On June 24th, 2008, we stepped off of the plane and arrived back in the US. Thank you for the support you provided us while we were in Dar es Salaam. We really saw how God used us in the 11 months we served at HOPAC. In this edition of the website we will share a little bit of how He did.
One thought that came to me in the final weeks before we left was how God will use you if you allow Him to; regardless of your ‘human qualifications.’ My degree is in Media Communication and for the past year I was a P.E. Teacher, Sports Coordinator, and Coach. According to job requirements in the US, this would probably mean I would have been unqualified. But God knew this would be a good fit, and despite my inexperience, I just finished a year of teaching in a different culture and still felt that despite the fact I don’t have a teaching certificate or even a teaching related college degree, I was able to accomplish some teaching. I also got the opportunity to get to know a lot of youth from different backgrounds and cultures at the same time teaching them how to incorporate God into sports and life. I am thankful to God for this past year and am excited to see His plan for the next year.
Over the past two or three weeks I’ve had three formal debrief sessions: One with my supervisor at HOPAC, one with an AIM short-term coordinator in Tanzania, and another AIM debrief once we landed in New York. Most of these were not exactly looked on with excitement and anticipation, (oh joy, debriefing again!!) but most of them surprised me by turning out to be quite valuable. And so now, I would like to debrief with you, the beloved ones who sent us to Dar es Salaam.
Three things of many that God showed me:
1. Be confident in God’s ability to work in your and through you… and then depend on that strength that comes from God, do not try to flippantly do things on your own strength because you lack trust, or you want to get something done faster. One of the reasons why we came to Haven of Peace was to be reminded of this promise that God has made to us, specifically in the area of teaching. I’m thrilled to report that restoration has been done, even though I think God is directing my path away from teaching, He wanted me to see that I could do it.
2. It is ok to be patriotic. Last time I went to Africa, I cam back in sort of a state of disillusionment and I was frustrated with the US and their sever materialistic and entitlement mentalities. I still think that materialism and entitlement are two diseases that attack citizens of the United States, but I was able to come to terms with that living in such a unique international community. I realized that the desire to acquire more and more at any cost is a disease that not only Americans are susceptible to, and is also not only contained in wealthy business offices. Greed effects all of humankind. And yet, just because culture have black spots doesn’t mean that they are unredeemable. I saw my students stand and be unashamed to be and support their nationality when it was appropriate. This inspired me to be proud of the fact that I am a citizen of the United States and appreciate some of the blessings that we have here, like traffic lights, Red Robin, and Thanksgiving.
3. Lastly, God made it quite clear that He wants us to return to the Twin Cities in Minnesota and to get plugged into organizations and people that He will bring our way. We saw the value of being committed to something for longer than a “short-term” commitment, in order to be more effective.
We are sure a lot of you are curious as to what is next for us.
Rachel just accepted a Resident Director Position at Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN and will start in mid-July. She is excited to work with college students and in another supportive environment. Please pray for her as she takes on this wonderful opportunity.
Brandon, is going to pursue a full-time position in website design (actually in his field). Please pray that he will be led to the right place to sharpen and use his skills. Thanks.