The Montgomery family, David, Katherine, and their three daughters, Brittany, Alicia, and Megan, ages six, four, and two, arrive in Malawi as first-term missionaries with the keen anticipation of learning the language and beginning a fruitful ministry—a long-awaited African dream. Instead, the unexplained absence of a work permit changes their lives dramatically. Just when they have found a wonderful home in the Limbe House, they are forced to leave two days before Christmas, with no expectation of returning. Traveling a thousand miles by car to Kenya, they settle temporarily in “The Cave,” where homeschooling and learning a new language fill their time. There are blessings and challenges in their new location, and what seems to be angelic intervention in a time of danger, before circumstances require them to return briefly to Malawi. Will the work permit come in time for them to stay in the Limbe House, or will they be forced to pack all their belongings and transfer to a new country? When it seems that all dreams have been shattered, a shocking, last-minute answer to prayer changes dreams to reality. “The Montgomerys’ struggle to realize their African dream reveals how God’s providence leads his people, particularly those called into vocational missions. Dr. Meacham’s picturesque writing style literally transports readers into the drama of his family’s African adventure. Readers will be both inspired and informed by this remarkable story.” —Dr. Fred E. Meeks, Director, Logsdon Seminary Lubbock Program Emeritus Professor of Religion, Wayland Baptist University
His attention was drawn to a tall, thin black man holding a child of about two years. It concerned him immediately to see that the child had a huge, swollen lump over his right eye. The child seemed listless and in distress, but did not cry out. For a long time David watched the pair—father and child. He noted that the father was being ever so gentle and tender with his sick little one, holding him close, kissing him on the cheek, and speaking comforting words in his ear. David thought of his own Megan, just about the same age, and of his two other precious daughters. How would he feel if he had to walk miles to seek medical care for a desperately ill child? And then something happened that changed David’s life forever. As he looked at the father’s face again, he realized he was no longer seeing another anonymous black face among many--it became the face of a man just like himself, a father with his precious child who was ill. In his heart there surged a strong sense of identity, a closeness with these people. They had the same needs the same concerns as any parents would have. The worry lines etched into the father’s face took on a beauty and meaning. David saw in his eyes the love and concern for his child that David had for his own children. The man’s hands were rough and strong, but gentle and caring. David wiped away tears. A fresh understanding of his purpose for being in Africa swept over his being, captivating his mind--he did not come to Africa to be a “missionary” in the professional sense; he came to share with fathers like himself, and mothers and boys and girls, that there is a Savior Jesus Christ who loves them unconditionally.
Gene Meacham served as a missionary in Africa for ten years. He has been a pastor and Director of Missions for the Caprock Plains Baptist Area and an adjunct instructor in missions for Wayland Baptist University and Logsdon Theological Seminary. He now lives in Plainview, Texas with his wife, Lavonne, where he enjoys preaching, teaching, writing, and keeping up with seven grandchildren.