I started this series last week with Question #1--Why Africa?
Now that we knew we were heading to Africa, we just had to narrow our choice down to one of the 53 nations of Africa. Some were automatically ruled out because of the danger: Somalia for instance. Another criteria was that we really didn't want to have to learn a new language. We'd been there and done that. We were ready to go to a country where we could immediately jump in and get to work. Though we both speak Spanish to some degree (Tom is fluent) that wouldn't help us on the African continent.
We ruled out South Africa because we felt there were many misisonaries and mission works operating there already. And, there was the crime rate to consider. We took the fact that we were taking a large family overseas very seriously. That's not to say we let fear rule our decisions but we did look at all the options while seeking for God's Will for us.
There were a few countries we were interested in: Nigeria, Kenya, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia.
Tom had built a website for us so we could show future sponsors our past work and what we wanted to accomplish in the future. We were contacted by two different missionary couples in Kenya and Zambia. Both projects looked interesting. Both worked with children. The main difference was that the Kenyan project was going to be a private Christian school for wealthy students where the income would allow humanitarian projects to go forward. Tom and I would be teachers in the school.
The Zambian project was a school for underprivileged or orphaned children. Our main role would be equipping the teachers. We would have the chance to reach out more to the community.
Zambia seemed like a better fit, but we wouldn't know for sure until we took a closer look. Tom took off on the 35 hour journey to Africa. I could fill at least one whole post with his experiences over the next two weeks. He fell completely in love with Zambia and its people, crying on more than one ocassion (he's gonna love that I mentioned that) and remarking to his mom on his return that he had never felt so much in God's Will.
To top it off, one of Tom's heroes, David Livingstone lived and worked in Zambia for many years and eventually died here. (Side note: David Livingstone actually died just a few hours from where we live now) It felt like all the pieces in the puzzle of our life were coming together. It felt right.
Tom returned from Zambia thrilled with what we would be able to do as missionaries to Zambia. In his short, two-week trip he had helped out at the fledgling community school, encouraged local pastors, and taught several Bible studies to college students. The possibilities seemed endless--perfect for someone who loves to be busy with many projects.
I was excited about working with local teachers to give them the tools they need to do their job, as well as assist the school in building and expanding in order to help even more children.
Now that we had a country chosen, all we had to do was raise the funds. and what a job that would be. Regular support as well as the initial cost of flying 8 people halfway around the world. We were ready to get busy, work hard and see what God would do.