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Saturday, July 23, 2016

All things NEW

Last Thursday was RVA’s Commencement Ceremony.  For our family, it marked the ending and beginning of many aspects of our lives here in Kenya. 

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ENDINGS: 

Class of 2016 – We will miss the smiling faces of the class we’ve come to know and love these past four years.  God has big things in store as they literally spread from here all around the globe this week.  This is, of course, a significant beginning for them as well.  College for many, gap years for a few, military service, work, and many other “firsts” await these young people, just after they’ve wrapped up so many “lasts” here at Rift Valley Academy.

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House #832 – Our little white house has been a wonderful home for us since we arrived in August of 2012.  Many memories and transitions, laughter and tears were shared within those four walls.  DSCN4709
Relationships – We’ve said hard goodbyes before.  It turns out they don’t get any easier just because you’re a veteran.  Tear-filled embraces were shared and gut-wrenching farewells were given this past week as our best friends left RVA to step into the next chapter in their lives.  As hard as it was to see them go, we are confident this isn’t really an ending, just an adjustment; a turning of the page, as our student commencement speaker so eloquently noted.  God is still God.  We are still His children.  Nothing can tear us out of His hands or from His family around the globe.

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BEGINNINGS:

Classes of 2029, 2027, 2026, 2025, 2024, and 2023 – These are the RVA graduating classes that will soon be represented in our home (our three included).  11 bundles of pre-adolescent male potential and kinetic energy will soon be added.  By the end of August, our home will be multi-colored, multi-lingual, and multi-cultural!  New smiling faces, new adventures, new joys and pains, and lots of NOISE.  By God’s grace and through your prayers will we enter this new chapter of mentoring young men to His glory.

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An appropriate wall decal in the dining room.

Tembo Dorm, #812 – We have now moved across the campus and up the hill (we’re convinced it’s 10 degrees cooler up here!).  New digs at a new elevation, complete with new neighbors, new roles, and new brothers!  Pray for our family, and their families, as we anticipate their arrival in a few short weeks.

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NEW Relationships – A whole new batch of RVA-ers arrives in the coming weeks.  Dorm parents, teachers, administrators, project managers, moms and dads, sons and daughters.  Some returning, some brand new, all excited about the ministry opportunities that await them.  Pray for good transitions and a welcoming spirit by those of us receiving them. 

NEW Video – Check out our newest video, created by us thanks to a request by Alden Mennonite Church’s VBS this past week.

NEW Website – Check out RVA’s newly updated website – see if you can find any of us in the pictures :)

NEW Life – Pray with us as we grieve from across the ocean.  Two solid Christian men, dear friends of ours, and pillars at First Presbyterian Church in Beaver, PA, entered into the Lord’s presence earlier this month.  Lift up the Maize and the James families as they settle into life without Ian and Tom.  Praise God with us as we find comfort in knowing their eternal resting place, worshipping His glorious name, face to face, for all eternity. 

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NEW lessons from an old truth:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Too many times I desperately want to be better, to perform, to measure up, to be the best, to figure it out and overcome obstacles in my own strength.  God has been gently and consistently reminding me how, and in what state, He chooses to use His people.  His glory will be made manifest, His power will be on display, His greatness will be shown to the nations, if only His children will get out of the way and let Him do it.  He still desires to use me, but only in the depths of my weakness, when my need for Him is real.

Right now, amidst all the changes, the goodbyes, and the new challenges ahead, I am keenly aware of my need for Him. 

I guess this is exactly where He wants me.

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