Kyle and Melissa VathCOLUMBUS, Oh. (BNc)- Kyle and Melissa Vath depart today for a year’s tour of duty in Tanzania. From Columbus, their itinerary takes them to Washington D.C., Zurich, then to Dar es Salaam, where they will be met Wednesday by Bill and Cyndi Stinson, administrators of the Chimala Hospital where the Vaths will work for a year.

Dar es Salaam is the former capital and principal commercial city of Tanzania.

After spending the night in Dar, they will make the eight-hour trip to Chimala by car.

Their flight leaves Columbus at 2:31 p.m. EST.

Kyle, 25, grew up in the Central church in Cincinnati. He and Melissa married in January, 2005.

Between his Junior and Senior year at Harding University, he did part of his OB/GYN clinical training overseas, at the Chimala Mission Hospital, on a six-week trip led by missionary Janice Bingham, his nursing instructor.

“This trip changed my life forever. I knew I wanted to go back,” he said.

Graduated from Harding University in 2005 with a B.S. in nursing, Kyle worked for two years in the Intensive Care Unit at Baptist Hospital in North Little Rock, Ark., while Melissa finished her M.Ed., with emphasis in special education in May, 2007.

In 2007 Kyle and Melissa led a group of Harding nursing students to Chimala for a four-week tour, together with Ms. Bingham.

Melissa VathMelissa was reared in central Ohio, attending the Lancaster, Oh., church of Christ. She served on two five-week summer campaigns to Scotland while at Harding.

On their 2007 Tanzania trip, they became aware of the need for additional help and were invited to return and work long-term.

They visited the elders at the New York Avenue church, Arlington, Tex., who oversee the Chimala work.

“We had a good visit with them and were officially invited to come over and work with them,” Kyle wrote. “That week we sent away for our residency papers, my Tanzanian RN license and work permits. The paperwork kept getting hung up on the red tape.”

Finally, they got word last month from Immigration in Tanzania their documents would be ready by month’s end.

“We have been using Rosetta stone and four different books to teach ourselves Swahili, the national language of Tanzania,” Kyle said. “During our preparation time, we have raised all of our monthly support, but are still in need of about $10,000 for a hospital vehicle. The one they have is tired-out, and we told the Americans there that we would try to raise funds for that project. For donation information, you can go to our website at”

Kyle and Melissa have committed to a year’s work, with hopes of staying longer.

“We had some experienced missionaries advise us to set a short goal and then reevaluate. They have told us that this method minimizes burn-out and allows us to have a tangible goal to shoot for,” Kyle said. “So we are going to take that advice, reassess in February, 2009, with the hopes of continuing our work in Chimala.”

Kyle will work primarily in the hospital, helping with logistics, organization, and systems development. There are several areas in the hospital ministry that need to be streamlined so that it can be a much more effective and efficient ministry, he mentioned.

“Melissa plans to initially help me in the hospital with organizational duties, until we get our feet on the ground and get some of the acute problems within the hospital settled, then she will switch over to the primary school and assist with curriculum development and management of the teacher schedules,” Kyle said.

Also, Melissa and Kyle expressed hope of working with the young adults and starting home Bible studies.

“We hope to focus on forming meaningful relationships with the goal of serving and introducing Christ to them,” he said.

As they embark today, they are on their way to realizing that dream.