1. What are you up to now?
Right now I'm at Ambrose Seminary in Calgary working on my Master of Arts in Intercultural Ministries. Africa Inland Mission wants their full time missionaries to have some Bible and theology training before they head out, so I've chosen to go the seminary route. I've always wanted to go to Bible school, and to be able to do this with a specific focus on what I'll be doing in Kenya is great! I'm really loving my studies! I have just two courses left plus my internship, which will be fulfilled by my time in Kenya.
I am also working on building my team of people who will support me in prayer and in finances while I am in Kenya. I definitely can't do this alone! If you'd like to know how to partner with me, check out the Join My Team page!
2. When do you head out? How long will you be gone?
I am going to Kenya with Africa Inland Mission. The plan is to leave for Kenya in mid May 2014, and to be there for just under a year, returning in April 2015.
After that, I am SO excited to be investigating the possibility of a longer-term role with AIM back here in Canada that involves helping send others to Africa to reach the unreached. This role would allow me to not just be one person working in Africa, but to hopefully help send MANY people to do more work than I could ever do on my own!
3. But I thought you were going on a two year team somewhere? What's happening with that?
For those of you who knew the plan before, yes, I was going to be gone for two years to work with the Samburu tribe in Lchakwai, Kenya on a TIMO team. However, as of this past summer, and after much prayer and consultation, I have formally withdrawn from that team and have requested to shorten my time in Kenya.
As many of you know, I am now engaged to a wonderful man named Kevin. He has been behind my plans for Africa and encouraging me since the day we met, and shows me nothing but loving support as I try to navigate these changes. I made the decision to join the TIMO team when I was single, and when two years in an extremely remote part of the world with very limited connection (cell, internet) was not a big deal.
However, I began to feel that two years was too long to be away if I wanted to continue to not just maintain but build my relationship with Kevin. And so, after talking to many people and spending a lot of time in prayer, I decided to look at shortening my time in Kenya. This meant that I would no longer be able to do the TIMO team, as that was a firm two year commitment.
God has a way of leading us to a point and then changing our course slightly - I'm learning that rarely does life work out just as I had thought it might! But never does he direct us away from the fullness of his plan, he just keeps drawing us closer and closer to it! Since speaking with the leadership at AIM Canada about this decision, Kevin and I both have been SO encouraged by the doors God is opening for even longer term service. His provision, his blessing, and his plans are perfect, and we have been so amazed to see how something that might look like a move away from the original plan is actually becoming a move straight into God's amazing adventure!
4. So where are you going now and what will you be doing?
I'll be in Northern Kenya, and while my new assignment isn't totally confirmed yet, I will be heading back to Korr, the same place I was in 2009 to work on an educational-based project. I'll be working again with the Rendille tribe, who are semi-nomadic camel herders who still live a very traditional life in the semi-arid/desert areas of Northern Kenya.
I will be working in the school again, doing some combination of teaching, administration support, and possibly other project-based jobs that will help alleviate the load from another missionary and will also give me lots of opportunity for relationship building and disipleship.
The AIM leadership and I are also looking into opportunities to broaden
my understanding of what AIM is doing in other areas of East Africa,
too, in preparation for my potential role as the Alberta mobilizer.
This would mean meetings with AIM leaders and other missionaries in
various places, getting to know a variety of ministries and structures.
And that would mean some travel.... oh darn! ;) (Squee!)
Korr, however, will be where I will be spending the majority of my time. While I have a little bit of a head start from my time there in 2009, I will continue to concentrate on learning the Rendille language and culture and getting to know
people, and have the ultimate goal to see people come to know Jesus and
to help support the growing Rendille church, especially when it comes to helping Rendille people to 'do church' in a way that makes sense in their context.
Check out where I'll be on Google Maps here: Korr Zoom in or out and check out the markers and their little explanations for a virtual tour of where I'll be!
Learn more about the Rendille tribe through AIM, the Joshua Project, or on Wikipedia
5. Soooo, what about Kevin?
We're not pretending it will be easy to be apart for a year - there's something to continue praying for for sure! - but we are looking to make this time a productive one as we find opportunities to get to know each other better in ways we may not have been able to do if we were in the same city (so... lots of long letters and emails!). He is amazing - to be willing to wait for me and go through a year that will bring blessings but will also stretch us in ways we have no way of knowing now - I am so grateful for this man!
Kevin has wanted to go to Africa since he was a boy, and is also interested in missions, so we're both looking forward to him being able to come visit me, see where I am and what I'm doing, and to contribute to what's going on in Korr as well. We are hoping he will be able to come on a short term trip to Korr for about a month over the time I'll be there!
So... we'll be doing the long distance thing while I'm away. I know we would both appreciate your prayers for navigating our relationship, as well as for the ability for both of us to be fully present in what we are doing on our respective continents while we are apart.
Have another question about my upcoming move to Africa? Ask it in the comments - I'll keep this page as up to date as I can!