Four years ago. Four years ago we sold our home, gave away a car and a set of couches, sent many of our worldly possessions off to safe places with friends and family and boxed others up into storage. We were thinking through goodbyes, upcoming transitions, moving our little ones to Kenya, flights, packing, more goodbyes, financial considerations, prayer letters, blog entries etc. So many things to think through. We were talking about ‘lasts’ and leaving well. In short, we were counting the cost of this call He had placed on us.
During that final month in the states, our honest prayers were filled with painful, angry, doubtful, yelling. The sacrifice seemed too much and we were overcome by the laying down of things that were precious to us.
We moved to Kenya not knowing WHEN or IF we would make friends here, not knowing WHEN or IF our family would come to visit. We moved to Kenya not knowing HOW many of the details of daily life would play out. We had counted the cost, but what we didn’t count on was His grace.
Christ calls us to do hard things in this life, yes, but He also offers us grace; unmerited blessing to undeserving sinners. During those months of transition back in 2012, we forgot about His grace! After all, Ephesians 3:20 describes God as “him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work in us.”
And did He ever surprise us with his grace! Four years later, we are still surprised by the outpouring of God’s grace on us daily.
- He has given us a growing love for this school and this community, for our students and our co-workers, for our work here.
- He has lavished on us deep, lasting friendships here on this side of the world.
- He has enabled us to maintain solid, pick-up-where-we-left-off relationships with dear family and friends we rarely see at home.
- He has provided time and time again caring, Godly teachers for our boys in this school, wise counsel for them and for us when we struggle, and a body of believers to live and serve alongside.
And then, during this second term of service, He began showing off his grace to us in the bridging of our two worlds. And unmerited blessing He continues to pour out! First, we hosted Kelly, Sabrina and Henry Knapp, having the privilege of introducing our beloved Beaver community to our Kenyan community in 2015. Then, Dan’s parents were able to serve at RVA for three months in 2015, bridging our Alden sending community to this one through their service.
And so it continued: It was pure, joy-filled fun to have Dale & Martha Schartner with us in early February and to soak up Martha’s gifted speaking ability at our women’s retreat! Less than a week later, Dan’s sister Rachel, her husband Dale and their four kids landed on Kenyan soil to serve at a children’s home 4 miles from us. We spent 6 weeks semi-together as they served, and 3 weeks doing life as a family of 11 in our home.
To top it off, dear friends Chris & Ellen Crefeld and their four kids flew in to celebrate the Resurrection with us! What abundance!! Even now, we’re thrilled to be planning and looking forward to my mom & Craig’s upcoming visit, their second time to Kenya! He IS able to do more than we could ever ask or imagine and He DOES.
And as this 2015-16 school year comes to a close soon, we find ourselves in transition as a family again. Not nearly as big of a transition as ones we’ve made before, but one nonetheless. Nearly 60% of our staff will go on home assignment or be called away from their ministry at RVA this year. Over half of our little community!
Some of that 60% are the very people God so generously placed in our lives for the past few years, and we find ourselves counting the cost yet again. We count it for our kids as we watch their close friends move to different continents and we count it for ourselves in the very same way. How quickly we forget the grace He extended in even providing those friends! We certainly didn’t expect or demand these relationships, and yet He provided them. A gift.
I pray that as we enter another season of goodbyes, we would draw near to the One who called us by name, the One who lavishly pours out His grace and faithfully provides more than we can ask or imagine.