Back to the beginning... for the record
This is what I wrote to Nick and Kati just before I finally started writing this blog. It is what I should have started with...
Ok. Here goes. I promised I would write about living in Africa. I will fulfill that promise. It will be stories that I remember, short visions of what I experienced. It will be my story. Not your dad’s, though obviously he will be an integral part of my story. It will not contain lots of facts about studying the Bible with people, though I did a lot of that. It will not be full of church growth and all that, although every church and most every Bible Talk we were a part of did grow. I just don’t remember those facts very well. I think I have not written before because a part of me is ashamed that I can’t remember lots of names and dates and statistical facts and stories of other people’s lives. I did not journal very much when we lived in Africa. I haven’t written in a journal much at all since I got married. And I have thrown away most of what I wrote in journals before that.
When I went back and read them they were full of laments about what wasn’t going right in my life. I prefer to remember what went well. I am often dogged by what needs to change, what needs to be different and how imperfect things are, missing the joys of every day victories.
I am writing all of that to say that I am going to write things down as honestly as I can. We lived in Africa 14 years. I was 27 when we moved to Nairobi. I am 50 now. We have lived in Virginia for 9 years. Things get blurry. I will do my best. I will write about what went well and also what I learned from things that didn’t go so well.
This story is for you, Nick and Kati. What you chose to do with it is up to you. Who you share it with is up to you. But when I write, I am going to be writing to you. I want you to know what we did, how we lived and how it felt to experience life in Kenya and South Africa.
When your dad and I originally moved to Philadelphia, we thought we were going to be doing two things. First, we were going to help start the church in Philadelphia and spend the next year sharing our faith and studying the Bible with new friends. Second, we were going to be preparing to move to Africa to start a new congregation somewhere there. Then everything changed and it looked like we were just going to stay in Philadelphia. We moved to Philly in September of 1988. The first Saturday in December your dad asked me to marry him. I was elated and said yes! We were married March 4, 1989. Then, the first week in July we received a phone call asking if we were still interested in moving to Africa and if so, would we consider moving to Nairobi, Kenya and be self-supporting missionaries. Your dad said yes immediately. I was hesitant and afraid. I had been very excited about being a missionary, but I had just gotten married, just moved into our new apartment and was focused on adjusting to being a married woman and taking care of a home. I had to go for a long walk. I spent several hours walking in Philly, praying and thinking things through. When I went back to the apartment, I told your dad I would go.