The countdown programed into my phone announces less than one hundred days until Howard, Fran, and I embark to Tanzania. Just like any mission trip I participate in, my heart overflows with excitement, fear, and anticipation. Yet, somehow this trip feels different from the rest.
When I sit down and think about it, my mission trip experiences total eight journeys to four different countries and two major U.S. cities while encompassing twenty-two flights, eleven airports, hundreds of new faces, and countless stories. God used each trip to teach me a unique lesson. I thank him for every one.
But my investment in Tanzania surpasses any trip to date. This investment involves a whole new level of purpose.
In May I reach the two-year mark at ABH. ABH itself now enters the second year of its narrowed focus to publish simplified materials for East African pastors. In my position at ABH the new vision translated into a year of writing stories about pastors in Tanzania, looking through photos of the people and the landscape of Tanzania, praying for ministry partners, and searching for ways to best serve our brothers and sisters living there. As I hear the stories, see the faces, and listen to the soundbites, my love for this country and its people grows.
Looking forward to June, I anticipate finally meeting those I have written about, pictured, and prayed for all year. I’ll meet Japhet, the translator who considers becoming a pastor because of last year’s pastors conference. I’ll connect with Colleta, Fran’s translator and a fellow widow, who supports her family and community while participating in ministry. I’ll talk to Wilson, the pastor whose face and story graced our Christmas campaign. All have become so important to me and I cannot wait to meet and do ministry with them, not on paper, but in person!
Less than one hundred days to go—so much to look forward to—so much to do. Our state-side preparations continue with book editing, fundraising, and most importantly prayer. As we look toward the 2018 book drop, we look back and see God’s faithfulness. I can’t wait to see how he, in his faithfulness, uses this trip to continue growing his kingdom.
In the back of my mind, next to all the anticipation, lurks an unknown. I can’t help but wonder what unique lesson God will teach me this time as the pictures of Tanzania become reality!