We started writing this update thinking that after a few weeks we would have a few things to share. In reality, we have A LOT to share. Bear with us through this long update. There are a few personal requests near the end, but we felt it was important to provide ministry and Kenya updates at the top of the news.
We were very excited to receive some news from RVA, especially regarding our roles for next year. While there are still a lot of unanswered questions, as are noted below, it is likely we will return to a dorm when we get back to RVA. Missy will also be involved in a teaching role at Titchie Swot (the elementary school). Brian will be teaching the AP Calculus classes and will be involved in other ways within the academic program…more details to follow once we get back on the ground in Kenya (hopefully in early August).
Speaking of getting back to Kenya, about a third of the staff left Kenya for a variety of reasons once the coronavirus shutdowns started. For school to start in August, it will be important to get staff members back into Kenya. We still have valid resident permits through 2021. Our permits should allow us back into Kenya when the borders open even when tourists and other travelers may not have access.
Of course, there are still a lot of questions to be answered at RVA. Will they be opening school with students on campus or still running school online? Will students be able to get into Kenya from all over Africa? What types of guidelines will the Kenyan government have for social distancing and schools? The answers to some of these questions may not even be available until August, yet scenario planning needs to begin sooner. The first week in June is key as that is when the Kenyan government is expected to provide some direction with a timeline for lifting current restrictions.
PRAY for clarity in the many decisions that need to be made at RVA and wisdom for those making the decisions.
A severe lockdown due to coronavirus is only one of the many hardships currently plaguing Kenya. This means that many people who are out of work are unable to provide for their families. They don’t have access to stimulus payments or extra unemployment benefits even though the government is working hard to meet their needs. Many live from day to day without full pantries, refrigerators, or rainy-day funds in a bank account.
Rain has been another big concern. Flooding has reached levels never experienced in the memory of any current living person. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced. Water is flowing in places it has never flowed.
Then there are the locusts. Locusts invaded northern Kenya early in the year and have continued to eat everything green in sight. The ongoing heavy rains are bringing green to places that don’t usually have a lot of green and this may help to appease the voracious appetites of the locusts. Still the devastation left behind by the locusts will have a significant impact on the food supplies for the next year. Likely, there will be even more hunger and starvation.
PRAY that Kenyans, especially those without resources or jobs, will be able to find legitimate ways to provide for the basic needs of their families.
One might wonder how we can even have a visitation update when everyone is supposed to “stay-at-home”! Early in May, we shared with a small country church during a worship service and also met with a missions’ group from a different church – both on Zoom. We greatly appreciated their interest, encouragement, and time of prayer together. We have another Zoom meeting scheduled for this week and will be part of a live-streamed service on Sunday, May 31. Perhaps by June or July, we will be able to meet facemask to facemask! In the waiting, let us know if we can “meet” with you in a different way!
We have reached out to a few individuals and churches where we had concerns about support. Much of the feedback that we have received has been positive! Support has continued to be fairly strong even through March and April. We do have a small shortage of about $150 per month…maybe more depending on answers from a few churches. PRAY that we would obtain the level of support needed to be “cleared” by AIM in order to return to RVA as planned in August.
Hannah and Micah have successfully finished their semester through online courses at Messiah and are scheduled to return to school this week to clear out their rooms and officially “move home” for the summer. The college (soon to be Messiah University as of July 1, 2020) is hoping to share news in early June about the opening of the next school year in August. We are very happy that Hannah was able to secure a part-time virtual summer internship in her field, which starts this week! She will also be taking two online classes through Messiah which puts her in a good position to graduate early in December of this year. PRAY that Hannah and Micah would be able to find summer jobs – if you have any leads, please let us know.
We had been feeling pretty discouraged about the process of trying to find house to serve as a home base for our family with real estate completely shut down in PA. Sharing our frustrations with good friends and a missions’ group from church led us to a real estate agent who figured out that we fit a very narrow guideline allowing us to walk through houses and complete the process of purchasing a home. Needless to say…this was a HUGE encouragement!
We actively started looking at houses again early last week and found two good possibilities. However, the first one was sold just before we decided to make an offer; and the sellers of the second house received another offer on the same day as ours choosing, in the end, to sell to the other buyer. God very clearly shut the doors on both these houses, causing us to wonder what His plan might be. PRAY that as we continue to seek the Lord, we would set aside our own desires and carefully listen for His voice.
Over the next few weeks, we will begin the process of sorting through personal things we have been storing along with newly acquired things from Missy’s mom. There may be ways YOU CAN HELP! See below.
It is easy to become overwhelmed as our time in the States is rapidly getting shorter, the length of our “to do” list seems exceptionally long, and the number of unanswered questions rises daily. PRAY that we would trust the Lord and not depend on our own understanding. PRAY that we would seek Him in all we do. PRAY that our eyes would be open to see the path He shows us to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Thanks for your prayers,
Brian & Missy
Help (or Expertise) Wanted
There are several areas where we could use some help:
- Dispersion…we have several large bags of women’s clothing from Missy’s mom, lots of jewelry, antiques, household items, possibly even some furniture. We would normally have a yard sale, which is not an option at this time. We know there are probably online options out there, but we are not familiar with what they are or how they work.
- Some things have already gone to the dumpster and others will probably follow.
- Some things may be able to bless someone who has needs and we would love to know the best ways to get those things directly into the hands of those who might benefit the most without cost to them.
- Some things may have more value and we would like to get some of that value for those items. This leads to the second area we need help.
- Expertise…we don’t know where to go with things or whether some things have value or not. We really love to tap the knowledge of someone who knows about some of these things:
- Selling things virtually…we don’t know how to do this well or even correctly.
- Valuing antiques, collectibles and coins and recommending where we can get rid of them.
If you, or someone you know, could help us in any of these areas, please email us directly and we would be happy to provide more details.