Monday, March 28, 2016

Never say never

Deep breath...

It's been a long time, blog world.  Not sure I even remember how to do this.  But here goes...

Three years ago, we stepped onto a plane in Zambia, and I told myself I would be perfectly happy to never come back to this country again.  The country itself was fine, beautiful in fact; nothing wrong with the people either.  What made for a (sometimes) unpleasant 10 months in Zambia was the unfortunate mismatch between the vision of an American ostensibly in charge of an organization...and the vision of the rest of that organization.  Don't get me wrong, we experienced lots of great things there, and we had many opportunities to teach, build, serve and love.  But, for the reason above, among others, returning to Zambia was definitely not on my mind.

I have a feeling that when God hears us say "never," He smiles slyly and says back, "we'll see about that."  

The truth is, we have never once doubted that missions is in our blood.  We have always had our ears to the ground, listening for ways God might be preparing us for another mission field.  We've had several people ask us about joining their teams, but it never quite seemed right.  Towards the end of last year, we started to sense that one particular opportunity was more that just a nice idea.  Our friends Ben & Cat, whom we first met in Zimbabwe, have pioneered Foundations for Farming in central Zambia (about 3 hours from where we previously lived).  We exchanged messages, we Skyped, we talked with many counselors, and it became clear that this ministry opportunity brilliantly overlapped with our passion and giftings--a lot like our ministry in Zimbabwe.  

On Thanksgiving Day I boarded a plane (with Olivia, actually; great story there) for a quick visit to check out exactly what our friends were inviting us to join, praying for ears and eyes to perceive God's desires for us there.  In that short week, I saw some really encouraging things--a ministry focused on people and God's Kingdom, an internship program set up for life transformation, contextualized farming demos and training, not to mention a fantastic school where our kids would attend.  I didn't come back home absolutely convinced though, which was more due to lingering fears than anything else.  We spent another few weeks praying and seeking, and God faithfully led us to this conclusion: the Foundations for Farming outpost in Zambia is exactly what God has been preparing us for.  So, we said yes to them and plan to move there this summer! 

That was the long version, unless you ever get me in person, in which case I can make it much longer ;-)  So, here we are.  On the journey once again, this time with one more kid and a little more humility (I hope).