family of two grew to a bustling family of five. We were blessed to have Ethan, Nathanael and Evelyn join our team in ’07, ’09 and early ’11. As early as 2006, when Dan switched careers, the Lord started pricking at our hearts—missionaries need teachers! His message was consistent and perfectly timed as we completed a Bible study on God’s kingdom to all peoples for His glory. He continued to prepare our hearts by planting us firmly in a church that nurtured us deeply, provided godly mentors to disciple us and continued to bring our attention to this need. Consistently, we felt the weight of missionary families all over the world, called by God to reach the lost and yet so often under-supported and unappreciated. We started to see the pieces fitting together. Missionaries need teachers. Why? The Lord has called missionaries from all over the world to translate the Bible into tribal languages in South Sudan, to plant churches in Tanzania, to run an AIDS orphanage or work at a hospital in Kenya, to engineer dependable water sources in Rwanda, or to start a business in a closed country and spread Christ’s love to neighbors and colleagues. He has also called many of these missionaries to be parents. Missionary parents have the unique challenge of remaining faithful to their calling as fathers and mothers as well as to their full-time ministry. Educational choices are limited in many areas of Africa. And while homeschooling is a worthwhile option, as are in-home tutors, as the children age these students miss opportunities such as sports, theater, music and social interaction with English-speaking peers. Founded in 1906, Rift Valley Academy (RVA) is a Christian boarding school offering an American curriculum for grades K-12. As a ministry of Africa Inland Mission, RVA’s specific role is to support Christian missionaries wherever God has called them across the continent of Africa. Their mission is one that our hearts resonated with immediately—to support missionary families by caring for their children. We knocked, and God opened the doors wide open. After watching in awe as He put together a financial support team in less than a year, we moved here in July. Dan is now teaching full-time, Math 7 and Algebra 1, to 90 missionary kids from around the world. RVA is nestled on the slopes of the Great Rift Valley in Kijabe, Kenya. The scenery is almost as stunning as the passion of the
people who work here. One hundred staff members with the same passion to serve missionaries gather faithfully in prayer each week for the students, their parents and the ministries they represent. Dan’s childhood fascination with stories of missionaries in deepest, darkest Africa has come full circle. Now he gets to help children boost their confidence in math or on the soccer field. We get to visit with them over a cup of Chai, or host them in our home for an activity night or a meal. We are blessed to hear them sing the Kenyan National Anthem every Friday at chapel, and are struck by the testimonies of how Christ is working in their hearts as young men and women. We have the opportunity to talk with parents who stop by to visit on a weekend or for an open house and thank us for the part we are playing in the lives of their kids. At this point we’re still in awe of the work the Lord is doing at RVA. So many people, from so many cultures, are all here for the same purpose—to see God’s kingdom spread to the ends of the earth. As a family, we are busy settling into our roles, ironing out our schedule and learning how to do life in Africa. Even in the midst of our transition, it’s easy to see why so many people love this place and why so many alumni come back to serve as dorm parents or teachers themselves. The Lord has so blessed this school in its 100-year history. Romans 10:14-15 reads, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” God has given us the privilege of befriending, discipling and sharing the love of Christ with these kids. This is a journey and a purpose for which Geneva helped us prepare. As members of Christ’s body we are all called to fill different roles, and we are honored that He has called us to wash these “beautiful feet.” G Stay up-to-date with the Schmidt family’s African adventure at schmidtsinafrica.blogspot.com.