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We Paid Cash! :: A Move to Africa

We paid cash!

Testimonial submitted by Amanda

Moving to Africa two months after getting married is not a plan that many parents understand. Moving to Africa, newly married, while still in college and with a $50,000 student loan burden was almost unfathomable.

I wish this was the story about how God miraculously paid off our debt before we stepped our newlywed feet on that Nairobi-bound airplane, but it’s not. It’s the story of a call and His provision in that call.

The Call

Despite our student loan burden, my husband knew that finishing his college degree and an internship in Kenya was where God wanted him. He also knew that God was drawing us into a marriage together. His heart beats for Africa and mine was newly awakened to the needs of people around the world.

So in a step of faith, we planned our marriage and our big move without knowing how we would survive in Kenya or even how we would get there! Our loan burdens were too big already, so we knew we couldn’t borrow or charge our way there.

A Move to KenyaThe Provision

God’s first provision was to give this journalism major a job. Teaching. Middle school. History. Miraculously, the more-qualified applicant was rejected by HR, and they agreed to let me take on the post for a year, despite the usual two-year commitment. God provided a job and a fabulous community that would be invaluable in the coming year.

His second provision came from the hands of ordinary people. Instead of registering for wedding gifts, we simply and politely asked for money towards our move to Kenya.

Once the wedding celebration ended and we settled into a friend’s vacant and rent-free apartment for two months, we realized we had exactly enough money to cover two round trip tickets to Nairobi and to purchase a small reliable car from a missionary leaving the field (vehicles are more pricey in Africa). Big wads of wedding cash and checks went straight to those huge expenses.

The Rest of the Story

That first year of marriage in Africa is full of countless stories. We survived robberies, civil strife, malaria and so much else, but we learned so much about God’s provision and how materially blessed we are as Americans.

We came home from Kenya when my mother was diagnosed with cancer, but someday we hope to return (without taking on debt of course).

We are still working on that student loan but are proud to say that we just passed the 50-percent paid milestone and can’t wait to be debt-free!

(Note: Yes, we did write a check for the plane tickets AND the car. No credit cards!)

Amanda Parks is a PhD student and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Sam, and her black lab, Zeke. They just celebrated their third wedding anniversary.

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? Submit your story for possible publication here.

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  • Neat! What a great way to spend your first year of marriage.
    I have a special place for Africa in my heart 🙂

    In fact, this November I am going over to Nigeria with my 2 and 3 year old sons. SO excited to be going back for 5 weeks!! (And yes, we’re paying cash for the trip!)

  • Jenni says:

    Crystal – Thank you for posting this testimonial!

    Amanda – What an awesome testimony! I am touched. My heart beats for Africa as well. My husband and I are laboring to save to be able to adopt some precious African children. You should write a book about your newlywed year in Kenya – I’d love to read it!

  • Kathryn says:

    What an inspiring story! I can’t get enough of hearing about God’s miraculous provision. I wish you all success in paying off your debt; my student loans were the last debt my husband I paid off a few years ago, and boy did it feel good!

  • Peggy Perriman says:

    What a great testimony.

    If only Christian people as well as non christians would realize God does provide when we truly follow His will and and follow His leading it is wonderful and we can do things different than the world when we depend on Him and give Him all the Glory He deserves.

  • Aimee says:

    I love reading others’ testimonies. Thanks for posting this and love the idea of having more, Crystal!

    Amanda – Thank you for sharing your testimony. Truly his compassions fail not, they are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness! Blessings.

  • Emily says:

    I want to submit our story but the link won’t work!!! help!!

  • Kassandra Wood says:

    You had me hooked in the first 2 lines… I believe this is a gift and you could definitely pay off that student loan if you write your story! 🙂 If you ever write a book, I’d love to read it. 🙂

  • Megan says:

    Amanda – What a treat it was to read your story! I was so excited to see how similar it is to mine. My husband and I moved to Kenya 2 days after our wedding and spent a year in Nairobi while I conducted my dissertation research. We must have been there over the same time as we were present for the post-election violence too. That first year of shopping sokonis and riding matatus was the absolute best foundation we could have laid for our marriage; I’m sure you know exactly what I mean! We plan to return to Kenya as soon as finances allow too – perhaps you and I will meet there someday! If you’re ever in the NW PA area drop me a line (megs 92 at hotmail dot com) – it would be fun to swap stories.

    • Amanda says:

      @Megan, What a small world! We were there for the post-election violence, and it caught us totally off guard. Despite that, it seems Africa stole a little piece of your heart, as well! Good luck on your plans to return.

      PS I often dream of ways to focus my dissertation on East Africa. It’s probably not feasible, but a girl can dream! 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    Awesome story. We talked about Africa on our first date. We both had a pull to go there someday.

    We moved to South Africa after we’d been married just over 2 years. We used our savings to pay our student loans while we lived there. As we prepared to move back to the States and wondered how we’d buy a car when we did, my grandpa decided to gift us his car. It’s amazing how God provides for our needs before we sometime realize them. We’re now adopting a child from South Africa. Another story of God’s beautiful way unfolding…

    Anyway thanks for sharing your story.

  • Hannah says:

    It’s fantastic to hear the story of someone with a heart for Africa! I’m an MK from West Africa and love to hear the stories of others who love it so much! It’s not easy to pay cash for those plane tickets! I should know, I work for the airlines now. Praise the Lord for his provision for you. May you be able to return someday in his will and time.

  • Rachael Pate says:

    Oh, Africa. My grandparents were missionaries there for 40+ years! Lots of sweet people there. My grandparents, even though they have been retired for several years, are still more African than they are American. I was privileged to have served 2+ years in S. Asia so I know what it’s like to live overseas. Amanda, I hope you are able to return one day and thanks for sharing your story!

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