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Helping shape lives that will change the future.

What ingredients does it take to make an emotional milkshake?
Like any good recipe, the ingredients and the way those ingredients are prepared are what make a dish so good that you make it again and again. A milk shake requires only a few simple ingredients, and a powerful blender to blend it all up into its smooth, rich goodness!
The ingredients for our family’s emotional milkshake has been:

  • Braden’s graduation
  • Saying “see ya’ later” to our dorm boys, coworkers, and friends at RVA
  • Packing up our belongings to come back to the U.S. for about 5 months
  • Finishing our teaching responsibilities
  • Over 30 hours of traveling from Kenya to K.C.

Blend all the ingredients together in the powerful blender of only a few days, and what do you get? Something wonderful!  However, it’s funny because we find ourselves laughing and enjoying our time back here in the U.S. and then the next, feeling a huge empty sick feeling in the pit of our stomachs, knowing that in a few months we get back on the airplane leaving Braden at his college.  How can something as incredible as setting our son free feel so fulfilling yet so terrible at the same time?
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The first week of our home assignment has been a great blessing.
Quick Overview of our schedule:

  • Braden graduated and we boarded a plane on July 17, landing in KC about 30 hours after leaving RVA, and with every piece of our luggage
  • Road trip to Africa Inland Mission US headquarters in Atlanta and then wedding in North Carolina July 22-29
  • Braden’s graduation open house at Grandma and Grandpa Roach’s home on Sunday, August 3
  • Braden and parents have an orientation for International Students at John Brown University August 20
  • Preston, Landon, and Trevon begin school August 20 (you may notice that mom and dad will not be present for the first few days of school for the younger three, grandma and grandpa will help here)
  • Then life will begin to settle into the “Home Assignment” mode:
    • Connecting with current supporters and churches
    • Presenting our ministry to new friends and churches
    • Focusing on family

We so appreciate your prayers. Already we have been incredibly blessed, God has used so many to help us. One of our supporting churches, Abundant Life Baptist Church has graciously allowed us to live in their missionary residence. Not only does it save on finances, but it also is absolutely beautiful—more than we ever imagined! Our home church, Crossway Bible Church, has stocked the pantry for us with many of our favorite foods. A huge thanks to ALBC and Crossway for taking care of us!

Our address and phone numbers while we are in the US:
1417 SW. Mission Rd., Lee’s Summit, MO 64081
Bill’s cell: (816) 982-4955
Jennifer’s cell: (816) 982-4962

Egypt has recently elected a new president. South Sudan continues to have fighting in many parts of the new nation. The Central African Republic continues to have fighting to the extent that the presence of missionaries is almost nonexistent. We monitor the news to see what is happening in areas that the boys in our dorm have family and friends.

Food in front of a warm fire on a cold night in Kijabe is always welcomed by the dorm!

Food in front of a warm fire on a cold Kijabe night is always welcomed by the dorm!

In the past few weeks, we have been able to talk with parents about their ministries. Hearing their stories makes me look at them with respect and awe and rekindles the purpose for which God has called us to RVA. I would like to share some of these stories so you can join with us in praying for our dorm boys’ families and their ministries.

Colby asked us to pray for the decision his family must soon make. Their ministry in Uganda is coming to a close, and they are praying about where to relocate and begin new ministry. A few generations ago, a missionary family set roots in a region and then spent the rest of their lives with an unreached people group. The goal today is for missionaries to build a church of people who become self-sustaining, then move on to another location and start over. Colby’s parents have been praying about moving to either Lebanon, or Iraq. We began praying for this decision before the recent fighting in Iraq began.

Paul’s parents work in an area of South Sudan. Dad is the only doctor in an 80 mile radius, and mom is a nurse. Together they run a clinic that is so taxing their mission organization will allow them to stay no more than three months at a time before withdrawing to a home near RVA for a time of mental, emotional, and spiritual recovery before being immersed for another three months. Paul is the youngest of six boys who all grew up in Africa on the mission field. Paul’s dad has told us that one of the worst parts of his job is removing shrapnel from children.

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Game night in the dorm–with girls!

John’s parents also work in South Sudan. The region they are in is not as close to the fighting, but is very remote, not close to anything. They live in mud huts, have to walk a long distance for water. The only fruits and vegetables that are occasionally available have been brought in from Uganda and are too expensive for a missionary to afford. John’s dad is teaching Christian men to be pastors and has no medical training. There is no doctor within 100 miles, so all the people all expect the missionary to know how to help them with medical issues. He recently took a photo of a broken leg and sent it to a doctor friend who told him how to set it and splint it. His iPhone has become extremely valuable in looking up diagnoses or checking with friends, and using his own family medical kit to help the people in his village.

One dad is a brilliant engineer who grew up at RVA and even spent two years in our dorm as a student. Now he and his family are in a country in which it is very dangerous to be a Christian. His engineering skills have opened the door for him to enter a country that will not allow missionaries. God has opened the door for him to share the good news of Jesus!

Another family are Christians from Nigeria whom God has called to cross Africa to be missionaries in Mozambique. Emman has two brothers who attend RVA, and one who can’t wait to come in the near future.

In the past several weeks we have had opportunities to meet with numerous parents of the boys in our dorm. It has been very humbling to sit with these families and hear about their ministries. Often they say the words that totally shake me to the core. This message is repeated over and over by missionaries I talk with. What do they say that rattles my world? I wish you could sit in our living room and hear these words first hand.

Over and over I have heard from parents of our dorm boys, and sometimes even with tears in their eyes, “Thank you for investing in our son. We could not do our ministry without your help.

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Bible studies in our home

Please join with us in praying for these families, especially for Colby and his family as they seek God’s direction for their future ministry. One thing that makes this especially hard for Colby is that after four years at RVA, he will have to complete his junior and senior years at another school on a new continent. His dorm brothers are his best friends, and they will not be able to finish high school together.

God reminds us that this world is not our home, we are only passing through. We can easily get too comfortable and place our security in our surroundings. Our comfort and security must be in God.

I received a message from a friend just a few days ago asking if we have been affected by the bombs in Nairobi. While these bombings took place in an area we never frequent, we still take notice. There are numerous hard things about serving in a boarding school in Kenya. But serving God is worth it! Here is one way we see God’s hand at work through a recent conversation with a student.

In the past week I have had a student from my 9th grade Bible class come to me for help. He has grown up with missionary parents, and was taught from a young age what to believe about Jesus and the Bible. He has begun his personal search for truth. What if Islam is the truth? Could Buddhism or Atheism be truth? How do I know what to believe?

This is the journey every student must go through as he grows up; moving from “My parents’ belief” to “My belief”. Perhaps you remember going through this in your younger years. Each person has to make his faith his own. For every student who talks openly with us about this, there are probably ten more who are silent. Pray that God would give us wiZZ Hildebrand on top of worldsdom in what to say as we answer questions and direct students to find answers.

Living with 22 guys in a dorm is a real bonus for discipleship! The impact we are able to make goes all through the campus. Sometimes we don’t know just how much we have impacted until a student asks us to be a part of their baptism or some other celebration. Thank you Lord!