Tony and Rachel in Senegal
In all, we’ve been overseas for 18 months:
Our first placement was in South Asia, where we worked in a Pre-school for local children; teaching and taking care of administrative tasks. In the second placement, we served as Dorm Parents to missionary kids at Bourofaye Christian School, Senegal.
There were so many great things about these experiences. For Tony, interacting with the kids and getting to know them personally was definitely a highlight. It was such a meaningful time for him and those relationships meant so much.
And I (Rachel) loved working with children in cross-cultural settings. Having been a missionary kid myself, it was eye-opening and rewarding to be serving God in this way. I particularly enjoyed being able to support young girls, pastorally and spiritually, in a way that I wish I could have been supported, as a child.
We had no choice but to listen to God as he taught us more about being flexible and trusting him.
Our plan was to use our time away to explore the idea of long-term mission: to pray about it and to experience different elements of service – in particular, what it’s like to be on a team for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out quite as neatly as we had planned. We had to leave our first placement because of political unrest, then had a period back in the UK, seeking God's guidance, before the opportunity in Senegal opened up.
We learnt so much through this whole process. We had no choice but to listen to God as he taught us more about being flexible and trusting him. With the unexpected change of plans, we felt confused and hurt, but God showed us that he is always sovereign and knows what he is doing. He spoke clearly about our expectations and how he can work through our plans, but all the more so if we hold those loosely. ‘Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.’ (Proverbs 19:21)
With the unexpected change of plans, we felt confused and hurt, but God showed us that he knows what he is doing!
Our entire perspective on life in the UK and what it means to live for Christ has changed. We are trying not to let the demands and expectations of society guide us and weigh upon us, but rather be motivated by grace. We are still looking to continue serving the Lord overseas and God is guiding us in that. We have also just entered the world of parenting, which is an adventure in itself!