Why Africa?

I feel like the story of how Africa has entered and begun taking over our lives could be a book already - and we're only at the beginning of this journey.  But we really want to spread the mission we're called to and share our hearts, so we sat down one night and talked for a few hours, and came up with this little conversation that gives the "Africa & Us Story" - the condensed version. :)

(Amanda's words are in italics, Bill's words are standard.)

When I went to Father's House in Ghana in 2010,  I fell in love with Africa, and felt a strong call to live there some day.... but I also knew Bill had to get to Africa at some point too, before we could just go and move there. I mean, it's Africa.
A year later a friend invited us to an informational meeting about a trip to Tanzania, we went with intentions on getting more info so Bill could get to Africa. Owen was only an infant, so it would be good timing for Bill to go solo – plus, I really wanted him to go alone to experience Africa without me there to bias his views.

We sat through the meeting & I felt that we should go as a family... but how do you take a baby to Africa and be a good parent? Peter (the missionary that lives in Tanzania) looked over at me (I was holding Owen) and randomly said, “You guys should bring little man with you”. Him saying that threw me off because the meeting had just ended and Amanda & I hadn't discussed anything yet.

That's when I finally spoke up with what I was thinking. I felt God telling me that this trip was for our whole family, or none of us. When I said that, Bill chimed in and said he was thinking the same thing. And at that point in time, for us to be communicating on the same page was nothing short of a miracle – I mean, we were still figuring out parenthood, communicating was not exactly our forte. But when Peter mentioned us bringing O, it was like God used him to start a chain reaction of us speaking out, and that's what it took for us to figure out God had big plans for our family.

So on the trip, one of the outreaches we did was street ministry in the slums of Njoro. The people of Njoro live in mud huts (if they're lucky) with tin roofs and usually a sheet for a door. There's no plumbing, as you can imagine, so down the side of the street and through all the alleys runs a trench... that they use as a toilet. This trench flows to the area dump where goats, chickens and children can be seen playing in the trash heaps. That's when I realized the level of poverty these people were living in.

The poverty level hit me when I saw the kids playing in the trash heaps, barefoot. But it broke my heart when a little girl came up to me to show me her doll. The pride in her eyes was overwhelming to see – she loved this doll SO much and was so excited to show it off to me: a barbie head shoved onto a twig. 
Even in their poverty, though, these kids are kids. They find joy in the simple things and it's so sweet to watch. We sang songs with them about Jesus & they were dancing and singing without a care in the world, which you can see in the video below.

We also witnessed this in the Maasai tribe outreach. After camping in the bush three days with them, we came to see how happy they are despite having no electricity, very few possessions, and having to walk several hours just to get water.
Tanzania isn't all doom & gloom & poverty tough. We were also able to speak at several local Christian churches and at a local school.
We also helped demo, clean and paint at the restaurant Peter & Mary are starting.

Speaking of restaurants, our anniversary fell during the last part of the trip and our amazing team babysat for the night so Bill & I could have a romantic night out. Dinner was amazing – and so was the coffee!
But even more amazing was having the chance to sit and talk to each other about what God was revealing to us individually. By the end of the night we knew God was telling us that we were to live in Moshi someday. Not only that, but also that we would be back to visit soon – in the very near future.

So we went in Feb 2013- less than a year from the last trip-, with a goal to meet up with other missionaries that live in Moshi and learn about their ministries. There are several in the area and this would help us figure out which ministry we will partner with once we moved to Moshi in a few years.
We won't just be partnering with a ministry once we move there though, our goal is to be working missionaries. That means that one or both of us will work full-time so we could live off of that income, allowing all the funds that come in from supporters to go directly to the ministry we end up partnering with.

So another thing we planned to do while we're there is look for job opportunities. There are a handful of schools in the area that I'll be looking into, an international school for MK's and the wealthier population of locals and a nearby Christian school, in particular. There's also a Pepsi plant right in Moshi (what are the odds?!).

So what we need from you is a commitment to pray. Specifically we seek prayer for:
-Traveling – Wisdom/Guidance – Finances - Favor – Opportunities

So now we LIVE here.  A mere 5 months after the trip in February, God told us to make the leap.  We sold everything in the States, packed what we could into 12 Rubbermaid Totes and started our new lives in Moshi, Tanzania.

Amanda and Bill are both volunteer teachers at Hope International School and continue to build relationships with ministries in the area on the weekends.  Our focus right now is on Farming God's Way and village ministry.

Our cost of living is about $2500 per month, and we rely solely on support from individuals like yourself.  Right now we're at about 25% of our monthly supporters, so if you'd like to join the team we'd be very appreciative!

If you would prayerfully consider supporting us further with either a one-time tax-deductible donation, or a monthly recurring donation through Freedom House, we would so appreciate it. You can donate securely online at freedomhouse.cc/give and select our name from the drop down menu, or you can donate via check made payable to Freedom International Ministries with our name in the memo line and send it to:
Freedom International Ministries
5806 Prosperity Church Rd
Suite A2-122
Charlotte, NC 28269

Every little bit helps, so don't underestimate your gift. Also, please know that by giving you are going with us, and that it is on your 'account' as well – just like Paul talks about in Philippians 4:15-17 “You Philippians well know, and you can be sure I'll never forget it, that when I first left Macedonia province, venturing out with the Message, not one church helped out in the give-and-take of this work except you. You were the only one. Even while I was in Thessalonica you helped out – and not only once, but twice. Not that I'm looking for handouts, but I do want you to experience from the blessing that issues from generosity.”

Part of the significance of that verse, is that Paul was the first missionary – so he set the standard. He was a working missionary, so before people like the Philippians started giving, as he would travel he would work as a tent maker and his money would support his living expenses and his ministry. But because of their gift he was able to do more within his ministry than he could on his own -

- so that's the vision we have for our family as well – to follow in Paul's footsteps. 

Here's a short video that recaps our June trip - enjoy!  

Tanzania 2012 Recap from Bill & Amanda on Vimeo.

Legal Stuff about Giving: “Although the church will make every effort to honor the contribution designation of the donor, contributions become the property of the church, and the church has the discretion to determine how best to use contributions to carry out its functions and purposes.  Such control of the funds by the church is required to ensure that donor’s contributions satisfy requirements for tax-deductibility.”