It's not too often that I blog about things related to my job (I'm an administrative assistant with an international missionary sending agency), but on this occasion work intersects with friends and an incredible story, and I just have to share it.
As my husband puts it (and it's true!), I value context in communication, so here's the context: I came to know Tom & Lisa Seward several years before they became missionaries, and long before I came to work for the missionary agency through which they serve. They were volunteer youth group staff at my church when I was in junior high. It takes special people to work with and really LOVE junior highers; the Sewards are those kind of people. I remember them then, Tom especially, as the most unselfconscious people I'd ever known. When you're a quiet, reserved, awkward kid like I was back then, that makes an impression on you. I was drawn to them, and maybe a little fascinated by them. (If you're a regular reader, (a) you rock, thank you; and (b) you may remember the Sewards from the post about my attempt to make a Million Dollar Cake back in September.)
Well, I grew up and went through the high school, and then off to college. Meanwhile, the Sewards went to serve as missionaries in Africa. I kept tabs on them, I guess you could say, through my parents, who were part of their support team during those years (and still are). Fast forward to 2004, when I came to work for my current employer, and back into regular contact with the Sewards, now as an adult. A few years ago I joined their support team as well, and through their ministry also began to sponsor two young African girls so that they can attend school in Mali and receive an education. (If that opportunity resonates with you at all, please tell me so in a comment. There are other kids waiting to be sponsored, and I'd love to connect you with the Sewards and/or give you some information about getting involved in sending a Malian kid to school.)
Back to the reason I'm excited to blog about the Sewards today: Lisa is featured in the cover story of the November/December issue of Hearing Loss Today, which was just released. I know you're wondering, what's hearing loss got to do with it? Well, in 2008, Lisa came down with malaria while serving in Mali; long story short, she got really sick, and some of the antibiotics she was given to help her get better actually caused her to go totally deaf. Just like that. Deaf. What's happened between then and now is her incredible, inspiring story, which you can read here (it's a big PDF file, so be patient if it takes a while to load).
Want to learn more about the Sewards? Check out their family blog and also Lisa's personal blog, where she talks about life with cochlear implants.