I am writing to update you, either as a friend or a family member, about what's next in life. Most of you are aware that I have been in the process of applying with the Peace Corps for the past 14 months. To those of you who have been blindly unaware, I'm sorry to just be breaking the news to you! I am writing to let you know that I finally received an official offer in the mail yesterday! I have not kept very good track of what I have told to whom, so sorry if you already know the following information.
I've been offered a position in The Gambia. It's a tiny country that's surrounded by Senegal in West Africa. I will be in a position of elementary teacher training in a country where there is 40% literacy ages 15 and up. School ends after 8th grade. Teaching resources are scarce and limited. Though there is no declared national religion, I've been informed that the nationals are predominantly Muslim, and the Islam rituals and culture are a major part of the education system. The climate is tropical and the industry agriculture and tourism.Throughout this whole process of applying and thinking through if this is really what God wants right now for me, I've had two major fears/reservations: safety and loneliness.
Upon receiving this offer, I called a family friend who is all up in politics (due to the nature of his job). I told him a couple of weeks ago that I wanted his honest opinion about wherever the PC placed me. He gave me a quick run-down of The Gambia's political and cultural history, and his response was, "Well, it's not the worst place you could go." I wasn't sure how to respond to that one. He informed me that the American military has a presence there, which offered a sense of comfort. Then he mentioned that he has a friend who has connections in The Gambia & would put me in contact with them. Additionally, he promised to contact his friends at the Pentagon and see if there's any information I should know that isn't necessarily public information. Duh. Why didn't I think of calling friends at the Pentagon?!
So here's the climax of the story. Not even ten minutes within hanging up with him the friend called. His name is [censored]. [Censored] has an uncle who has businesses in The Gambia and Senegal. He has extended family and a place to live there, too. In fact, his uncle is in The Gambia right now attending a family wedding. Basically, [censored] told me to consider them, effective immediately, my family also. He did most of the talking, about how they will have me stay with them whenever I need, that if I am ever in an emergency, they are there for me, and if the PC or the Embassy isn't doing their part to keep me safe that his family will be there in a heartbeat. He pretty much gave me no other option than to be considered one of them.
I am still processing all that he proposed. And beyond that, how God truly does provide. In the midst of being submerged in Hebrews 11 with church, I cannot begin to compare myself with Abraham and his situation on Mt. Moriah with Isaac, but I think the underlying principle is the same: trust where God is leading, and He will provide. In Abraham's case, God provided the perfect sacrifice. In my case, I'm still not sure all that He is providing, but for starters, He is providing peace and assurance.