Saturday, July 24, 2010

Trip to Rift Valley Academy

On the last day of school this year I attended graduation in the morning where I am teaching and then headed to the airport to go to Africa. As I was sitting with the faculty on the senior quad watching the graduation ceremony, I simultaneously felt more distant and more present. Thinking about my imminent departure made me acutely aware of all of the details around me.

The purpose of my trip was to visit Rift Valley Academy – a large boarding school in Kenya for the children of missionaries all over Africa.  Maybe it was an indicator of my lack of faith, but I was hesitant to head off to candidate week with Africa Inland Mission the next week without having the opportunity to stand on campus and see firsthand the work that the Lord is doing there. So I asked if I could “stop by” to check things out.

The trip was wonderful in so many ways. I had the chance to see the campus and meet a lot of faculty, staff, and students. It was a study of similarities and contrasts for me as I could not help comparing all of the different aspects of RVA to where I am currently teaching.

Here are a few photos of my trip that should help you get a feel for the school.

Above is the main administration building.  In front you can see a commemorative rock that was placed there on their 100 year anniversary.

This is the main academic quad.

A math classroom.  Go Math!

A chem classroom.  Go Science!  (OK, so I am partial to math and science.)

Look!  They even have computer labs.  (Note the nice thin client solution.)

Here is a second grade classroom.

Here is a rugby field.  The school is on a mountain so a field like this has a retaining wall on the left and an apparent cliff on the right.  In the distance is the Rift Valley.  It was great to be there during the rainy season when things were green.  Things get pretty brown during the dry season.

One last shot of a walkway on campus.  Not much is flat and with the 100 year history, they have a lot of beautiful trees on campus.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Big News. Really Big News.

No, we are not adopting.

It is always good to state that right up front and even though I do, I suspect I will still be congratulated sometime soon about our upcoming adoption.

This time it is news of a different nature. No sense in beating around the bush – CrazyMom and I have joined a mission agency (Africa Inland Mission) and, Lord willing, our family will move to Africa next summer.

Now some of you are probably thinking that you always suspected something like this. After all, we are crazy. Others are probably shocked because you never really believed we were crazy. Now you know better.

But, in fact, while it is a bit scary for us, it does not seem crazy at all. It simply seems like the next step that the Lord is asking us to take.

Now you may have a few questions about all of this –Why Africa? What will you be doing there? Have you been consuming illegal substances? Some of these answers can be found at our website here and others I will try to answer over the next few days as I post here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Update Sidebar Photos

Yes.  Finally.  I have been hearing complaints for over a year that I have not updated the sidebar photos on our blog.  I did not think that is had been all that long, but when I just went back to look I see that it was all the way back in April of 2008.  (You can see the old photos here.)  After putting it off for so long, it was a little embarrassing how quickly we were able to step out back and snap the photos.  I just wish CrazyMom had not been around.  Then I could have told her how I labored all morning long on the project!

Here are the new and old photos for posterity's sake.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Our Anniversary

It was our anniversary the other night and CrazyMom and I went out for dinner.  I am inclined to say, "With as many kids as we have underfoot, it is good to get out of the house for some time alone," but that would not be honest.  Sure we have lots of kids, but they are not what keep CrazyMom and I from connecting.  If anything, their demands often bring us together - around the dinner table or around the campfire.  What keeps us from connecting is the to-do list.  So the more accurate statement is, "With as many things as I have on my to-do list, it is good to get out of the house for some time alone."

During my burn-the-to-do-list night, CrazyMom and I saw some wild things.  We went to an area where there were lots of restaurants and shops on a night when the weather was inviting people to be outside.  If you have ever seen one of those nature shows with exotic birds that do crazy calls and gestures in order to attract a mate, then you can imagine the scene.  Not only were many people dressed like they were looking for a mate, but when they were standing around talking to the people in their small groups their eyes were constantly scanning the crowds looking for that perfect person. 

There is no question that their methodology is fraught with peril - shorts that don't quite cover one's cheeks is not a good indicator of lasting love.  Yet I do hope they find the person for which they are looking.  As I sat there with my bride of 17 years, I know that I have and it has made all the difference in the world.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Our Second Home

I am sitting around a campfire right now off somewhere in PA. Our family came here for some extended family reunions and opted for a campsite rather than renting two hotel rooms each night. It has been great, but it has caused me to reflect on our second home.

When I hear that someone has a second home the image that comes to mind is some nice place in a vacation-type spot – in the mountains, on a lake, or near the ocean. Sure the home may be a little smaller than their first home, but it is one of those magical places filled with so many positive family memories.

A few weeks ago when I was in New York State, I had the chance to talk with a missionary who worked with remote people groups in northern Kenya. When he was in Kenya, there were several other missionaries working in his general area and every once in awhile they would travel to the same spot to get together. He had a photo of a “village” with a couple of stick and mud homes of the local African tribe and then there were a handful of Coleman tents that the missionaries were camping in while they were meeting. The local Africa people thought the missionaries were so rich. All the missionaries had, after all, two homes.

Now I had never thought of our family tent as a second home, but I guess it is. It is a little smaller than our first home, but is often in a vacation spot and it is filled with so many positive family memories. I just needed to get a little African perspective on things in order to fully appreciate my second home.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Buddy’s Birthday

Buddy’s Birthday

We have been on the go for the last three weeks. Between Africa, New York state, and Michigan, I have only spent two nights in my bed since the madness began. While I hope to catch all of you up on these trips and what is going on in our lives soon, first things first – Buddy had a birthday.

Since we were on the road, we celebrated Buddy’s birthday in a hotel. Just to give you an idea of what kind of eleven-year-old boy Buddy is, here are a few shots of him in the pool.

The Cannon Ball

The Belly Smacker

The Back Smacker

The Gang

CrazyMom is amazing, as you know. Even though we were on the road, she had a homemade cake for Buddy. It was not her finest creation (you can see her princess cake here), but pretty impressive given all that was going on in our lives.

Buddy got some great presents – like this kitchen appliance. It is not every boy that asks for a dehydrator for his birthday.

Happy birthday, Buddy!