(ILC Front Entrance)
The time has finally come! I apologize to all of you local folks (especially those at RH) who heard us say back in April that we are going to the field, then saw us appointed in May, and yet have continued to see our faces all over the place. We have gotten the response, “Hey, I thought you guys were already in Africa?!” more times than we can count.
We totally understand that question and beg for grace on the long (drawn out) goodbye. The way our company’s timeline is set up, there are at least a couple months following approval/appointment in which missionaries are expected to visit a number of partner churches to raise awareness about our work and solicit prayer support and partnership. We are so grateful for these faith families who were kind enough to host us and graciously bless us along our journey.
Our primary partner church (a.k.a. “sending” church) is, of course, Redemption Hill in Fisherville, KY. In addition to RH, though, the Lord has blessed us with a stellar lineup of partner churches whose members have committed to “pray”, “give”, and even “go” in order to help see our mission succeed. Among these are:
Words on a weblog aren’t close to sufficient to express our gratitude to these congregations for the kindness they have each displayed to our family and the commitment they have made to lift us up in prayer. The material support these churches have provided has also been a phenomenal provision from the Lord to help us get all the things we needed to prepare our family for the field. I wish I had time to personally thank and hug each person who has helped us along this journey, but I pray the Lord uses these updates to in some small way help you guys feel a part of what God is going to do through our family in Africa!
This past week has been an absolute whirlwind of activity and emotion. On Friday (7/17), months of preparation and planning came to culmination as our crating company arrived and packed up all our possessions. The precursor to this involved meticulously sifting through and deciding which personal items we want to keep and those we no longer need AND which items we can do without on the field for 3-4 months while we wait on our crate to arrive. Once we had this list narrowed down, we were ready to have the company come load it all up. As mentioned in a previous post, these items were first loaded onto 205 cubic foot wooden crates called “lift vans.” We ended up packing (I mean really packing!) 4 of these for a grand total of 820 of our allotted 1100 cubic feet. The moving company did a phenomenal job of packing these things to the brim.
From here, the “lift vans” will be loaded onto a 20 ft. shipping container and then put on a ship (again think Captain Phillips) to head overseas. PLEASE PRAY, however, as our container being able to ship is totally contingent on our Temporary Employment Permit being approved. Today I FedExed all of the necessary documentation (huge thanks to Jana C for being my go-to notary public) to Harare (capital city of Zimbabwe) to have them submitted for our application. Pray that this application is approved the first time through and that our crate is able to be shipped out to Zim and (hopefully!) arrive by Christmas! What a Christmas that will be 🙂
After the crating process was over, it was time to get the mission house in which we’d been living back in order to give back before leaving for FPO. In the midst of this flurry of a weekend, however, we had a sweet opportunity to celebrate one final time with our Redemption Hill family. This past Sunday morning, the RH pastors gave us perhaps the most meaningful set of charges and encouragements we could have possibly received at this time in our lives. Having the opportunity to hear from numerous friends, mentors, and significant leaders in my life (some in person, some via video) as well as getting to sing and break bread with our covenant community was without a doubt one of the highlights of this entire process for us. Thank you Pastors Josh, Justin, and Seth for putting this amazing service together and thanks to all who took part in making it special (especially Dustin Bowers and the worship team for rocking out the music!).
Finally on Monday we packed up the van (huge thanks to RH for the loaner while our van is on the market to sell) and headed to Richmond, VA. After about an 8-hour drive from Louisville, we rolled through the front gates here at ILC (International Learning Center) just in time to check-in for FPO (Field Personnel Orientation- this is only the tip of the iceberg on our company’s set of acronyms by the way). Since arriving on Monday evening, it has been non-stop activity, but we are having a blast! From meeting with different consultants and learning about life on the field to making new friends (or “aunts” and “uncles” for the kids) who will be serving our Lord all over the world, this has already been such a special time for our family and mission. Below are some pictures that give just a glimpse of what life will look like for us over the next 9 weeks. Please pray for this time to be fruitful for our family to prepare us and spur us on to our first term of service with the board. That’s it for now. Keep an eye out for more updates as the days go by here at ILC and that African sun looms on the horizon!