Yes folks, you read right. Some of you have been walking with us through the decision process for the last seven months, and to some of you this is a complete surprise. Until we officially decided to accept the new position offered to us with AIM, we couldn’t talk about it publicly.
We just sent out a newsletter that gives the short story of the reasons for the transition, but we’ll go into a little more detail here.
More than a year ago, we sensed that our time working with the TEE program was coming to a close, simply because it was almost ready to stand on its own! In looking at options, we preferred to stay in Mozambique because there is still a lot to do, and planned to bring a team of new missionaries and train them in TEE, then send them out to other cities in Northern Moz to start new TEE program. However, we insisted that each of those people commit to six years on the field in order to complete Portuguese studies, be trained in TEE and local culture, and have a minimum of four years to get a TEE program off the ground and stable. Guess what? No takers! No one wanted to commit to that much time. Although the trend in missions is short-term, we felt it was important that we only invest in long-termers for this project.
Around the same time, it was becoming increasingly clear that my back problems were interfering with normal life. The ruin of the roads during the floods last year along with the departure of the accupressure/massage person I saw weekly to keep me on my feet put me in a bad way. By May, I flew to South Africa and after an MRI showed more problems and some unexpected deterioration, both my physical therapist and neurosurgeon urged me to move out of Mozambique to somewhere with better roads.
We decided we had to leave Mozambique, though we were willing to commit to 2 more years if necessary. I would simply have to either stay home or walk to any meetings I needed to go to. However, our leadership immediately saw an option, and invited us to co-lead the AIM team in Nambia (see above – it is on the West Coast!). The current Unit Leaders are retiring later this year. Some of you may remember that we started our missionary careers in Namibia, serving with a team there for 2 years almost 20 years ago! It is a very different country than Mozambique in so many ways I can’t even name them all. That is fodder for future posts.
Obviously, we have made the decision to accept. However, it has been a rough journey to this decision. When we moved to Mozambique, it was for the long term. We’ve been there almost 10 years and the kids consider it home. I’ve just started speaking the local tribal language and have invested tremendous amounts of time into working with some ladies there. We love it in so many ways, even though it is such a difficult place to live and work. We will miss speaking Portuguese all the time, the fresh tropical fruit, and so many other things. However, what has been most wrenching has been thinking about all the people we will leave behind. At times I can’t even think about it because it gives me so much heartache. I can only trust that God is leading us there, and our new lives will be full of people we will come to love too.
Besides the Unit Leader position, which involves overseeing the AIM missionaries working in that country (pastoral and administrative care), working to bring new missionaries in, networking with churches and ngo’s and whatever else needs doing, Kevin has been asked to fill the position of Regional Consultant for Alternative Theological Education. Or something like that! It will involve a fair amount of travel and a lot of long conversations. More on that later.
The kids – well, this has been hard for them. Nampula is home! They have accepted the move and talk about positive things there waiting for them, while still mourning those they will leave behind. We will be returning to Moz later this year for a period of time to encourage the TEE guys, sell most of our belongings, and say our goodbyes. We’ll be posting more on that later. Meanwhile, please pray for us as we make decisions on timing, and apply for visas. -C