20 Years Later, What Is Next?

Greetings praying friends,

 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

I believe this is going to be one of the hardest prayer letters I’ve ever written.  Not quite the hardest, but close.  The easiest thing for me to do is to just write it.

I have decided, after 20 years teaching here at Rift Valley Academy that at the end of this current school year (July 2019) my time here at RVA and Kenya will come to an end.

It’s strange.  For years I’ve thought that I was going to retire from RVA and maybe when that time came I would just retire to a house here in Kenya, so I wouldn’t have to leave Africa.  I love teaching here at RVA.  I love working with the Jr. High kids. I love living in Kenya.

I strongly believe God calls people to certain places and activities for ministry.  I also strongly believe that God calls people from ministries as well.   I believe God uses life events and life circumstances to help guide us in our decision-making processes.  And, I know that when God calls you to move, you’d better move.  (See the Biblical examples of Abraham, Moses, David, Paul, etc.)

When I was growing up, my dad would humorously tell people who came to visit that they had two choices.  He’d say, “You can choose to be a staff member here at RVA, or you can choose to be out of the center of God’s will.”  And yet, I now find myself in the position that to be in the center of God’s will is for me to leave RVA.

I’ve been thinking for the past couple of years that the time was coming for me to move away from RVA.  I’ve sought guidance.  I’ve spent hours in prayer.  I’ve cried (a bit, anyway).  And since I made the decision to leave, I’ve felt great peace that only comes from knowing that by leaving I will remain in the center of God’s will for me.

There are many factors that have gone into this decision.  Some are family reasons, some are financial reasons, some are ministry reasons, and some are life goals reasons.  I’m not going to go into all my reasons in this letter, but if you really want to know feel free to ask.

Here’s the problem I’m faced with.  Time.  There are two types of time.  There is God’s time, and there is human’s time.  I believe God is calling me from RVA, and it’s on his time schedule that it must happen.  The problem is that I’m human, and while I believe without a doubt that God is calling me from, at this point he hasn’t seemed inclined to let me know where he’s calling me to.  My human time would love to know what is going to happen after I leave RVA next July.

But that is still up in the air.  I don’t have a job lined up.  I don’t have a car lined up.  I don’t have a house lined up.  (Although I do have the missionary apartment in Lititz, PA signed out for September 2019 through August 2020.)  And not having these things lined up scares me, humanly speaking.  I frequently ask God for a bit of insight, but nothing yet.  As Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof says when he’s praying to God, “Am I bothering You too much? I’m sorry. As the Good Book says… aaahh, why should I tell You what the Good Book says?”

I do know that while my time at RVA is ending next July, I also have a full year after that with Africa Inland Mission (until July 2020) to do deputation and come to speak in your church and I will need to stay on the financial support that you as churches and individuals have so graciously provided over the past 20 years.  Sometime before July 2020, more decisions will have to be made regarding my future with AIM.

I’ve got plans in my mind.  I’d love to come back to the US and find a teaching position in a private school.  Unfortunately, schools aren’t even beginning to look for teachers for next school year, and usually don’t until April or May, so I’m stuck knowing I’m leaving RVA and don’t have a job for next year.  I’d love to find a position that would open the possibility for Middle School Administration somewhere.  That would be a lot of fun.  I’ve learned a lot here at RVA about being an educator and an administrator and it’s time to see if there’s another school that can benefit from my 20 years of education and administration skills.

As part of my desire to get into school administration, I have recently applied to Cairn University for their online Master of Arts in Education Leadership and Administration.  Getting another master’s degree is a lot of work and a lot of money.  Pray that I will be accepted into the master’s program and pray that finances will come through to help pay for it.

Another possible job I’d love to do would be to come back to the US and work at a church somewhere.  Being an Associate Pastor of Missions, Family, and Youth would be a blast.  Being able to use my education and administrative knowledge in a church setting would be a benefit to any church.   However, churches that would have an associate position like that are few and far between; and it’s a little early to start looking for a church position now for next July.

I do know, however, that while I might not know where I’ll end up in the middle of July next year, I also know that at this point it is not my job to know. My job is to be faithful to God’s calling me away and to prepare myself for this transition.  I need to make sure I leave RVA well.

I can’t say at this point how much time I’ll have in Pennsylvania from July to do deputation.  I’m planning on looking for a teaching position, but that position may be somewhere else in the United States besides Pennsylvania. Or even somewhere else in the world.  If I happen to get a job teaching in Alaska, or Hawaii, or Texas, or Japan, the school year will probably begin in the middle of August, so I might only have a couple of weeks to speak in churches.  Or, if I get a pastoral position at a church, I’ll need to be at that church on Sundays which will limit my ability to speak at your church. If I don’t find a teaching or pastoral position, and end up spend a year doing substitute teaching, I could have lots of time to come speak at your church and Sunday School.  But again, this is all in God’s timing, not my timing.

So that is where I am right now.  I know it is time to move on, but at this point I don’t have a place to move to.  But this I know:  God’s plans and God’s timing are ALWAYS better than my plans and my timing.

I’m sure over the next couple of months, much more will be said, and many questions can be answered.  For now, here are some prayer requests for you to lift before the throne of God.

  • Pray for continued peace. This school year has started out very well, but at the same time, I’m also starting the leaving/grieving process.  (My last, first day of school here at RVA, my last, first day of soccer practice, etc.)
  • Pray for acceptance and financing for the master’s degree through Cairn University.
  • God’s Timing. It’s not my timing.  It’s God’s timing.  It’s God’s timing.  It’s God’s timing.

Shalom (which, not coincidentally, means Peace),