Here at RVA we serve in a unique capacity – ministering to Missionary families. If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know that RVA serves as a support to missionary kids from all over Africa. We’re here so they can stay on the field, doing what the Lord has called them to.
RVA is located in a town in Kenya called Kijabe, and as such we do have opportunities to serve and live alongside the African community as well. We are glad to live in this community and are thankful for the Kenyans God has placed in our path. Our primary calling may not be to Nationals, but I would argue it’s of high importance to live well in the community God has placed us.
We are happy to be building relationships with several of our Kenyan neighbors as we seek to support their work and ministries.
If you receive our occasional email updates, you would have received a prayer request sent out for our dear friend Jesse. He works on our yard and garden twice a week. He is married with two children, and recently sustained a life-altering injury, severing three fingers in an accident at another job. We are praying he will be able to return to work here and for the few other families he works for locally. The boys enjoy following him around the yard in their work boots and gloves and Evelyn was just learning how to say his name. We are blessed to be able to provide him with work, which in turn helps him to support and feed his family.
We also have come to know and love Veronica. Veronica works inside our house, cleaning and helping with food preparation. She is wonderful with our kids and has two sons of her own. She is a valuable part of our team, and I honestly don’t know how I would be able to keep up with life without her help. Her husband Paul works at RVA as well. She is hoping to find more work as ours is the only home she works in currently. Her children attend school, and education is valued here by many Kenyans as a way out of poverty. We’re praying she’s able to find more work each week to help provide for her family’s basic needs.
Jesse’s brother Peter started a ministry to missionaries in the Kijabe area by going into Nairobi to purchase chicken for them. Nairobi has a giant meat butchery called City Market right in the heart of downtown. They have far and away the best meat prices around, but it takes an entire day between the driving, the crowds, the ordering, and the return trip, just to purchase meat. Peter takes all of the hassle out of this by making the trip for us. We are able to pay him a small delivery fee in addition to the cost of the meat, but it’s still roughly $2.50/lb less expensive than buying chicken in Kijabe and Peter is able to make a small amount from each order. Peter and his wife Margaret just celebrated the birth of their baby boy, Robert, last week.
Currently, we are having bunkbeds and a desk made in Kijabe town by a furniture maker named Michael. Michael works on one project at a time for one family at a time. It’s not fast, but it’s meticulous and its custom built. You take your ideas/plans/drawings down to him one afternoon in September, let your children play with his children, he gives you 6 eggs as a gift, you agree on a payment, shake hands with him, the man that will actually build your furniture, and then you walk home. Michael lives behind the shop he works in. It’s not much to look at, but it provides for his family.
Also, on any given day, I am visited by a few women with goods to sell. This is their livelihood, their business.
We enjoy flour tortillas each Wednesday from Elizabeth. Elizabeth visits often and we sit together on the porch swing. She loves to teach me Swahili. I don’t know that I am picking up on it very fast, but she is a very patient teacher. She is a widow who walks 45 minutes one-way to RVA to sell her tortillas just to make enough money to (sometimes) pay her electric bill or purchase a gas bomb (tank) to keep her oven going.
Emily makes and delivers pizza crusts each Saturday. These, I’m finding, are helpful to have on hand for having students over on Friday nights for pizza. Emily also works in several homes here on campus, always has a smile on her face and Evelyn loves to touch her colorful skirts. She has two children.
Beatrice will regularly flag me down when in Kijabe town to purchase english muffins or samosas. She is a convincing saleswoman and we have a standing order for a dozen english muffins each Tuesday. I haven’t learned much of Beatrice’s story, but I pray that her business is helping her family in the way it needs to.
This truly is life at it’s most basic. If you feel so led and get a chance, pray for these people. Often we pray for the poor, the least of these, and the widows in blanket statements with generalized terms. I know that the Lord hears & answers those prayers as well, but here are a few specific examples of widows, of real people living on very meager salaries and some on no salaries at all. Pray for them by name.
Lift them up before the throne of grace as one day we may be standing right beside them in Eternity, crying out “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb! Amen! Praise & glory, wisdom & thanks & honor & power & strength be to our God forever and ever! Amen!” (Revelation 7:10, 12)