One Friday night each month we have a bunch of high school freshman into our home to try and give them a chance for a smaller community of friendship. It is a really low key affair as all the high school students are divided into groups of 6 or 7 throughout the Rift Valley Academy community. We have had dessert pizzas, video game and board game parties so far. It is fun to see these kids together, and to watch them as they adjust to life in a boarding school. I am glad we have the chance to serve them in this manner of friendship, and I hope that it is a blessing for them as well.
You will remember that a big part of what we are doing in Kenya is working with a boarding school called Rift Valley Academy. Allison is a teacher at the school and our kids attend classes in its hallowed halls. The school serves missionary kids from all over Africa. We love these kids, and we want the best for them as they spend so many years away from their parents who serve God in some of the hardest places to work in the world. Last weekend was field day, and I was glad to be able to go and watch the kids have a load of fun with their classmates and teachers! Click on the pictures below for more details. I especially like the last two pictures of the tug of war between the students and teachers.
Thank you to God that school is starting and that our kids can continue in their education at Rift Valley Academy. They have moved around a lot, and they have been blessed to go to some great schools such as Scofield Christian School and Dallas Lutheran School in Dallas, Texas as well as Colegio Diospi Suyana in Curahuasi, Peru. We are hoping and praying for more great opportunities for learning here in Kijabe, Kenya. Also Allison starts here first day teaching 9th grade English!
Please pray for the students and families of Rift Valley Academy this weekend. Today was the new student and parent orientation and tomorrow is called “Arrival Day,” which means that the dorms will be filling up with our boarding students for the next school year. It also means lots of goodbyes, as parents drop off their kids and go back to the countries where they serve.
We are part of the new family group, so we’ve been at orientation also, getting tours of the school and learning about all the activities and programs the kids can be involved in. However, we got to walk down the gravel trail to our home with all four kids. Blessedly, at this time, all four kids have said that they are happy that they still live with us—ha!
I stood in my classroom for an hour this afternoon while new parents and students walked through their high school schedule. Ninth grade is a time when many families decide to make a change from homeschooling or local schooling to American schooling. RVA is their best option, even if means boarding their kids. I met so many wonderful parents who fell into three categories—totally chilled because this child is the second, third, or fourth in their family to start at RVA or happy for their kid and relieved not to be homeschooling anymore or nervous but making a peaceful truce with the situation. It was inspirational to hear about where they work and what they do. These people are spreading God’s love in some tough places. Please pray that I can be an excellent teacher to honor the trust they are placing in us. I can tell I’m really going to enjoy spending time with these kids.
Thank you, friends, for praying for our family as we arrived to Kenya and started life here in Kijabe. Our flights were smooth and on time and all of our luggage arrived at once in Nairobi. The first night we took a couple of vans to a mission guest house and tried to sleep. The next morning one driver came to pick up our luggage and take it on to Kijabe. The other, a super friendly and well-spoken Kenyan, like Ronnie in Costa Rica (some people will understand), picked us up and took us to a super nice shopping center in a part of town called Karen. Yes, that is named after Karen Blixen of Out of Africa fame. I had no idea that she owned so much land in what is now part of Nairobi— I imagined it much farther out. After shopping for groceries and setting up our in-country phones, we drove north through surprisingly lush forested land. Upon arriving in Kijabe, our new friend Philip said that we could not spend the night in our house, but he had been directed to the house next door. The hospital maintenance crew had varnished our floor that morning and they were still wet. The kids ran down to meet Chardonnay, our new yellow lab. She is a beautiful dog.
On Friday morning we opened all the windows and aired out the house, then started the unpacking. It felt so good to make the home our own and to start to get settled. Will did a lot of work today while I was at new teacher inservice, so we are nearly moved in. All the kids were enthusiastic about setting up their rooms in their own style. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights we had dinner with a missionary family from the hospital. I imagine that they each hosted the other new family, our new next door neighbor, on the following night. It was an encouraging treat to be in their homes and hear their stories of God’s faithfulness and the kids have met several new friends who will be in their classes.
During the days we have had lovely cool weather to explore the garden, walk with the new dog, and explore a little. Various families and kids have stopped by the door to introduce themselves. As I write, Annie is at a “sixth grade hangout” at the school. The boys have been riding their bikes down the red dirt roads around the station.
God has blessed us in so many ways, large and small. Your prayers have certainly been effective.
Please keep praying, especially for the Kenyan elections that will take place tomorrow. Everyone here is praying for a peaceful transition of power and for tribal cooperation. Join us in prayer for safety for all. Thanks for all that you are to us.
Bring a Friend
This Sunday is our last planned get together in Dallas. Please come if you can! We would like to see you. If you know people who would be interested in knowing more about what we are doing or who are interested in missions in general, please feel bring to bring them. We are always happy to meet more people and make new friends.
Date: May 21 from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
Location: The home of David and Carol Smith, 5914 Bent Trail, Dallas, TX 75248
We hope to see you!