I am excited to start this series of posts, answering questions about life in Afghanistan.

I’ll start with the first question I got, from my friend, fellow Ds mom, and a third culture kid herself, Meriah.

I’m wondering how long you were there for, why you went, one reason you are glad you did and where else you might be planning on going in the near future?

We lived in Afghanistan for a little over four years, but not all together.  We went as a young married couple in 2002 to the north of the country for about a year.  Then we went home, had our first baby and came back to the capital, Kabul in 2005.  Went home for baby #2, back again, this time to a small city, south of Kabul and then home once again for baby #3.  This pattern of traveling half way around the world, very pregnant and each time with another toddler in tow was the number one reason a stork will have to deliver any future babies to our family!

Turkman woman and child in a desolate village. Our team provide some basic relief supplies to get about 20 families through the winter.

Mr. Incredible testing the depth of a new water well with a village elder looking on.

Why we went — the simplest answer is, we follow Jesus and are inspired by the example of His life.  We feel led to follow Him wherever He goes.  He is leading us to follow Him into what He is doing in Afghanistan among the sick and the poor, the oppressed and down-hearted; to love our neighbors on the other side of the planet with our hands, feet and hearts.  The story of the Good Samaritan is a perfect example from the Bible for why we do what we do.

We were living and working with refugees from many Muslim countries in inner-city Phoenix in 2001.  We grew to love our neighbors from Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and Ethiopia.  All had fled horrible situations and were struggling to make sense of it all.   We felt a real burden for them, but wondered, what could we do to help?

After 9/11 a relief and development organization we worked with asked Mr. Incredible to lead a short-term team to northern Afghanistan to help with some relief efforts in the newly, Taliban free areas.  We didn’t have children at the time, and after prayer and advice from our mentors, we felt we couldn’t say no.  It was an amazingly difficult year, but we felt so clearly, that the Lord would have us stay and we made plans to return on a more permanent basis.

baby Violet with Bibi (grandmother) in a traditional Afghan dress

One reason I’m glad we went — I loved the challenge of life there.  Learning Farsi, navigating the culture, the gender rules, the head scarves and burqas, cooking with basic ingredients in a very basic kitchen — all of that and more stretched me in so many ways.  When homesickness choked me with an almost physical weight, when the guns and bombs, the dust and the stomach bugs were all too much, it was my faith in Jesus and our calling to be there that sustained me.  I find that that faith becomes dull here in the States — nothing I can’t do, if I just try hard enough, nothing to really bring me on my knees to the throne of heaven.

A holy shrine where many Afghans go to pray to a saint buried there.

Where else are we planning on going in the near future?  Actually, we are coming full circle.  Next spring, God willing, we will be moving back to the city in Afghanistan that we went to as newlyweds ten years ago.  There are a hundred and one steps to get us to that point, but we are certainly moving forward.  We have our family’s and our church family’s blessings and prayers and we’d appreciate yours too!

City of the Blue Mosque at sunset

If you have a question, or a comment, please leave one.  I’d love to hear from more of you!