Another interesting fact - ever since I was a child, I dreamed about being a missionary in Africa. In fact, when our community group just a few weeks prior had the ice breaker question "What is a dream thing you hope comes true in your lifetime?" I answered, go to Africa. I even explained my childhood dream and also said, "But, I'm not a bible scholar, and I certainly don't see myself as a missionary by any means, but I figured maybe I would marry a missionary type. I didn't marry a missionary type so I don't know if that will ever happen." It turns out that it was okay that I didn't marry a missionary type, because fix motorcycles we can do and from what we were told, the people in Sierra Leone rely on motorcycles for transportation and they don't know a thing about them mechanically. What an opportunity!
So I was bursting at the seams with excitement at the idea of helping people in Africa, I mean, I was seriously on cloud 9. Then pastor Zack came over and talked to Pete and I about Africa and asked if we'd consider going to Sierra Leone for a whole year. I blurted out a confident "YES!" and Pete looked at me with a face of scrutiny. I was trying to figure out if it was a joke, or if Zack was actually asking us this question for real. We joked around a bit, with Zack excitedly planning out our future, and then...we went home. It felt like the best day ever. I didn't know what any of this meant, but I was still on cloud 9.
Again, jumping back in time... over the last several months Pete and I had been discussing what it would look like if we moved to another country for a year. It seemed like God had been preparing our hearts for this idea, this Africa idea didn't seem like something we should ignore.
A few days later, Zack asked if we'd be willing to meet up with Van and Janese, the missionaries our church supports in Sierra Leone. We agreed on a date and time, we would wait until after Christmas, as we were all busy with family and such.
So Christmas Eve rolls around and I receive a text from Pastor Dan, something like this "Hey it's me Dan from The Mission :) - I know this is a total long-shot but can you go to Africa with us in two weeks?"
My reply, "Just me? Possibly. I would need to expedite my passport, which I have the paperwork all filled out already and waiting to be hand delivered in Seattle for a 2-3 day turn around. I saw that visas can happen quickly, but no experience on that one. Pete couldn't go this time. What are the dates? I can ask for help with the kids tomorrow when family is merry. :D :P"
Dan and I talked on the phone, and then Pete and I slept on it. On Christmas morning, before family came over, my plane ticket was purchased! I got the very last available seat, so it was all feeling meant to be.
On Saturday, the day after Christmas, I called about 8 different travel clinics in an effort to get my vaccinations done in time for the trip. I was told by the University Village Bartell Drugs Travel Clinic, that they could indeed administer a yellow fever shot that same day, which was completely contrary to what any other location had told me... So I traveled all the way to Seattle, only to be told, "Oh sorry, I was wrong, it's a two week wait as you have to apply for the vaccines and docs have to review it, etc. etc." I felt a bit defeated. If I didn't get the shot by Monday, it would be too late. I called pretty much the last option on my list, and I spoke to a pharmacist who told me that he indeed would help me! We made an appointment for the following day (Sunday) and I prayed that it worked out. Sure enough, I was able to get the vaccine and it turns out the pharmacist goes to Overlake and was happy to help me get to Africa by way of travel vaccines. Next up, passport!