Saturday, February 27, 2010

Five Years

Five years ago we headed off into this daunting and glorious adventure in Africa. At the time we said we would stay five years. That seemed like a long time then—longer than a college education, longer than a president’s term. But now five years have flown by in a flash, a blur of experiences, surprises, frustrations, grief, and joys.

I look back on these five years and marvel at how God has worked. I see the person I was in the Austin airport as we said goodbye to family and friends in June of 2005, and I hardly recognize her. The Africa years have opened my eyes and my heart, changed my dreams and desires, toughened me in some ways, and softened me in other ways. I will never be the same.

And now our five-year commitment is nearing an end. In April we will be returning to the US to live. John and Leah are expecting our first grandchild on April 2, and we will arrive a week later, ready to step into our new role as grandparents. Sara’s wedding is June 19, and we have that event to plan and anticipate.

We will be in Austin for six months or so as we look for jobs and wait for the next big adventure God has planned for us.

For now we are making transitions and gradually turning over our responsibilities. A team of our co-workers here will handle the sponsorship program from this side, and I will continue to be involved through e-mails and phone calls. One of our sponsored students, Rajiv Siamweela, is taking over the record keeping and communication duties. He is finishing his college this year and will be teaching at the secondary school soon, so he will be directly involved with the high school students and will still have close ties to the college. So far he has been a quick learner and has proven to have both the ability and the desire to do an excellent job.

Our dear friend and co-worker Rodgers Namuswa will continue leadership training, with Sylvia Mancheesi teaching the women’s classes. Rodgers will also coordinate the student outreaches.

It was always our goal to work ourselves out of a job, and we hope we have accomplished that. Our five years have forever changed us, and we pray that God has used us for his purposes here and will continue to use us wherever he sends us.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I know the people of Zambia will miss you when you return to the US. Your work there has been amazing and I am so appreciative of what you do for God's kingdom and the people of Namwianga. My heart is happy for you and your family, but sad for the Christians of Africa you are leaving. Love, Elaine Kelly

mdeok said...

Linda, reading your blog has made the homesickness I feel for Zambia more bearable when I am on this side of the water. Thank you for writing so that others can get a glimpse into what God is doing in that part of the world, and in the hearts and lives of those who are willing to be changed. I hope to see you stateside sometime. -- Blessings, Marti

Anonymous said...

I will sure miss reading you blog, but glad for you. I have read it at least weekly since my daughter was with HIZ Fall 2008.
In Him,
Holly Watkins