Part 4: Consistent Change (Prayer)

The only thing that is constant is change. – Heraclitus

For our dorm girls, Heraclitus’ statement appears to ring true.  Each school year, they pack up and head to another location a minimum of 12 times.  Students kick off Term 1 by coming to school and settling in.  Around 6 weeks later, they pack and leave for midterm. After 3-4 days off campus, they return and settle in again.  The term ends with a huge dorm clean up and each girl packs their belongings into a storage closet. Upon arrival for Term 2, they unpack everything and move it (most likely) to a new room with a new roommate.  The cycle repeats for Term 2 and Term 3. We are often in awe of how the Lord helps these girls adapt!

Yet, it is not always smooth.  

Have you ever found yourself rooming with an unlikely match?  Trusting the nudging of the Holy Spirit in the area of roommate matching has been a requirement for us.  One match in particular left us audibly asking, “Really, Lord?” numerous times. But we trusted His guidance and felt an illogical peace.  It wavered temporarily as the pair settled into their new space…until the evening we prompted roommates to pray for each other.

The most questionable pair spent the longest time in prayer.   

Our focus on prayer involved this guidance for the roommate pairs:

-Ask your roommate about one area they would like prayer for

-pray for them as a person, not an object.  Have compassion.

-pray directly for them

-pray they would be protected from the evil one

-replace what you prayed for: ex, if someone has anxiety, pray for peace

We witnessed prayer change these girls hearts for one another.  When each gave some of themselves by sharing what could be prayed for and also took some of the weight of the other’s burden, a trust was built.  They returned to their space knowing their roommate cared and that the Lord would see them through.

Prayer shows us that through changing scenery and roommates, God is constant.  Comfort comes from knowing God always meets us where we are, no matter where we lay our heads at night.  

DO YOU CURRENTLY SPEND TIME IN PRAYER FOR THOSE WHO SHARE YOUR SPACE?  We pray being vulnerable and compassionate in prayer helps instill a greater trust in your roommate and the Lord.

Part 3: Fullness (Meditation)

Our hearts were heavy.  We received limited details of two recent events and couldn’t quite grasp how or why these things had occurred.  A youth centre had mistakenly been attacked by about 10 armed men with machetes and guns, leaving those in the centre traumatized and shocked.  And earlier in the day a deadly attack had taken place at a hotel-office complex in Nairobi, about an hour from our school home.

Comprehending and dealing with the events of human life is a challenge.  Often when we don’t understand, we live in fear. After the Nairobi attack, increased communication about the need to be alert and vigilant if visiting the city sparked fear for many here in Kijabe.  Time has settled things, but fear is still present.

Practicing Christian meditation can sufficiently redirect our lives so we can deal and find a peace amongst the chaos.  How? Well, this meditation is different from Eastern meditation. Eastern meditation is an attempt to empty the mind, with detachment being the final goal.  In contrast, Christian meditation calls for detachment from worldly distractions and goes on to attachment. Christian meditation is an attempt to fill the mind.  By sinking into the life and light of Christ, we are led to an inner fullness.

As a dorm, we kicked off our study of the spiritual disciplines by practicing different methods of meditation.  The first group placed the events explained above before God to seek their significance and ask for insight. When we seek His guidance, His word helps us discern understanding and realign our focus.  

Another group headed outside to meditate on nature.  They gave an aspect of God’s creation (ex. the stars, the wind, the moon, a flower) their FULL attention, applying all their senses to the object.  They were asked to quiet themselves and allow its beauty to sink deep into their heart and mind.  

In the kitchen, girls meditated on scripture.  They were asked to personalize the message, answering the following questions:  What does this scripture mean to you?  What connections can be made to your life experiences?  

The girls in the living room “centered down,” releasing worries and concerns to the Lord and then seeking to receive from the Lord.  They asked Him to bring them whatever they felt they needed at the time (patience, peace, love, etc) and then sat quietly for a few minutes to seek His direction.   

We wonder: Are we slowing down enough to create the space for Christ to guide us?  He is alive and among us as our Priest to forgive, our Prophet to teach, our King to rule, and our Shepherd to guide.  By consistently devoting a period of our day – away from distractions – to Christian meditation, we aim to fill our minds with the fullness of God.

Part 2: Deeper Pursuit

Thankfully, we have 16 ninth and tenth grade girls who are venturing with us in this deeper pursuit.  

At the end of Term 1, we asked the young women in our dorm to reflect on the year so far.  The answers to one of these questions inspired our current journey together.  Question: What is a goal you have for next term?

Selected Answers:

To grow spiritually

To grow closer with the Lord and hunger for His word

To read my Bible more

More devotional time

Make specific time for God like I do with everything else

When our students shared their desire to seek a deeper relationship with the Lord, we sought direction as to how to best walk with them to achieve this mutual goal.  We were guided to a book we had the privilege of reading in 2018 – Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster.  In it, Foster outlines twelve spiritual disciplines which call us to move beyond surface living into the depths.  Spiritual disciplines invite ordinary human beings – people with jobs, who wash dishes and mow lawns, who go to school, and/or who care for children – to explore the inner caverns of the spiritual realm; to place ourselves before God so He can transform us.  

So here we go.  We don’t know where this journey will lead us but are excited to climb aboard.  Please follow along as we explore Spiritual Disciplines.

Part 1: Dazed and Confused

I could see it all happen as though in slow motion. The driver tried to slow down.  The rest of the flock and a few random cows had gotten out of the way on the busy street, but one particular sheep had no idea what was coming at him.  The huge blue worker man truck (as Watson called it) had tried to stop as quickly as it could. But the collision could not be avoided. Upon impact, the sheep fell to the ground.  Sitting in our rental vehicle on the other side of the road, I couldn’t watch and closed my eyes. Was the sheep alive?When I made myself peek, the poor sheep was slowly wobbling away…dazed and confused.  

On this particular day, I immediately identified with this shaken sheep.  We were embarking on our first journey driving in Africa and it was clear we were out of place.  We had stopped briefly to find a friend near the matatu station and a gentleman approached our vehicle.  He asked in a matter-of-fact Kenyan way, “You okay?” to which my interpretation was something like… “You lost? This isn’t a place for mzungus.”  

Um, wait.  What are mzungus?  WE are mzungus. Mzungu is a widely accepted word used to refer to white people or foreigners.  Some say it is loosely translated from the Swahili word “kuzunguka,” which means “around.” To the local people, foreigners seem to walk around in circles looking lost!  Seems fitting. When you don’t know where you are going, what you are doing, what people are trying to say to you, or how to talk to anyone…you feel quite dazed and confused.  

This day wasn’t the first time I felt this way and it hasn’t been the last.  Just like the sheep, I don’t always see it coming. We often are surrounded by Westerners and/or Africans who speak English so the impact of our differentness isn’t felt daily.  The first few times I was struck by this, I was able to get up and wobble away. But cumulatively, these experiences sparked questions and doubts. It gets harder to get up when – in your own strength and wisdom – you don’t know what your next move should be.  

Feeling like a lost sheep, running into obstacle after obstacle in this new land, the only thing we can do is continue on a deeper pursuit of the only one who can save us.


Why Africa? Why RVA?

Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Greetings from Kenya!

It’s hard to believe we have only been in Africa three weeks. We began our time here by recovering from travel in Nairobi. Four days there allowed us the opportunity to attend our first African church service and begin to experience the sights, smells, and people in our new home.  

We are currently in Nakuru, Kenya participating in the second step of our initial training.  A refreshing mix of individuals – all called by God to serve as missionaries – are here together to learn from Africans, Africa Inland Mission leaders, and each other.  God’s faithfulness is seen in each story of how He brought us to Africa. As the training continues, it is more and more obvious how essential anchoring to His faithfulness in the past will be as we head to our various mission locations.   

Hearing details and prayer requests from AIM’s regional offices has brought God’s calling for our family to life.  Each report shares a common theme: the harvest is plenty, the workers are few. Current missionaries see success but there are also challenges.  Families trust the Rift Valley Academy teachers and staff to empower their children to grow spiritually by rooting them in the Word of God while they brave challenges to reach people who have not heard of Jesus.  God has a plan for Africa and we are humbled to play a small part in something much bigger than ourselves.

One of the highlights has been attending an African Inland Church the last two Sundays.  We were warmly welcomed and sang a song in Swahili with the help of our group leader. We loved the music and adjusted to the differences (church here is slightly longer than back home as it is a minimum three hours)!  The church we attended was so welcoming that Jared was asked to preach the message last Sunday! Praise God for giving Jared a message on courage that was well received.

So in the end, why Africa? When we first arrived, not much made sense to us.  To say things are different here is an understatement. We are learning that different is not right or wrong; it is just different.  We’re pretty new at this and it’s the first time the boys have been overseas. We miss loved ones, our home, and favorite foods. We faced some doubts and getting a 4 and 7 year old to swallow malaria pills can be a struggle (even if it’s only a for a few weeks). The thing that has given us hope is the clarity God has shown about how being dorm parents at RVA will help spread the gospel of Jesus in Africa. We personally know families who are sending their children to RVA so they can plant churches with ministry teams.  Join us in praying amazing things will happen for God’s glory as the body of Christ leaves everything they know to follow Jesus. Thank you for supporting our ministry.

At the Top


IMG_2459 2
The Phoenix, Knoebles Amusement Park, Elysburg, PA


To get here, there has been a slow, jerky climb.  Even when we weren’t sure what we were doing, the designer’s system pulled us ahead – inch by inch.  The weight of what is to come falls off as the designer funnels our focus.  We have faith the design will bring us to where we are meant to be but no one here on Earth can see what will come next.  

We know there is a descent ahead.  We know that when we plunge over, our stomach might fly up in our throat a little or we might forget to breath.  We may rise off our seat a bit or get held down by a strong force pressing us into an unknown.  But not right now.  

For we find ourselves in that pause at the top.  

Every millisecond seems like hours.  So many questions for the designer, they come out rapid fire.  How did we get here? Where are we headed? Will everyone be ok? How do we soak up everything about our loved ones and focus on this second right now?  We pray constantly for memories to lock in our hearts that can be brought up when what is next moves from future to the present. Grandpa’s eyes show us our family’s past.  We deposit his smiles and his tears as we say so long for now. We soak up the youngest generation: dancing, laughing, loving, and sparklers under the big top. Each hug is put into muscle memory, in case it is needed here for them or there for us.  We even want to hold on to the awkward silence for it understands the love is great and the distance will grow soon.

Above all, we look up and praise the designer for His design that included this pause.  While we prepare to hang on for our life, there is a calm for the designer has redeemed this moment as His.  So we open our eyes, throw our hands up, and praise God for right now…this pause at the top.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

On Our Way!

1 John 2:17

“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

Let’s celebrate for God is so, so good.  He aligned all the details and we were cleared yesterday to move to Kenya!  There is no way we could have made it without the love, prayers, and financial support from all of you.

We are humbled and amazed at this process.  It has been nice to reflect and realize how far we have come.  What God put in motion during Jared’s restless, middle of the night prayer on a Nicaragua mission trip in 2015 is now actually happening!   We have been praying and planning for this moment and now we can step into the calling God has put on our life. We are so excited to serve at Rift Valley Academy as a dorm family. We hope our family will reflect the love of Christ to our students each day. We are honored God would trust us with a dorm full of students.

We know we still have a long way to go. Even though we have met our goals, there are still ways you can help. You can still sign up to be a prayer partner, a monthly financial partner, or contribute to our vehicle fund. Vehicles are very expensive so we have started to raise money for this now.  You can give directly to the vehicle fund through the online giving site by selecting “vehicle project.”

Again, thank you for trusting God and believing in what Africa Inland Mission is doing.  Your support allows you to have a part in Creating Christ Centered Churches Among All African People!

Pray 140

Psalm 37:5-6

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

Here is a quick update with only three days left. All we have left to raise is $140 a month! Please continue to pray for God to raise up the remaining ministry partners. God is doing amazing things in the lives of people we know and we are so humbled that people would support of family in this way.

If you want to be a monthly ministry partner, please click here. If you want to be added to our prayer letter, send us your email address and contact information to

Financial Peace

Proverbs 22:7: “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” (NIV)

A few years ago I met a long lost uncle.  As soon as I met him, he start giving financial advice. This guy had some nerve barging into our home and telling us stories about how to handle our money! He used terms like “debt snowball” and “baby steps.”  Didn’t this guy know we like the quick and easy route in America? Uncle Dave was telling us to handle money the way God and your grandmother would. He was telling us to actually pay for things and never borrow money again. He was out of his mind.

Dave Ramsey was one of many God chose to put in our path since 2014. For those who don’t know him, I would invite you to open your heart and listen to his advice about money. Money is one topic that can divide households and send others running for cover. Yet, through the nearly 2,350 verses in the Bible that discuss money and possessions, the Lord has given us guidance on how to manage His resources here on Earth.  Money is an important topic for anyone and we should tune in to what He has to say.

How does talking about money connect with our move to Africa? One of the first questions on our application with Africa Inland Mission was: Do you have debt? At the time, we had been working the baby steps Uncle Dave talks about for a few years and our only debt was our house payment.  The baby steps helped us create discipline in our life and allowed us to appropriately guide the money God graciously placed in our hands. If you do these steps, they will produce results for you too. You may have to break old spending habits, but through it all you can change your financial future for generations.

By this point I’m sure your questioning why a missionary is giving you financial advice.

Beth and I knew we had to be financially stable to move to Africa. We committed to the baby steps and saw amazing things happen in our life. We still gave the first 10% of our income back to God each paycheck and God has done more with remaining 90% than we ever did with 100%. After we sold our home, for the first time in our adult lives we had ZERO debt. Without this weight, we can fully commit to what God has called us to do. We actually never owned our home…Wells Fargo did. Over the years, we’ve paid off cars and students loans, bought a car with cash, invested, started college savings plans, and have felt a peace like we never have before.

The only way this worked as a couple was that we committed to the process together. We stopped using credit cards together, had budget meetings together, and had decent talks about money together. Now, we can step into the calling God has for our family together. It’s never too late to change your family’s financial tree. You will have to take baby steps and it might not be fun for a while. You will have to change spending habits, but your heart will begin to change. You will learn to pay for things and not overspend. You will live like no one else so later you can live like no one else. Thanks to God and Uncle Dave, WE’RE DEBT FREE!



Pray 750

Mark 10:46-52

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging.  When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”  Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.  What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.  The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”  “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

We often reach out to God with vague prayers. We want him to meet every need in our life and so we ask him to protect our family, watch over our days, keep us healthy, etc. One thing this process has taught our family is that it is hard to see the power of God move when we are unclear in our prayers.  As seen in Mark 10, Jesus wants to know, “What do you want me to do for you?”

By June 14, we are required to have $5,800 in monthly support and to date we have secured $5,050.  We are currently praying over the specific amount needed for our family to be cleared and ask you to join us: Pray $750.  Once we secure the additional monthly support, Africa Inland Mission can book our plane tickets to Kenya!  

This process has been exciting and terrifying at the same time.  Over the next week, we want to share about things that have helped us or had a major impact on our life. We’ll share our financial story, what we are leaving behind, and the battles we have faced. Thank you for the love and support you have shown our family.  We couldn’t do this without you. If you would like to join us as a monthly ministry partner, please click here: