Where were you a year ago today?

My, where has the time gone? 365 days ago we boarded a plane in Atlanta, Georgia and made our way to Kenya.img_0993
Dates are a big part of our lives. We remember dates of births, anniversaries and many other special events. In addition to those I have several more dates that will go with me into eternity. May 6th, that was the day it was confirmed in the hearts of Amy and I that Rift Valley Academy was the next stop for our family. May 7th, was the day I had to let my administrator know that I was not going to be back to Wilmington Christian for the 2015 school year. May 8th, I let my school family know that I was going to be leaving. And on May 9th, one of the harder conversations I ever had was explaining to my baseball team how the Lord was leading my family and that I wouldn’t be around to continue coaching them. After being approved by our mission board on June 20th, we began raising support and by September 11th, we were approved to book our tickets to Africa. On September 27th, our church held a special commissioning service to send us off with lots of love and prayer. October 6th, we drove out of Wilmington, heading for Atlanta to tie up some loose ends before boarding our plane for Kenya (also the day of my last Port City Java Mocha Shake). October 8th was the last day our feet were on United States soil, and (following our Africa orientation) November 3rd was the day our matatu drove us onto the campus of Rift Valley Academy where we have spent the past year of our lives.
Has it been easy?… no way. Worth it?… most definitely! I wouldn’t trade my past 18 months worth of lessons for anything. All I have to do is look back at times during our support-raising journey where the Lord lead people both familiar with and unfamiliar with our family to join our support team. I have seen my kids cry for people they miss, but I have seen them grow to thrive here at RVA. I myself have had several homesick moments, only to be picked up several times by a timely text or email from friends back home. With Amy’s mom joining us for the next couple of weeks, we have successfully hosted all the grandparents in our first year. I have been able to lead 2 baseball coaches trainings here in Kenya. Two more are set for November and if all goes as planned, img_2456organized games will be played beginning in December. Amy has been able to continue teaching dance and currently has almost 70 students in her classes. Tip Tap Toe now has a Kenyan branch! We have been able to build lifelong friendships here and other ministry opportunities have sprung up for us. We’re not just surviving here, we’re thriving.

None of this would be possible without YOU, our supporters. A parent of a student here at RVA told us this story in a morning meeting one day:

One day, the president of NASA was walking through a building on the NASA complex. He walked up to one of the maintenance men working that day. The president stopped and asked the man what his job was. Without missing a beat the maintenance man replied, “to put a man on the moon.”

He saw the big picture. God has called us to reach the lost for Christ. Please understand the importance of the role you have. You are the reaimg_0888son the parents and family members of our students are able to go to different regions on the continent of Africa. You are fulfilling the Great Commission. If there ever comes a day when you feel you are not a critical piece to the puzzle in the Great Commission….remember, there is an unreached people group here on the continent of Africa that will hear because of you.

What will the next 365 days bring…..I can’t wait to find out, and I hope you can’t either!