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.
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.
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.
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