Almost five years ago to the day I left Tanzania where I had been living and working as a member of Wycliffe, to fly to the US and marry my almost-wife, Laura. We had initially hoped to spend just a year in the UK before moving back to Tanzania, but for various reasons one year turned to two, three… and now almost five. Now it seems that our hope is finally about to come true, as this week we booked our flights to Tanzania in January!
Looking back we are extremely grateful for the last five years and can see that we wouldn’t have been ready to move overseas when we originally planned. Over this time we have learned a huge amount about each other, about our cultures, about God, about mission and about Bible translation, and Laura has identified a couple of allergies that were sapping a great deal of her energy in her everyday life. Over this time we have also worked in the Wycliffe UK offices (Mark recruiting new members and Laura serving as PA to the executive director) and taken studies related to our future work (Laura in Psychology and Family studies and Mark in Bible and Mission). All in all we are still slightly daunted about moving to Tanzania, but feel much better prepared now than we were a few years ago.
So over the next few weeks we will once again be deciding what to sell / give away, what to store in our friends’ attic, and what to take with us in our four suitcases! We also have to do various other practical things like updating our immunisations, getting international drivers licenses and Mark applying for a US immigration re-entry permit.
A couple of weeks ago we were down in California where we had a great time visiting friends, supporters and one of our supporting churches. We were so encouraged by the welcome that we received from everyone, and by their enthusiasm to support us in prayer and financially. We were grateful too for the one-time financial gifts that we received during this time, which went a long way towards paying for our flights to Tanzania! As our friends start to settle in to Katavi Region of Tanzania, where we will be based next year, we are also constantly reminded of the importance of the team of people who support us in prayer, and extremely grateful for the commitment of our friends and family in this way.
Our plan is to spend the next few weeks here in Oregon, and then at the end of December we’ll fly to the UK for a couple of weeks with friends, family and our supporting churches there. After that we’ll be leaving for Tanzania, going through a 3-week orientation course, spending a few weeks in Swahili language school, and then moving out west to Katavi!
We were definitely sad to say goodbye to our friends in California, and anticipate more difficult goodbyes (as well as some exciting reunions) in the coming weeks, but we’re looking forward with cautious optimism and excitement for the journey God will take us on as we prepare to move to Tanzania…