Last year, when we were home in the U.S. sharing in churches, you may recall that we often shared from Proverbs 16:9, which says, “in his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps.” It was true then and is true now, as the Lord is once again directing our steps in a way that we did not plan, but that He knew about all along.
Recently there has been some restructuring in the AGWM leadership team in East Africa, and with that, we have been asked to provide oversight of the newly created Swahili Zone (Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda). We have been asked to work with the various missionary teams focusing on pastoral care, leadership development, team life, the implementation of strategic plans, administration and staying in communication with the National Church leadership of each country.
Accepting this new position means that we will be leaving Madagascar, where we have served for 12 years and relocating to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in April. We will spend the first three months in language school learning yet another language, Swahili (eek!).
We covet your prayers during this transition. It has been a very difficult process to leave Madagascar, saying good-bye not only to the Malagasy people whom we love but also a great mission team and wider mission community. During this process, we have faced the reality that we love and serve Christ first and want to continue to walk in obedience to Him, regardless of the cost. Once again, we find ourselves letting go of the familiar and known for the unfamiliar and unknown.
We remember the difficulty in sharing with close friends and family that we were leaving the USA to go to Madagascar, knowing that they too were paying the price of our obedience. Now we see the same pain reflected in the faces of our Malagasy friends, as they too are paying part of the price for our obedience. It isn’t because we are so wonderful, but that the relationship we have shared with them has been very special and it hurts everyone when it is torn apart by miles.
But in the face of difficult goodbyes, we are excited to be partnering with some great missionaries and African churches. Some of the countries in the Swahili Zone have strong national churches while others have no missionaries at all and have huge needs. We look forward to sharing with you more in future communications.
An international move is always stressful! Here are some areas that you can pray for us:
-Saying good-byes well and showing honor to those who have so greatly impacted our lives
-Wrapping up all the loose ends, closing bank accounts, phone contracts, house issues, etc.
-Shipping our household goods to Dar es Salaam
-Selling our old STL vehicle and buying a new one in Tanzania
-Wisdom and favor for our great missionary team in Madagascar
-An increase our ability and capacity to learn yet another language and culture
-Favor with the missionaries and National Church leadership across the Swahili Zone
Thank you for your partnership, we appreciate each one of you greatly. We are excited about the next adventure that God has for us!