Let’s just be honest: life in Africa wears on us. This is a reality shared, to one degree or another, by all missionaries we know here. For us, we have made Togo our home and have chosen to enjoy and embrace our life here in spite of any difficulties, annoyances, or frustrations we might face. However, that doesn’t mean that we never struggle with those things. In fact, at times the hundreds of little cultural annoyances, the daily pressures of ministry, the constant threat of sickness, and the general difficulty of running a home and raising a family here can pile up, resulting in an underlying, daily stress that often goes undetected.

Obviously, there is a constant need to go to the Lord with these pressures, continually turning them over to him and finding rest in Jesus. However, we realized lately that it had been quite a few years since we had a true break from our routines in Togo and our Stateside ministry, so thanks to a large number of frequent flyer miles and the prompting of our good friends in Rwanda, we recently had the chance to get away for a few weeks.

We started by spending 10 days in Rwanda with the Miller family. They were in Togo when we first arrived, and we quickly developed a close friendship within a couple years before they moved to Rwanda to continue their ministry there. More than just friends, they have been great examples to us in their lives and ministry, and we have developed a sort of informal, long distance mentorship/partnership with them. It was such an encouragement for us to see firsthand what God is doing in and through them now in Rwanda for his kingdom! Of course that’s not all we did, though. Matt is the ultimate safari guide, so all of us guys went for a couple days to Akagera National Park to go camping and see the amazing wildlife there.

Because of the fact that we were using frequent flyer miles for the tickets, we were able to fly to any other African country for no extra cost before returning back to Togo, so we decided to go to the beautiful island country of Seychelles. We spent six days in a guesthouse on a small island where the primary mode of transportation is bicycle. Other than my wallet being lost (or possibly stolen, we’re not sure), it was the most relaxing week we have had in years! There wasn’t much to do on the island other than go to the beach, but that was just fine with us. Joshua spent most of his time playing in the water or finding shells while Owen discovered the many things one can do with sand. Tiffany enjoyed most of her time by reading under the trees, and I walked around with my camera in hand, photographing the bizarrely-shaped granite rocks that lined the teal colored water.

Even though the many days of travel and transiting through Ethiopia on a terrible African airline was quite physically exhausting, we arrived back home last Wednesday feeling very refreshed and reenergized to continue the work here.

Since getting back I have gone out a couple times with Andrew and Tchéou and have been very encouraged about the many things God was doing during our absence. He is moving things along nearly faster than we can keep up with, which is very exciting indeed! Speaking of that, one of my goals for the next couple months is to write more often on this blog in order to catch you up to all that God has been doing among the Lamba.

We thank God for enabling us to take this trip and for the opportunity it gave us to recharge and get ready for the next year of ministry before taking our next homeleave.