My journey to South Africa began many years ago when I was in the 4th grade. A missionary came and spoke to our class and I told God “that’s what I want to do when I grow up.” In God’s time, He would send me to Africa but not as I had imagined. I married, had a family and when I was pregnant with my third child he placed a foreign exchange student in my life named Marianne. She was from South Africa and all I could think about was how in the 4th grade I wanted to go to Africa and be a missionary. Marianne became my sister Jeannine’s best friend, which I now believe was part of God’s plan to send me to Africa. When Marianne was here in 1985, my last baby Alyssa was born.
Let’s fast forward some 25 years, which was two years ago. My youngest daughter, Alyssa, whom I had been pregnant with when I first met Marianne, had made the huge decision to go on a mission trip. Alyssa was planning on going on a mission trip not for a week but maybe a yearlong trip. She went to meetings and listened to people pitch the Peace Corps and even applied for AmeriCorps, neither of these worked out. She had earned her Master’s Degree in accounting and had a wonderful job with the UT Health Science Center. Her job provided great pay, great benefits and every parent’s dream for their child but it was not her dream. God was tugging at her heart to do something else.
While researching mission options, Alyssa’s church offered the nine week long class by Dave Ramsey called Financial Peace. I highly recommend this class for everyone. She had a $16,000 student loan and after completing the class she set a timeline for herself to pay it off in 18 months. This was in March of 2010, which meant she would be debt free by September 2011. Sacrifices were made but God opened one door after another to not only reach her goal of becoming debt free but also providing the perfect mission trip for her. Sometimes God’s time moves very slow and as I have experienced in the past two years God’s time can move very fast. In October 2010, Alyssa had the opportunity to move in with her brother and sister-in-law and give up a $700 a month rent payment.
Marianne and her husband Daryl and their four children, came to the United States and spent Christmas Eve in our home in 2010. We had a family gathering of about thirty people and as we finished our meal we gathered in the living room. Darryl began speaking about a wonderful mission their small church in South Africa supported called the “Door of Hope.” My eyes caught Alyssa’s across the room and I knew instantly this was the mission work she had been waiting for.
Alyssa & Baby at The Door of Hope
Alyssa paid her loan off and quit her job at the Health Science Center. By buckling down and with God’s help, she saved an additional $8,000 which would fund her trip. Yes, Alyssa was going to South Africa, to serve at the Door of Hope.
Joyce & Alyssa saying goodbye at the airport
After immunizations, a visa, a passport and fundraising through supportive family and friends, Alyssa boarded a plane on January 31, 2012 for South Africa. A few minutes after going through security she called my phone and could not stop crying. I have not mentioned that Alyssa and I are very close and this parting was extremely hard on both of us. As I hung up the phone, I prayed that God would hold her in the palms of his hands and give her strength. In God’s time, which was immediate, He answered my prayer. My phone rang again and Alyssa stated that a man had approached her and said he was flying to Washington DC and then to Johannesburg, South Africa and would be glad to help her through the airports. She arrived safely and felt tired and very homesick at first and I prayed more prayers on Alyssa’s behalf.
The Door of Hope Babies
Today, Alyssa has already been in South Africa for about a month. Her work at the Door of Hope consists of eleven hour days where she cares twelve infants who range in age from one day old to 5 months old. These babies are abandoned by their birth mothers because they do not have the means to care for them.
Alyssa & Baby at Door of Hope
The mission of the Door of Hope is to care for these newborns, socialize them by holding them and ready them for the adoption with their forever families. Missionaries like Alyssa are crucial to the survival of these precious human beings.
Welcome to South Africa Flowers from Marianne
On days off, Alyssa has been lovingly adopted as part of Marianne and Darryl’s family.
Baby at The Door of Hope
So in God’s time I am experiencing being a missionary in South Africa. Alyssa and I email daily. His plan was for her to go, for her to love babies, for her to be debt free, for her to have a strong faith, for her to have a loving family who supports her, for her to be my daughter so when I grew up I could experience being a missionary in South Africa, through her.
I am most thankful for everything in my life that has happened, in God’s time.
Life with Joyce