For those of you who are wondering why we’re going to Kenya, how we made this decision, and what we will be doing there, I hope this page will answer those questions.
The short answer: because God told us to go.
The long answer: Aaron and I became interested in mission work in 1998 when we took our first mission trip to the Dominican Republic. I was a senior in high school, and Aaron was a sophomore in college. It was a life-changing experience to say the least. I remember crying the first week due to culture shock, illness and homesickness and then crying the second week because I knew I had to leave those precious kids behind. We left the DR knowing that we had to return. We did go back two years later. Our mission was to serve a different batey, but we were able to visit the place where we worked previously. It was again a bittersweet trip. The culture shock wasn’t as great but neither was the impact. More than anything, this second trip confirmed that missions would be a part of our lives for as long as God would call us.
Aaron took a couple more trips since then. I, however, have been tied to the home. Darn kids. ;0) My primary mission field in this season of life is my home. I must focus on teaching, nurturing and raising the precious children God has given me. Despite my inability to travel and serve, the desire to take another mission trip never waned. Then, Aaron came across a Post-Residency Program through World Medical Missions, a division of Samaritan’s Purse. My desires and my reality were about to colide!
The short answer: with MUCH prayer and hesitation.
The long answer: Needless to say, we did not take this decision lightly. I mean, we have 4 children. The oldest is 6 years old and the youngest won’t even be 1 when we leave! When Aaron discovered this Post-Residency Program, it all started to make sense. You see, Aaron was offered the fellowship position at Lehigh Valley Health Network when he wasn’t looking for it. We wanted him to find a job. A real job. One that paid really well. We were done with school…Well, that was our plan.
God’s plan was different. As Aaron met with the people in charge of the fellowship, it all felt like God was giving this to us. We didn’t understand why. We didn’t even like it all that much. But we did trust Him, and we accepted the fact that Aaron’s job (the really good paying one) would have to wait another 2 years. Within months of Aaron starting the fellowship, he found the World Medical Missions website, downloaded the application and was 100% convinced that we needed to apply. If he had refused the fellowship and found a (real) job, we would not have qualified for this program. We didn’t know if we’d be accepted, but we knew this was the next step. It sure seemed like God gave us the fellowship in order for us to be eligible for this mission position.
Since the fellowship was 2 years, we waited for the appropriate application process to begin, and we sent our application into Samaritan’s Purse. That was January 2011. We were still very confident that God wanted us overseas. That summer, we travelled to North Carolina to interview with World Medical Missions. I was 8 weeks pregnant with Hannah and doubts were creeping in…Why would God want us pregnant (that’s a whole other story) now? Didn’t He know the baby would still be a baby when it would be time to leave? And why would the hospital offer Aaron such an amazing contract? Was God showing us that He wanted us to stay in the States? We were confused to say the least! The interviews went well. We met some wonderful people. We had a great time (without kids!!). But we left NC without any answers. In fact, we felt ill-qualified for the work and doubted that we’d be chosen to go.
About 2 months later, we received THE LETTER. The letter that would tell us our fate. I’ve never been more nervous to open an envelope. I still remember standing in the kitchen when Aaron read it. I think my chin hit the floor. We were 75% convinced that God was going to keep us in the Lehigh Valley for at least a couple more years. Weren’t we surprised to read that WMM wanted to send us and our 4 children to Africa!
Shocked doesn’t begin to describe our feelings. We prayed about it. We asked our friends and family to pray about it. God quickly answered those prayers. I think it was within 2 days that we KNEW that we had to accept the position WMM was offering us. And then the questions started rushing through our minds. Where are we going? How are we going to travel with 4 young children? How are we going to raise the funds? What are we going to do with all our stuff, especially our house? God, once again, quickly answered the cries of my heart. It was a Sunday morning that I went to church without Aaron. We were singing, “I Will Follow You” during worship service when I heard the Holy Spirit tell me that I didn’t have to go. He would still love me, bless me and provide for me a place in heaven if I wanted to choose comfort. On the other hand, He told me that what HE planned for me was something so much bigger and better than I could ever hope for. In that moment, I KNEW I had to choose to follow Him. We wrote a letter to WMM and told them we were ready to commit to going. We didn’t know where or when or how, but we had a peace. It’s incredible how peaceful life is when you know that you are doing what God had planned for you to do before the beginning of time. (Psalm 139).
The short answer: a 2 year mission position at Tenwek Hospital in Bombet, Kenya.
The long answer: Lord willing, we are moving to Bombet, Kenya to live near Tenwek Hospital in January 2013. Aaron will work at this 3oo-bed hospital while I remain a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. We will be there for approximately 2 years. Then, we will move back to the States for at least a short time. Our training session happens this summer, and then we’ll know a lot more about what we’ll be doing…We’ll keep you posted. 🙂