For as long as I can remember, I've had an enormous desire to live and teach in another culture. Whenever missionaries would speak at church when I was little, I listened intently to their stories and watched their slide shows with great interest. When I was in fifth grade, a couple guys from my church traveled to China to smuggle Bibles to its citizens. When they returned, one of them gave me a piece of Chinese paper money and told me I could keep it as long as I became a missionary myself someday. I still have that paper money tucked away in my Spanish Bible from my year and a half in Honduras during college. They are my reminders of what God has called me to.
Amazingly, when I met Pete, he shared a very similar dream. One night shortly after we started dating, he told me that he wanted to move abroad to teach medicine. I felt like God was handing me a very special gift through an incredible guy who also had dreams of other cultures. I know plenty of people who have wanted to go abroad but had to put it behind them when their husband or wife didn't share the same desire. Clearly, God was letting me continue down the path to being able to teach abroad with my family long-term.
In the six-plus years since we married, God has been giving us clear signs that He is preparing our hearts for Africa. Countless doors have opened to confirm that path. In January and February of 2013, we had the opportunity to travel to Kenya under World Medical Mission (a part of Samaritan's Purse) where Pete worked at Tenwek Hospital (about 3 hours west of the capitol of Nairobi) for six weeks while I explored life as a wife and mother living abroad. It is my desire to teach in a high school or to teach teachers when we evenutally move to there, but this trip was to simply introduce us to what our lives may be like down the road. We spent our seventh week in Kenya exploring other hospitals throughout the country in order to gain a better understanding of opportunities for our family.
Pete finished residency in July of 2013, and I finished grad school shortly before that. We are now doing our best to follow the map God has put before us to move our family to Africa. Pete is working in a rural emergency room, where he signed a contract for two years. In those two years, we hope to pay off his medical school loans and a good part of the loan on our house so that we can move completely free from debt. Within those two years, his contract stipulates that we will be able to travel back to Africa for up to four consecutive months. Though we don't believe we'll need that much time, we do hope to return in later 2014 to visit various locations and countries to determine where a good fit will be. Following the conclusion of Pete's two year contract, we hope to move and begin work as a missionary family, teaching physicians and teachers.
There is a lot to be done in the next two years, including signing on under a large mission sending organization.We are currently narrowing down our options and will be applying soon. We will then prepare our home to rent while we are away, research homeschooling options for the kids (thankful I have a strong teaching background!), and begin raising money for our travels and future ministry projects. We know that if we continue to go after the path God has put before us, these details will work out.
Please continue to pray for us as we move ahead on this journey. It's a big one, but it's one that God has placed on our hearts. We could not be more excited about following His plans for us!
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