My original plan was to go to Botswana for just for one year.
As it turns out, that was my plan. God’s plan was obviously much different because I ended up staying for 11 years. Why did I leave?
Well, I met a young lady who would later become my wife. Her name was Kathleen Davidson and we first met at the SIM Canada office in Scarborough. Kathleen was just beginning her orientation with SIM and I was invited to join in to give the new recruits a bit of insight into life as a missionary. After a few days I left the SIM Canada office but continued to stay in contact with Kathleen. After a prolonged long-distance relationship, we decided to get married. One major obstacle we ran into was, where were we going to live? I was serving in Botswana and she was planning to go to Benin to work as a nurse. There wasn’t much opportunity in Botswana for nurses so we began looking into opportunities in Benin. We discovered there was a need in the SIM Benin office that I could fill so we took this as the Lord leading us to Benin. We married in May 2016 and left for Sherbrooke, Quebec in August for French language training. After almost a year in Quebec, we left for Benin in September 2017.
Unfortunately, things did not go smoothly for us while we were in Benin. The position I had come to fill turned out to not be a good fit for me. For the first time in my missionary career we ran into personnel issues which made us feel isolated in our new home. Kathleen found out she was pregnant on the same day her beloved grandfather passed away. Then Kathleen had a traumatic experience at the clinic she was working at while she was pregnant. The result was her being diagnosed with anxiety.
Unfortunately, this all became too much for us to bear and we left Benin in July 2018.
We arrived back in Canada with heavy hearts. We were disappointed, frustrated and confused. We questioned the Lord as to why he would send us to Benin just to have us go through so many hardships. With a baby on the way, and Kathleen needing counselling, it felt like the Lord was telling us that New Brunswick, Canada was our new mission field. Our son Austin was born in November 2018. We were both able to find jobs and then later a house just outside of Fredericton. This was all good, but in our hearts we both wanted to be back in Africa. We just didn’t how this could happen.
Months went by and the anxiety Kathleen was struggling with began to diminish. Around the end of 2019 while Kathleen and I were getting ready for bed one night she turned to me and said, “I think we are supposed to go back to Africa.” I responded, “Yes, hopefully one day we’ll go back.” She said, “No. I think we are supposed to go back now.” I was surprised and elated at the same time. I had no idea Kathleen would be ready to return to the mission field so quickly. We began praying about it and seeking out godly advice from our pastors, Kathleen’s counsellor and our friends and family. After months of seeking the Lord, we felt that this was truly the Lord calling us back to the mission field. Through friends we met during our French language school training, we found out about positions at Dakar Academy in Dakar, Senegal that would suit us perfectly. We are now hoping to depart in July 2020. That one-year leap of faith back in 2004 has turned into a lifelong leap of faith. I look forward to seeing how the Lord writes the next chapter of our story.