As Heather and I were looking at international schools, many schools we saw actually paid teachers. As we told people we were raising our own financial support to go, we often got shocked or confused looks. More about that in a second, but first, we'd like to talk about another very important kind of support: We continue to raise up a team of friends who support us through prayer and encouragement. This is incredibly important to us as we live with our young family overseas, and something we may not have had much of if we chose a paying school. We send out periodic prayer requests and updates by email, and if you'd like to support us in this way, fill out the form found here and we'll put you on the list. We're excited about the team God's raised up and are encouraged by the faithfulness of those standing behind us in prayer.
As far as financial support is concerned, there are several benefits to hiring staff on a volunteer basis. First and foremost, Rift Valley Academy is a ministry, and like most other ministries, funded through donations. This benefits missionary work throughout the African continent as costs to the parents are kept at a minimum providing more available financial resources for them on their particular mission field. We're excited about contributing our skills and resources to furthering God's work in Kenya. Here is a more detailed outline of our financial needs and where the money goes:
Currently we live off of gifts given to us, primarily on a monthly basis. Of our monthly budget, 13.6% for the home and international administrative offices (who have been completing many of our travel documents and keep us organized... without their support, we'd be lost), 35% for missionary benefits (insurance, retirement, housing...) and 51.4% for ministry costs (our salary for daily necessities, our home assignment (furlough), social security, school tuition...). We pray that we can use these funds wisely to the full glory of God. We currently have a $250/month shortfall.
Support raising has been an incredibly humbling and rewarding experience. In addition to feeling like beggars, and occasional feelings of frustration and hopelessness we've also grown in our reliance upon one another in prayer and encouragement. It's also been incredible to see God's blessing in our finances and His provision as we trust in Him. What a spiritually encouraging experience it has been to seek God's provision financially; first as we said all our possesions were His and really meaning it, then seeing God's faithfulness in meeting our financial and physical needs. (Heather wrote about this here) I'm reminded of Malachi 3:10 when God is speaking to His people about bringing the whole tithe into the storehouse. "...'Test me in this,' says the Lord Almighty, 'and see if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing you will not have room for it!'" We have been blessed!