“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:38-39
By Guest Writer: Veronica Thiele
When we first decided to move to Africa, we had to believe that God was leading us. We were walking blind. We had no clue where we were headed, and it was difficult to think about planning it all.
If you know me, I’m a planner. I make notes, lists, and plan vacations about a year in advance. So it made sense when we planned to move to Africa that we planned 2 yrs in advance. That was our plan; God had his plan.
We began our search for an agency with great difficulty. We were shot down at every corner. It was suggested several times to allow God to lead us into this adventure. Honestly, we laughed, said yes, but continued to drive the car as if we were in charge. After more and more frustrations, my husband and I decided to stop everything and take the advice. We stopped searching, stopped talking about it, and stopped trying to make it happen. Instead, we prayed.
When allowed God to lead us, it was a bit scary, though, we felt at peace. We were no longer stressed; we were no longer overwhelmed; we were in His hands. The song, “I’m Letting Go,” by Francesca Battistelli became my theme song.
God quickly went to work and opened doors for us. Within 8 months, we were packing our bags to move to Nigeria. We only fundraised for 2 months; a total of 3 actual sessions. He miraculously provided the money, the means, and now, the way. We had our ship date, and we were ready.
We were moving to a country where we knew no one, didn’t speak their language, and knew nothing about the culture. Family and friends would ask us if we were scared. “No, we’re following God! We’re excited!” We were walking blindly but believed God was in charge.
When we arrived in Africa (Oct. 5, 2011), it was breath-taking, every bit of it. We had quickly decided that we would stay in Nigeria, “as long as we are needed.” This is what we told people. I figured that we’d be there for about 10 yrs or so, maybe longer. That was my plan.
God had his own plan. With just 7 short months in Africa, we were called home to care for our oldest son. (Yes, we took our 3 children with us.) It was very sudden. We didn’t know where we would return to. We’d given it all up to follow God’s lead: our house, cars, furniture, clothing, household items, toys, junk, everything we owned was gone.
Once again we were walking blindly, but fully knowing that God would provide. We died to ourselves in the U.S. to move to Nigeria where we found our new selves. Now, we were being asked to do it once more. It took everything in me to say, “okay, we will leave,” and it took the rest of me to trust in God that he would provide what was needed, once again.
We’ve heard, and told, this joke many times: You want to watch God laugh? Just tell him your plans.
This is how our life has felt since this all began. We decided that it wasn’t worth trying to take charge any more. God is in charge, and we must be faithful to him and trust in Him. We have lived by this for almost 2 years now.
We are HIS children; He loves us. He will care for and provide for us, just like we do for our children. He is a faithful and loving Father, and we praise Him for that!
It was worth it for us to listen to God. Place your lives, wholly, in his hands and don’t look back. He will take care of you!
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Veronica is a wife to the newest member of a local police department, a mother of 3 very active boys, expecting baby #4 (while praying for a little girl), and a high school English teacher. Whew… with all of that said, she enjoys baking, cooking, and sewing. Veronica writes a blog called The Tell-Tale Thiele Family blog. Check it out!