Monday, May 15, 2017

Words I Never Thought I'd Say...

So the backstory begins last February when Kent went on a trip to Addis Ethiopia with a great friend and our former pastor, Ernie. Ernie and his family had lived there for 2 years and started a discipleship ministry there. They have since have moved to Houston, Tx, but Ernie takes frequent trips back and wanted to bring Kent with him. So Kent took a week off work, flew by himself to Addis where he met Ernie and joined him in ministry. He got to speak at a sports tournament at the international christian school in Addis, sit in on some meetings with christian pastors and leaders, and see how God is moving in that country. He left feeling stirred towards the people there but unsure of what it really meant. He also was taking a seminary class at the time-missiology (study of missions) which was also shaping him and messing with him about God's heart for the nations. At this time, I'm just thinking, "Oh great, Kent is going to want to move overseas. God, you had better REALLY work on me because I do not want to move to another country!" I was definitely hoping this new passion in Kent would diminish and life would go back to normal. But it didn't.

The next few months we committed to pray that if God wanted our family to move somewhere, that He would make it clear and that we would be willing. God was really purifying my heart in this time, testing me and checking me to see what worldly things I was holding too tightly and if I'd be willing to give up my comforts and follow Him where he leads. It was a good test of faith and I hoped that was all it was, a time to fix my eyes back on Christ and stop turning to other things to seek satisfaction or comfort, a time to humble myself before him and see if I really do believe He is enough, and that his kingdom is the most important thing.

In February, Ernie called Kent and let him know that there was a position opening at the international school in Addis. We both thought this was a little crazy. The school is very similar to Briarcrest and Kent has a great job already at Briarcrest, so why move us across the world to do the same job in a third world country?  But we prayed about it and said that when they posted the position, we would see what it entailed and if it seemed to really fit him. When we saw the job description, we both could not believe how well it described Kent. Not only his skills and giftings but his passions and experiences made him a perfect fit. He spent some significant time with the Lord and felt God gave him a big vision for how he might be used there. His excitement grew and he filled out the application with great anticipation. There were 3 phases of interviews starting that February. On April 24th, we got an email saying that he was their top candidate and after presenting him to the school board May 11th, we got an email saying they wanted him for the job! They had also felt God clearly leading Kent to this position and shared our excitement for how God was at work in it all.

So needless to say...we will be moving to Addis, Ethiopia!

Lots of tears and good conversations have happened through this process. We are both torn up to leave this place we have called home for the last 6 years and of course this country that we love. God has provided us a wonderful church, sweet community, great job and school for the kids and the chance to live near our parents. I have been challenged to praise God in the sadness, because it means he has truly blessed us with so many people and things we love. We love the house that he provided for us 6 years ago. From newly weds to a family of 5, the noise, mess, and love in this house has tripled. But God's faithfulness these past 6 years only strengthens my confidence that he will be faithful to us in the next 6. He goes above and beyond all we could ask or imagine. Won't he do it? (Shout out, KV!)

When we told our kids, my picky 3 year old said, "Is the food good?" Yikes, she is in for a rude awakening. 

My 4 year old said, "Well if God is telling us to go, we have to obey because if we don't obey Him, we don't know Him." Wow. Preach, sister! Her precious heart is excited for the chance to share Jesus' love and forgiveness with people who haven't heard the good news.

So what's the plan? Well, here's all we know right now. The school is run by a mission organization called SIM. Everyone who works at the school is a missionary, most are SIM missionaries. So we are starting the process of missionary training. We have lots of paperwork, interviews and trainings in North Carolina to attend between August and October. We will figure out what to do with our house, cars and stuff in the meantime, probably moving out sometime this summer. We will start fundraising and tying up loose ends and leave in the beginning of January 2018. I am so grateful we have this time to process, prepare, and transition into this new adventure. I am not very good with change and don't handle stress well, so God knows it has to be a gradual process for me. He will take care of each step along the way and we are leaning into him as he is guiding us on this journey! And I am so thankful to marry a man who is led be the Lord and is sensitive to the Holy Spirit. It gives me great peace as he leads our family.

We would love for you to follow us along the way (you can subscribe to this blog or follow my instagram at jenniaustell) and join us in praying for all God wants to do.

To hear Kent's version of the story, click here.

Feel free email Kent at if you want to receive email updates. Thank you for loving us and caring for us! More to come!


  1. Love all of this. Conversation with Kennedy choked me up. So proud of you guys!

  2. WOW!!! What an adventure indeed!!! Sounds pretty amazing!!! And your sweet girls!!! Blessings!


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