Crescent Island

Crescent Island

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The countdown is on!

Countdown to Kenya: 105 days!

Look at that number up there. It's almost down to double digits. And my count down to leave California for Washington is just 24 days. 24 DAYS. Time is flying by. I even have an app on my phone that shows the days ticking away. It's bananas.

Life right now is so exciting, but very overwhelming. I have a lot to do in a little time; getting all the necessary vaccines, finishing paperwork, reading books, practicing music, preparing to move, raising support. In the past week, I have gotten 3 shots and started taking the oral vaccine, and I have probably 4 more shots to get before I'm good to go. Now, I'm working on getting addresses and getting all my support letters sent out this week. And I have to go through all of my stuff here in Berkeley and get rid of anything that I don't want to take home. All this while still working full time. Thank goodness my work is really slow right now so that I have more time to get the important things done. There is a lot to do, but I know it will all get done and will be absolutely worth it. This next year is going to be an amazing experience, and I know that God has amazing things in store for me.

Thank you all for reading my last post, it was really exciting to finally share what I'll be doing this next year. Today I wanted to give you a little more information on where I'll be going and what I'll be doing. As I said in my last post, I will be serving at the Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe, Kenya. Kijabe is located at the edge of the great Rift Valley, about an hour north of the country's capital of Nairobi. Kijabe is Maasai for "Place of the Wind".

Map of Kenya

The Rift Valley Academy was founded in 1906 by Charles Hurlburt as a boarding school for children of missionaries serving throughout Africa. The school has a student body of nearly 500, representing more than 20 nationalities. The academy is a boarding school, with three 12 week terms, with one month breaks between each term.
Beautiful RVA Campus

I will be serving the school as the choir director for the 2015-2016 school year. The choir is typically around 36 students - soprano, alto, tenor and bass. They perform one concert each term, and will do a tour either the 2nd or 3rd term of the year. I will also be teaching private lessons and small ensembles for students interested in strings - violin, viola, cello and bass. I am so excited to finally be using my gifts and musical experience and to be sharing that with these students.

View from the campus to the Rift Valley behind it.

A big part of this preparation process that I am in is raising support. Serving with Africa Inland Mission International means that I am a volunteer and my budget comes from money that I raise. This budget includes housing, food, health insurance, travel costs, and many other things. The total amount is $14, 826.00, and it all needs to be in 6 weeks before my depart date - June 15th! It is daunting to look at the number and how little time I have, but I really believe that God will provide.

I cannot wait to get to Kenya and meet the staff and students I will be living life with and grow with this next year. And I am so excited to share all of the experience and adventures I have with you. Please follow the blog if you would like to continue getting updates on this journey. 

*If you are interested in supporting me financially, you can go to the AIM website to pay online - just look for my name. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Here I am. Send Me!

A while ago I got a text from my mom that had this verse: "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here I am. Send me!' Isaiah 6:8".

This has become my mantra. But let me give you some background on why this verse is so relevant. (Warning - this will be a long post).

In January, I received a Facebook message from a friend from college. This is someone I have not spoken to since senior year, so it was very out of the blue. She and her husband are serving at the Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe, Kenya with Africa Inland Mission International. She messaged me because the school was looking for a choir director for the 2015-2016 school year and she thought of me. I was so taken aback it took me a little bit to respond to her message. After the initial shock wore off, I told her that I was very interested and would love the information for whoever I needed to contact.

After that message, I was able to connect with the school superintendent. He emailed that they were blessed with many inquiries about that job. This immediately made me think that I would never get the job; I am not certified, I have no teaching experience, I haven't been doing any music for the past couple of years. The superintendent also asked me to send him my qualifications. Honestly, I was really dragging my feet on emailing him back because I just knew that I was not qualified and not going to get the job. But the superintended kept pursuing me.

Finally I emailed him my experience and we set up a time to have a phone interview for the job. That phone interview was one of the best that I have had in the last year of my job search. The school was not looking for a teacher who was fully formed, but someone who would leave the school a stronger person and educator. They were not just looking for someone who was technical and only focused on education of the mind, but they wanted someone who was interested in discipling and mentoring these young believers. Getting off the phone, I worked hard to stay calm and not get too excited until I heard back, but I knew that this could be an amazing experience.

After another phone interview with the band director, and several weeks of waiting, I checked my inbox to find an email with the subject line "We would love to have you join our ministry team". It was such a rush of emotion to read that. The entire way through this process, it has been God opening the door a pushing me through. This is exactly what God had been making me wait for. He had been making me learn patience and trust and making me strong enough for this opportunity.

Of course, after the school had chosen me, I had to go through the process of applying with Africa Inland Mission International, which is the mission organization that runs the Rift Valley Academy. As of Tuesday, March 31st, I am officially approved with AIM to serve at RVA for the coming school year. Now, I am in thick of preparations and starting my fund-raising. It's a little overwhelming, but I am so excited about the new adventure that God is leading me on. It will take lots of prayer and submitting to Him, and a lot of preparation to be a choir teacher, and strings teacher, but I am ready and willing.

Prayer requests:

  • Completing the many tasks I have to prepare for the move to Kenya.
  • Fundraising and prayer support for the year.
  • That I would prepare well to be the best teacher that I can for the 2015-16 school year.
"Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed Him."
Matthew 4:18-20