Sometimes I don’t know what all to share on the blog, but then I thought about verses like Psalms 107:2a “Let those delivered by the Lord speak out…”; and Psalms 107:22 “Let them present thank offerings, and loudly proclaim what he has done!” I want to loudly declare to you what God has done in one year’s time. Why? Because sometimes I forget what He’s done, then I start to doubt Him again. I don’t want to be like the Israelites, “They forgot what he had done, the amazing things he had shown them.” Psalms 78:11.
First of all, just getting here to Africa last April was a miracle. Our mission required a certain amount of financial support and for Calvin’s adoption to be finalized by the end of February. February 17 at the court house, the judge declared Calvin a Pryor!
And even though our financial support didn’t come in exactly on the dead line, a day or two after a church called saying they were taking us on and pushing us over the required amount! Despite our shorter than usual support raising time, we managed to get packed up, vaccinated up, fare-welled up, and on the plane to Africa!
God provided fellow missionaries to help our transition into Senegal, all the way from picking us up from the airport, to having an apartment all furnished and ready, to meal schedules, to taking us shopping, to showing us how to use public transportation,to having a language helper ready for us, and I could go on and on in all the ways they helped us.
Sometimes when missionaries first arrive on the field they’re hit with a lot of hardship, while it wasn’t all easy when we first arrived, we are thankful that many things made it easier. We didn’t suffer from jet lag, the weather wasn’t hot yet, we didn’t get hit with any sicknesses right away, and like I already mentioned, we had amazing co-workers helping us along.
Then after a few months, we moved out of the big city to a nearby town. The smaller size of the town was a breath of fresh air to us! God provided a very nice apartment for us, complete with a water tank (which later came in very handy with the town’s water problem). The apartment was right by our church and the school we now send our kids too. We even had fellow Christians in our apartment building.
God provided us with a wonderful African host family, who visited with us despite our struggling French, showed me the market, and brought meals when they heard I was sick. God allowed our host family to have 2 boys, with our 2 kids being in between the ages of theirs. God allowed us to be in a church that is very friendly and been an encouragement to us.
God provided language helpers for us when we moved to our new town. Language helpers, who aren’t only helping us learn French, but helping us see life through an African’s eyes, and honestly they’ve been blessings and encouragements to us as they’ve become more than our teachers, but our friends.
We decided to send our kids to a Christian Senegalese school here. It was a hard decision as parents, because we know it is so different than school was in the States. But even in that, God allowed us to live right by the school. He allowed us to have 2 kids close enough in age that we were able to put them in the same class. He allowed our host dad to be a teacher at the school and many other people from our church work there as well. He even allowed us to send our kids to the summer school before the actual school year started to get a little taste of it. He allowed an English-speaking friend to be in the same class with them the first few weeks. And on top of all that, He sent us much needed encouragement and advice from a some people at just the right time. And now our kids have completed 2 of the 3 trimesters that make up a school year. They are both getting passing grades, both progressing in French, and both have some friends at school. There are still things that are sometimes hard, but God has brought them so far!
Then God allowed certain things to happen and an out-of-the ordinary opportunity presented itself. We were given the opportunity to live with our host family. We saw many good things that could come from this, like being around French all day, seeing first hand how life is lived here, learning new skills that could make our transition to village life easier, and lowering our expenses (particularly as we save for a vehicle).
We’re in our third month of living with them, and God has given us times to spend edifying one another in the Scriptures, He’s giving me daily opportunities to practice Senegalese cooking, He’s allowed our kids playing with their kids to push our kids even further in French, and we’re learning so much about how to welcome someone into your home, how to be a part of the community and so much more.
God allowed another special thing early on for us. It just so happened that not long after we arrived, NTM West Africa had a conference, during the conference we got to reconnect with two ladies we had met briefly in the States. And then it just so happened that the field leadership was together and discussing future plans, and they decided to ask us about teaming up with those two ladies. We decided that yes, unless the Lord leads otherwise we’d work with them in Burkina Faso. Those ladies are already in Burkina and have a group of people they plan to work with. Right now they’re working on deciding which village to move into. I’m so thankful that God has provided these co-workers for us so early on, because sometimes when I’m in the trenches and things are tough and I ask, “Why am I doing this?” I remember my two sisters in Christ and that they’re getting ready to take the next step to reaching our future brothers and sisters in the Lord and I’m challenged to keep going.
So that’s just a little bit of what our awesome God has done in the past year that we’ve been in Africa…..and I didn’t even mention our trip to the south of Senegal, or going on a ladies retreat, or Cameron’s trip to help in a village, and the thousands of times God used a verse, email, phone call or face-to-face conversation to encourage us. God certainly is good, and God will build His church!