Errrrr, how did we get here?
Well, let's see, I guess we should go back to somewhere around one year ago right now.
Brian was joining me in my hometown via train. When he got in, his ride was running a little bit late, as was the ride of the woman waiting next to him. In completely typical Brian fashion, he easily struck up a conversation, and after some small talk, come to find out, Mrs. M (I don't have permission to share her name on the blog.) is the president of the board of directors for a small not for profit. As you could guess, the not for profit was named Samaritan Village, responsible for an orphanage in Tanzania, Africa.
Before leaving the station, Brian asked what needs Samaritan Village had, to see if there was any way he could help. At the time they needed help developing a website (which Brian thoroughly enjoys doing), and so he got her contact information just in case he was able to help. After we discussed it, we decided that we didn't really have the resources to help in that way at the time. So, we never called Mrs. M, and never really thought about Samaritan Village again.
Fast forward to just a couple of months ago.
It was becoming clear to Brian and I that God was getting us ready for a transition. Brian's job is going to be coming to a natural end point sometime early to mid 2011. We also had not received any calls for foster placements that we could take in 3 months+. (For the other foster parents that read, you know how crazy that is. A house licensed for four kids, sitting open for months at a time? Doesn't happen.) We had been planning, since moving here, to eventually move back toward my hometown.
So, we took advantage of the upcoming transition opportunity, and started planning for moving to my hometown. (Started getting the house ready to sell, looking at houses there, planning for birth of baby #2 both here and there, etc.)
Simultaneously, God was planting a burden in my heart that I could not shake. Through many, many avenues including, but not limited to:
-This blog - a family that up and moved to Haiti, blogging their experience. It is incredible. Seriously. Read it.
-This blog - a girl not much older than myself who moved to Africa at age 19, and has 13 children that she takes care of while also running an incredible ministry. Incredible. Incredible.
-More recently this sermon series has been wrecking us. I seriously recommend listening. But you've been warned. I mean it is wrecking us.
...I think you get the idea. Everywhere I looked I was bombarded. And it hasn't stopped. It got to the point that I was praying, 'God, I get it, I get this burden you're giving me. But what do I do with it?? If there is nothing I can do, please take it away.' But he didn't.
This was about the time of this post and this one.
Because of all this burden, about three weeks before we found out about the overseas opportunity, I actually asked Brian over lunch one day, "Bri, have you ever thought about if God asked us to move overseas?" To which he promptly replied, "No." To be honest, I was relieved, there was my answer - U.S.A. home sweet home!
But then he kept bringing it up.
While we were preparing to move to my hometown, we had several conversations that were all pretty similar. We wanted to make sure that we were not so focused on moving where we wanted to move, that if God had something different for us, we ignored it.
But, every convo ended the same way. If God has something else for us, he'll show us, the end.
Coincidence 5: (When we realized they weren't coincidences at all.)
Do you remember Mrs. M? Well several weeks ago, Brian could not get her off his heart. He couldn't even remember her name, but God had placed her on his heart, and she was there to stay. After a couple of days Brian looked at me and said, "Maggie, I have to call her. We really need to call her." He describes it as - as sure as he was that the sun would be up tomorrow, he was sure he needed to call her. We got home, and he got out his journal and looked up her contact info, and I was all, "Oh, you mean you're going to call her right now?"
So he called her.
The conversation was exactly what you would expect. 'We just wanted to call to see how things are going with Samaritan Village and what the organization is doing.' Mrs. M filled Brian in on how they are fundraising to drill a well so that they can really begin work on the second orphanage and how they are adding on to the first orphanage to make room for more babies. All the while, running through my mind is 'phew. This doesn't sound so much like something God is calling us to - this must not be what he's been preparing me for.' Toward the end of the conversation Brian asked what service opportunities there are and how we might help Samaritan Village.
That's when God began to chuckle.
Mrs. M said, "You know, we've been praying that God would send us someone to go to Tanzania who has some administrative experience and who knows a little about the construction industry...." She continued to describe the skills that they had been praying for, it was as if she were describing Brian himself. (I'm in the background shaking my head thinking, "Oh no, God, oh no - I knew this was coming!")
Moral of the story? (If anyone is even still reading at this point! Ha!) There is no such thing as a coincidence.
So we've been praying about it, talking with people much smarter than ourselves, and trying to map out what this would mean for us. And we haven't felt anything but confirmation that we should go (amid rampant bouts of fear and doubt).
Not that we haven't talked to a few people who think we're totally insane - we have. But God isn't backing off on this one, it seems - and we feel so blessed to be in this place, with this opportunity, with God giving such blatant purpose to our burden.
Brian is going to Arusha, Tanzania in December to check it all out.
When he gets back, unless God points us in another direction, we will begin raising support and trying to make a plan out of all of this craziness!
God is good. All the time.