What About West Africa?
As I write this, the rain is pounding down on my roof. I am in West Africa, and it is rainy season. Three months ago, I was living in Central Asia, and Africa was not even on my radar. My husband and I were preparing to leave the place we had called home for almost 7 years and had no idea what God had next. We were seeing hints of maybe this or that but no definite leading. Our first month in the states was full of seeking, updating resumes, and filling out applications. We sought counsel and talked with friends. We took long walks, prayed, slept and ate too much good food. By the end of the month, it was clear we would be going to West Africa. So today I want to tell you about how we got to this place.
Now I am not saying that I was one of those gals that said she would never go to Africa but I was pretty close. I did specifically say I didn’t want to move to the Congo. (Sorry if any of you live in there.) This move would also be different for our family. We were moving without the kids. I would need something to do in this new place. I no longer had the kids to occupy me. So as we sought opportunities, we looked for something that would be a good fit for us. We explored international schools, other jobs overseas, and even working at a college in the states. Our hands were open to what God wanted from us. Some choices seemed hard. Others just a little cushy. My husband seemed more excited about the opportunities that fit me better. Whereas I leaned towards those that fit his skill set better. But through it all we kept asking, “What about West Africa?”
“What about West Africa?” There was a need, actually one that needed to be filled sooner than later. This would mean a fast turnaround. But my husband would still get to fly and fix planes as well help lead the small aviation program there. It was a good fit for his skills. All the other options would be no flying options, and we were not sure we were ready to give up flying. The thing is there wasn’t a job for me. Being a teacher, we knew I could eventually find something either at an international school or helping out somehow in the community where we would live. Still I had a peace that it would be okay somehow. My husband would talk about another option that was a good fit for me as a teacher, and I would find myself saying, “What about West Africa?” It didn’t make any sense. I don’t like hot weather all that well. I had no desire to go to Africa. And I wasn’t sure what there was for me in this new place. As we prayed about it, we made the decision that if they offered my husband the job, we would take it in faith that God had something for me.
But then God… Isn’t that how all good stories work? God is at work in the places we do not see. We were interviewing with the country director finding out more details about the program and life there. Then the director asked me to tell him about myself and our children. I told him about our life in Central Asia, how I was a teacher and had the privilege of teaching at the international school as well as homeschool my kids and others, and about W and Big D and where God has them now. Then the director told us that his education program director had just turned in her resignation, and they were looking specifically for a secondary teacher who was strong at math and science. It would be a job that would require supervising homeschooling as well as doing some direct teaching. Basically the job would take all my past experience and put it all in one job. But God… You can guess what happened next? I applied for the job and got it.
April was spent with my husband and I getting ready to move to West Africa. There were interviews, shopping, doctor’s appointments, and much traveling. As America decided to have a cold spring, I tried to figure out what living in a warm, humid climate would look like. I also wondered if I was up to this job God had sent my way. Yes, it is a good fit. But it is also a new thing. I will be doing more admin stuff plus also dealing with a kindergartener and second grader. Total I will have 6 to 8 students most of them being in middle school. It would not be a walk in the park but there was a need and God is with me.
Now it is May. We had orientation, good byes and now we are here in this new place. It is all so different from places we have been before, but that is okay. And though it doesn’t feel like home yet, it feels like the place where we are supposed to be in this season.
How has God been leading you? It may be a big thing like a job change or adopting a child. It could even be taking on a new role or becoming more involved in your neighborhood. I would love to hear you story in the comments.