Welcome to our new blog dedicated to this crazy new adventure we're on! In July 2013, our family of five will be picking up & moving to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, Africa!
In January 2012, I started browsing the Christian Schools International website for fun. I love to see what type of positions and schools are out there - especially international ones. I typically invesigate a school or position for a mere few minutes and feel put off by something and decide it is not an option for us. I found a few positions at Haven Of Peace Academy (HOPAC http://www.hopac.net/ ) and started looking into it. Nothing scared me off. I forwarded the link to Marc and he looked around a bit. At first, it was more for fun and the dreaming and the 'what ifs', as we have always wanted to do something international. Marc sent an email to the school and our communication began.
Over the next several months, we continued to ask them questions about the school, the position, the culture and living conditions. We found out we were having another baby and struggled with the idea of potentially taking 3 children to Africa. We went to the DR with our church and got to experience a week outside of our own context to think, reflect, pray and ponder. Finally in June, after Marc completed the application and essays, and I sent my resume, Marc had an interview.
In July, we had the priviledge of meeting with a couple who work at HOPAC. They just happened to be in West Michigan for 3 weeks in July. Their daughter just happened to be going to the soccer camp at Marc's current school. We met for coffee for several hours and had very real and honest conversation about the joys and difficulties of living/serving at HOPAC and in Tanzania, and our hesitations and questions. As we wrapped up our time together, our new friends were telling us that Marc was "exactly what the school needed". We left with the peace that we have felt through this whole process still in tact, and having nothing we learned through the conversation detering us.
In late July/early August, Marc got the official email. The offer. The confirmation of what we already felt was coming.
Since then we have had meetings with our sending agency, Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM), fininshed applications to be Partner- Missionaries with CRWM, prayed, investigated insurance policies, self-employment tax questions, met with debt management consultants, talked with family and close friends, been in prayer, created a tentative budget and fundraising goal, talked with our kids, prayed, started talking about what we'd sell & what we'd store, and prayed a little more.
Two weeks ago we officially accepted the position, and we should be appointed by CRWM in the next few weeks. Marc will be the full time high school Bible teacher, and I will work part time doing various jobs like chapel planning/leading, Bible Studies, student congress and/or having youth group out of our home. Isaac will be going to Kindergarten in Africa next year!
We continue to feel the peace of God, which surpasses ALL understanding (Phil 4:7). Are we crazy for moving our family (when we move the kids will be 5 1/2, almost 3 and 9ish months) to Africa? Are we crazy for leaving jobs we both LOVE with salaries that pay the bills? Are we crazy for leaving our extended families and dear friends behind? Are we crazy for moving somewhere we've never been, to a culture that's incredibly different than our own, to a place where the people speak swahili, where we will be the minority and there isn't a CRC church nearby? :)
Yes, I think we might be. But I'm completely at peace with that.