“What made you decide to go and serve the Lord now?”

“What made you decide to go and serve the Lord now?”

Innocent, honest question. A question asked during a conversation about our family returning to Kenya as missionaries. A question that has filled my mind for the last week and I have a lot of thoughts to share.  Take that as a warning before you proceed!

You see, I believe that my deepest heart’s desire is to serve God’s people. I may not always act like it or have my life reflect that, but I truly believe my heart longs to promote the welfare of others (Nehemiah 2). And, as I’ve been sitting on the question posed to me when asked about our return to the mission field, I want to make clear a couple of things.

My number one priority in serving God’s people is to serve my husband. I realize that is a controversial statement especially for a strong willed, independent woman like myself. Let me tell you, there are days when I would much rather serve myself and I triple check with God to make sure He knows what He’s doing.  When I am able to put aside my strong desire to serve myself, I experience the most joy serving my husband. Being a Godly wife is fulfilling at the deepest part of my heart.

It is the same for my children. Oh, to serve them by being a Godly mother! Can you imagine the lifelong impact? Can you imagine the deepest satisfaction for a mother?

I long to serve others by being a Godly friend. I include my extended family in this category because in this season of life, we are bonded more as friends than just blood relation.

And, I long to serve others specifically at a missionary school in Kenya. This is not a capital S serve. This is a serve that falls to number four on my list of serving others. I understand that serving God overseas is more in the spotlight, more dramatic, more awed, more sacrificial…..more “spiritual.” And those assumptions are lies. If I reflect that NOW we are really listening to God’s call and NOW we are really doing the hard thing, I am cheapening the primary people who God has asked me to serve day in and day out. The ability to NOW have the opportunity to serve a specific people group that we love? Icing on the cake.

No matter where God leads me, I want to serve him whole heartedly and I want to trust him with His leading. So, what has caused me to serve God at this point in my life? Please let it be the anthem of my heart. -Erin

To learn more about Rift Valley Academy, go to www.rva.org

To learn more about Africa Inland Mission, go to www.aimint.org

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Returning to Kenya

It’s up!  Our very first blog.   We are excited to share our journey to return to Kenya with you.  Happy reading!

Three months ago we announced our intention to return to Rift Valley Academy in Kenya next summer.  Since that time many have asked for additional information about this decision.  We wanted to use this update to answer some of the most common questions:

Why are we going back?

Since our early years of marriage, we have always had it in our hearts to  encourage the work of missionaries , specifically in Africa, by caring for their children.  That vision has never changed.  It has looked differently these past few years but the desire has never changed.  We love living in Woodland, we love Woodland Christian School, we love being involved with First Baptist Church in Davis, we love connecting with college kids.  In short, we love our lives here.  We have been able to stay connected with missionary kids in the States and it has been neat to see how we can  still work with missionary kids stateside.  When God closed the door for us to return to Kenya in 2009, it was devastating but became one of the hugest blessings God has ever given to our family.  If you have several hours to sit down and chat, we can relate hundreds of stories of God’s timing and wisdom by kindly bringing us to Woodland.  We have been overwhelmed by His kindness.  Over the past year, God has been prodding our hearts once again to return to Kenya .  At first it was surprising because we love where we are at right now.  But then it became clearer and clearer that us returning to Kenya may have very little to do with us.  I know, that sounds weird.  But, our kids are at an age where they are developing their own relationships with Jesus and it is a good time to take a leap of faith with them by being willing to go wherever God leads us whether it is comfortable or not.  Believe me, I really like the  comfort of my home here (and especially the financial comfort, I’m just going to say it right now).  BUT, this is the time for our family to keep moving forward in our relationship and trust in the Lord AS A FAMILY and  God is calling all of us to return as missionaries to Rift Valley Academy.

Here is a missions statement that we have developed for our family:

We have made a resolute commitment to, in view of God’s mercy, offer ourselves as holy and pleasing to God. (Romans 12:1-2).  God has made it clear that His will is for us to return to Kenya.  We don’t know why but we know God has something for us there and He wants us to be faithful.  We believe there will be tremendous blessings for us and our family.

What is your timeline and how long are you thinking of being there?

When Erin and I went to Kenya for the first time in 2000, we said that we would remain in Kenya for as long as God wants us there.  We are returning with the same mentality.  We want our lives to revolve around listening to the still small voice of God (Psalm 46:10), and being able to go where he has called us.  God has been bringing the story of his calling of Abraham to leave his family and his home to travel to the land that He would show Abraham Genesis 12:1).  With that our first goal is to stay at RVA until Jakin graduates in 2019 (5 years on the field).  Beyond that, it all depends on what the Lord has for us, and we will continue to remain open to His direction. We still have visions of opening a missionary care retreat in the States sometime in the future which is also exciting.  God’s timing is perfect!

How do the finances work?

Africa Inland Mission (AIM) is a faith based mission, which means that all missionaries with AIM raise 100% of their own support, and live by faith with regards to finances.  The mission does not give a salary to missionaries, but rather passes through living allowances to missionaries based on what is donated under their names each month.  There are 2 types of support that we will need as missionaries at RVA.  We will need ongoing monthly support and one time outgoing support.

The monthly support covers a variety of things such as: Rent, health insurance, payroll taxes, retirement savings, some mission administrative expenses and our living allowance.  Our living allowance (a little less than half of the total monthly support) will need to cover all other living expenses such as food, clothing, school fees, travel, utilities, savings, etc… For our family of six, this means that we need to raise almost $8,500 in monthly support.  These targets are set by the mission based on both family size and ministry location.  If in a given month we receive more than the target amount the overage is “banked” to be used in future months if the monthly support falls below the targeted amounts.  As was the case with us when we returned in 2008, if there are no “banked” funds available, then we would receive whatever the amount is that came in after the taxes and insurance fees are paid.  Our experience has been that these amounts so fluctuate month to month and we learned to trust that God’s economy would provide what we needed when we needed it.

The second type of support that is needed is the one time outgoing support.  These funds are made up of one time gifts or any monthly support that come in before we leave for the field.  These funds will be used to cover our ministry related expenses during our deputation time such as travel to churches, passport/visa costs and any mailings we do.  The outgoing support also covers our airfare to Kenya, shipping costs, and household set-up that we will incur by moving our family there as well as provides funds to help with the purchase of a vehicle in Kenya.  In total, we estimate that we will need close to $60,000 for those expenses.

If you would like to support us financially, you can do so in a number of ways:

Give online by clicking on the link below:

Email Link:      Support us!

Write a check made out to “Africa Inland Mission” and include a note (not on the memo line) that you are partnering with Brian and Erin Richerson.  Send the check to the address below:

Africa Inland Mission Intl.

PO Box 3611

Peachtree City, GA 30269

We are so grateful to all of our friends and family that are partnering with us in this journey.  We really covet your prayers, and acknowledge that without the Body of Christ, we cannot make this move.  We will continue to trust in the Lord that He will open the doors as sees fit, and we will continue to walk by faith on this journey

In Christ,

Brian, Erin, Jakin, Keilah, Silas and Eli Richerson