July 27, 2019
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I get the privilege of writing this update in much closer proximity to you than I normally do. As I write this, I am sitting at my daughter Emily’s dining room table in Detroit, Michigan. I am here for a short visit to bring Amy back to the States to commence her university career. Julie has had to stay back in Kenya with Josiah (who will be doing this same thing next year at this time) and Chloe.
So, yes, Amy has graduated from high school at Rift Valley Academy where she has attended and boarded for the last five years. This is a very traumatic time for all of us, especially Amy. It is traumatic for the rest of us because Amy will be leaving us for who knows how long. Her Mama has already hugged her neck and kissed her cheek for the last time in a long time and in a couple of weeks I will do the same before I board a plane to return to Kenya. This is harder than you might think for us. In fact, I think it might be the hardest part of being a missionary—leaving your kids in a place on their own 10,000 miles away. We don’t like it and we mourn and lament having to do it. But it is even more traumatic for Amy. She says goodbye to everything that is now familiar—Goodbye to RVA, goodbye to friends, goodbye to her (almost twin) brother, goodbye to her house, goodbye to Kenya, goodbye to her pets, goodbye to her mama and in a couple of weeks goodbye to her daddy. She returns to a country that is foreign to her. Amy has lived in Kenya since she was 7 years old. She knows Kenya. America, she doesn’t. When she starts school at Cedarville University in Ohio everything will be foreign and unfamiliar. Everything will be strange and uncomfortable. And everything she has left behind will be far, far away. In the last six years Amy has spent less than a month in the States. Please pray for all of us but especially Amy as she makes this transition. We know she is in God’s hands but it hurts us so much that first our precious Emily has left Kenya and now our precious Amy is also leaving. Lord, may you bless my dear children with your presence in their lives. Bless them with your love, your grace, your protection. Draw them close to you and close to your heart. Be the Father to them that I cannot be and may they always know that you are near.
Having left Kenya for a month I have, out of necessity, left the Upper Room Baptist Chapel on its own as well. This brings a bit of anxiety and trepidation into my heart as well. I don’t know what the state of the Chapel will be when I return. I’m sure every minister, pastor and missionary deals with this same anxiety when they are away. Will the ministry survive while I am away? Will there be anybody left at the chapel when I return? Will I be starting all over again? Will the dear people coming to the Chapel stick it out in my absence? Is the ministry there strong enough to endure my absence? These are all questions that obviously concern me. I have worked hard to start the Chapel and the Chapel people are precious to me. I want to continue to watch them grow in Jesus Christ and I want them around when I return to Kenya. I have to entrust them to the Lord’s care, believing the Lord will care for them. But I also know that they are good and strong Christian people and I DO trust that they will be around when I get back. In my absence they will continue to meet together at the Chapel, to worship the Lord together and to study the Bible together. I trust that when I return, they will be an even stronger knit together group of Christian believers than when I left. Because, after all, it is not my ministry, but it belongs to Jesus. They are not “my people” but they belong to Jesus. It is not my work it is Jesus’. He cares for the work and the people even more than I do. Into his hands I commit them. They are in safe hands.
Until next month, beloved.
May God’s peace and joy be with you.
For the glory of God in Kenya,
Roger & Julie Tate (and Amy, Josiah & Chloe)
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Lake Monroe, FL 32747-1280
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