Can you remember a time when you thought you had your future figured out, or at least part of it…then God throws something at you sending your plans into a tailspin? I have…just this last week. It wasn’t the first time and it probably won’t be the last. What can I say? I’m a slow learner.
We thought we had our summer plans and return to the States all figured out, even looking at plane tickets, when God threw us a curve ball. We feel that God wants us to explore the possibility of serving with a ministry in Zambia. We knew of this possibility but had allowed it to fade into the background after not hearing from the ministry for some time. God pushed it back to the foreground when Robert received an e-mail last week expressing the ministry’s willingness to pay for his travel expenses to join a construction team to learn more about the ministry, the project and to consider full-time service.
So Robert will be going to Zambia before we return to the States. Not exactly what we had planned, but we know it has to be a “God thing” since the plans we had made were having difficulty coming to fruition. We had communicated with several travel agents about helping us with our travel plans but weren’t having much success. We thought our difficulty was because we wanted to use Robert’s airline miles for one of the tickets, and no one really wanted to help us with that. But in retrospect, I think God muddled things up to allow the Zambian ministry to respond.
We have now altered our summer plans and are eagerly looking to our future plans beyond the summer. We know better than to leave God out of this process. It is often easy to remember to include Him in the big plans but not in the smaller ones. Unfortunately, we do not feel He has been as vocal about the bigger picture.
One of the possibilities for the future is working with the ministry in Zambia. It would be a construction management position for Living Hope International, overseeing the transformation of their 40 acre site in Ndola, Zambia into a Christian orphanage community complete with orphan housing, K-12 school, church, and a medical clinic. We have some concerns about this position which Robert will be researching on his trip this summer. Most notably, we are concerned whether Robert will be fulfilled in the role as construction manager. He is a designer at heart, and we aren’t sure that there would be a whole lot of designing going on with this position. We are also concerned about how much support we would have from the ministry. It is our understanding that we might be the only mzungu representatives of the ministry in the country, with the rest being nationals.
Another possibility for our future is to work with the eMi office in Calgary, Alberta. We would love to stay in Kampala and continue our service with the office here. Unfortunately, we cannot continue much longer as Long Term Volunteers as there is a two year limit and we will be approaching that by the time we leave. We would love to stay as fulltime staff, but there is no need for our services in that role as they already have architects and are looking for more project leaders from other disciplines. But the Canada office seems interested in us coming to work with them. They actually started pursuing Robert when we were deciding to come to Uganda two years ago. Who knows? Maybe Uganda was training ground for future work with eMi in Canada.
And our final perceived option (possibilities are infinite with God, of course) is for us to return to the States and find a job in the traditional work force. This is the option that most of our friends and family favor. And I would venture to say that this is the option that Robert and I favor, although it depends on the day and God tugging on our hearts. Robert would love to move us back to the mountains of Colorado, while I would at least like to live in the same country as my family. We aren’t really sure what God has in store for us.
As I mentioned before, our future isn’t really clear to us at the moment. God hasn’t blessed us with any burning bushes or neon signs lately. I know God knows His plans for us, but unfortunately He hasn’t told us. While He has made his intentions of Robert visiting Zambia clear, we aren’t sure that He wants us to move there for an extended period of time. We ask for prayers as we consider God’s intentions for our future. God often speaks to us through others.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11