Hey there! It’s been a while. So much to catch you up on, so here’s the scoop!
At the end of July Jonathan went on a Survey Trip to Arusha, Tanzania (read about how that came about here). It went really well! He met a lot of people, got a good feel for the local needs and how we might fit in with the work already being done, and came home saying it would be a great opportunity. So our hopes were up and our energy was high, but then it was time to wait. The week Jonathan got home, we had a meeting with the founders of Neema Village. The kids and I were able to meet them and I was able to voice my interest in moving overseas. At that meeting they asked us for a resume, a prospective job description, a fundraising plan, and references to present to the Neema Board of Directors. We got all of that ready within the week–high energy all over again. And again, it was time to wait.
The weeks were passing and we were getting anxious. Should we be planning to pick up our life and move around the world or not?!
Let me be real: There were a couple of days in there where I would have welcomed a big fat NO! It would be easy to stay right here in central Texas. It would be easy to settle down, watch my kids grow up with their cousins, playing Texas football and going to gymnastic lessons. It would be easy to keep all the comforts and amenities of cooking and cleaning in a first-world country. It would be easy to keep Amazon at my fingertips and HEB, Target, and Chick-fil-a all less than 5 miles from my house. It would be easy not to have to say goodbye.
In the midst of the waiting and the praying, we welcomed our sweet baby girl to the outside world! My water broke a week before my due date and it was nothing like I expected. With my first two deliveries, my water didn’t break until right before the kids were born, so I suspected that if my water were to break at home, we’d be lucky to make it to the hospital even if it is only 5 minutes away. But 9 pm, broken water, no contractions at all, and off to the hospital we went. To wait. And wait. They let me walk the halls (after a couple of laps, they even let me leave the giant, clunky, useless IV hanger back in my room thanks to a great friend!) trying to get labor to progress naturally, but it was almost midnight and I had yet to feel even one strong contraction. So Pitocin it was. I felt my first strong contraction at exactly 1 am and Raelyn made her debut at 3:53 am!
Anyway, some things are less painful to wait for than others! Within a week or two of Raelyn’s arrival, the Neema founders came over to our house with big news. We have officially been approved to join the work in Tanzania!!!! This is the opportunity we have been talking about since before we were even married. This is what hours of conversations with God have been about. This. It’s finally real!! They said we could go!!!
It’s still hard to believe most days. In five short months, Lord willing, we will sell all of our belongings except for what fits in a few suitcases and move across the Big Pond! Our plan is to do language school in Iringa, TZ for 10 weeks and get settled into Neema Village thereafter.
Our official/unofficial title will be Spiritual Directors of Neema Village. Jonathan will be responsible for getting a church meeting started in Neema Village and we also have goals for reaching out to the local Maasai villages. His time will be spent building relationships, teaching about agriculture and livestock, doing Bible studies, and so much more. I will plan to do a Women’s Bible Study once a week. I will primarily still be a stay at home mom, but–PLOT TWIST–we have agreed to be House Parents for EIGHT unadoptable big kids from Neema House!
Yes, you read that right, eight. We will be fostering eight kiddos who are between the ages of 3 and 5 years old. This makes our hearts beam with excitement and our brains explode with “what-if’s” and “how the heck will we…” and “maybe we’re crazy.”
Over the coming months, I will write in more detail about all of our different plans. Be sure to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss an update! Also, feel free to send me your questions so I can answer them in future posts.
In the mean time, we will be fundraising. We have a great upfront need that includes a big 4-wheel drive vehicle to fit all those kiddos, plane tickets, language school, etc. And then we also are in need of monthly supporters for expenses of daily living (If you or your church are interested in giving and would first like to discuss our detailed budget please email us at email@example.com). Our home church, The Vine, has agreed to be our Sponsoring church, which means all of our funds can be donated through them and it will be tax-deductible for all of you. We are so grateful to have such a closely knit community of believers guiding us along this journey.
To all of our friends who are experienced in missions, fostering, and/or fundraising, we welcome your advice! Most of this is totally new to us. It wont be easy to parent eleven children. It wont be easy to raise thousands of dollars. It wont be easy to leave our friends and family. It wont be easy to learn a new language and eat
weird different food. It wont be easy to live without Creamy Jalapeno from Chuys. But it will be worth it. For the sake of those eight children who have spent their whole lives without parents, it will be worth it. For the sake of the Maasai women who are dying in childbirth without knowing my Jesus, it will be worth it. For the sake of reaching a world that is lost and dying, it will be worth it and we will go.
Thanks for following our journey and stay tuned for more. Check out this short video we made of our plans and to see those EIGHT sweet faces!!