We are enormously blessed to have the support of our family in what we do. Back in July we drove south and were able to catch up with almost all of Steve’s family to say our farewells, and after that Katuska’s side of the family gathered in Belfast – her parents flew over for a month to celebrate our niece Astrid’s wedding.
We finally packed our stuff: five suitcases, two guitars, two violins and one laptop, that’s travelling pretty light, and there are a whole lot of things that were left behind. At last with the great help of Les and Mhairi from Stepps, and Katuska’s sister Suzanne, we set off for the airport and left without incident – even the guitars passed as hand luggage without a murmur.
We had two long flights with Emirates, Glasgow to Dubai and then to Johannesburg. The boys were determined to watch films and play games the whole time, while we just slept after all the weeks of preparation and packing.
The last leg of the journey was the short hop with South African Airways down to Maputo. A quick passage through immigration, and the customs men only opened one suitcase, and there we were – in the warm air of Mozambique at 10pm. This photo was taken by our friendly pilot out in the airport car park.
We were collected by our colleagues Larry and Gary. It’s not compulsory to have names that rhyme, but perhaps it helps. Now we’re settling in and getting to know the rest of our team, and we’re enjoying the warmth – though this is the cold season – and all the new sights and sounds of the compound and of Maputo. It’s great to be on African soil and know that this is where God has brought us to serve him.
We arrived to find our house ready for us, pretty much fully equipped. From what we’ve seen before, missionaries usually spend their first few weeks going out to get furniture and all they’ll need for everyday living; but in our case the couple who were here before, Dave and Ann Dedrick, retired just at the time we were planning to come here, and left a houseful of things for us – dining table, chairs, beds, crockery, cooker, cupboards, you name it. What a huge difference this has made!
So our first hours on African soil were welcoming and comfortable. We chose the bedrooms we preferred, curled up under the mosquito nets and slept, until the birds outside reminded us there was going to be lots more to see and do.