16 April 2015

16 04 2015

We are already in transition with only 6 weeks left in Nigeria.  We have two homes now, and leaving one for an undetermined amount of time is very emotional.  We are finding new homes for our animals and selling and giving away our ‘stuff’.    We are excited to be back on Camano Island, but all the goodbyes here have to happen first.

The government mandated school closure was extended until Monday, April 20th, so we have been out of school almost 1 month.  It has been the most challenging year for school closures, with Ebola and elections.  Fortunately, the students have been completing their school work through take-home ‘packets’ and on-line assignments, which has kept us on track for having enough school days.  We pray they have also learned their subjects!

Both federal and local elections are finished with mostly peace here in Jos.  We are thankful for answered prayers!  The future of Nigeria is very uncertain with major changes ahead.  Again, we are praying the changes will be positive for the people.

Thank you to our friends and family back home that have encouraged us through this amazing time of serving in Africa.  We couldn’t be here without your prayers and support.

As we return home we have two large, unique requests:

1st:  We are looking for a car/van until we can buy a vehicle, which we hope will be by the end of the summer.

2nd:  We are camping this summer, and also having my (Kimberly’s) mother visit.  We thought camping at 70 might be hard, so we looked into RV rentals which were quite pricey.  If anyone is interested in renting their RV to us for 3 days (June 26, 27 & 28) or knows somebody who does RV rentals, please let us know. Gary had 6 years of RV experience (driving, emptying, assorted maintenance).

We will be arriving at Rest Haven in early June and are looking forward to catching up with you!

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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

29 12 2014

Merry Christmas from NigeriaMerry Christmas & Happy New Year from Nigeria to our friends and family! Click here to view the fun inspired by our Camano Chapel Pastors. Our January 2015 newsletter is also available here. Thank you for continuing to serve with us as you bless us with your prayers, support and encouragement!

 





14 May 2014

14 05 2014

It is strange knowing that Nigeria is regularly in the international news. The fighting, kidnappings and terrorism have been going on since we arrived in 2009. It gets worse in different areas of the country at different times. 276 girls taken at once is horrific and deserves international news and we are so thankful that help is coming from other countries. However, it will take God’s miracle to change how the government, military and police operate here. I don’t want to expand for obvious reasons but it can easily be discouraging when we look at changes needed on a grand scale. Fortunately, God shows us that we are here to share the Gospel and God’s love one person at a time. He has had to remind me of that countless times when I am ready to throw in the towel and get on the next plane home.

For those who ask about our safety, we are in constant prayer for staying safe, and knowing when it will be time to leave. Jos is in Plateau State in the middle of Nigeria, bordering the north/south division. Northern Nigeria has had the most problems with terrorist activity. There has been no activity in Jos since 2011. Fighting among tribes and villages over land and religion has been ongoing in Plateau State for many years and we are constantly being updated on areas to avoid. Ironically in January, one week before returning to Nigeria, Stanwood High School had a lock down because a previous student showed up on campus with a gun. It made me realize we are safest in God’s hands and His will for our lives no matter where we are in the world. We are soooo appreciative of your prayers and encouragement!

While this difficult stuff is going on we try to carry on as normally as possible. Although at Sunday’s monthly worship night, led by Gary’s worship band, we all held hands and prayed for the safe return of the kidnapped girls to their families.

Jordan attended the yearly long-awaited Junior/Senior Banquet and Cypress attended her 8th grade Banquet. Isabell celebrated her 12th birthday with a fun party, and will be performing with the middle school band at their concert on Friday. There are only 2 weeks of school remaining so Gary is busy with AP tests, library system changes, sound for the many end of year events; concerts, baccalaureate and graduation.

I have been continuing to venture to the downtown prostitution hotels to talk with the women about God’s love and His better plan for their lives. It is soooo sad and difficult. Many have children and families they are trying to support in a village. Expectations on the first-born child to take care of their parents and their own children are huge. Their desperate need is heart breaking and they are fearful of stepping away from the money. Some become drug and alcohol addicts and some have become hardened after being in the industry too long. We go in the morning hours to avoid busy working times, but alcohol is abundant and men are coming and going in the run down, closet size rooms as we talk to the girls. It can be discouraging when we don’t feel we are making a difference, but we are reminded that we are bringing Christ’s light into dark places. We pray with them and hope that one day they will find the courage and God’s strength to choose differently.

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31 January 2014

31 01 2014

After running the Toys for Tots run in December  (in 20 degree weather), the race director donated the extra t-shirts for us to bring to Nigeria and give out. It is so fun and rewarding to have these gifts be so appreciated! Our school maintenance workers asked us to take their picture after receiving their shirts! Thank you Arlington Runners Club!

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08 September 2013

9 09 2013

As we got ready to post another blog update, we discovered we hadn’t posted anything for many many months.  Ooops!   I could give a bunch of excuses…or just move forward… So, we hope to post several times in the ‘near future’ to summarize the past semester at Hillcrest.  After living in Jos for 4+ years it is hard to know what is interesting to post about.  Daily life at Hillcrest and around Jos seems ‘normal’ now yet we know our ‘normal’ has changed.  Since we have been home on Camano Island for 3 months now we have had discussions about what ‘normal’ life means for us.

The girls started public school for the first time in 7 years.  For those who didn’t already see on Facebook, their ‘2nd day of school’ pics are below.  We are very thankful for a smooth first week, knowing their transition into large schools and already formed friendships can be hard on mission kids.  Please pray with us that God will bring good experiences and good friends into their lives.

Also pictured below are some exciting events that occurred at our school.  Isabell was Raggedy Ann for the 5th grade Christmas Play called ‘The Christmas Gift’.  She was sooo nervous but did an amazing job.

The school had its second annual Sadie Hawkins dance.  Jordan asked her good friend Jimra and had a fun time.  We love the fact that we live on the same compound and can keep an eye on everything J!

I, Kimberly, took on coaching middle school soccer this last year.  It was a huge step out of my comfort zone but a great experience.  It was quite a challenge to find other middle school girls teams to play but we had about 4 games and one against the Hillcrest middle school boys.  I resisted the pressure to play only our most talented players, but gave everyone equal playing time.

That’s plenty for now…. thanks for keeping up with us.  We are home at Rest Haven to connect with family and friends so we would love to see you!

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19 December 2011

19 12 2011

It is Christmas break and we are excited for some down time.  My mom is here visiting over Christmas and New Year’s and I can’t describe how excited we are to have her here to see our work and daily life.

We visited a local Fulani village recently.  Only 20 minutes outside of the city, this tribe lives a very simple, rural life; growing their own food, raising cattle as their livelihood, and only a few of the kids attend school if they are lucky.  They were very welcoming and excited to see us.  They wanted to touch Cypress’ and Isabell’s hair.  (pics on this blog update & last one too)

This semester I have been tutoring at a Nigerian school once a week.  It has been an eye opening, difficult, yet rewarding experience.  Many kids in Nigerian schools are advancing from grade to grade without learning the basics in reading and math.  This school was started and is overseen by an American missionary, yet the principal, teaching staff and children are all Nigerian.  Her goal is to make sure the kids are learning their basics and have a strong foundation in reading and math.  This school offers a good education to many needy children who would otherwise not go to school at all.  Many are orphaned or HIV positive.   I am tutoring middle and high school students with their basic math facts and it is slow going and hard work.  It is difficult for them to do homework with power issues, getting their basic food needs met, and fitting school into their work/chore load. Their life is so different from the life of our children; it is humbling.    At the end of the semester we were guests at the school closing ceremony where the kids sang, danced and demonstrated their math facts.   They were so animated and excited about showing their accomplishments.

Back at Hillcrest, we finished the semester with Christmas programs, band concerts, recitals and final exams. It has been a full semester as the Hillcrest board and community adjust to changes now and in the future.  Security is a constant issue and many steps have been taken to make our campus as safe as possible.   We have adjusted to school uniforms and the kids look sharp.   We are wanting to fill openings in our elementary teaching staff.  We also need a superintendent and elementary principal.  If you know anyone who might be interested, the Hillcrest website has the information (http://www.hillcrestschool.net/).

I never stop missing home, church, friends and family.  Checking in on the Rice family blog has been a  blessing.  It has helped me to know how to pray.  Jon’s words have touched me deeply as he walks a road that is hard to imagine, yet the Bible verses and lessons he is learning and sharing apply so much to other difficult experiences.  We continue to lift up Dianne and the Rice family to the Lord’s mighty hands.

We wish you all a peaceful and Merry Christmas.  May the truth of Jesus’ purpose in coming, humble us and inspire us to love and serve Him.

Love, Kimberly for Gary, Jordan, Cypress and Isabell

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27 November 2011

7 12 2011

Nate and Heidi came from Germany for our Spiritual Emphasis Week, using break dancing, rap, and graffiti  to share the message of God’s love and encouraging the kids to “Shine like stars” (our theme this year from Philippians 2: 15-16). They ended up staying on campus and often hanging out at our house during the evenings after their busy days, so we enjoyed the opportunity to take them back out to visit our friends, Israel and Katharina.

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