New beginnings are always welcome! Whether it’s the beginning of a new day, a new week, or a new year. For RVA, this is the beginning of our second school term! While there are still many unknowns for all of us as we step into this New Year, here are some PRAISES and ways you can PRAY for our family, staff, and students.
Protocols. Projects. People. We’re thanking God for teams of staff who have logged many hours over the last few months thinking through and writing residential, academic, cafeteria, and community-living Covid protocol documents that align with government regulations in order for RVA to open in-person this next week. Another team of staff have worked tirelessly completing projects around campus: building and installing window screens on dorms, adding outside hand washing stations, deep cleaning dorms and classrooms, and finishing the renovations of our student health facility. RVA’s campus is literally “coming to life” as many staff families have returned over the last two weeks in anticipation of students arriving soon!
Family. Friends. Facetime. For us personally, December had hard moments as we anticipated the Christmas season without any of our kids nearby – the first time in 25 years. Another painful reminder of the transition, grief, and loss of the last few months. We’re thankful for our RVA friends who are family – living life together, loving and coming alongside each other in exciting and difficult things. We’re incredibly grateful to family and friends in the States who stood in the gap by feeding, housing, welcoming, and loving our kids during this season. A huge blessing for all of us. Though spread across 13 time zones on Christmas Day, we’re thankful for technology and being able to be together over Facetime.
WAYS TO PRAY
For us. December was much different than we anticipated. It was certainly busier than a typical December at RVA as so much time was spent planning and preparing for a new normal. We are excited to have the students returning. We are also a little more tired than we would normally be at this point. PRAY for strength, patience, graciousness, and energy for us. PRAY for us as we welcome four 5th and 6th grade boys into the dorm, that they would feel loved and cared for and that they would see Jesus in us. Three of the boys are brand new to RVA. PRAY for Missy as returns to teaching in the classroom for the first time in a long time. PRAY for Brian as he teaches his classes both in-person and online (a quarter of his students will continue learning online).
For our kids. Rachel continues to enjoy her work with families of patients at the hospital. Hannah moves to Rhode Island this month and begins a four-month internship. She and Jamie continue to plan their late May wedding while he finishes school at Brown Univ. Micah returns to Messiah Univ. this month to continue his studies in civil engineering and job as an RA. PRAY that their relationships with each other and the Lord would continue to grow and deepen.
For RVA. Classes began last week online. Officially, students are now traveling to campus from all over the world with in-person classes beginning on Monday. In reality, some families started a week-long journey to get campus. The travel challenges are many. Some countries have closed borders and then reopened within a two-week span. Parents are seizing an open window today and tomorrow to travel. One nearby country is in the middle of elections and has shut down all Internet access. Covid testing requirements seem to change almost daily. We have received three different updates this week!
You are appreciated as you stand with us…praying for us, praying for the ministry of RVA and praying for the students whose parents are sharing the Gospel all across Africa.
Brian & Missy
Even though a lot of plans have been made, challenges and decisions still lie ahead. Travel plans seem to be constantly in flux. PRAY that our students will be able to get safely to RVA. PRAY that our students and staff would remain healthy. PRAY for grace, a sense of humor, humility, patience, a willingness to forgive, and a commitment to growing together in community.