I know that I have recently written the words “Life is just one BIG adventure” and that “you just never know what is around the corner.” It was the blog I wrote when I found out that I was to be heading to America in May/June of last year for Mackinac and some other p2P Live Events. I wrote it on 17th February and here we are almost exactly a year later and I am writing and thinking those same words. Life continues to be one big adventure!
This is what has been happening for our family …
My husband Dave has been unsettled in his teaching job for some time now and occasionally finds himself searching for a new opportunity. He found one early last year and applied for a one year voluntary position as a Physical Education Teacher on board the Mercy Ships docked off the West Coast of Africa. You can read more about Mercy Ships here. Big step, big change. However, he was emailed to say it was a single person’s position and there would be no allocation for family accommodation. Not a problem, chapter closed. Or so we thought! A week later, Dave received another email asking if the organisation could keep his information for the Principal’s position if it was to come up some time in the future. His reply … sure!
In the early hours of the morning on his last day of school last year (December 13th), Dave received another email from Texas asking if he was still interested in the Principal’s position. As he was just going to bed, and would have to wake me to ask if we were, he decided to respond to the email later that morning! We said yes, thinking we were interested and that we could go through the process, finding out more as we went along and see what happens. The next email requested that Dave formally apply for the position by the end of January. Interviews were conducted during the second week in February and Dave’s interview was over the phone, across three timezones – West Africa, Texas and Australia – last week! In the p2P world we are used to working like this and it was really nothing out of the ordinary.
It was 7am in Australia at the time, so the girls and I were getting up and getting ready for school and the day ahead. Two things struck me about the interview, other than that it was a good hour and a half long! Dave had gone downstairs to Chloe’s room which is by far the quietest room in the house as it is the furthest away from the action of the kitchen. However, half way through the interview Dave had to get up to close the door to the room as the School Captain (at his current school) and two of his friends had just come back from a surf and walked through the bottom floor of our house to put their surfboards back into our garage. This was all happening right at the time that Dave was being asked how he would feel being in a small community where you are often doing laundry or eating dinner with students! Dave just explained what was happening right there and then in our house and simply said that we were pretty used to that happening around us, and we actually enjoyed that aspect of living in a small country town! The other thing that struck me was Dave’s face as he came back up to the kitchen … he was beaming! Not only was it a great interview but he felt it was a great fit and he was so excited about the opportunity.
As I said, that was just last week! Yesterday, he was offered the job and we have to let them know our decision by Monday (our Tuesday) … OH MY GOODNESS!
For the last week we have been adding to a list of “great things” and “challenges” on our pantry door. They are pretty full lists! Some of the “great things” include: Big adventure, fabulous experience and an incredible opportunity to serve others far less fortunate than us and to be part of something way bigger than any of us could ever do on our own. I would also get to continue my work (full-time) with p2P! In fact, it is only because of p2P that we can even contemplate this opportunity – what a blessing! The challenges … we would leave our eldest daughter Chloe behind in Australia (she has just started University this week) – but she is also talking about the possibility of deferring her second year and volunteering on the ship with us. Annabelle, our middle daughter, up until yesterday was adamant that she did not want to go … partly because we found out that it was for a three year minimum commitment (we all found that a challenge!) We also found out that we would need to be in Texas for 8 weeks of training before boarding the ship in Conakry, Guinea in August. Just 106 days from today and we could be in the USA, certainly not something I expected as I said goodbye to Jan in Memphis the exact same time last year! Our biggest challenge is a financial one, as the ship is almost entirely staffed by volunteers from over 40 nations, who raise their own finances to travel to the ship and pay towards their cost of living while serving on board. This allows Mercy Ships to provide the medical care and development assistance free of charge to the poorest of the poor. We have continued to receive wonderful emails from Texas encouraging us and asking for us to voice these concerns. One such email suggested that we consider the decision based on “if money was not an issue, would you do it?” and all along one lovely man has been saying “God is up to something!” and we certainly believe that!
So with all that in mind, we have a big decision to make! If you pray, I would appreciate your prayers for our family 🙂 If you don’t, I know that you will be thinking of us as we consider what this means for us all and make that big decision. I will certainly keep you posted … until then, you just never know what is around the next corner or what that next big adventure will be!