Friday, May 16, 2014

IED’s, Illicit Brews, College choices and much much more!

I just checked our blog to see how long it has been since our last post. The answer? 3 months!

Much has happened in that time so I will attempt to bring you all up to date………..


March was a difficult month for us personally. Steve’s sister Marybeth passed away after a brief and unexpected bout with cancer. We are still in shock that she is gone. Hardly having time to think about it much less grieve her passing. That is our third immediate family member to pass away this year so to just say March has been a difficult month would not suffice, this has been a difficult year with tremendous loss. 

But life must go on and go on it did! March saw us celebrate Julia’s 18th birthday! It is hard for us to grasp but our baby is now an adult! Julia is enjoying her senior year here at RVA and preparing for the next steps as she plans for her return to college in the states.


The dorm girls were busy also with schoolwork and SOCCER! These girls play soccer every moment they can and finally being able to play for RVA was exhilarating for them all to say the least. It kept them busy with practice and games and tired all term so they gave us no issues when it was time for lights out!


The end of March brought RVA’s annual cultural interim trips. This program is for 11th and 12th grade students and is a week long trip to experience different cultures in the nearby area and East African countries. This marked a new first for our family, for the first time ever the four of us were residing in four separate countries! We truly are becoming a global family. Janine remained in Kenya tending to the girls. Liz was still at Cedarville University in Ohio finishing up her second year. Julia went to Zanzibar located on the coast of Tanzania and I went to Uganda.




April began with the second term break. This is the shortest term break and RVA was hosting an international Christian education conference right smack in the middle of the break. We allowed Julia to have her friends stay with us for 5 extra days at the end of term. This would be there last chance to do this as next term they will be graduating and scattering around the US quickly to continue on to college. They had much fun and we were glad they were able to enjoy each others company. After they all left for home, The conference began. Teacher from all over East Africa and even some from Germany descended on the campus. This meant opening up the dorm and being host to 12 ladies for the week. We had cool weather that week and evening tea was a chance to share about ministries in other countries such as Ethiopia, Egypt and even some of our neighboring schools here in Kenya.


After the conference ended, we had 10 days to catch our breath and prepare for the students return for 3rd term. During this time we worked with Julia praying about her choice for college and reaching out as she shortened her list. I can attest that trying to complete this process from half way across the world and 7 hours ahead in time proved to be a difficult task. Emails seemed to sit unanswered for days and we finally resorted to staying up late so we could call back to the schools during their business hours. FINALLY after many tears and prayers, Julia has made her decision! She will be attending the University of Delaware in the fall and she will be majoring in chemical engineering!

Janine and I have no idea how our ministry will change next year with Julia back in the states. The girls in the dorm look up to her and her example of hard work has been a tremendous asset to helping these young girls settle into a routine that works for them. As this year has progressed, we have seen the girls grades improve steadily as they work to improve there base of knowledge and Julia was a large part of that success.
                                             Simba Dorm 2014!

Speaking of not knowing what our ministry will look like…….. We have been asked to move out of Simba dorm next year and move into Suswa dorm. That means we will be leaving the junior high world and now taking over a dorm that will house twenty 11th and 12th grade girls. We will not be able to be as hands on with homework and devotions, but we will be able to help walk them through the process of college selections and career choices as well as banquets, scarfing, dating and all else that goes along with that age!

We are looking forward to the new challenges in our ministry and even the possibility of some of the Simba girls returning to our care in a few years!


May has seen RVA swing into full swing with AP tests, rugby and volleyball seasons and all weekends jammed with social events for the students. This past week saw the campus filled with AIM homeschooling families as they brought their kids to RVA for testing and evaluation. This also brings our friends the Hamptons to campus so we get to spend some time with them.  :D

 May also brings Lizzy back to Kenya! She completed school on May 3rd and arrivied here on May 10th. We are so excited that she will be able to be here with us until July!

Liz jumped right in teaching environmental science to 8th graders this week. This allowed there regular teacher to assist with home school week which she has been doing for many years. Liz enjoyed it and so did the students. It is wonderful practical experience to help her with her teacher education curriculum.
May has also seen an increase in unrest here in Kenya. Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks in Kenya have been increased with 6 IED explosions in the past couple of weeks. The attacks are being blamed on radical Somali insurgents. They are attacking crowed areas around Kenya with two simultaneous blasts seeming to be the favorite method of attack. They attacked the bus terminal in Mombasa 2 weeks ago, two transport buses in Nairobi last week and a crowed market place in Nairobi just yesterday! Many have died and many more are injured taxing the hospitals and blood supply in this country. Pray for a peaceful resolution to this issue as too many have lost too much in these attacks.

 May also has seen the advent of a new issue here in Kenya….. Illicit Brew! It seems home made alcohol has been laced with methanol to increase the “buzz” factor. The problem? People are dying at an alarming rate from methanol poisoning! To date nearly 300 people have died and nearly 1000 have been hospitalized due to this illicit brew. It is not just one area of Kenya but has sprouted up in counties everywhere including our neighboring county of Naivasha. Please pray that these illegal brews can be identified and removed so that this epidemic will cease!

Speaking of hospitalization…… and this will be our last news upate! An issue that is very near and personal to us has finally arisen………prostate cancer. My family has a long history with this issue and we have been actively monitoring and testing to ensure that if it should arise, we catch it early and are proactive to eradicate it. My last series of tests did in fact come back positive for cancerous cells in the prostate.  Though cancer is a scary word, we are confident it has been identified in it’s infant stage and can be removed entirely. To that extent, I am scheduled for surgery in the next couple of weeks. All the pre-op test have come back clean so we truly have caught it very early. We are confident in the doctor’s abilities the state of the art capabilities of the hospital and in our Lord, Jesus that He is watching over me! It does mean, however, that I will be recovering from surgery for the better part of all of the balance of this term. Please pray for Janine, Liz and Julia as they process this issue and take on all of the burdens of the dorm. Pray for a good outcome to the impending surgery and a complete recovery.

 Thanks for staying in touch with our ministry. We Love you all!

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