For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an enormous desire to live and teach in another culture. Whenever missionaries would speak at church when I was little, I listened intently to their stories and watched their slide shows with great interest. When I was in fifth grade, a couple guys from my church traveled to China to smuggle Bibles to its citizens. When they returned, one of them gave me a piece of Chinese paper money and told me I could keep it as long as I became a missionary myself someday. I still have that paper money tucked away in my Spanish Bible from my year and a half in Honduras during college. They are my reminders of what God has called me to.
Amazingly, when I met Pete, he shared a very similar dream. One night shortly after we started dating, he told me that he wanted to move abroad to teach medicine. I felt like God was handing me a very special gift through an incredible man who also had dreams of other cultures. I know plenty of people who have wanted to go abroad but had to put it behind them when their husband or wife didn’t share the same desire. Clearly, God was letting me continue down the path to being able to teach abroad with my family long-term.
We spent the first ten years of our marriage preparing to move our family to East Africa. Pete completed medical school in 2010 and, near the end of his Family Medicine residency in 2013, we had the opportunity to make our first visit to Tenwek Hospital in Kenya. We were there for two months, during which we felt the clear call to return long-term to Kenya. That same year, I finished my Masters of Education and Pete completed residency. He then spent four years working countless hours as an ER doc while we strived to pay off medical school and grad school. We also applied with World Gospel Mission as our sending organization and went through multiple training courses to prepare for long-term mission work as a family.
Finally, after a decade of work and growth, we have moved to Kenya! We arrived in June 2017 and will be serving at Tenwek Hospital for two years. Pete is teaching new Kenyan doctors while he practices medicine within the hospital, and I am teaching our kids and working with the special needs clinic. After these first two years, we’ll spend 9-12 months in the US and then come back to Kenya for two to three years at a time. We couldn’t be happier to be here, the very place we know God has led us.
During our first visit to Kenya, Pete wrote this beautiful piece following a very moving experience he had. Please take a few moments to read it and see a bit of why our hearts are in Africa.
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