Preparing for moving our family of 5 to Sierra Leone can be a daunting task if I focus too much on the little details. So how have we prepared so far? What are some of the ways that we have been preparing spiritually, professionally, physically, and personally?
I think that, by far, our spiritual preparation has been the most integral to getting us ready for Sierra Leone. One things that has helped our spiritual preparation is knowing that this is where we are supposed to be going and what we are supposed to be doing. While we have not had any auditory revelations from God, He has certainly been showing us the way and guiding our steps of ministry by closing and opening doors and answering prayers of need in unimagined ways.
It has been a long journey to get to this point of preparation. We have been imagining our day of embarking on long-term missions for over 10 years now, from even before we were engaged. The fall of 2001 we travelled down to Texas to take a 2 week seminar on medical missions run by Mercy Ships. We were engaged December of 2001 and married June of 2002. Our honeymoon was a labor mission trip to the island of Roatan, Honduras (don't worry we did have a couple of days on the beach toward the end of our trip).
We pray often for the people of Sierra Leone and the Mokanji region that their hearts be open to our teaching and to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We pray often for the people who support us in prayer and financially. We pray often that we are able to hear the still, quiet voice of God and follow his leading. We pray often for patience and provision.
We are growing in our trust and faith in Jesus Christ. I think that by relaxing our expectations and what we can achieve on an individual level we allow God to work more in our lives. One great example of this is Jeneson's job situation. He has not worked a regular full-time job in over a year, but God has amazingly provided. I guess that I should not be all that amazed about God providing because He did it all through the Bible. (Let me know if you need references for this, because I am sure I can find them). We made the decision, after much careful consideration and prayer that after coming back from India this past January that Jeneson would not take a full-time position and instead take locum tenens (short-term contracts) for work. We wanted to be completely open to God's timing for departure to Sierra Leone.
The biggest lesson we have learned is that in order for God to be faithful to his promises, you need to stop trying to do it all in your own strength and step out in faith.