As we have been sharing about our return to Rift Valley Academy in Kenya, we have been asked several times about what our lives there will be like and what exactly we need to do before we can go out on the mission field. We want to share some answers to some of the common questions we are asked:
How close are you to shopping and food stores?
While there are a number of dukas or small local shops in walking distance right off of campus, large grocery and “Walmart like” stores such as Nakumat are about an hour away in Nairobi. So to do any major shopping, we make day trips into Nairobi to go to a variety of different shops to stock up for several weeks at a time.
What is your housing like?
The school (Rift Valley Academy) will assign a house to us when we arrive next summer. All of the missionary staff over the years have contributed to a housing fund from which the school has built and maintained housing for the missionary staff at the school. Part of our monthly support will go into this same fund to cover our housing. All the houses at RVA are made from concrete blocks with Mbate roofs (corrugated tin). The homes have indoor plumbing and solar water heaters and most have parquet floors. The heating system consists of a fireplace and heavy blankets, while the cooling is achieved by opening windows and allowing the breeze to come in.
Here is a picture of one of the houses we lived in at RVA:
What is your ministry like?
Since RVA is a boarding school and the students are there for 3 months at a time, we will have a number of roles to fill at the school. The school has a large missionary staff (usually just over 100 staff) that have to fill a number of teaching, dorm parenting, support and administrative roles. Depending on what the needs are when we get there, the school’s administration will give us our primary assignments for the school year. In the past, we have served as teachers, dorm parents, Brian has served in administration and finance and Erin has served as a counselor. Once we know more about our roles, we will share with you all.
In addition to our primary roles, we will be interacting with students in a number of other ways. We will teach Sunday school classes, sponsor a class (grade), have groups of students over for meals and games, lead bible studies, mentor students and participate in any number of other activities with the students.
Overall, our job at the school is to love the students in every possible way. Their parents are serving Christ on the continent of Africa, and we are partnering with them by loving their kids.
How do the monthly finances work?
Even though we are working full time at the school, we do not get a salary from RVA. This often comes as a surprise to our friends here in the States. Rift Valley Academy strives to keep costs down as much as possible to help missionaries and nationals that are serving on the continent of Africa be able to send their children to a Godly, safe school with high educational standards. As such, we will go as missionaries ourselves, raising monthly support and living off of the donations that go into Africa Inland Mission (AIM) on our behalf. This is where many of you come in. Not only do your financial contributions support an important ministry such as missionary kid education, your finances mean that our family can be the hands and feet of that ministry. AIM sets a target for us, and we need to have pledges up to that target before we can go out on the field. Before AIM will allow us to go on the mission field, we need to be 100% financially supported. In the past, it has literally come down to hours of getting our very last financial pledge to being able to purchase air tickets to fly the following week. Crazy!
Once we are on the field, we are dependent on the Lord acting through our supporters to continue to provide the funds that we need to to live and serve there.
Based on our family size, Africa Inland Mission has set a monthly target of almost $8,400 per month for us. I know! It sounds like the same amount for a family of six to live in the United States! This amount is not the amount we will actually live on, but it is the overall amount we need to raise to live in Kenya. It includes a living allowance, medical insurance, retirement savings, emergency funds, housing expenses, US employment taxes and other administrative expenses for the mission. After the mission takes out all the administrative and insurance expenses, we will have about $3,900 a month to live on. If you would like a full breakdown of this amount, please contact us and we would be happy to share it.
There are other funds that we are raising which are separate and one time in nature. These outgoing funds are to help get us to RVA and to help us get our household set up in Kenya as we will be selling most of our belongings here in the US. We are also interested in getting a car which can be costly. If you are interested in supporting us monthly or sending in a one time gift to help with outgoing expenses, either contact us or use the support us link on the side of the page.
What can we be praying for now for you?
Currently our prayer requests are:
- For the Lord to continue to prepare our hearts for ministry at RVA
- For our meeting with the Elders of First Baptist Church Davis to share about our ministry on Dec 16
- For the sale of our house and travel trailer
- For our continued support raising
We are also giving praise to God for the garage sale and for the many donations and hours spent organizing and running the sale. We really want to thank the Drefs family and many others for making that day a success. Thank you all for partnering with and encouraging us on this adventure!
Brian, Erin, Jakin, Keilah, Silas and Eli Richerson