Dear Friends and Family,
As Jon has written the last couple of updates, I thought I (Melissa) would let you hear from me this time. Before I get going, I also wanted to say thank you to all who wrote such encouraging responses to our “heart-wrenching day”. We appreciate all of your prayers for our family as we continue to adjust to our new routine. We would be in pretty bad shape if not for your prayers and His gracious answers.
We just returned from a whirlwind weekend up to Kenya. We drove 9 hours on Thursday and 2 on Friday in order to reach R.V.A. by mid-morning so we could spend most of the day with Josh in his class room. It was a special open-house day for parents and siblings. Rachel knows some of the girls in Josh’s class and she made herself comfortable with them sitting at their desks etc. much of the time. Drew found some books to read and we enjoyed observing and getting to know Mr. Taylor, Josh’s teacher.
Saturday was Titchie (refers to the elementary school) Field Day. There was a western theme with various stations such as roping a horse (a saw horse with a stick horse head), riding bulls (barrels), eating donuts tied from strings, (no hands allowed) as well as several others. The elementary principle wandered around as a rodeo clown. On such days, the senior class has a “restaurant” in which they sell several food items which are always delicious. People buy their food and spread out all over campus to enjoy a great meal in big groups and small huddles. We invited one of Josh’s class mates to join our family for lunch as his parents were unable to come for the weekend. My mom was also with us.
As we stayed in the guest room in Josh’s dorm, we woke up on Sunday morning and made Swedish pancakes for all the dorm boys and the dorm parents and family for breakfast, 18 people in all. It was tons of fun. Josh was an usher during the Sunday morning service which was a special service led by the Titchies. We had a great weekend just spending time with Josh and getting more familiar with his life at R.V.A. Both Drew and Rachel were happy to have time with big brother. They obviously miss him at home. We thank the Lord for safe travels both to and from Kenya. We arrived home on Monday afternoon.
Josh is doing very well at R.V.A. Every staff member we talked to who has interacted with him told us that he is doing great and he is obviously well liked by both staff and students. His dorm parents love that he is so affectionate. We, at home, are adjusting but some things are just strange…setting the table for only 4… we all fit on the couch for a movie, no extra chair needed… only 2 to get ready for bed. The noise level has gone down, something I don’t mind too much. I seem to be okay for a few days and then I get hit hard with missing my boy. The hardest thing for me is not that he is not at home but that I am not the one doing all the things a mom does for her child. I am not tucking him at night, someone else is. I am not the one who asks him how his day was, someone else does that. I am not making him special snacks or meals. Other people are looking after him and meeting his daily needs. And I have to trust them to do a good job. But we KNOW that God is a faithful and trustworthy God, we KNOW that He has called us Magambua and we KNOW that it is better for Josh to be at R.V.A. than it would be for him to be at home with us. And because of what we KNOW, we are able to go on, serving the Lord joyfully though it hurts. It’s not just about Josh getting a good education, it’s about his development as whole person, about his growth in Jesus Christ, about opportunities for him to do so many things that he simply would not be able to do here. This is why R.V.A. is best. And because we have chosen to follow Jesus no matter the cost, we can do this through Christ who strengthens us. Speaking of cost, I have found myself counting my blessings. If I had lived a few generations ago, I might not have seen my son for several years (as was the case with my great grand parents and my grandfather). If the Lord had called us to a country more distant from Kenya, I would not see my son for 3 months at a time and would seldom have opportunity to interact with those to whom we have entrusted him. As it is, we are able to see him more often and to really get to know his dorm parents, teachers and others. So I am thankful for so very much. I am blessed.
Here on the home front, I am adjusting to teaching again. So far so good, though I am experiencing a little more stress with the added role of teacher this year. The foundation of the new Sunday School building is going in. The weather is getting warmer by the day, it is hot and dusty. Jon continues to see various “bugs” at the clinic as well as a few unusual cases such as the man who came with some infected scratches on his arm. It wasn’t your everyday house cat that scratched him though. He was attacked by a leopard that he shot with a poisoned arrow when it went after his goats. Fortunately he was able to shove it off his arm and it ran off and later died.
So please continue to pray for Josh at R.V.A. and for us here at home. Please pray that we will have wisdom in nurturing Josh’s relationships with Drew and Rachel. Please pray for the Nielsens, Josh’s dorm parents who will be on a short home assignment next school term. Ask the Lord to provide their every need so that they might return to R.V.A. They have a passion for serving there and do a wonderful job of caring for Josh and the other boys. Please pray for the Sunday School building project here in Magambua, for safety for the builders and good relationships with all involved. And ask the Lord to strengthen both Jon and me as we go about our daily tasks in serving the Lord here, me with homeschooling and caring for our home and various guests, Jon in his various roles as husband, dad and doctor.
Well, thanks for “listening”. Some of this is my own way of processing all the change in our lives. Thanks for your friendship, for your prayers and support. We couldn’t be here serving without you partnering with us whether officially or unofficially. Each of you is important to us and we appreciate you. Just wanted to let you know!
Melissa for us all