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Helping shape lives that will change the future.
December 15, 2011 1:02 am

We began our move to Africa with a two year commitment to you and to Rift Valley Academy. Those two years are finished in July. The decision is does God want us to stay and continue in ministry at RVA, or does He have another plan? After much prayer and counsel, we feel that God wants us to continue to minister here for at least four more years. That would be through Braden and Preston’s graduations.

Why Africa? After 26 years of youth ministry in America, why would we move to Africa? After all, are there needy students in America? Let me share five good reasons and the most important reason.

  1. We have the opportunity to provide spiritual direction for an entire campus of students and staff.
  2. RVA has some of the brightest, most gifted students in the world.
  3. Many of these students grow up to be missions-minded adults. One former student told me that 25% of his graduating class are on the mission field, and at least 10% of the remaining class support him and his family financially as they serve on here in Africa.
  4. Missions is the greatest way to spread the life-changing news of Jesus Christ to a world that desperately needs His love. The U.S. Is rapidly declining in the number of missionaries being sent.
  5. Many of the missionary families who send their children to RVA could not continue the ministry God has called them to if it weren’t for RVA. One student told Jennifer and me that her parents pick her up at the airport and drive 16 hours into the bush to their home. In that village, there are no other missionaries. This student is 16, and a majority of the girls her age are pregnant. She has nothing in common with them. A ninth grade boy in his first year at RVA told me that this was the first time he has lived with students his age who spoke English. One important thing RVA provides for children of missionary families is social growth and development.

These are incredible reasons for our continuing ministry at RVA, but not the most important. In our own search for God’s will concerning our family, I am reminded that the most important quality God looks for in our lives is obedience.  I would be lying if I said these past two years have been easy.  We have been stretched in many ways; but as we are stretched, we are drawn to the arms of Jesus where we find comfort and strength.  To pursue obedience is a matter of faith and trust, believing that God is in control. Jennifer clings to Hebrews 11:6, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”  We are encouraged to obedience by the words in Luke 9:23, “He said to them all:  ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’” 

The easy thing is to say, “We have served two years; we have done our part.” But God has called us to this ministry. How long? We are not sure, but right now we know He wants us to continue at RVA.

Financial Needs

Right now we need to know who is willing to continue to commit to our future support. We thank you so much for committing two years of financial support. Will you pray about continuing to support our family as we serve on the mission field at Rift Valley Academy?

Praise the Lord, we just heard from a church that has been praying for us, and will now be able to support us financially for $100 per month! What a blessing from God!

Home Assignment—Our plan is to return to the U.S. to visit family and raise more support from mid-July through Christmas 2012. We have a couple of huge prayer requests regarding that:

  1. We need a house to live in, hopefully in the Blue Springs area. We do own a house in Grain Valley, but the missionary family living in it won’t be going back on the mission field until June 2013.
  2. Our support level is about $2,500 per month lower than it needs to be, so we have a lot of work ahead of us!
  3. Speaking opportunities,we would be glad to share our experiences of what God is doing in East Africa and our ministry. Do you know of a church or group who would like to hear? Contact us!

    First Place! Way to go Suni Dorm!

December 14, 2011 6:54 am
Published in: Rift Valley Academy

Just before bed I heard a scream. Running into the kitchen, I found Jennifer bent over looking at something. It didn’t take long to see what she was looking at. The boys had all run in by now and she had a clear container to trap one of the biggest spiders I had seen in my life. With another squeal, she slammed the container down over the spider. Preston, Trevon, and I took the container (with a lid) to the neighbors’ house.

They took one look at our scary, hairy capture and were pretty sure of his identity, but looked him up online to confirm. Sure enough, he is a common “wolf spider”. He is a relative to the common spiders you have seen throughout America, only bigger. Much bigger! He was over 2” in diameter, with one of the biggest bodies I have seen outside of the tarantula family.

We took the spider back home and decided to keep him overnight. The next day our boys dropped a small beetle into the container, hoping to see the spider eat. After ignoring the bug for a couple hours, one boy yelled out, “Larry’s eating the bug!” Next thing I knew, the boys had named him “Hairy Larry”. In a search for more food, the boys found another spider of a different species. It was a little smaller, so they thought Larry wouldn’t have any trouble. After ignoring each other for a short time, the two spiders began to fight. Larry won, but only after being bit by the other spider. The boys new pet had won a spot in their hearts and immediately they felt bad, even grieving that they had hurt Larry. For an entire day, Larry was looking more dead than alive. Finally he came out of it and was acting normal (whatever that looks like for a wolf spider!). A few days later we turned Larry loose…outside…FAR outside.

Life has heavy issues

Why would our family grow so attached to a spider? Recently our family has been praying for some heavy life issues. Every time Trevon prays out loud, he prays for a man named Daniel who needs God to bless his peanut farm so he can feed his family. We have also been praying for a family whose father died a few months ago. He was a nurse right here on campus and his youngest sons were two of Trevon’s best friends. Another heavy prayer request of our family’s has been for Trinity, a 9 year old battling life threatening problems in California since birth. Just a few days ago Trinity went to be with the Lord. Her struggle is over, but her family, who are coworkers and close friends of ours, grieves. Our next door neighbors, who have grown to become some of our best friends here at RVA have just lost their Dad/grandpa to cancer.

Death is all around us here, whether relatives of friends of ours, or like the auto accident we came upon yesterday.   Death is more real to those living here in Africa, than where we grew up in the U.S.

Here, our family is constantly reminded of this truth from God, “Only one life, twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” Life is short; we have no guarantee of tomorrow. What will be the eternal value of what we are doing with our lives? How are we spending our time? How are we spending our money?

These are heavy issues. The African people rarely plan their lives ahead of today because life and death are so integrated; they don’t count on tomorrow. If they live till tomorrow, that is a blessing from God. Keeping a pet spider for a week or so can be a great diversion from adjusting to the heaviness of life, and death.