Mzungu Memoirs

So Many Questions…

As we have been making preparations for our trip to Uganda and sharing our story with family, friends and potential funding partners, we have been asked many questions, some of which you may or may not have thought of yourself. I thought I would take a few moments to share them with you as well as the answers.

One of the first questions we are often asked is “What will you be doing over there?” Robert will be joining three East Africa design project teams in 2011, providing master planning and architectural design for those three projects and architectural renderings and graphic design for other smaller projects.  His first project trip is for a Widows’ Vocational Training Center in Burundi.  He will be working with team leaders and interns more closely than he normally does on short term trips, serving a more hands on role in preparing and assembling the project reports.   These reports are a culmination of the design work on a short term trip and provide a document for the ministries they have served to use for fund raising and construction.

Since we usually assume that the first question is directed to Robert, the next question is usually “So, what will you be doing, Heather?” This question kind of caught me off guard at first, as I didn’t really think of my role as much beyond supporting Robert and running the household, which will be a fairly monumental task in a developing country.  But if you think about it, these are very important roles, and I now look at my tasks very seriously.  But I will also be available to help out in the eMi office and possibly go on a trip should one arise that would be particularly fitting for a female architect.  Of course, we would have to make sure that it doesn’t coincide with a trip that Robert is scheduled to go on.  Someone probably ought to be around to take care of Caleb.

Another question that usually comes fairly early in our conversations is “How long will you be there?” This one is pretty straight forward as we have committed to serve with eMi in Uganda for a year.  We originally thought this would mean that we would be overseas from the beginning of January to the end of December, but it looks like it will be more like from February 2011 through the end of January 2012.

Of course, everyone wants to know  “When will you be leaving?” We finally have an answer for this one.  Robert just purchased our tickets and we are scheduled to fly out Monday, February 7 at 1:17pm.  We will be flying from Austin, Texas to Atlanta, Georgia, and then from Atlanta to Amsterdam and on to Entebbe, Uganda.  It will take us almost 22 hours of travel time with about 19 of that actually spent in the air.  I can hardly wait.

Another question we often get asked is “So, how’s the funding coming?” And, unfortunately, if you get down to the nitty gritty numbers, it doesn’t look so great.  We have enough in our account with eMi to reasonably cover most of our start up costs (airfare, vaccinations, purchase of a motorcycle in country, etc.)  Currently, with the known pledged monthly support we have about 78% of what we need to cover our minimum monthly budget.  We could still use another $400 to $500 a month, but we know that God will provide for us.  He will either provide the money for us or make it so we don’t need it.  And I’m kind of curious to find out which it will be.

Somewhere in the mix of questions we usually get asked “Is Caleb going with you?” Of course he is!  We wouldn’t want him to miss out on the adventure.  This is something that we truly feel God is calling us to do as a family.  But it is a valid question.  Years ago, before I felt the call as Robert did, I had told him that he could go serve long term with eMi and I would wait for him at “home.”  God really had to work on me, but He has helped me see that my home is with my husband and our son and it doesn’t matter what continent it is on.

And then we come to Robert’s all time favorite question: “Is it safe?” Robert says we would probably be fully funded if we had a dollar for every time someone has asked us that.  Well, maybe not, but it sure feels like we get asked that a lot.  To which we answer it is about as safe as moving to Detroit, Chicago or New York City.  Besides, God doesn’t call us to a life of safety but of service.  We trust in the truth that God will not send us anywhere His providence will not cover.

posted by Robert in Uncategorized and have Comments (2)

2 Responses to “So Many Questions…”

  1. Heather says:

    We are planning on having a cellular internet connection that plug into the USB port on a laptop. Not sure how fast it will be, but it will be an internet connection.

  2. Amy says:

    One more practical question: what will your internet connection be like? I’ve grown accustomed to being back in touch through facebook:-)

    God bless!