Looking Forward in 2013: Because Sometimes God’s Plan is an Unexpected One
I want to go and live in South-East Asia, I have always dreamt of mornings waking up and looking out over a Thai or Vietnamese landscape. I have wanted to go to South-East Asia ever since I spent around three years learning about the region at university way back in the early ‘noughties’. It turns out that God has other plans!
Back in 2011 I felt the compelling need to go to the West African country of Sierra Leone after chatting to a colleague from Truro School in Cornwall, UK. He told me about a project that his brother was involved with in the north of the country in a little-known town called Kamakwie. I managed to persuade (with a degree of arm-twisting!) my husband Steve and my best friend Sam they wanted to go with me to Kamakwie. We spent two weeks in the country and a week of that was taking photos and documenting stories for the Sella Community Project for my colleague. It was an inspirational visit and one where we lost a little bit of our heart to the West African country. I thought that would be my only visit to the affectionately nicknamed ‘Sweet Salone’ and yet in 2012 we found that this was not to be the case.
One day Steve sent me a text, as a joke, about an organisation looking for people to go and volunteer as professionals on the Salone Western Peninsular. I took a look and found that over the following days the opportunity to work in the fields of education and development for the Craig Bellamy Foundation in Sierra Leone was becoming something that was playing on my mind. Steve and I sat down and looked at the possibilities and began to pray….. Always a dangerous game! As the weeks wore on we found ourselves become more convicted that this was the right move. Steve would go and support education in the country and I would go and become a full-time communicator for them. Six months on we are now signed up to start in September 2013 and are now having to think about the details. We swing between extremely excited and at the same time nervous about moving to live in a new culture. We suspect this move may mean Sierra Leone becomes our home for years rather than months and this is both exhilarating and scary.
I will be keeping this blog focused on my photography and my work in a freelance capacity for a number of NGOs and travel publications. This will probably only become more viable when I am in West Africa as I will be ideally placed for that work and the Craig Bellamy Foundation is supportive of my need to be flexible. Moving to SL and the work I will be doing for the Craig Bellamy Foundation will also clearly be a significant change in my life though and so I wanted to blog about this now.
So with all that explained, here are my hopes for 2013:
- That I do not waste the next seven months of my life waiting for September. There is so much still to do in my role (which I still love) for the Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF). I also really want to value the time I have with all my beautiful family and friends.
- That our move is one where God can use us, challenge us and love through us.
- That I keep snapping away and that I never lose this passion for photography and the telling of stories that need to be told! In my work for the Craig Bellamy Foundation I will be doing a lot of photography which is really exciting and will be a privilege.
- That the world I love so much will be a more peaceful one and one where social justice reigns.
I think 2013 may well a year where my reality gets rocked, my faith gets tested and my learning goes up a gear. I also think it might be a year where I get to spend a lot more time with my husband (a very cool thing), where I get to meet many new friends and where I give up a lot of stuff I did not need in the first place. I think 2013 may well rock!
Beautifully written Laura. Good luck to you and Steve. I look forward to discovering Sierra Leone and the west coast of Africa with you. 😀
That’s SO exciting! I can remember my mix of emotions when I was preparing to come out to India last month and I only had 4 months to my head around it. It’s a crazy exciting time, I wish you great success as you prepare and move on.
Thanks so much Claire – you are right though, a lot to get my head around in the next seven months! Saying that, I will be a lifelong MRDF fan and continue to work for World AIMS with a lot of joy, still so much to achieve with the students at my lovely schools. Life is a gift and my lesson for 2013 is to try and live in the present. Thanks for your encouragement and support and I have enjoyed following your India updates.
Your pictures and your writing are so beautiful. Amazing stuff!