Tuesday, August 30

A bit more than I bargained for!!

With a couple of years in Tanzania under my belt 1999-2001 and then 4 months travelling round Australia and New Zealand ... I knew that there were some more adventures out there for me, I just had to get prepared for them!

I worked with newly arrived asylum-seekers in south London for a few years while saving up for some more studies ... another example of God's sense of humour as after my degree I'd promised myself never to study again!! In 2005, I started a 2 year diploma in Biblical & Intercultural Studies at All Nations Christian College where both staff and students are international, with a wealth of worldwide mission experiences.

The setting was gorgeous ... the study was hardcore ... and the other students have become lifelong friends! At All Nations the preparation is all encompassing ... head, hearts and hands ... not just studying the Bible ... and there are courses from 10 weeks to three years at all different levels. It certainly opened my eyes to so much and helped me view all things a little differently.

I also found it quite amusing how so many people found their husbands or wives amongst their fellow students while studying at All Nations! It makes sense that when you put like-minded, mission-focused people together that this would happen ... after all my best friends parents did exactly that over 35 years ago! I, however hadn't even entertained the possibility ... I'd given up the 'boy' thing to focus on preparing for my next adventure! So, sure enough (you've guessed it!) I met the man of my dreams and we got married during the christmas break of our second year of study, December 16th 2006 ... definitely an added bonus I hadn't been counting on!! What was even more amusing was that with students from all over the world, I met someone from my home town!

Saturday, August 27

Inspiration and Passion!

Why on earth have I set myself the task of maintaining 2 blogs? (As I'm the voice behind most of our family blog too!!) 
Flicking through a weekend paper is a luxury to me ... but I found an article a couple of weeks ago on a book which caught my attention! It's called 'The Digital Mom Handbook' ... 

... and although it's more about finding a dream career at home as a 'Mom' (while talking about an American book, I'll use the American spelling!) through the blogosphere, it talks about finding your passion and starting to blog from there! While our family blog is great for relatives, friends and supporters around the world ... it's more about family updates than my musings! 

So, while I don't aspire to earn a living from this blog as Audrey McClelland (momgenerations.com) and Colleen Padilla (classymommy.com) have written about ... they have inspired me to embrace my passion which is both being a missionary and a mum and to begin blogging about it! Thank you ladies!!

Wednesday, August 24

The Journey so far ...

I often think that God has a sense of humour! As a child I was quite shy and even managed to avoid school trips as I didn't want to spend time away from home. I really wanted to study languages ... but the thought of spending a year of my course living in another country and culture, speaking another language was just too much! At Uni I grew in confidence but when I told my mum I was planning to spend a month in Tanzania, East Africa after my second year of study, working with street children and on a building project she was still a little surprised!

That trip in 1997 totally changed my focus and my vision ... I was challenged by God that if I was going to do this 'Christianity thing' there was no point unless I gave it 100% ... it was all or nothing ... I chose ALL and have never looked back! It also opened my eyes to the possibility of full-time mission work and resulted in another 2 short term trips in Kenya and through contacts I made on that first adventure, a role teaching for two years back in Tanzania (1999-2001). Now all I want to do is live within and embrace new cultures and languages!

Halfway through my time in Tanzania, in the summer of 2000, I experienced one of the most amazing moments of my life ... after 4 days trekking, I was standing at the top of Kilimanjaro ... the highest point in the whole of Africa!

I'd like to say it was memorable and etched into my mind for all time ... but honestly I've never felt so exhausted in my whole life and all I really wanted to do is get back down the mountain and sleep for a week!!! Given that only 1 in 10 people who climb Kilimanjaro make it to the crater rim, let alone the summit ... it's something I'm really proud of. Sadly it all happened before camera's went digital and the one I had stopped working because it was freezing cold before I got to the top. Thankfully one of my climbing companions did capture the moment for me!!

Over a decade later with some more study under my belt both in missions and teaching English I find myself as a missionary with MAF UK (Mission Aviation Fellowship UK), living in small town America while my husband who is an Aircraft Design Engineer is two thirds through more training at MMS Aviation (Missionary Maintenance Services) ... not quite what you envisage for your life when you attend career workshops at school ... but way more exciting than I could ever have imagined!

We also have a family blog www.beckwithsbigadventure.blogspot.com which chronicles our adventures together.

Monday, August 22

Who Am I?

What springs to mind when you say the word 'Missionary'?

To me ... it's a little, almost-retired spinster, with her long hair either swirled in an eternal bun or in a gradually thinning plait, wearing home-made clothes in a flower print that should have been burned when it was first fabricated many decades earlier, playing either a well-loved guitar or a tambourine with faded ribbon tassels!! Seriously ... that's the image that springs into my head!!

How then do I find myself in my early 30's, married, a 'yummy mummy' with two young daughters, completing forms with the title 'Missionary' under the heading 'occupation'? (And have been for a few years now!) It does blow my mind sometimes ... but I know I'm exactly where I'm meant to be!!

Life is a learning process ... and changing cultures, becoming a mum to daughters born on different continents and making our family house, 'home' wherever we live in the world are just some of the challenges that are part of my day-to-day routine. Hopefully I'll be able to share little nuggets of that as my journey continues!