Partnering with Parents…
BOARDING SCHOOL… what thoughts or feelings does this conjure up for you? For some, it may be a foreign concept. For others, it may come with negative connotations, beliefs or experiences. And for a relatively small percent of the US population that has lived it, it may have been not only an extremely positive experience but also a vital educational lifeline.
I married a boarding school kid and I have three sister-in-laws who all attended boarding school so though it was an unheard of concept for the first half of my life, it became more normalized as I married into the family. When our kids were babes, and toddlers, and elementary age, boarding school was a BIG NO for me. As our own kids grew and we were faced with the hard reality and immense need for quality education while in Madagascar, the Lord began to soften my heart. As many know, our oldest, Isabella, boarded at Rift Valley Academy (RVA) for her freshman year of high school… the separation and loss that our family experienced during this time was vast and painful.
When we decided to come to RVA in the spring of 2022 because of continued closed borders to Madagascar, we had ZERO intention of staying longer than the three months. And then our kids asked us to stay. And the dorm guys that we were caring for at the time, asked us to stay. And the 8th grade Sunday School girls that we were meeting with weekly, asked us to stay. And we felt that the Lord was asking us to stay. To stay and walk alongside third culture kids and to stand in the gap for parents that were spread across the continent.
The truth of the matter is that boarding school isn’t for everyone. It’s not for every kid or for every family and it’s not supposed to be. For the 18 freshman guys in our current dorm, it’s the right fit for them for this particular year. That may change in the future, which is also normal, healthy and ok. But for this season, however long it may be, we consider it a joy and a privilege to both stand in the gap for and to partner with parents to love, care for and disciple their guys.
A few of the ways this presents itself….
* Being a welcome place for “downtime”– snacks, movies, card games, watching professional soccer games, sitting by the fire, or taking naps on the couch after a busy week.
* Being a listening ear– listening to guys proudly share about their lives in other countries, how their parents are involved in ministry, hearing about their pets and friends and siblings, praying together for their families.
* Being a cheerleader– of basketball, rugby, drama, soccer, chess and academics and then sending pictures and videos to their parents.
* Offering guidance and accountability– girls, brotherhood, temptations, struggles, etc. (and encouraging them to call their moms!)
* Being an advocate and coaching them to be their own best advocate in the classroom, on the field, and in life.
* Being a caregiver– symptom and temperature checks, giving medication, icing injuries, wrapping ankles, helping to maneuver arms into splints and providing updates to parents who are hundreds or thousands of miles away.
* Being a safe place to debrief past or present traumas– emergency evacuations, death, loss, and other events that third culture kids experience a plethora of.
* Being a mediator– working with guys as they express their hurts and seek reconciliation in their relationships with others.
* Being a tutor– helping to proofread papers, filming homework videos, quizzing guys before a test or providing suggestions for organization and study strategies.
* Holding space for guys to share their personal journey with Christ, in whichever way that may look and affirming them in their character, talents and uniqueness.
* Cooking mass quantities for growing and hungry boys– breakfast sandwiches, muffins, meatballs, cinnamon rolls, etc.
* Celebrating birthdays– special dinners, desserts and wrapped presents while skyping in their parents and siblings from afar.
* Enjoying dorm family nights– making pizzas together at the pizza oven, lively games of “Minute It to Win It”, card games and night hikes.
* Discipling guys– devotions on Tuesdays, early morning Bible Studies on Fridays and all the regular everyday moments of doing life together where the Lord shows up and enters in.
Just like boarding school isn’t for everyone, being a dorm parent isn’t for everyone. It’s early mornings, evenings and weekends, 7 days a week– it’s both exhausting and exhilarating. This ministry of dorm parenting is two fold… first, the intentional pouring into, walking alongside and discipling youth. We have no doubt that these creative, adventurous, global minded citizens will be used by the Lord wherever He may send them and undoubtedly, many will return to the mission field themselves in their adult years. Second, as kids thrive at RVA- academically, socially, physically, mentally and spiritually, families are empowered to continue the ministries in which the Lord has called them– unreached places and people groups in Mozambique, Malawi, Djibouti, Northern Kenya and more.
Would you please join us in praying… for the students that we interact with daily– that they would thrive at RVA and grow in their relationship with Christ and with one another. For their parents who are scattered across Africa bringing the Gospel to many and for us, for wisdom and balance as we care for all 21 kids under our roof!
Partnership with You…
In the same way that our partnership with parents is vital to their ability to stay in their places of ministry, so your partnership with us is vital to continue in ministry both here in Kenya with youth as well as in Madagascar with women and babies through the Sarobidy Maternity Center and reforestation and poverty alleviation efforts through Eden Reforestation Projects.
We are deeply grateful for the way so many of you have financially and prayerfully partnered with us for the last 12+ years! In the same way it takes a village to raise a child, so does it take an army of faithful partners to sustain an active ministry! Thank you! Misaotra betsaka! Asante sana!
The last time we actively sought financial partnership was well before Covid turned the world upside down. Understandably, over the years and especially through Covid times, many have had to decrease or stop their financial support.
With the recent expansion of ministry in Kenya while simultaneously continuing ministry in Madagascar, there has been an increase in our budget. Double rent, double utilities, double vehicle insurance, feeding 18 extra kids, a higher cost of living in Kenya, in addition to an increase in travel costs to return to Madagascar several times a year. With all of these changes in addition to the loss of previous financial partnership, we’re currently 21% underfunded.
In order to meet our current financial needs and close this gap, we’re specifically seeking the following partners or any other combination thereof.
3 partners at $500/month
4 partners at $250/month
10 partners at $100/month
20 partners at $50/month
25 partners at $25/month
We ask that you would join us in praying and trusting for the Lord’s provision! In addition, would you consider joining our financial partnership team from one of the above breakdowns or any other amount that is right for you? All donations are tax-deductible through our mission organization, WorldVenture.
There’s three ways you can join our team…
1. CLICK HERE and follow the link to set up your secure account with WorldVenture where you can proceed to make an on-going commitment or one-time gift.
2. CALL (800) 487-4224 and select option #1 to speak with someone 8am-4pm MST (M-F).
3. MAIL a check to:
20 Inverness Pl E
Englewood, CO 80112-5622
Please specify your donation by writing account #173 in the memo line.
(Note, for tax purposes, our names should not appear on the check).
Thank you for investing, loving and praying for third culture kids in Kenya and families and communities in Madagascar! Your generosity and partnership is a deep gift and encouragement to us and many!
Blessings to you,
Alissa, Jamie, Isabella, Eliana and Gavin
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