My treasure in a field
In 2008, while still working in Semonkong, a small group of American volunteers come to spend a few months at the Children’s Centre. One of the guys, also named Grant (but pronounced the American way), became a good friend of mine. When he left, he invited me to visit the USA.
In 2009 I was able to do that.
I arrived a few days before November in Salt Lake City, Utah, to spend a month doing a little fundraising for PCC, and also having some time off. On Halloween, Grant invited me to his house to hang out and watch a movie. Oh, and he invited his friend Emily too, was that ok with me?
As it turns out, it was more than ok with me
That was the first time I saw Emily. And nothing groundbreaking happened that night. Our eyes didn’t lock in realization that we had both found our soulmate. But what did happen is that the foundation of our friendship formed in the joint activity of avoiding Halloween costume parties.
During that month in the USA, I spent time with Emily, and we started building our friendship. At the end of the month I left, as planned, and returned half a world away to Africa.
We kept in touch, and we didn’t grow apart. Things stayed on a friendship level for around 2 years. Through our continued connection as friends, I joyfully opened up an email from Emily one day to read the words OK, I’m confused about our relationship.
And she said it in a way that made my face light up. I had hoped for this to happen. I had thought of Emily for a long time as my treasure in a field. Jesus talks about a parable where a man find something of great value hidden in a field, and he goes out, sells all he has, so that he can buy the field. Emily felt like my treausre.
We started dating and from there things moved fast. During this same time, I decided to redirect my focus to flying, and accepted a position at a new flight school as a senior instructor pilot. Living in South Africa, earning a salary, and having a slightly more normal life, allowed Emily and I to develop our relationship and get married, which we did in 2012.
Lucky for me, Emily followed me to South Africa, having left her job in campus ministry a few months earlier.
We began our married life in Oudtshoorn, South Africa, where I worked at the flight school, and Emily adapted to life in Africa.
We knew at that stage that we wanted to move into mission-type work sometime in our lives. We didn’t know when, but it was something that stayed in the back of our minds.
I would still think about MAF from time to time, but I felt that I had an attachment to Lesotho, and if I served anywhere, I would ideally like to go there. MAF Lesotho fell under the US program, and if I applied to MAF SA, Lesotho wasn’t an option. Or so I thought.
Keep reading for part 3