For us Valentine’s Day is coming fast. We are sponsoring the Sophomore class at Rift Valley Academy, and on the the class’s responsibilities and biggest projects this year is Valentine’s Day Sales. This is a fundraiser for the Sophomore class that sets them up for their future fundraisers in their Junior and Senior years. Each year’s fundraiser provides the funds needed to buy the supplies needed for the next year. So it needs to be done well. We are helping with the baking committee, which means we will plan to bake 1300 cookies, 500 cupcakes, and 200 brownies. We will also be making jello jigglers and around 200 chocolate dipped s’mores. (Yikes!) We started baking this last Friday, and we probably did not get enough done! The kid’s are in charge and watching them get busy in the Home Economics kitchen was quite a sight. Every weekend for the next month will be spent baking. It is a lot of work, but hopefully the reward will be in a job well done and funds duly earned.
Last year was not my best year for blogging. But every year is new. I will try and do better. It was so great to see so many of our friends while we were back in the USA during the month of December. We laughed and cried with friends. We shared stories, and most of all we got to be in the presence of many of you for whom we care much. But we did not see everyone. That makes us a bit sad, and it makes us feel irresponsible for not connecting with everyone. I promise we try and do the best we can! We are thankful for all of you.
This year we are going to try and experience more joy! Happiness is a gift (and dare I add a command) of God, and I am praying that he will bring more and more of it to our family. Life in a different culture can be hard, missing friends and family is definitely difficult, and watching the “American Dream” (and I mean that in all of its positive aspects, not in a cynical manner) pass you by is challenging. And yet we have so much in life that can and should give us joy. We have our local family, our local friends, a good work to do, and great weather and scenery in which to do it. Thank you God for all of that!
So I hope to share some of our joy in our work and life here in Kenya. Let us all be joyful in 2019! I am starting the joy with this picture I took on a walk today. The Great Rift Valley which extends from the region of the Dead Sea to our south passes right outside out door. We see it every day.
When something happens that we can’t explain, we say that’s a miracle. Under that set of definitions, most things that a magician does would be a miracle to me, and I know good and well they aren’t. Miracle, through the biblical tradition, is not what we don’t understand but what is done for us that we can’t do ourselves. Miracle is functional. It’s what God does for us or does for us through other people that we can’t do ourselves.It’s possible you could understand it, but even if you did, that wouldn’t make it stop being a miracle. The word does not mean that which is beyond our comprehension but rather that which is beyond our ability. So in that way I can, when I walk out in the morning and see the sun coming up over the horizon, say, “That’s a miracle.” And I would be biblically correct. Every morning is a miracle.So how do you focus your eyes to see the miracle of each day? – Eugene Peterson
Not many kids in the United States start school wearing sweaters and jackets. It is one of the weird parts of living in the southern hemisphere at 7000 feet elevation. All of the kids attend Rift Valley Academy, participating in different activities including rugby, band, art, and Model United Nations to name a few. RVA is a boarding school, but our kids live with us and walk up to the school every day. They are glad they get to go home and are not burdened by the “rules” of boarding school life. We are glad they are home, too, but can still enjoy the social life offered at school.
Will continues to be busy in the hospital. For the last 6 months he has been serving primarily on the obstetrics service with occasional shifts in the emergency department. Working in obstetrics means lots of nights on call with runs to the hospital for whatever emergency has recently arrived. It can be tiring, so pray that he will have the energy he needs for each day. A bigger part of Will’s job is Christian medical education. The hospital is full of young doctors, clinical officers, and nurses who come to Kijabe Mission Hospital for medical training. Each day Will is involved in teaching these young doctors through mentoring and training in the wards as well as in didactic medical lectures. The hope is that these doctors will go throughout Kenya and East Africa, practicing excellent medicine as well as sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Allison is working hard at Rift Valley Academy. This a completely volunteer position for which she is not paid. In fact, none of the teachers at RVA are paid. They are all missionary teachers working to support the work of the school, and they are supported by generous people and churches in their home countries. This year Allison is teaching Spanish 3 and Spanish 4 after spending the last year teaching 9th grade English. She is also serving as the head of the World Languages Department . Both she and Will enjoy serving as 10th grade class sponsors– that’s David’s class. She is busy, but she is also thriving as she loves her students and she loves her subject matter. She feels grateful for important work too, as RVA provides a way for families to serve in some of the most difficult and remote places in Africa without sacrificing their children’s educational needs. You can see some of the cool things going on at school by following Rift Valley Academy’s Facebook page or Instagram page.
I am still working in obstetrics. I did not expect it to be such a big part of my job when I moved to Kijabe. I have a love-hate relationship with delivering babies. When it is going well, it is fun and joyful. When it goes bad, it is probably the worst thing in medicine. And then there are times when things threaten to go bad, but because we are there as physicians and healthcare workers things go well. Of course, that is very satisfying. Probably the best part is holding babies after they are delivered. I should take advantage of the opportunity more often. I pray all the time when things get a little scary in the hospital. I trust God to help me make timely and wise decisions. And then I use the knowledge and experience that he has given me to do the very best I can. God is good, and I have learned a lot.