2017 is our year of visitors. Jared’s parents in January, friends from Indiana in February, my brother and his family as I write this post, and my parents this coming July. An unusual, but fun year, and a great chance to make face-to-face memories with ones whom we usually only see via Skype.
So, to mix things up a bit and give you the insider scoop on what it’s like to visit RVA, here are some excerpts from our Indiana friend Summer’s thoughts on her recent trip.
In February, I had the pleasure of traveling to Kenya with my friend Laura and spending a week with Jared and Megan at Rift Valley Academy (RVA) in Kijabe. Jared and Megan picked us up in Nairobi and I was immediately impressed with Jared’s East African driving skills- turning left into traffic, speed bumps, rough roads- all handled effortlessly. We were thankful for the chance to have lunch with Kijuu (Jared and Megan’s R. friend from Tanzania) just before he headed back to Tanzania and loved hearing about all the ways God is using him to spread the Gospel among the R. people.
After lunch, we drove 1.5 hours up to the RVA campus. It’s a beautiful campus- flowers, stone buildings, and colorful hanging laundry; sunrises and sunsets over the valley; bright and abundant stars; a basketball court just above their dorm. Outside of the campus gates, there’s a beautiful market filled with a variety of produce and a small store with some basic items.
I was a little intimidated about living with the teenage girls in the Hoods’ dorm, but I ended up really liking them. Laura and I jumped into dorm life, playing board games, participating in their devotional time, and reading them bedtime stories. I was impressed by the number of opportunities for RVA students… sports, music, art, foreign language, woodshop, AP classes, and drama, just to name a few. Aside from caring for their dorm girls, we observed Jared helping at the elementary school and Megan giving tours to prospective families and managing two campus apartments for visitors. We also had a chance to take Swahili lessons from the teacher they meet with on a weekly basis.
Two things I came away from RVA with… (one) It takes everyone. There are 120+ staff members serving at RVA. It takes biology teachers, dorm parents, administrators, nurses, and even construction managers to run this school, which is part of enabling families to take the Gospel throughout Africa. (two) God gives grace for what He calls you to. Megan and I have similar personality types- both task oriented and desiring things orderly- and yet I see God giving Megan patience and flexibility amid the crazy of “parenting” 11 kids under 14.
So, how can you be praying for them right now?
(one) Pray for the Lord’s wisdom, guidance, and presence with them as they disciple the girls and care for their emotional, spiritual, and academic needs. Pray that He will continue to fill them through their relationships back in the States, new friendships through RVA and AIM, and time with Him.
(two) Pray for the surrounding of their home/dorm that it could be a place of encouragement and joy and that the girls would love one another well.
(three) Pray that God would prepare them for returning to the R. people after they finish this chapter at RVA. That He would guide where they go, who is on their team, and prepare the hearts of the R. people to receive the Gospel.