Aaron and Bobbie Howley dreamed of owning and operating a bed and breakfast.
“Every house we saw we wanted to rehab it to become a B&B,” said Aaron, who has been married to his wife Bobbie for 10 years. “We loved our dream and wanted to use it for God in the way of Christian retreats and marriage conferences.”
The problem was they didn’t know if it was God’s dream or just their own.
Aaron is a 2012 alum of the graduate counseling
program at Huntington University. He is finished his internship at House of Hope in Bluffton, Ind., and during his last year and graduated in December. They reside in Wells County with their three young boys.
They plan to leave for Africa in either July or October of 2012, depending on funds.
“We became dissatisfied with the normal American dream — to have a nice car, kids, and do nice things with our nice money,” Aaron said. “We became aware that our lives of 80 some years are quite short in the scope of eternity.”
The Howley’s knew God had a specific purpose for them. At first, they thought the answer to this calling was running a B&B in the United States, but after much prayer and trusting in the Lord, they became to look globally.
“My wife flippantly said we could run a missionary guest house,” Aaron said. “My only travel outside the U.S. had been over the Canadian border, so I asked ‘What’s that?’”
The couple soon realized this idea fit their interests, gifts and passions perfectly. They then started searching the world to find people to serve in this way.
They found an organization called African Inland Mission (AIM), stationed in Kampala, Uganda.
“We will live in a country setting outside the Ugandan capital,” he said. “It is referred to as a compound.”
The compound consists of the Matoke Inn which the Howleys will be managing, along with the Central Regional Offices of AIM and a few small residences. The Inn houses traveling missionaries to come and stay, receive rest, restoration and support for the things God is calling them to do. The Howleys will also manage a small national staff at the inn and assist with their learning and spiritual discipleship.
The Howley’s three young boys will continue to be homeschooled as they were in the U.S. Aaron said that the whole family will be involved in the lives of the missionaries they meet.
But along with change comes concerns.
“I have normal concerns like those who have become missionaries before us,” he said. “The normal dangers about health, accidents or unexpected traumas, but God knows our whole lives before we were born.”
Aaron adds that while they may not know the potential perils, they serve a God who is bigger than anything they could encounter. One challenge is that they did not know the native language, Luganda, but they will have language mentors once they arrive in Africa.
“Much of Uganda is English speaking due to British influence up until the 1960s,” he said. “We will learn the language not out of necessity, but rather to demonstrate our care for the people whose country we live in.”
The Howleys still have some training to finish up in the U.S. and then more once they reach Africa.
Aaron is hopeful and looking forward to serving others in Africa.
“My hope is that moving to Africa will change our lives in that we will be more in tune with God’s plan and his heart in action for the people he has created.”
For more information about the Howley family’s journey, visit their blog at http://howleyhouse.aimsites.org/