Brazil vs Africa

The debate was still unresolved. From the time we first started dating, Chip said he was called to be a missionary to Brazil, but I insisted I was called to Africa (though I had no idea what country). What to do? A married couple certainly cannot serve on two different continents with an ocean between them! But, as a young couple in love, ultimately, we decided to cross that bridge when we got to it. Though the call to missions was always in our minds, the reality felt so far away. When deciding to tie the knot, I finally figured, “Hey, this is God’s problem! If he’s going to call us to 2 different continents, He’ll have to sort this out!” I was so convinced Chip was the right man for me, it never crossed my mind to consider anything else.

But now, with a couple years of married life behind us and Chip facing graduation simultaneously from college and Bible college, the old debate loomed larger in our thoughts and discussions. Right from the start of our life together, we had agreed to keeping open minds on the topic and considering any field, even something altogether different. We continued to pray and to consider options.

I particularly enjoyed the Sunday evening services in our large Midwestern church. The atmosphere was much more casual and the crowd not so dense. Chip was weekend janitor at the church. I hated him having to miss the services as he spent time converting Sunday School classrooms back into their weekday school classroom mode. So, I willingly gave up my Sunday afternoons off to help him, so he could join me in the evening service. Sunday afternoons were our weekly ‘picnics’, heating lunch in the church microwave and eating it in the kitchen.

This particular Sunday evening, we had a visiting missionary from Kenya. He was a favorite at our church, where we had heard him speak several times. Each time, my heart yearned to go to Kenya, but I said nothing, remembering our agreement to keep an open mind to wherever God may lead us. After the service, I noticed Chip going to speak with him, but thought nothing of it, as I went off in search of friends to chat with.

Later, going home in the car, Chip dropped the bomb on me, “Hey, what would you think about going to Kenya?” What?! Whatever happened to Brazil? Funny enough, I didn’t dare ask him, afraid he might say “Oh, yeah. Never mind”! Instead, I simply said “Sure! Yes, I’d love to go there if this is where God is calling us.”  And so, began the long journey to Kenya, Africa. It wouldn’t be until over a year later that I would hear the story behind Chip’s supposed change of heart.

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