Just over 10 months ago, I arrived at DFW airport with two sleep deprived children and over 10 pieces of luggage to reunite with my husband, Justin. We’d left Johannesburg, South Africa over 24 hours before; endured an 11-hour flight to London (with one child sick all the way), a 4-hour layover and a 9-hour flight to Dallas. I had never set foot on US soil, and yet here I was, about to start a new life with my little family.
We had led a very blessed and fulfilling life in South Africa. Justin was a successful creative director in an advertising agency, and I was an attorney at one of the country’s top law firms. Our miracle twin daughters were healthy and flourishing. I had a big circle of beautiful friends, a close-knit family just a stone’s throw away, as well as a helper and nanny who was part of our family and so very dear to me.
Rewind to April 28, 2015: I sat on the couch sobbing and told Justin, “Hit send on the email, just hit send.” It was the email that would change our family’s future so drastically—exciting and daunting all at the same time. That email accepted a job offer that Justin simply couldn’t refuse…in Dallas, Texas.
Over the course of the next few months, I was often asked the question, “Do you have family or friends in Dallas?” The answer was always, “No.” And that was the thing that scared me the most. The loneliness. Being so far away from everyone that I knew and loved—my support structure.
I am blessed to still have my gran in my life. She just celebrated her 91st birthday. Think of the Queen of England…that’s my gran…elegant, strong and wise. She wrote me a letter wishing us well and on the back were these words: “In times of trouble, read Psalm 23.” There were many a time when I read that verse during our first couple of months in Dallas.
Our first week in, we were crouched in the closet of our rental apartment Googling, “What to do when there is a tornado warning.” There were flash flood warnings. I was driving on the “wrong” side of the road. No one understood a word that came out my mouth, or so it seemed! Our daughters cried as we left them in their new classroom. It was all so trying to say the least.
Through it all, I promised myself that I would “put myself out there” and meet as many people as I could. That came with its challenges, but I didn’t give up and met a lovely girl at the girls’ school, Carrie, who introduced me to Chase Oaks Church. I knew from the moment I stepped into the Legacy Campus that this was the church for me.
During one of the announcements on a Sunday morning, mention was made of a Women’s Bible Study starting, but I failed to take note of the registration closing date, and when I went to sign up, I realized that I had missed the deadline. God, however, had a plan…a plan for me to meet other beautiful Chase Oakers.
So the night before the study started, I emailed the contact person listed for the study…Lori Eubanks, Chase Oaks Women’s Groups Pastor. The email was sent late at night, and Carrie had told me that Lori was in Oklahoma with her daughter celebrating the birth of her new granddaughter. I certainly didn’t expect a response and had resigned myself to the fact that I would probably miss the Bible study. Much later that night, I received an email response from Lori encouraging me to attend the study even though I had missed the deadline! That small, seemingly insignificant “interaction” with Lori was truly the beginning of a story that I believe has literally changed the course of me settling into my new home country. Seemingly insignificant as it was, just an exchange of emails, but it had such a huge impact on me and the months to follow.
Carrie then encouraged me to join her table at MOMS…and it was there that I got to meet Lori in person as she was the mentor mom for our group. The Oxford Dictionary defines a mentor as “an experienced and trusted advisor”…and Lori sure is the epitome of this definition!
My time spent at the Women’s Bible Study and at MOMS brought me so much closer to the Lord. It gave me the courage to step out of my comfort zone and forge new friendships. I felt like I “belonged” and with that, I finally started to feel like I was “home.”
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” —Jeremiah 29:11<
God certainly had a plan for me…and it included Chase Oaks and the wonderful Women’s Ministry led by Lori!
If you’d like more information on our Women’s Ministry and ways to get connected with other women, email Lori Eubanks at .