Coming to the end...
The beginning of the school year has once again found us at the end of October! We have enjoyed many events with the students, as well as our own children. Joel started Kindergarten this year so he is participating in quite a bit more around RVA. After our mid-term break, we were all especially challenged by this year's Spiritual Emphasis Week (SEW). A missionary who works in hard places in North Africa shared from both his heart, and the knowledge and wisdom that he has been gifted with. We are proud of so many of the students and how they continue to be spurred on to live for Christ as they look to the future.
As we shared last year, our intention for extending our time here at RVA this year was to cover what was needed in the science department. Early on, it looked like Jim might job-share with a long-term teacher taking a furlough for most of the year, returning during third term, allowing us to leave at the end of second term. That plan soon changed, and we decided to keep on with the plan, trusting God would reveal our purpose for our time here. Toward the end of last year, we learned a new science teacher slated to come was having difficulty raising support. So, we figured we would stay to cover for this family until they arrived. Judging by past events and how far they had to come, we figured they would arrive sometime during second term, allowing Jim to slowly hand off his classes as they settled in and we prepared to depart. We learned we were expecting a baby in February, and this puzzle seemed to be complete. We would be able to deliver the baby here, and take our time leaving by the middle of April, with a neat and tidy hand-off on Jim's part to the new science teacher.
Well, as many of you know, and as we have seen so many times in our own story, God had something else in mind! In the middle of September, the new family surprised us and RVA's administration with the news that they had raised the funds needed to depart, and would be able to arrive within weeks! After a lot of time, prayer, and re-visiting the decision more than once, we have come to the conclusion that it is God's will that we step out of ministry at RVA at the end of November, arriving back in the United States one term earlier than we had originally planned. The new family is currently finishing up their "ABO" training in Machakos (which we also participated in when we first arrived) and will arrive on campus tomorrow! We are thrilled that God has led them here and has shown his faithfulness in their journey, just as he did for us, and will continue to do. Jim and Michael, the new teacher, will be able to work together for four weeks to enable a smooth transition. In a school where staff overlap rarely happens, this is a great gift for Jim to leave well, Michael to have a smooth start, and for the students to hopefully have a smooth transition as well. Michael has also been trained to teach the AP Biology curriculum, and we are so excited that program can continue to run so well.
While leaving earlier than we thought is difficult emotionally, we quickly realized that the leaving would be hard whenever we chose to go. We feel very confident in God's leading and that confidence continues to grow in peace and trust as we see doors opening before us as we look ahead to life back in Colorado. Please pray for all of us to be able to leave well and to say goodbye well to the many staff, students, national friends, and places that have impacted us for the last two and a half years. Please pray also as we parent and help our children through this transition as well. Faith, especially, is very busy processing the change and leaving the only school she's known, heading into something very unknown for her. Life was a little simpler at age 5!
We are so thankful for your love, support and interest as we have sought the Lord over the last five years, when our journey toward Kenya began. He has been faithful to us, and has been with us every step of the way. We pray you find that same closeness and comfort from Him in your life. We are blessed to be invited to share our journey with you.
Thanks and love,
Jim & Heather
Faith, Joel, Aaron & baby-to-be