Let me just start by saying how excited I am to share with you how God has been working in me and through me recently! But before I get started, may I ask you to pray for our family? As you know, Emily has been back in the US for several years now, but Amy is also leaving us this July to return to the US for college. Then, in only one year’s time, Josiah will also be leaving Kenya to return to the US. This may be the most difficult part of being a missionary; when your kids grow up and leave the nest, they go 8,000 miles away (at least in our case). That’s over 48 hours of travel just to get to them if there’s an emergency. It’s daunting and heart-breaking, but I’m proud of all my children. They are amazing people, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for them in their new chapters of life.
Ten years ago, Roger and I were taking a walk in our small neighborhood here in Kitale. It was the middle of the day; the sun was hot and the road was dusty, but it was peaceful. I remember saying to him, “This is going to sound really strange, but I feel like God is telling me that He wants me to start a school. I’m not saying He wants me to do it right now, I just feel like sometime in the future this is something He wants me to do.” Yes, I know that sounds strange, but God does that with me sometimes. I knew I didn’t have the ability or resources to pull off something like that, and I didn’t know exactly what it would look like, but it was something I felt very strongly.
A couple years later (unknown to me) two Kenyan families who didn’t even know each other moved from Nairobi to Kitale and couldn’t find acceptable schools for their children. Long story short, these two couples are now the directors of Rayzon Schools. Fast forward again several years and Chloe came along – a Kenyan child who needed contact with her culture. As a homeschooling parent at heart, it was difficult for me to make the decision to put her in school – especially around here. God, however, had that taken care of. By what may have looked like random chance to an unbeliever, Roger met two of the directors of Rayzon Schools and talked with them. I was cooking dinner when he came home and began sharing about the experience with me. I stopped stirring the pot, laid down my spoon, looked at Roger and said, “This is going to sound strange, but I feel like God is telling me Chloe needs to go to school there.” I know, I know…I’m freaking some of you out with my “God is telling me” comments, aren’t I? There’s really no other way to say it, though.
After Chloe settled into Rayzon Schools (okay, settled is a strong word…) we became good friends with the directors. This was about a year and a half ago now. This soon led to them asking me to fill in some Grammar and English gaps for their students, and I began teaching for two hours twice a week. I loved it. The kids loved it. The directors loved it. The teachers…they didn’t love it so much. Neither did the head teacher who took a serious dis-liking (read, “hatred”) to me.
Toward the end of 2018, the directors began planning to open a new branch of Rayzon Schools using an international curriculum (something they had wanted to do at Rayzon from the very beginning). They called on me and Carrie Radford to give them advice on curriculum. When all was said and done, they decided to use much of our homeschooling curriculum and another widely known Christian curriculum from the US. Carrie and I both volunteered to help with running the school and teaching, and thus, Milimani Christian Homeschooling Community was born.
It’s been quite a spiritual battle – different than anything I’ve ever experienced. The school is running, but Satan attacks from every side. We have 10 students (now including the 17-year-old son of one set of the directors. I oversee his studies). Of these students, one is Hindu. He’s a beautiful young boy in 4th grade, and his father is so happy with what he is learning here! What’s exciting is that he hears the Gospel every single day, and he soaks it in. Kitale is a spiritually dark place, and MCHC is a light – a small light – that shines like a candle in that darkness. Satan doesn’t give up his territory easily or nicely. No, he gets quite ugly about it, and he doesn’t let up.
We’ve seen such a huge change in our kids at MCHC. Most of them were shy, unable to do math without using tic-marks or fingers, and afraid of answering questions and participating in class because they came from a system that crammed information into them for hours upon end and severely punished them (literally beat them with rods) if they didn’t regurgitate answers verbatim. At MCHC, however, they are being shown the love of Christ on a daily basis as we encourage them to participate, use critical thinking skills, and care for one another. The changes are amazing. Each and every one of the children love coming to school! Even their parents have commented on that. They love each subject and participate freely without fear. We’ve watched sullen children become leaders, children with learning differences begin to make connections and grasp concepts, and all of them grow daily in their understanding of the Gospel and what it means to them personally.
Please pray for MCHC. As I said, Satan is attacking from every side…even from sides we didn’t know existed! Pray for godly, born-again, caring teachers who will embrace a new way of thinking and doing things. Pray for the directors as they make decisions and deal with the inevitable financial struggles of running a school. Please also pray for me as I am officially what they call the head teacher. Specifically pray for wisdom, and mental and emotional stamina. I started with a commitment to be at the school 3 days a week for half days, but on those 3 days, I’m actually there from 7:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. and occasionally a bit later. By Wednesday evening I am totally exhausted and need to turn off my phone and hibernate all of Thursday…but I love it. Outside of my family, it’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever been privileged to participate in.
Ten years ago, God gave me a little bit of a glimpse into the future. I had no idea how in the world He was going to facilitate it; I just knew when He was ready, He would. And now, here I am. I couldn’t have done it alone, but He was putting pieces of a puzzle into place even back then – including my Kenyan friends who are the MCHC directors. Without these two precious families, this would not be possible, and I thank God for their vision and their amazing faith.
For ministry donations:
Pastor George Sledd, Treasurer of BFM
P.O. Box 471280
Lake Monroe, FL 32747-1280
or click here to donate to BFM online.