Quick note before today’s post: Allen, Ruth, and Clara are all sick (maybe allergies?) and even little Hudson is coughing. Please pray they are well again soon, especially before our site visit. And pray that I stay healthy. Thank you!
The plane’s wheels touched down on the African runway. I’d been on a plane for at least 25 hours, traveling from Alaska to South Africa for a two week mission trip to serve at an orphanage.
When I had called my mom from college to tell her that I was going to Africa that summer, she said, “We’ll see if God provides.” I confidently told her, “He will.”
And now, about 4 months later, having provided all I needed for the trip, He was about to impress something else on my heart that would change the course of my life forever.
When those wheels touched down in Africa that summer, I felt a weight come off my shoulders. I felt… at home. It felt like sitting down in my favorite chair with a cup of coffee or tea at the end of a long day and finally being able to breathe again. Home. Home.
And I felt peace when the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart that this was it. This is what God had created me for. From then, I knew God had called me to spend the rest of my life in Africa, serving Him on mission.
A couple weeks ago, we shared about how Allen and I met. What we didn’t share in that post is how, within a couple weeks of meeting, I told him, “I’m going to live in Africa the rest of my life. If you aren’t on board with that, we can be friends, but that’s it.”
I think some people are surprised that he didn’t jump ship and end our friendship then and there. But God had been working in his life, too.
Allen grew up hearing from missionaries at church. From North Pole, Alaska to Prattville, Alabama, each time he heard about or met a new missionary, Allen felt his heart being pulled more and more in the direction of the mission field.
During high school, Allen thought he would go to Europe (specifically Germany) as a missionary. But within a year or so after graduating, God began closing those doors and leading Allen’s heart elsewhere.
He worked as a youth pastor at his church in Alabama before hearing about a missions opportunity at a camp in Alaska one summer. He took the plunge and spent time ministering to kids in Wrangell. The next year, he moved permanently to Anchorage with a heart committed to serving wherever and however he could.
And then we met and I dropped that bomb about Africa.
In response, Allen told me, “Let me pray about that.” And a few weeks later, he came back and told me, “Okay. Africa. I’m in.”
Even in our short time knowing each other, I could see his desire to serve God through international missions. And he for sure knew my heart to serve specifically in Africa. I knew that Allen would not sacrifice obedience to God just to be with me.
So as we began dating, we did so with the knowledge that, if God chose to bless our relationship and lead us toward marriage, we would eventually be on the mission field together long-term.