On Monday, July 9th (one day after my 30th birthday) we left Beaver, PA to begin the first leg of our journey to Africa. We traveled to Peachtree City, GA for a few days, then onto Nairobi Kenya for a few more days, to Machakos Kenya for three weeks and finally to our new home in Kijabe at Rift Valley Academy. But this weekend, the 24th through the 26th of August, our ministry begins. We have had 6 1/2 weeks of preparation, including travel & training, all in a sense leading up to this weekend, when over 400 students and their families will flood this campus and our work begins.
Are we excited? Absolutely! We are thrilled for the kids to arrive and to plug into their lives through teaching, small groups, Sunday School offerings, sports, and tons of other things that RVA provides. Are we feeling prepared? Yes & No. Dan has been busy this week with lesson planning and getting his classroom ready. We had two days of staff inservice earlier this week, going over policies and procedures as well as finding out about the various roles we may play this year and how we can best serve the students & their families.
It takes an army of people to make this school function & function well. There are full-time teachers, part-time teachers, dorm parents, nurses, physical therapists, counselors, coaches, IT people, maintenance people, administration, security, and many more positions held by folks who love Jesus and want to further His Kingdom by caring for missionary families. Most of the people in the positions above are fully supported missionaries (like us!) who rely on the generosity and prayers of their churches and supporters (like you!) to keep them here. This school simply could not function without you! There are also a number of Kenyan staff members in maintenance and security and in numerous offices here, who although they receive payment for their services, are just as dedicated and committed to the care of the missionary family.
And beginning tomorrow, they will arrive. Tomorrow is New Parent Orientation, and new students will come, along with their parents, from all over Africa to get settled in here at RVA. As you can imagine, it’s a hard thing for parents & children to say goodbye for a three month term and as you can imagine, its even harder the very first time they do it.
Thankfully we serve a God who understands separation and loss, who sees from an eternal lens that we simply do not have. Hannah prayed in 1 Samuel 1:27-28 “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” In the same way, these parents are entrusting their children to the care of the Lord and He has hand-picked a community here to care for and raise up these kids.
Join us in praying for these missionary parents & children as they grieve and adjust, that they would cling to the Lord in their need and that these families would grow closer together as a result of their distance and closer to the Lord, that their ministries would be fruitful and glorifying and that their children would flourish & grow in the knowledge of God.
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11