Over the last few weeks I have been emailing backwards and forwards with some 'new friends' ... soon to be good friends and next-door neighbours! They are our Link Family and are already well-established MAF missionaries serving in Dodoma, Thomas and Patricia McKelvey, with a daughter, Grace, who is just 2 months younger than Naomi.
When we got news that they were our Link Family we were both really pleased. Not only had we met them a year or so ago when they made a quick visit to Coshocton ... we shared a short discussion in somebodies garage while waiting for the guest of honour at a surprise party! But Thomas was one of the first MAF Engineers to go through the MMS programme (very useful for Mark) ... and Patricia had her own calling to serve out in Dodoma (like me back in 1999-2001). It was in Dodoma that Thomas and Patricia met! So, a perfect fit for us as a family!
As with all things, like moving your family across the world, it seems that to some extent guys just assume everything will come together, while the women pay attention to the details. So, I have been in touch with Patricia about all kinds of things for both our look-see visit in November and our move there in the New Year. Discussing everything from ATMs and internet, chocolate chips and ziplock bags, to house girls and appropriate clothing ... and all the subjects in between. Today, we chatted on Skype for the first time to save having to type quite so much in emails with all the information flying back and forth ... and I know it was definitely the first of many Skype calls before we get there!
With SO much to think about at this end ... it's really reassuring to know that there is someone who is looking out for our best interests at the other end too, working out the schedule for our visit and sorting out our house for when we move amongst other things! It's been fun to hear just how much Dodoma has changed in the last decade since I lived there too ... for example, it made me laugh to hear that there are now 10 ATM's in town! When I lived there, there was only one that we knew of in Dar Es Salaam, a whole days drive away. Just one of many differences I look forward to discovering myself in only a few months time ... as well as getting to know the McKelvey's a lot more and the other MAF families.