Over the past few weeks, Dan and I have been talking about vehicles – whether or not we should look into purchasing one, what type and size and capability would be useful for our needs here at RVA, etc. It’s been the first major discussion of a larger decision that we’ve had to make in a while.
I suppose it was not so long ago that we were making all kinds of decisions in preparation for moving here – sell or rent our house? sell or loan or give away our cars? furniture – what are we keeping and what can go? Since we’ve been here, though, a lot of decisions have been made for us. The housing committee chose our house, set us up with furniture to rent until we can replace it, and we weren’t even able to drive until early November.
It’s been somewhat freeing and somewhat challenging not owning a vehicle here in Kenya. Of course, I feel the strain of this more than Dan does since I’m the one usually needing to find a ride into Nairobi to grocery shop or to at least track down someone going to give them a small list of things to get, etc. However not owning a vehicle also leaves us helpless when students or parents of students need a ride into town or for helping with student outreach days each term, etc. This is the part Dan feels more.
So what do you want from a vehicle?
In talking, we came up with a few things we think necessary in a vehicle here and a few reasons why. 4-wheel drive capability. The Kijabe road that winds down to RVA gives new meaning to the word pot-hole. There are literally whole sections of road that have been washed out, and apparently it’s the worst it’s been in 5+ years. That’s the road used to go to and from Nairobi. The quality of roads used to do outreach in the valley and other places can be even worse. Vehicles are used for several outreach days as well as the Christmas Eve deliveries RVA makes. Here your car is a tool, not a luxury vehicle (which is confusing when you see the prices of cars below). It can be used in ministry in a mighty way if it has the ability to get there. seating for 7-8. Ours is a family of 5 already. In outreach, students pile in as well (and on top of the roof realistically). If we have anyone to visit, we don’t want to have to rent a larger vehicle to accommodate OR to handle terrain (see above). built to last. As in America, some types of cars require more service and more expensive parts. They notoriously break down more often. We are doing our homework as far as vehicles that seem to last and be most reliable for people here.
Just how much are we talking?
All of that being said, vehicles here in Kenya are expensive, compared to prices in America. It’s almost hard to think about, however they also retain their value much better. For instance, there is a 1991 Toyota Land Cruiser currently for sale here at RVA for $11,000 USD. That’s a 22 year old vehicle – 22 years old for $11,000. Compare that to a newer-but-still-10-years-old 2003 Toyota Land Cruiser and it’s likely more in the neighborhood of $25,000 USD.
Opening a Vehicle Project Fund:
We have opened up a vehicle project fund through AIM. The way this works is similar to giving to our ministry. You can give monthly or one-time to the project by sending a check made out to Africa Inland Mission with “Dan & Courtney Schmidt: Vehicle Project” in the memo line.
Then 98% of your donation to the vehicle project goes toward the purchase of a vehicle. In other words, there isn’t the 12% that goes to AIM as an organization for their work with missionaries (a service that directly benefits us by the way).
We don’t know which vehicle in particular the Lord will have us purchase or how much exactly it will cost, but in July a number of families are leaving RVA (and a new crop of families will join us) and we would like to be in a position to purchase one then.
Thank you so much for reading, for caring, for praying, for giving. We are exceedingly grateful for you, our support system!
Again, the instructions for giving -
Africa Inland Mission / Memo: Dan&Courtney Schmidt Vehicle Project
Africa Inland Mission Attn: receipting dept.
PO Box 3611
Peachtree City, GA 30269