Why Did We Stay?

Why did we move to Africa?  And why did we work so hard to stay there when every avenue of income we tried to follow hit a dead end for the first 18 months that we were in Nairobi?  Tom had a great job as a pharmacist at the VA Hospital in Philadelphia before we left.  He worked great hours and made a decent salary.  He had licenses to practice in 4 other states (besides Pennsylvania) and in Washington, D.C.   When we sold the condominium, we saved a portion of it in an IRA and then brought enough money to live for 6 months - so we thought.  That money lasted 3 months.  Then our parents both gave us generous gifts for Christmas and for our first anniversary.  That money carried us along because we got more frugal and figured out cheaper ways to live.

I'll tell you another time all the different things we did to make money during those 18 months before Tom was finally registered to practice pharmacy in Kenya.  But today I want to talk about why we stayed when things got tough.  And why I would agree to live with 4 straw chairs and a small table, and a gas stove that sat on a counter with two burners and no oven, and no refrigerator and no car...you get the point.

We stayed because we were called.  Called by God to go any where, do anything and give up everything to follow Jesus.  Now, that doesn't mean everyone needs to do what we did or live like we did back then.  It doesn't mean that everyone needs to leave the comfort of where ever they live and sell everything and move half way around the world.  But that is what it meant for us.  When we received a call asking if we wanted to move to Nairobi, Tom jumped at the opportunity.  It was scary for me.  It took a long, long walk and alot of prayer for me to be ok with that decision.  

The truth is we could have come back any time we wanted.  No one tried to talk us into staying and after alot of difficult months, no one would have questioned our decision to leave Nairobi.  But we didn't want to.  We fell in love with Nairobi and with the Kenyan people.  We knew what it meant to live and work in the United States and knew what it was like to help people know God in the United States.  But we were hungry.  Hungry to grow spiritually.  Hungry to teach new peoples about our God.  And we were happy.  We were poor.  We were hard pressed often to figure out how to pay our rent.  Then I got pregnant and we really didn't know what to do.  But we didn't want to go away.  We didn't want to give up on our dreams.  I believe God honored our desire to grow.  I believe He honored our desire to help begin a new work in His name.  I believe we made Him happy.  And I know that He made us happy.

I don't ever think we are better than other people.  But I do believe we are better versions of ourselves today because of what we did and what we learned.  We would do it all again.
Lori ZieglerComment