenya last summer, I realized that I can use my passion for teaching WITH my passion for missions.

How long have you been teaching in Ethiopia?

I have been teaching for a little over 3 months! It feels like I have been here forever though, and I love it.

What are some things that have stood out to you in your experience there so far? What are some lessons you’ve learned, or things that have surprised you?

Besides the abundant cultural experiences that I have learned through living in Ethiopia, one main shock/experience in teaching I have is with explaining my story to others. They are amazed that I would fly out by myself to a brand new country at my age to teach students. It is a cool way to share my faith and how important this is to me.

Also, within teaching, I find that sometimes I forget how diverse the students are. Every day I have to remind myself that although most students can speak English, they do not know English as their first language. This means when I am teaching reading and writing, I need to be ready to adapt and be flexible. Also, I find that when talking with parents, they say that they are learning new things too. For example, we were learning the letter sound /ow/ in class one day. As we are learning it, I could see some students a little confused. Then, talking with them, I am reminded that /ow/ sounds like the Amharic word for yes. I think time, even a couple of months, has helped me to understand the students a bit better through my knowledge and experience of the culture.

Why do you think teaching in the mission field is a unique opportunity? 

It is such a unique opportunity because of how it allows you to pour deeply into children who will be the next generation of the country and other international places. As Mark 10 says, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these." I have been able to make so many connections with the students and families in ways that I could not have made without teaching. Teaching is so much more than simply instructing academics and there is so much opportunity to make it about relationships, serving, and teaching about God on the mission field.

Also, I am teaching some MK students. This is a service and help on the mission field to families that are also missionaries but do not have the space or time to do their work while homeschooling students.

If you are interested in teaching as missions, contact the CMF mobilization team to learn more about what options we have available around the world at

Addis Ababa, Bingham Academy, Ethiopia, international missions, Oksana Specht, teaching as missions