I am going back to Africa this year! I am blessed/excited/thrilled to be going to Tanzania for about a month (mid-Dec to mid-Jan) with Africa Inland Mission. My short-term team with be joining a team that’s already in place working in the northern region among the Rangi people.
Africa Inland Mission (AIM) is an organization I am interested in working with as a long-term missionary. After graduating from nurse-midwifery studies, I contacted AIM to learn more about them. The contact I made suggested (along with everyone else whose advice I asked for) that I get some experience in the US as a nurse-midwife before going overseas. This June, it will be a year since I joined the Breath of Life team as its third midwife. When that one year mark starting creeping up on me, I decided it was time to think about what the next step was in finding out if AIM was an organization I wanted to join.
It seemed like the natural next step would be to take a short-term trip with AIM. I decided to reach out to the same AIM contact I made a year ago. And surprise, surprise, wouldn’t you know he and his wife live about 45 minutes south of me here in Florida! I was able to meet with Sam and his wife, Bonnie, in person since they live so close for an interview. It was incredible to sit across from a couple that lived a few decades all over Africa – I could have (and did) listen to them talk for hours! They also linked me up with the couple that mentored THEM and lived even closer to me. I had dinner at their house and also talked with them for hours!
I am blessed that my boss (and fellow midwife, Chris) didn’t blink an eye when I asked for a month off of work, knowing that my heart has always been to work overseas.
I was interested in this trip, specifically, because it is supporting/joining a TIMO (Training in Ministry Outreach) team. I love the TIMO concept, which is a team-based, in-depth approach to missions specifically for new missionaries. I could take a lot of time to explain it, but I think this video says it best, so take a look:
I am excited to get a real-life glimpse of what a TIMO team looks like while in Tanzania. Ultimately, I hope that the Lord uses this trip to teach me and to give me further direction. If and when I sign up to go long-term with AIM, I have considered going as part of a TIMO team or going to fill an open position of a nurse-midwife. I will be happy, and humble enough, to admit that I have a lot to learn about learning another language, living among another culture, and knowing how to share the gospel. All those things make TIMO sound very appealing. However, I don’t really know how my nurse-midwifery skills would play into TIMO and I am somewhat reluctant to give up practicing these skills (skills it feels like it has taken me an eternity to get and be able to use). AIM also has open positions specifically for a nurse-midwife, so this is another way I could join the work AIM is doing.
I’m not sure which direction to take, but I trust that God will lead me when I need to choose.
The past few months I just can’t shake the feeling that He is up to something… I know He is always at work, whether I am aware of it or not. But I just have such feelings of hope and excitement at times wondering what He is going to do. After talking with Sam and Bonnie during my interview for this trip, the next day I was just… giddy. That’s the only word that seems to fit. It was like I had received a love letter from the Lord from a far off place I had yet to see.
He has also brought some wonderful women into my life who encourage me, challenge me, and hold me accountable. They, probably without even knowing it, lift my spirits and point me back to Christ when I want to get hung up on my sin and my shortcomings or in my discontentment. Sometimes it is amazing to sit back and look at the network that is the body of Christ. It’s unbelievable how He makes connections and uses us in one another’s lives.
Would you join me in my excitement for what God is doing? I will keep this blog updated as I learn more about the Rangi people, the TIMO team we are joining, and what role my short-term team will be playing when we get there. Please consider joining me in prayer or with financial support for this upcoming trip to Tanzania!