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Helping shape lives that will change the future.
July 9, 2014 12:48 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

In chapter 26 of Matthew’s gospel, you see Jesus taking his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane. Their purpose was to pray. Jesus knew what was before Him, and therefore took his most faithful friends to intercede on His behalf. WOW, what a privilege. In verse 38, Jesus asks Peter, James and John to continue further with Him and He asks them to pray. The next verse then says, “and Jesus went FURTHER STILL.” That last verse has captured my heart and my attention for the past few weeks. What an amazing opportunity for the disciples to go with Jesus to the garden to pray, and then for Peter, James and John to be asked to go further with Jesus. But I love how it says that Jesus went further still.

Over a dozen students go "Further Still" as they follow the Lord by being baptized!

Over a dozen students go “Further Still” as they follow the Lord by being baptized!

I have been in discussion with Jesus about how He wants ME, to go “further still”. What does that look like? What do I need to let go of? Or maybe even harder, whom do I need to let go of to go further still? What fears or lies am I still clinging to that are keeping me outside the garden? I don’t know. But I’m listening, I’m praying, and I’m desiring to go “further still.” How about you? Are you content where you are?

April 21, 2013 9:38 am
Published in: Uncategorized

9372415-red-carWhat do you do when your car breaks down in Africa?

  1. ask for help from one of the 25 Africans that have immediately gathered around your stalled car
  2. See if a local farmer can hook up and tow you with his donkey
  3. Load all your belongings on a bicycle (which is not an uncommon sight!)
  4. Have a nervous break down, cry, and pray (not necessarily in that order)

Having car trouble in America can be a stressful experience, but a simple phone call can have a tow truck hooking up within minutes. Africa is much different!

A couple days ago we drove 60 minutes to Nairobi for our family’s final shopping trip to stock up on groceries before the dorm boys return on Monday. Our 22-year-old car was running rough and getting worse. When we parked in Nairobi I tinkered with the carburetor but couldn’t find anything wrong. Before going any further, I must give you a little background about driving in Kenya.

People are everywhere. No matter what size road or highway, there will be pedestrians and bicycles on the road, crossing the road, pulling carts, or who knows what else they are doing in your driving lane. There will be carts pulled by donkeys or by men in your lane. There will even be cars and motorcycles driving on the shoulder in either direction! Yes, they could be coming right at you on the shoulder! Roads are almost never marked with lines of any kind, and vehicles pass anywhere they want.

It is hard enough to drive in broad daylight. At night, add to those many difficulties that some cars have no lights on, and most come at you with their bright lights on, blinding you. To make matters worse the night rain makes your windows muddy on the outside and foggy on the inside.  The grand finale is the night also brings drunken pedestrians stumbling in your lane wearing dark clothes. The driving conditions are so bad that our mission organization forbids driving at night without special permission. For a video of driving in Nairobi: https://vimeo.com/64490333

So with a couple hours of daylight remaining, we leave Nairobi for our one-hour drive back to RVA. The car continues to run worse until we get to a hill the car cannot climb. Because it is a four-wheel drive I drop it into low range, but eventually we get to a point where the car will go no further. I pull onto the shoulder and look for a place to roll backwards onto a side road. As I begin to roll back a truck pulls over in front of us to help. 30 minutes later this kind gentleman is pulling us to his farm nearby which has 24 hour security guards and is a safe place to leave our car overnight. A friend from RVA picks us up and we finally arrive safely home. A one-hour drive has turned into three hours, but we thank the Lord for the willingness of a Kenyan farmer to tow us to safety.

The next day our staff mechanic at RVA went to the farm, fixed our car and brought it back. Perhaps someday Kenya will have AAA, but until then, we are thankful for God’s provision and protection!

As a Bible teacher and department head I cannot leave campus very often, so Jennifer is the one who drives every week or two into Nairobi for supplies. Thank the Lord I was the one driving this time. It is our concern that our old car could break down when she is driving alone or with a couple other women. Dependable cars in Africa are not cheap; in fact the average cost is around $20,000 for a used and dependable vehicle.

Two years ago we purchased a 20-year-old 4×4 for $5000 because it was the least expensive well-maintained vehicle we could find, and it could seat 9. At that time we still didn’t know if we were going to remain at RVA beyond our first two-year commitment. It has served us well for those two years.

80% of our driving is on paved roads (trips to Nairobi), although the condition of the roads is sometimes so bad that gravel roads are actually better. The other 20% requires four-wheel drive. Much of our ministry to Kenyans outside of the campus of RVA is included in that 20% which requires the use of four-wheel drive.

We have the opportunity to purchase a Toyota station wagon with only 100,000 kilometers (60,000 miles) from another missionary family that is leaving our area. The price is $7,500. It has been well maintained and is in great shape. This small station wagon has seating for 10 people—legally (well, legal in Kenya)! We can do 80% of our driving with this station wagon, and keep the old 4×4 around for the 20%. This solution is much cheaper than upgrading our 4×4.

We have started a car fund, and have until July before the car is available. Giving a special one-time gift is easily done online by clicking “donate” on the right column of this blog. Be sure in the “Comments” section of the form to type the words “Car Fund”. If you prefer to send a check, be sure it is payable to Africa Inland Mission, and include a separate note that says, “For Bill and Jennifer Hildebrand car fund” (our name is not to appear on the check). The address to send a check is:

Africa Inland Mission

P.O. Box 3611

Peachtree, GA 30269

Thanks for all your prayers and support. I know that we just finished raising $2,500 in monthly commitments a few months ago so we could return to RVA, so I hesitate to mention another need so soon. But we are trusting God’s provision—where he calls he provides what is needed to be obedient to that call. God may put it on the hearts of some to help, and not on the hearts of others—we are trusting him.

In Christ’s love and blessings,

The Hildebrand Family

April 18, 2013 6:39 am
Published in: Uncategorized

In Mark 11, as Jesus set his face toward the cross and prepared to enter Jerusalem, he sent a couple disciplejesus on donkeys to fetch a donkey colt. In his omniscience, he told them where it was and that as they untied it someone would ask what they were doing. He then told them to give the answer “the Lord needs it”, and permission would be granted. A couple of things really catch my attention regarding this.

First, Jesus knows even the smallest details. There are things I face every day that I don’t understand. Things I cannot figure out. Things like why one of my sons is having episodes of breathing difficulty. His throat can constrict at any time of the day, with no regularity, with seemingly no triggers that we can figure out. A couple nights ago just before bed we took him to the hospital and everything checked out fine, the doctor could find nothing physically wrong. This is something that can stump us, but God knows even the smallest details.  The next night an episode that seemed to be the worst yet and sent us back to the hospital. We had mentioned the night before a medication being used to treat acne, but this night it was like God turned on a light. It seems this medication can cause the symptoms we were seeing. This is something that has stumped many of us for weeks, but God knows the smallest details. As Christians, we need to seek his wisdom. He knows even the smallest details.

Second, God may ask us to do things that just don’t make sense. Imagine if God sent you into a city, to a certain house, and told you to knock on the door and ask for the keys to their brand new convertible. What response would you expect? “Sure, go right ahead!” as they toss the keys to you. “It’s got a full tank. Just leave the car in the drive and the keys under the mat when you are finished.” The disciples could have felt like they were stealing this donkey colt, a thing of great value to its owner! They were not stealing it, in fact God had already prepared the heart of the owner for Jesus’ use of it.

What small detail am I facing that causes me to seek God’s wisdom? The small things really do matter. Is he asking me to do something seems to make no sense, something that seems to go against my own judgment? Father, help me to turn to you every day to seek your wisdom that I need as I continue to walk with you.

December 10, 2012 7:53 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

A week ago we visited Silver Dollar City. Visiting the amusement park with grandma and grandpa is one of our family’s beloved traditions. On our last visit, Trevon’s older brothers tried in vain to get him to ride a roller coaster. Weeks before this most recent visit, Trevon had some BIG talk about how big he is now, and this time he WILL ride a roller coaster.

The first day of Powdermill Station HouseDecember ended up being one of the warmest ever in Branson, and with temperatures in the 70’s, the roller coaster’s were open for business. Trevon couldn’t wait to try “Powder Keg”! The coaster consumed his thoughts, and he couldn’t stop talking about it (if you know him, you totally understand).

We decided to make his first ride a daddy-son event. After waiting almost an hour I began to wonder if Trevon’s mouth would slow down—he was SOOO excited! Finally we sat down in our seats, the attendants secured us, and we were off! After the first two drops I realized I couldn’t hear him, so I reached down and grabbed for his leg. He was still there! Then I realized he was too terrified to scream! When I told him it was ok to yell, he began squealing like a little piggy! Wikipedia says the duration of the ride is 2:53, but after waiting nearly an hour to ride, the fun felt like less than half that long. As we walked away from the coaster, Trevon’s talking intensified exponentially—not sure how that is possible! He ABSOLUTELY LOVED his first real roller coaster!

I too have loved great roller coasters, even though I was older than Trevon before working up the courage to try them. Now as I get older, I feel motion sickness if I ride more than once. On a previous visit I rode a roller coaster three times back to back because there was no waiting line, and almost threw up.

Life can be like a roller coaster, with its ups and downs. Sometimes life even throws in a loop-d-loop. Our last few weeks of support raising have felt like a roller coaster, and just when we think we are about to get off, it starts to go around again.

WildfireThis morning we received distressing news that hit us like an unexpected loop-d-loop. Just after arriving in the U.S. for home assignment we received news from a church that they would be supporting us for $250/month. We have recently found out this notification was sent to us by mistake, and financially they are not able to help at all—if they could, they would.

This changes our status. We were a little over $100 away from our monthly support minimum. As close as we are, we expected to receive the “Cleared to go” from Africa Inland Mission anyway. This news puts us at nearly $400/month below our goal. Please pray!

With just over two weeks until we are schedule to fly back to Kenya (our tickets are purchased!), we are claiming this promise:

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21)

One other verse Jennifer and I like is:

“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.” (Psalm 5:3)

November 6, 2012 7:08 am
Published in: Uncategorized

Limbo. Definition–an intermediate, transitional, or midway state or place. The early church used it to tell of a region between the borders of heaven and hell where the righteous went after death as they waited for entrance into heaven.

Our family right now feels like we are in limbo. In just a few short weeks we are returning to life in Africa. Ministry and school at RVA. This brings great visions of things we enjoyed and look forward to. In just a few short weeks we are leaving life in the U.S. This life also brings great visions of family, friends, traditions, and so many other things we have enjoyed.

Oh that time would continue to move along so we can make that jump from one world to the next!

Time will continue to drag on if we do not reach our goal of 50-30-30. That is 50 new givers at $30 per month in 30 days (by Thanksgiving which is only 16 days from today!). Our airline tickets are to leave on December 27, but Africa Inland Mission won’t let us go until we reach our goal. Knowing this makes our time of limbo even harder.

Thank you to our wonderful team of supporters who pray and/or give on a regular basis! Would you be our ambassadors and share our ministry with your friends?

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life[d] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” –Mark 8:34-35 (ESV)

50 givers at $30/month in 30 days

P.S. Clicking on the above 50-30-30 is a link to download a WORD document. Simply download, save to your desktop, fill out and email back to us notifying us of a new 50-30-30 teammate at hildebrandrva@gmail.com

March 23, 2012 8:10 am
Published in: Uncategorized

click on photo to see more photos from "Musical Sons"

March 23, 2012

We have really enjoyed Braden and Preston as they enjoy music. Braden has been working on his guitar and leading worship with classmates for chapel. Preston’s percussion abilities have made some senior high students take note of this eighth grader. He plays various percussion instruments in the school orchestra, and has really excelled on the drum kit for worship teams. God has blessed both of them with a love and ability to make great music!

March 15, 2012 8:22 am
Published in: Uncategorized

click on photo to see more photos from "End of Term 2"

March 15, 2012

On December 28 we picked Meredith up at the Nairobi airport and helped introduce her to Africa before she headed to Tanzania for the next month. She is a student at John Brown University that we have known from our home church in Blue Springs. After being a part of AIM’s program called “TIMO Quest”, she came back to Kenya and started helping us at RVA. I am very sad as I write this thinking about the fact that she will head back to the states on April 10. She has become a great companion for Jennifer as they take early walks (at 6:30am every day!), helping in Jennifer’s classroom, and helping our family and dorm with meals. She has truly become a part of our family!

One day Jennifer decided to take Meredith to visit the hospital just down the road from RVA. As they were visiting the pediatric ward they were able to talk with a young mom who brought her newborn infant to the hospital. Jennifer and Meredith were able to see this young lady accept Christ as the hospital chaplain led her to the Lord!  Mercy, one of the chaplains in the hospital is helping to find someone in Kibera (largest slum in Africa, located in Nairobi) who can disciple this young mom when she returns to her home. Jennifer and Meredith helped in seeing the new birth of this new mom!

A day or two later, Meredith was giving our family a night off as she did study time and devotion time with the dorm. After the devotion, one boy who we were unsure of his relationship with the Lord began asking her questions. Meredith was able to lead him to Jesus that night! The room mate of this boy stuck around during this time and listened in as well. She was able to help assure him of his relationship with Jesus as well. What a week for all of us! God was able to use our visitor to help in the spiritual births of two new Christians!

September 12, 2010 8:27 am

I’ve had the wind knocked out of me again! This time it Trevon and his friend Kevinwasn’t the hill we live on here at RVA. Gathering for prayer at the very start of “Outreach Day”, our fifth and sixth grade dorm boys met with Jr. high girls and a few Sr. high boys who also volunteered. As this mixed group of students and adults came together, we were given the news that the orphanage coming to visit us was made up of children from birth to 13 years old, but only 24 of the older kids were coming to visit. If having to live in an orphanage isn’t enough, each of these children are HIV positive.

It wasn’t the fear of this horrible virus that knocked the wind out of me. I am glad for what we learned about HIV in our three weeks of Africa Based Orientation when we arrived in Africa. Basically, it is nearly impossible to get this virus from a child during normal interaction on the playground or in the dining hall.

What knocked the wind out of me was the thought of coming face to face with the very children I have read about and heard about. Children who likely have lost both parents and probably even aunts and uncles to AIDS. Children whose lives are forever impacted not by their own choices or actions, but by the choices of someone else. Children, not monsters or freaks. Children.

Meet ClintonClinton is a new friend of mine. He is ten years old, the same age as our son Landon. He has an older sister, loves to play on the playground, play soccer, and eat hot dogs. In fact, Clinton ate at least three hot dogs, potatoes, carrots, strawberry jelly, and more. He even had a couple of glasses of milk to wash it all down as I sat next to him at lunch! You wouldn’t even realize that he is HIV positive.

This little boy, and the 23 others, looked totally normal. Watching them play games you couldn’t tell any difference from other kids. The orphanage did a good job of clothing them, and based on their physical appearance, these children are receiving good nutrition. Anti Retro Viral (ARV) drugs and good nutrition can help these children live a fairly normal life. If they miss just one of the daily doses of their ARV, tuberculosis, or pneumonia, or some other common illness will wipe out what is left of their immune system. If he stops taking his ARV, Clinton will not see his 20th birthday. Even with his ARV, he may not live past his twenties.

As I try to catch my breath again after spending half a day with these wonderful children, a question goes through my mind. For the past week, my 11th grade “Doctrines of the Bible” class has been wrestling with the thought, “Why would God create people who would never have an opportunity to hear the Gospel?” The question I find myself wrestling with is a similar thought, “Why would God create these children, knowing that they would be born with HIV?” I am reminded of the character of God, that He hates sin but loves the sinners. One of the reasons He hates sin so much is the consequences of sin. The consequences are far reaching. Each of us can testify to the destructive effects of sin in our own lives.

Our purpose in “Outreach Day” here at RVA was to share the love of Christ with others. God certainly loves these children we met and played with. I’m not sure how much of that love they felt and saw from us, but I know I have come away touched by God in a huge way.

June 10, 2010 10:07 am
Published in: Uncategorized

Have you been to an amusement park recently?  My boys and I like the feeling a good roller coaster will give you!  This time in our family is reminding us of riding on a large coaster.

The emotional extremes are intensifying.  The highs include the great joy of new life and ministry at RVA:  especially new friends and co-laborers.  The lows include the deep sorrow of saying “see you later” to close friends and family.

Just a year ago, our family was in New York attending “Candidate Week” for Africa Inland Mission.  Looking back we can see that we have come so far down this road.  At times we have been tempted to feel quite alone on our journey, as Trevon looks in this photo. But quickly God brings us gentle reminders that we are definitely not alone, He is with us.  He has also brought together a wonderful team over this past year who is with us in thoughts and prayers.  Thank you for walking this road with us!

April 20, 2010 1:38 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

Writer’s block.  Remember those times you sat down to write a paper, but couldn’t figure out where to start?  As I sit before my computer to give you an update on what has been going on in the Hildebrand house, what should I write about?  What on earth would you like to hear about?  Hmmm…..

Should I write about Preston’s game winning goal in soccer on Saturday, or the terrible loss his team faced Sunday afternoon?  Should I tell you about Trevon’s very first game of T-ball on Saturday morning, and how he threw and batted the ball because of the time mommy spent practicing with him?  Or perhaps I need to tell you of Landon missing his soccer game Sunday afternoon to be at one of his final practices for a kid’s musical at church next Sunday.   Should I tell you about Braden being fitted for his “Who” costume and “Hunter” costume at Christian Youth Theater on Saturday?  Would you have any desire to know that Braden’s musical will be viewed by several thousand people in the course of seven performances on Mothers’ Day weekend?  I could tell you about the extra time Jennifer and I spent this week in preparation for and leading worship in a special service on Friday night and the Sunday morning services in our church.  Maybe I need to tell you about the presentation Jennifer and I gave to the missions committee at a church in Lee’s Summit on Sunday afternoon, or the spaghetti dinner fund raiser we took our family to at another church that night?

There just isn’t much going on in our family right now that I could tell you about….