Ten Missionary Families
The Lord has already blessed us with a community of fellow new-to-the-field missionaries. Each of these relationships has blessed us in a unique way. This list could actually have at least a half dozen more families on it, but I chose to stick to the ones whose prayer cards I could share. I hope you’ll be encouraged to see that we aren’t the only crazy family out there moving from suburbia to Africa and beyond.
1. THE CRISPS. Jana was a missionary to Senegal where Nate and I met. She and Patrick and their 3 kids, who are almost the exact ages of our kids, left in January with our same mission (AIM). They will most likely be moving to rural Kenya after their initial stay in Nairobi. Patrick is a pilot with AIMAir. Jana has been keeping me posted on essential advice, such as how many pair of underwear to pack per family member, what to bring to get by during the first few weeks and what to expect from kids with jet lag. Pray for them and check out their journey at crispconnection.com.
2. THE WOODS. We met the parents of this sweet family of 8 (newest baby Anna not pictured) at our initial training week with AIM a year ago. We had a blast laughing with them and beginning this process together. They are moving to the Coast of Kenya to be missionaries in training for 2 years. If all goes as planned, our families will leave from Atlanta together on July 9th. Check them out at withlovefromafrica.aimsites.org.
3. THE JEWELLS. This is another AIM family set to fly out with us from Atlanta. The Jewells will also be living at Kijabe. David will be working at Rift Valley Academy where our kiddos will go to school. Ashley and I will be figuring out how to be homemakers Kenya-style together. It has been an honor to pray with this couple and know they are praying for us. dajewell.aimsites.org
4. THE KELLEYS. We met Aaron and Stephanie at a medical missions conference in 2010. Aaron is an emergency medicine doctor and has been working at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya for 2 years. They will be returning to the States to raise support this Summer, then plan to return to Kenya for a lifetime of medical missions work. They are an inspiration on many levels. We are blessed to call them friends and excited to call them neighbors (3 hours away from Kijabe I think) really soon. To see what the Lord’s been doing in their lives, visit their blogs at aaroninkenya.com and mrskelleyinkenya.wordpress.com.
5. THE HAGLERS. Nate met this couple of family practice docs at a conference last Fall. They moved to Kijabe in February. A couple of weeks before they left, they swung by our house in Wilmington for a quick visit. Our kids road bikes together and we got down to business comparing packing lists and talking about our future lives as new missionaries at Kijabe Hospital. We had an instant connection and they have been beyond gracious about answering (via email) any little technical question we may have as we continue to prepare to leave. If the Lord so chooses, we could be looking at a lifetime of living as friends with these guys. carolinatokenya.com
6. THE BERGS. We met the Bergs this past Fall. Tim is a Doctor at a hospital in Rwanda and Linda has a multitude of ministries. Their youngest daughter, Ruthie, is a boarding student at RVA. We instantly made plans for Ruthie to be Natalie’s big sis next year at school. bergfamilyafrica.blogspot.com
7-9. THE PEDERSENS, HORNS and BANKS. We met each of these families at the CMDA pre-field training for medical missionaries last month. While each of our families is serving with a different missions sending agency, we all share similar situations. We encouraged each other as we talked about support raising, moving away from family, packing to move, our fears, our aspirations, etc. The Pedersens are a Dentist/Doctor couple and will be serving in the Dominican Republic. www.iteams.us
The Horns will be joining our friends the Kelleys at Tenwek in Kenya. Ethan is also an emergency medicine doc. storiesinmission.blogspot.com
The Banks are moving to Burundi where Logan will be training African medical students/residents and Julie will continue raising her two little superheroes, Liam and Zeke. thebanksoffshore.com
10. THE BRUZAS. The Bruzas are another AIM family. They are soon moving to Mozambique to learn the culture and live the gospel with the Sena people. We loved the evening we spent together encouraging each other and praying for things to come. bruzafamily.aimsites.org
And just as a bonus, even though I can’t post their photo, I want to add another family of 6 to this list. In 2001, we met this Doctor/Nurse couple in Senegal where we all served on the same team of student missionaries. Since that time, they’ve grown a family and served in multiple countries. Pray that they would continue to adjust as they’ve recently relocated. Pray for encouragement in their work, family life and day-to-day stressors of raising a family in an environment many of us may never know.
As you can see, we are in great company. Please say a quick prayer for these 11 couples and their total of 37 children. Pray for their fears, their families, their transitions, language learning, support-raising and anything else that comes to mind. The Lord continues, by his great grace, to raise up a new generation of missionary families. We are humbled and honored to be a part of this community.