September update

Dear Friends and Family,

It’s been awhile since you have heard from us. We have just spent 6 wonderful weeks with our kids at home. We took them back to school on August 27th for the start of a new school year. Josh just turned 15 and is entering high school. His voice is pretty much the same as Jon’s now! Over break we celebrated his 15th birthday. Josh is in a dorm with 9th and 10th grade boys and has well seasoned dorm parents who both graduated from R.V.A. decades ago and are long time family friends. Drew is starting 7th grade. Drew has the same dorm parents that Josh had last year which is great. Over break Drew completed another of his 12 Tasks, a solo camp out, complete with hyena calls! Rachel is starting 4th grade. We are so thankful that Rachel will once again be living with Jared and Megan Hood. She loves having Addie as her little “sister”. The start of a new year is always challenging and this year even more so for the boys. We are confident that they will do well but please pray for each of them as they settle back in.
Another birthday we just celebrated was mine, September 1st, complete with a solar eclipse that was really cool to see!

The highlight of our “summer” (it’s actually winter here) was a visit from Jon’s brother, Matt, along with his wife Allison and three of their children. It was wonderful to have them here with us and the cousins all had a great time together. It’s always great to have family around! And it’s neat to host first time visitors to Africa to see what their impressions are. One of things Allison noted was the number of small children out and about, even close to the highway, without any apparent adult supervision. It’s true, very small children are often out away from the homesteads on their own. Perhaps there is a sense of safety within communities but on the other hand, there is a sense that kids learn to fend for themselves (and fetch water, herd goats, etc.) from a very early age. Anyway, I think the pictures will speak for themselves as to how much fun we had with our family visitors here.

The work at the clinic goes on. Our lab tech Otto starts further schooling in October and our head nurse will soon be the local full time pastor. We have some people in the pipeline to replace these employees so please pray that we will be able to hire them quickly and that they will be a good fit for the medical ministry. We have also had another inquiry from another nurse. It would be wonderful to add her to the staff as well.

While we have not seen any obvious changes in the local church, we are encouraged to hear of God working in the hearts and lives of some others in the surrounding villages. We have a trustworthy and sovereign LORD who is the King of Kings and we continue to pray and to trust Him to work all things out for His glory.

We have had a survey team out to do a survey of the area to find out where to dig for a water bore hole. This has been on the back burner for a few years already and our neighbor, Daniel, decided to take the bull by the horns and get going on it. We’ve received approval from our A.I.C.T. leadership to begin drilling. While we currently have a good water supply, the village pump has had several problems in the past few years and the concern is that it will not remain reliable. It is critical that the clinic have a reliable source of water which this will provide. It will provide water for the dispensary and mission station and will be managed and maintained by the dispensary. We are thankful for the donation years ago that was given to make this possible and that we are finally getting started on this major project.

Looking ahead…we will be traveling up to Kenya later this month to see the kids for Rachel’s field day. We will also be hosting a nurse assistant for two weeks and some visitors from our U.K. office along with our unit leaders. October will see us with our kids again for their mid-term break after which we will be in Dar es Salaam for our annual conference. After that, we will have the eye clinic here in Magambua and the local church will be hosting a seminar for pastors and evangelists. It will be a busy couple of months…as usual.

Don’t know if we had mentioned that we were having some pretty big car problems. We were discouraged when, after spending a few thousand dollars to replace the radiator, clutch plate and have and engine overhaul done, the problem of no power still remained. We were frustrated to have a car that wasn’t running properly but at the same time, thankful to have a car that was running at all. We took the car back to the mechanic and he discovered that the inside of the muffler was deteriorating and a piece had broken off inside the muffler which blocked the exhaust system causing a lack of power. So in true African fashion, he took the muffler off, cut a hole in it, removed the offending metal and welded it back together. The mechanic did not charge for this service and we didn’t have to get pay for a new muffler. The power returned immediately! We are so grateful to once again have a car that is running well. We put a lot of mileage on our vehicle and we do not take our safety for granted. The LORD has kept us safe throughout the years and we pray He continues to do so.

Thank you as always for your love and prayers and support. We wouldn’t be here without you. May the LORD bless you and keep you.

Serving Jesus with you,

Melissa for all of us

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