I’m sorry I haven’t written for a while but life’s corners are sometimes sharp and unexpected. This corner revolves around our children. We struggled with our kids schooling for a really long time. We’ve tried homeschooling for about three years now and it mostly hasn’t worked. The DVD-based classes were boring and the kids didn’t have much variety or interaction. Their grades were suffering, they were frustrated and we knew we are setting a poor foundation for the rest of their lives.
Most missionaries we talked to raved about a school in Kenya called Rift Valley Academy or RVA. It’s such an amazing school that most students return to become teachers and most families attend for several generations.
Even though we are not technically missionaries we applied last year to RVA and we were turned down. Many local missionary supported our efforts, writing letters that vouched for the support we provided for their organizations. As a support organization we are generally classified as humanitarians or simply just ex-pats. According to the RVA admissions policy this puts us last on the list for acceptance.
This year we applied to RVA again and once again we were turned away. It looked like a closed door. We continued to pray about the situation because we felt like we were at the end of our rope. The school situation was so serious that we considered moving back to the US to put the kids in public school. Three days after the rejection email came from RVA we received another email and were amazed to find out that both our older kids were accepted.
We had mixed emotions about this email. RVA seemed amazing but it was a boarding school. This meant we would only see them every six weeks and every three months when they were released for vacation and term breaks.
I took it the worst. I wasn’t ready to “let go of” my kids. But after talking to other close friends whose kids were also attending RVA, I realized that my feelings were selfish. I wanted my kids close to me so that I could feel better. I wasn’t really thinking of what was best for them. Eventually we decided to share the news with the kids. We would tell them that they’d been accepted to RVA and see what their reaction was. To our surprise they were both excited about the idea of going to RVA. Even more surprisingly, they were worried more about how we would feel about being away from them.
After lots of tears and lots of prayer we began preparing our kids to attend RVA. With only two weeks notice there was so much to do. It was a real whirlwind.
This weekend we took the long trip to Kenya, to RVA. The school exceeded all of our wildest expectations. The facilities were unbelievable and the staff was beyond anything I could’ve ever imagined. Even the food was amazing. I’m so proud of our kids. They made friends so quickly and when their friends from Jinja arrived it seems like nothing had changed. Our kids seemed right at home.
Looking at this in writing it seems like I’m justifying the decision but really I’m not. It’s absolutely surreal to me how well the weekend went. As parents we were given a real peace and I feel like that is from God.
Driving away from RVA was incredibly hard. There were so many tears but also we were excited about the possibility. For the first time we are excited about our kids’ future and honestly jealous for them. They are in new territory but in their eyes I can see adventure and huge possibility. They are excited and although my tears come way too easily, I am excited for them.
If I had known three years ago that this journey included boarding school for my kids, I can honestly say I never would’ve come to Africa. But God opened the door, provided the way, and much to our surprise, our kids are thrilled.
So even though we all have a peace about this, we are still very much walking in faith. Because of the fact that we’re classified as ex-pats, “tentmakers”, or a support agency, our tuition fees are much higher than if we were missionaries. The tuition fees are much more than we can afford and honestly we have no idea where that money is going to come from.
This story has one more twist.
Ever since DEFCON I felt like I needed to put 100% of my effort into hackers for charity. I can’t exactly explain where the thought came from but I knew it was something I had to do. HFC had been dormant for far too long. Although it was only four hours a day I knew that I would need to temporarily leave my position with offensive security. Muts and I had a very flexible arrangement and he completely understood what I was saying. It wasn’t that I didn’t love the work, it’s just I knew I needed 100% of my focus to be on HFC. In the back of my mind I knew that this was a huge risk. Finances had been a problem for a long time and this decision was effectively cutting off most of our support. But it was safe to say that I felt “called “to do this so the decision was easy. I decided to take an unpaid vacation in preparation for derbycon.
The following day we found out our kids had been accepted to RVA, and found out that our expenses would be higher than we thought, far exceeding even the “missionary rate”.
Logic tells me that I should get back to work (even full time) to make sure that I can get the money for paying the kids through school.
It seems insane given the circumstances that I should keep
the kids at RVA and remain a volunteer with hackers for charity but that’s exactly what I’m going to do, because it’s crystal-clear that both things are exactly what I’m supposed to be doing right now. And yes, that’s a lot of “I” when so little of this is in my control.
Both things seem right, and I have a peace about each one of them.
I’m excited about RVA and I’m excited to get back to work with HFC. Things have been moving a lot lately I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Please continue to pray for us as we walk this journey in faith.