Still in London . . .

Thought we’d write to update everyone. We are still in London for at least one more day. We had been rebooked on a flight for August 14 but this morning we were able to shift to an evening flight on August 11. We’ll check later today to see if we can catch a flight tomorrow morning. British Airways has been great. They have covered all of our expenses so far.

We spent a few hours in London yesterday and had a wonderful time. We didn’t even have to pay for a subway pass. A couple coming to the airport gave us their day passes because they were departing. God has truly been good!

Thank you for your prayers and concerns. “God always leads us to where we need to be, not where we want to be.”

In Christ,

Tim, Maureen, Luke & Kate

Holiday in London?

We are safe . . . but in London.

Check-in at DFW went smoothly. We were able to make it with our 17 checked bags in one trip thanks to Arlin.

photo2

Our Bags in London

After our final good-byes, we worked our way through security and to our gate. The initial flight went well – Luke and Kate did great! We arrived in London a bit tired but ready for our quick one hour layover. Our layover looks like it might turn into a short “holiday” in London.

photo1

Flight from DFW to London

Evidently, a few hours into our flight from DFW to London Heathrow a fire started at the airport in Nairobi. We were informed shortly after our arrival in London and have since learned that the arrivals and immigration areas of the Nairobi airport were the most impacted. British Airways is not sure what will happen in the next few days but has provided hotel accommodations and meals for us for tonight.

photo3

On the way to the hotel with our complimentary stroller

After a short rest and a meal we checked back with the airline and have been booked on a flight next Wednesday. We’ve been told that the only international carrier being allowed into Nairobi is Kenya Airways and there are no flights available with this airline. Things could easily change in the coming days and we might be able to make our way to Nairobi sooner.

Your prayers are appreciated as we wait for things to develop. Please know that we are doing well and trusting God to work out all the details. Thanks to all of you who have already reached out to us by email, phone, and Facebook. Our magicJack line works great here when we have wifi – if you need or want to call please feel free – 817-264-3852. If we miss your call, please leave a message and we’ll call you back.

In Christ,

Tim, Maureen, Luke & Kate

13 Bags and Counting . . .

It’s hard to believe we leave for Kenya in less than three days!

We’re excited, nervous, a bit tired from packing but are looking forward to what God has in store for us in Kijabe.

Our flight leaves DFW at 6:45pm on August 6. We land at London Heathrow the following morning and have about an hour before our flight to Nairobi. We will then spend a week being oriented in Nairobi before moving to Kijabe. Pray that this time of orientation is fruitful and restful. 🙂

The last week has been busy but good. We’ve had time to hang out with friends and family and spend some downtime relaxing. Our home church, MacArthur Blvd Baptist Church, allowed us some time this past Wednesday evening to share and spent time praying for us. We are blessed to be a part of this body of Christ.

As we sit here trying to decide what to write, the reality of how much we will miss family and friends is becoming almost tangible. There will no doubt be many tears shed this coming Tuesday but we leave knowing that God has taken us to this point. We trust fully in His care and His guidance.

We will be discontinuing cell phone service after Sunday. Please give us a call on our magicJack line (817-264-3852) or drop us an email. Once we arrive in Kenya, we will forward additional contact information.

Please continue to pray:

  • For these last few days with family and friends as we say our good-byes
  • That we wrap up packing soon
  • That our work permit applications will process quickly
  • For travel mercies and a smooth transition into Kenya
  • For open hearts to ministry opportunities and for those with whom we will come into contact in Kenya
  • For additional monthly support – see http://www.mcalhaney.com/giving for details
  • That we will reflect Christ’s love in our words and deeds

In Christ,

Tim, Maureen, Luke & Kate

tim.mcalhaney@sim.org

maureen.mcalhaney@sim.org

We have our airplane tickets!

We’re leaving for Kenya on August 6!

Yes, we’re leaving in less than two weeks!

We’re sorry for not updating everyone earlier. Things have been somewhat hectic around our house the past two weeks with family visiting and packing. Additionally, there was some confusion regarding our expected arrival time in Kenya – we received official confirmation just this morning that all is well. Whew!

The path to get to this point has not been easy (or direct) but we trust that God is guiding us. We are humbled beyond words for the love, support, and prayers of our supporters. Thank you for sticking by us through this journey on which God has put us! We are also very grateful for friends at SIM USA (you know who you are) who have stood by our side, encouraged us, and advocated for us.

We hope to pull all the loose ends together a few days before we’re scheduled to depart . . . to allow a little time to rest and focus on family. In the past weeks we’ve been able to get together with some friends and have had family come to town for a visit. We’re so blessed to have the support of our family and friends as we seek to follow God’s will for our lives.

Please pray:

  • For time with family as we say our good-byes
  • For the packing process
  • That our work permit applications will process quickly
  • For travel mercies and a smooth transition into Kenya
  • For open hearts to ministry opportunities and for those with whom we will come into contact in Kenya
  • For additional monthly support – see www.mcalhaney.com/giving for details
  • That we will reflect Christ’s love in our words and deeds

In Christ,

Tim, Maureen, Luke & Kate

UPDATE: The Road Ahead – Redirection?

We hope and pray that each of you are doing well! It’s hard to believe over a month has passed since our last posting. We’re doing okay but have been sharing various illnesses with each other for over a month now. I think Maureen has been sick the longest and both she and I are still struggling a bit. Luke is also having problems hearing. After a hearing test at his pediatrician’s office, we went to see an ENT. He confirmed that the eustachian tubes in both ears are inflamed causing fluid to accumulate in his ears. Because of this he prescribed a treatment for the next six weeks. If his condition does not improve then the next likely step will be putting in tubes. Please pray for healing and patience as we try daily to remember that sometimes he just doesn’t hear us.

We are still in a “holding pattern” regarding our missions assignment but are prayerfully anticipating God’s clear direction. In our last blog we mentioned the possibility of our going to Galmi, Niger or Kijabe, Kenya rather than Egbe, Nigeria. There is no definitive news as of yet, but Kenya is open to our coming although there are numerous details to work out. Specifically, there is no housing available in or around the Moffat Bible College or Kijabe Hospital compounds. Also, decisions need to be made regarding the exact role Maureen will play at the hospital. Please pray for this process and for those working out the details. It’s a little frustrating for us as we wait but we know that God is working.

We are still waiting to hear from Galmi and prayerfully look forward to one day perhaps serving in Egbe, Nigeria. God has us on a path and we are determined to follow His will for our lives.

Please continue to pray:

  • That God will provide peace during this “holding pattern”
  • That our faith will grow through this experience
  • That God will make the next step clear to us
  • For good communication between the mission fields and us
  • That God will provide workers for Egbe
  • That God will heal Luke’s ears

Thank you for your continued support, concern, and encouragement for our family as we follow God’s call into missions. We are very blessed to know people like you who want to walk with us on this journey. We are also grateful for our home church, MacArthur Blvd Baptist Church, which continues to be supportive. Pastor Josh reminded us this morning that no matter where we are (Texas, Nigeria, Kenya, Niger, etc.), as believers “we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us” (2 Cor 5:20a ESV) and that it is the church’s role to dispense the mercy of God (Matt 5:7).

Thank you for praying for us and please let us know how we may pray for you!

In Christ,

Tim, Maureen, Luke & Kate

The Road Ahead – Redirection?

We would like to thank all of you for your support, concern, and encouragement for our family as we follow God’s call into missions. We are very blessed to have people like you who want to walk alongside us on this journey. It has been a very tough road and we surely got this far only because of God’s grace and mercy and the encouragement from people like you along the way.

The past few months have been busy with preparation, packing, and planning. However, we received news a few weeks ago that new regulations put in place in October of 2012 by the Nigerian Medical and Dental Council essentially block Maureen from getting a license to practice medicine in Nigeria. This has been the biggest blow to our plans so far. This is not exactly the blog posting we had anticipated writing in late March. We will not be departing for Egbe in April.        

It has been difficult for us and we’ve struggled to share this news. To say that this news came as a shock to us is putting it mildly. We don’t know if this is God closing the door or Him telling us to trust Him through this trial . . . that He will work this out to glorify His name. After some time in prayer, seeking Godly advice, and digging further into the situation, it became very apparent that the road ahead would not be smooth.

We need your prayers more now than ever before. Please pray that we will see clearly the path that God has for us now. As difficult as it is for us right now, we are trying to seek His will. It is easy to say this, but believing it in our hearts is another thing. We have felt the entire spectrum of emotions in the past few weeks. Pray that we won’t let Satan win this battle.        

We’re still praying that God will provide a path to Egbe – in His way and in His timing. We keep coming back to the fact that none of this caught God off guard and simply trust that His will is being done. There have been a lot of people with SIM – in the US and Nigeria – as well as some Nigerians looking into things over the past weeks. For whatever reason, these regulations are there and very firm.    
                                        
While we are praying that the door to Egbe will open, we are also working with SIM USA to consider other options. There are two possibilities being discussed, although neither is for certain – Galmi, Niger and Kijabe, Kenya. For a variety of reasons, an assignment to Galmi or Kijabe may end up being for one year. We would then return home and reevaluate. Perhaps the door to Egbe might be open then – if there’s anything that’s consistent about Nigeria, it’s that there is little consistency.

Please know that we are committed to being used by God and serving long-term. We ask that you join us in prayer as we wait to see what door God opens.

Please pray:

  • That God will provide peace and clarity as we move forward
  • That our faith will grow through this experience
  • That the path ahead will be clear – Egbe, Galmi, Kijabe, etc.
  • That God will provide workers for Egbe

We will keep you informed as God reveals His will. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions or thoughts.

In Christ,

Tim, Maureen, Luke & Kate

So, what will you be doing in Egbe?

So, what will you be doing in Egbe?

This is probably the most common question we get from people once we tell them that we’re going to Egbe, Nigeria to serve as missionaries. It’s a good question, somewhat difficult to answer, but a good question. While God undoubtedly has much planned for us in Egbe, here’s what we can tell you now. It is a bit more complicated than simply what we personally will be doing.

To set the proverbial stage, though, allow me a few comments about Nigeria. For those of you who might be a little geographically challenged, Nigeria is located in west Africa. With a population of roughly 154 million, it is the most populous nation in all of Africa. To put it in perspective, it is about a 10th the size of the US and has roughly half the population. A simplistic religious description is that it is slightly more Christian than Muslim with some indigenous animistic religions thrown in. The country is also geographically divided with Islam dominating in the north and Christianity in the south. Egbe is located in Kogi state in the southwest and has a long history of Christian missionary presence. In one sense, then, we must always remember that our ministry will be built on the shoulders of others.

The simple answer to the question posed is that Maureen will be performing surgeries and other medical services and I’ll be teaching at a missions school and interacting with the hospital chaplaincy. ECWA Hospital Egbe has been around for over 60 years, sits on 33 acres which contains 68 buildings, and has 121 beds. This might sound impressive, and it is, but over the past 35 years the hosptial has slowly deteriorated. Structurally some buildings need to be replaced and others seriously refurbished. For the past three plus years, the Egbe Revitalization Project has been working to revive the hospital and its ministry. Rebuilding is currently taking place through the help of Samaritan’s Purse. In fact, the main hospital building was recently razed and work has begun on its replacement. Missionary housing and other facilities are also being refurbished. The Egbe community is playing a major role – the hundreds of volunteers who have shown up to help with specific projects is a reminder that believers in Egbe want to make an impact on their community and beyond.

The hospital’s purpose is intentionally evangelistic. You can’t even be seen by a doctor without hearing the gospel. Last fall I sat in one morning on the OPD devotional. Basically, those wanting to see a doctor sit in a large waiting area and are a captive audience to the chaplaincy staff. The devotional I attended lasted for at least 15 to 20 minutes and included singing, a mini-sermon, and prayer.

Maureen will be ministering in an environment in which the gospel is shared routinely. She will be able to pray and share frankly with her patients about the love of God and their need to place their lives and faith in Him. Additionally, the hospital contains a nursing training school which means that Maureen will have the opportunity to impact the lives of futures nurses . . . who would go on to serve in other hospitals and clinics throughout the country and region. As a surgeon, she will also be able to help those who otherwise might not have received medical care.

Operating Room

Nurse with Patient

I (Tim) will have the opportunity to teach at the World School of Missions located in Egbe. The school offers a modular-based program on missions. Basically, the goal is to train Nigerians to serve as missionaries in north Nigeria, north Africa, and the Middle East. Students have the option of studying a French or Arabic track and will be required to do in-field training before being permanently assigned. In 2005 the Nigeria Evangelical Missions Association launched Vision 50:15 with an aim to send out 50,000 missionaries in 15 years. The missions school in Egbe is a “small” part of this massive movement. I hope also to get connected with the hospital chaplains for mutual support – there is much we can teach each other. There is another missions agency doing work in Egbe among the Fulani (nomadic Muslims) and I will be seeking opporutities to participate with them.

World School of Missions

Well, that was more than I intended to say but I hope this gives you an idea of what we will be doing in Egbe. God undoubtedly has more for us but we know that there are wonderful opportunities for ministry and we are excited to see what God will do through us. Pray as we continue to prepare. Our desire is to be on the field within the next few months. If you’d like to join us in this ministry, please pray and consider giving – www.mcalhaney.com/giving.

Tim

McAlhaney Update – Happy Reformation Day!

Dear Support Family,

We hope and pray that each of you are doing well. Our prayers are especially for those of you who have been impacted by hurricane Sandy.

As our time for departure draws near we will be sending out more frequent updates through our blog and newsletters. You can always check www.mcalhaney.com for the most recent.

Life is still a little unsettled after selling our house in August but I suppose that is to be expected in the life of missionaries. Pray that Luke and Kate have a peace regardless of the situation. Kate seems unaffected by recent changes but at times Luke does say that he misses our house. During the month of November we will be traveling to SC for Thanksgiving and Tim will be attending a conference in Milwaukee. Pray for safety and a wonderful time with family in SC.

Recently (Oct 19-21) Maureen attended the Osler Institute in Salt Lake City. She found the review helpful as she continues to study for the Oral Surgery Board exam scheduled for late January. It’s a bit of a long story, but suffice it to say that God provided the perfect contact at Osler to make Maureen’s review more than she could have expected. Thanks to Dr. Carter for making that connection and encouraging us to follow up. God is truly amazing!

I would also like to wish everyone a Happy Reformation Day! As a historian, I love dates and October 31, 1517 is perhaps the most pivotal date in church history. On that day Martin Luther nailed his Ninety Five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg and kicked off the Protestant Reformation. I’m sure he had no idea that God was about to use him to greatly impact history and the lives of so many believers. As you go about your day today, don’t be afraid to let God use you . . . our God can do amazing things with those who are willing to be used.

Please pray for:

· Luke and Kate as we adjust to life in our “temporary” housing

· Luke – he has had a “cold” and/or allergies for the past month or so.

· Kate’s baby dedication at MacArthur Blvd Baptist Church on November 18th

· Tim’s conference in Milwaukee (Nov 13-16)

· Thanksgiving trip to SC (Nov 20-28)

Support Update / Prayerfully hoping to leave Feb-March of 2013:

· We have reached about 60% of our monthly support. Thank you to the more than 20 individuals, families, and organizations who are already supporting us or have pledged a monthly gift.

· Please prayerfully consider if God is calling you to give financially. We still need $1971/month to fund our upcoming work. For details and to give, see www.mcalhaney.com/giving.

· If you’d like to make a pledge of support to begin when we depart, please let us know by email – tim.mcalhaney@sim.org – so that we can more accurately assess our financial needs.

· The following additional contributions would allow us to begin work. Could you perhaps contribute in one of the following ways (tax-deductible)?

o 2 financial partners at $200/month ($2,400/year)

o 5 financial partners at $100/month ($1,200/year)

o 6 financial partners at $75/month ($900/year)

o 8 financial partners at $50/month ($600/year)

o 10 financial partners at $25/month ($300/year)

In Christ,

Tim, Maureen, Luke, & Kate

Kate Nicole McAlhaney Has Arrived!

Our little Kate is here. She was born 2/24 at 9:03am weighing in at 7lbs 10oz and 20 inches long.

She was a breech baby with the cord wrapped around her neck.  We thank God for our doctor who guided us through the decision-making process.  After two unsuccessful attempt to externally turn her, we decided to have a c-section.  Mom and baby did great!

Dad couldn’t be happier!

And Luke finally met his little sister . . . he’s gonna be a great big brother!

We will go home Monday. Thanks to Maureen’s family for taking care of Luke.

We’ve posted additional pictures of Kate’s Birth Day on SkyDrive.

Thursday/Friday/Saturday – The Drive to Abuja, Some Shopping, and a Red-Eye Flight (Nov 13, 2011 original post date)

We left Egbe around 10am on Thursday.  I truly had no idea, though, that I would feel as sad as I did.  Even though I had only been in Egbe for eleven full days, I felt a true connection.  I thank God for giving me this assurance of his calling for my family.  The drive to Abuja was long but normal . . . as normal as any drive in Nigeria.  I suppose I had gotten used to the dodging of potholes!  On the way to the Baptist Guest House we stopped by a Catholic Guest House to checkout the accommodations.  The Catholic Guest House is closer to the airport and would mean a slightly shorter drive to Egbe for future teams.  I used the evening to relax a bit, read, and begin the process of digesting all that I had experienced in the past two weeks.

Friday was spent shopping!  We visited a few grocery, appliance, and furniture stores.  I took some pictures in the grocery stores so that Maureen would have an idea of the items available in Abuja.  Our last stop was the Hilton Hotel – evidently they have a nice shopping area in the back for Nigerian items.  The prices are a bit high but the quality is good and you can still bargain.  Back at the Baptist Guest House we met up with a few other members of our team who had gone to Jos a week or so earlier.  We all sat around and rested a bit before heading to the airport.  Some checked email and others talked . . . catching up on the prior week’s events.  On our way to the airport we stopped by Mr. Biggs – a Nigerian fast food restaurant – for dinner.  We arrived at the airport early to allow for any delay that we might encounter during check in.  There was a security screening to get to the ticket counter area, followed by a baggage check, checked bag weighing, and then the actual ticket counter for our boarding passes.  I ran into a small issue at this point.  The ticket agent asked me for the last four digits of the credit card I used to purchase the flight – evidently some sort of security protocol.  Seems like I experienced this also in the Philippines.  I informed her that I did not have that card with me and could not remember the last four digits.  At first she told me that I would have to speak with someone at Lufthansa but then just kept asking for the number.  I kept explaining that I did not have the card with me and eventually she just checked me in.  There was one immigration form to complete and get cleared before we made it to the first waiting area.  We were eventually allowed to go through another security check point before entering the second waiting area.  Our flight departed around 11:15pm and I hoped to get some sleep on the way to Frankfurt.

Even though I was tired, I really didn’t sleep on the red-eye flight.  I talked with the guy next to me a while.  He was a Nigerian (Ebo) and a Christian but had lived in Germany for over fifteen years.  We talked for a bit about the lack of “progress” in Nigeria.  He seemed upset that nothing ever seemed to change and had not had a good trip visiting family.  I offered some words of encouragement but I don’t think he was swayed.  We arrived in Frankfurt around 5:30am and made our way to the McDonalds to hang out – all of us had at least a five-hour layover.  After breakfast and two cups of coffee I was feeling a bit better.  We took the opportunity to share some parting thoughts about our time in Nigeria but eventually had to say our good-byes.  I boarded my flight for Houston and began the longest leg of my journey home.  I got some rest but as I write this on Sunday evening, the jet lag is very apparent.  Immigration and Customs in Houston was relatively quick, which was good given my short layover.  I arrived at DFW just before 5pm – roughly twenty four hours after departing Abuja.  Maureen and Luke were there to meet me.  I missed them so much and have so much to share with them about my trip.  As I reflect in the coming days and weeks, I trust that God will help me process all that I saw and learned.  One thing is for certain – God is at work in Egbe!  I look forward with great anticipation to being a part of that work.