I thought I would write and give you a glimpse of what RVA is like from the “other side” (living/working at RVA versus having Hannah boarding at RVA). Next update will be from Shane’s perspective. *The photo is of the Student Health building and to the right is our apartment (we are on the upstairs floor)
Last year Hannah attended RVA as a sophomore. I know a lot of you back in the states wondered how in the world we could send our daughter to boarding school, but… 1) It is very common and “normal” in the mission world, 2) If you saw RVA in action you would realize we were sending her to a top notch school with staff that love and pour into the kids with their whole hearts. Even though we knew Hannah was at a place where she was thriving, we missed her a lot! We never dreamed that this next year we would be WORKING at this very school.
One of the things I appreciated most about RVA when Hannah was a boarding student was Student Health and how they reached out to parents. Seriously, I think the absolute worst part of your kid attending boarding school is picturing those times when they are sick and need their momma. It was almost enough to keep us from sending Hannah. But, then, there is the Student Health staff who understand that and who LOVE on these kids as if they were their own. If Hannah was ever sick, we would always get a long, personal email letting us know what was going on, how she was doing emotionally with all of it, and then the nurse would end the email telling us all the qualities they appreciated in Hannah and how much they enjoyed her. What could do more for a mother’s heart when you have a sick child and you can’t be with them physically? I knew without a doubt that Hannah was in good hands and well-loved.
Now… I get to be on the other side! I get to be the one loving on other people’s children. I get to be the one sending the email telling the parents how much I enjoy their kiddo. And, I have the added perspective of knowing… really knowing, what it is like to be that parent who is far away. What an honor it is to be able to bless these missionary parents in this way. I also get the added privilege of hearing first-hand from all of these students what God is doing in different parts of Africa. You should hear their stories!
RVA has students whose parents serve in locations all over Africa. Some families are in Kenya, only 45 minutes away; others are in locations so risky we can’t even mention where they serve. If it weren’t for RVA, many of these families would have to leave the field since there are often no other educational options for their children. Believe me, not everyone is cut out to homeschool their kids through high school in the bush! (I am living proof!). Knowing that my role is part of the bigger missions picture, enabling people to serve where they are called is fulfilling.
Moving to Kenya, I was honestly worried that I would be bored working in Student Health. After all, I was leaving my “dream job” working in the bush in Ethiopia. Of course, working at RVA is completely different than Ethiopia, but the exciting part is that I am far from bored! I imagined I would be putting on bandaids and comforting kids when they threw up (I do that, too), but at a boarding school where we have care of the students 24/7, this job is much more like working in an urgent care/family practice office. We even have 20 inpatient beds to keep students overnight. I am definitely able to use my education and experience to its full capacity. I also work with an AMAZING group of people who I respect so much.
Being on the “other side”, working here where parents send their kids to school as opposed to being the one sending my kids to school here is quite simply an honor. Serving in Ethiopia was a joy, because that is where God had us a the time… but, just the same, God has placed us here and we are so grateful. Once again, we are amazed at His creativity and His ability to know our needs for each season as we desire to serve Him.
I am so grateful to be here at RVA where there is so much history and diversity, serving alongside some of the most selfless people I have ever met. It is truly an honor and privilege to be a part of what is going on here.
Thank you for all of your prayers and support! Special thanks to those of you who have been so helpful with our house “issues” back in Flower Mound and those of you who have graciously gathered things to have sent to us with teams… and thanks to those people (some whom we hardly know) that have been willing to haul stuff across the ocean in your suitcases for us. All of that help means more than anyone can know (unless you have been on this side… and then you TOTALLY know!)
Since moving to to Kenya, our living expenses have actually decreased, but our ministry expenses have increased with Shane’s new role in SF Kenya. We have also had several monthly donors drop off or decrease their giving amounts due to job changes, etc. So… we are running at a deficit on our regular monthly giving. Would you consider becoming a regular monthly donor or giving a one time gift? We would love to have you join our sending team as we serve here in Kenya!