What we’ll do in Cape Town
As assistant communications and media relations officer, I (Brian) will write articles that help SIM share its vision, values, and work to a local, national, and worldwide audience. Largely working as a journalist, I will gather and publish stories about South Africa’s peoples, their hopes and needs, and the projects and missionaries seeking to help them, as well stories about South Africans becoming missionaries to other peoples. God’s work for me will also include helping other missionaries tell their own stories by editing their submissions to SIM publications and by serving on the Communications Committee.
SIM typically assigns only one spouse a full-time position, preferring to leave the family some flexibility to adapt to circumstances and needs. Tracy is excited about having more time for family – especially to guide and enjoy the kids – than she has been able to with her full-time medical work. Once we’re in Cape Town, she’ll keep her eyes open for opportunities to volunteer part-time, perhaps at a school or with a medical ministry like HIV awareness.
What we’re doing now
Tracy and I both have many classes and books to complete (Bible, missions, history, culture, language, and personal growth) as required and recommended training from SIM. It’s a diligent, experienced, and proactive organization, and we appreciate that they want to ensure their members are prepared to thrive in the field, not just to survive and function. We’re therefore also working to improve our health and fitness.
Tracy continues to work at the local hospital’s emergency department, blessing her patients and our family. I focus on our assigned training, developing our support base, writing about God’s mission for us and His work in our lives as we follow Him on this journey, and learning more about photography, audio/video recording. I have also been blessed by chances to continue mentoring and encouraging my former students. Whenever school is out, I am able to focus my attention on our first ministry: Karen and Billy.
Although English is used extensively enough in South Africa that we are not required to take formal language training, Tracy and I want to learn Afrikaans as well as we can now. God has blessed us with good friends who speak Afrikaans and live around the corner from us.
What we’ve done in the past
Stumbled. Faltered. Learned. Sought God. And stumbled again.
It has taken us nearly fifteen years to get to this point (three years for Tracy to convert my resistance into a shared passion for missions, nine years for us to apply to a missionary agency for permanent service, and three years since applying); it won’t be long anymore before we actually land in Cape Town. Sometimes it amazes me how long this journey has taken, but it also helps me understand better some of the delays experienced by biblical figures like Abraham and Moses.
As He did in their lives, God has used the time between calling and sending us to prepare us for that call. God sent us on short-term missionary trips to Senegal, Mongolia, rural New York, Zambia, and Nigeria, expanding my understanding of a passion Tracy has always felt. God has led us, patiently awaited us, and drawn us closer to Him. He has given us opportunities to grow and learn – spiritually, professionally, personally. The long delay allowed Tracy to improve her medical knowledge and grow more patient; it allowed me to become a teacher, serve my students, obtain a master’s degree, and mature. We’ve had fourteen precious years of presence with family.
We still have a lot to learn, and we still aren’t nearly perfect. We don’t have all the answers, and we won’t until we see Christ face to face. But we’ve also learned that none of that means we should wait keep waiting once He calls.