Friday, January 24, 2014

In Africa

(Sometimes I just don't know what goes wrong with this blog....I have no idea why the wording came out like it did.  Sorry if it is too distracting!)

Today’s update contains big news for us about a decision about our future. 

This decision is rooted in our African journey, which began almost three years ago when we decided to "throw caution to the wind" and come to Kibogora Hospital in rural, southwest Rwanda to fill an urgent need for a surgeon. While it hasn't been a particularly easy journey, we are so grateful that we took that step of faith and answered the call to come. 

When we first came, we committed to a one year term.  At the end of that year, we extended to one more year.    
But we now realize we really need to make a longer term commitment.  We have struggled so much with this decision: Linda's aging parents, teenagers with transitions and educational needs which cannot be met here, separation from family and friends, the crushing needs that surround us, along with the sometimes overwhelming number of opportunities to help, our new friends, our old friends..... these all weigh heavily on our hearts. 

After much prayer and struggling to seek God’s will in a difficult decision filled with myriad repercussions, we decided that we believe God is calling us to stay in Rwanda.

Even though it was an exceedingly difficult decision, due to saying “no” to so many wonderful things back home – specifically saying “no” to the chance to be near our home church, our friends and especially our family, we are nonetheless filled with JOY as we begin to dream about all this commitment means. 
Now that we have finally decided, we are so excited!  We have so many projects we want to start, so many people we want to try to help, so many new medical ventures we want to pursue.
Linda has dreams of perhaps teaching TESOL English at a nearby school (once Sam has finished homeschooling and has moved on to RVA with Ruthie), as well as hoping to start a sewing co-op, which would make crafts she could sell in America.  She would also love to perhaps start an orphanage and school (and maybe even a clinic, with Tim's help) on a nearby island in Congo with so much need, it is hard to describe.  

Tim dreams of adding another operating suite to the hospital and improving the post-surgical care available, as well as recruiting some more American or British doctors to join him in this work.  He also is working now to develop curricula to further train the interns assigned to him.  
 As Jim Elliot wrote, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."  As much as we dearly would love to hang onto our happy and comfortable days in our old home, or on the grandparents' ranch, we know those things don't last.  As much as we would love to hang onto our cars and our Starbucks trips and our dogs <Oh! how we miss our dogs!>, we know those things rust and don't last and die.  But, the joy of answering this call and doing this work, which feels custom-made for us.... well, we know that DOES last.  That is something we can never lose.  And so, with happy but sober hearts, we've decided to stay.  
We will be home for 4 weeks or so this mid-July through August, to put Stephen into college somewhere and to take Hannah back to her second year of college.  

 We hope you enjoy the pictures we’ve included in this announcement.  We think they will perhaps explain why we feel called to stay here better than our words ever could.
Thank you for reading!!

1 comment:

  1. That is great news for Kibogora. (I bet Julie is doing cartwheels). Great place to serve and wonderful people. Our gang from Mobile (without us this year) will be there mid-February to mid-March. Duane is bringing his entire family for the whole month this year.