Homeschool Week Kenya 2011

Studious Children
Homeschool Week at RVA

The children of missionaries—our treasure! My ministry in these past years since we left living in Kenya full time has been the children of our workers in Africa. Those sharing the Gospel are living in remote areas of the bush with unreached people groups. Others are in teeming cities. Some are working at schools for the children of missionaries.

Blazing hot, damp and chilly, desert thorns, lush hillsides and mountains, humid beachfront property… Resistant people groups, believers who want to continually learn more and more. Children who learn academics easily—those who struggle with paper and pencil… Americans, Koreans, Brazilians and Brits… Preschoolers and those deciding what their next step after Secondary School will be…

Coming alongside our families to encourage, support, teach and love… in Africa and in America… Skype, e-mail and sitting down together to chat… This is how I spend my days! What a privilege.

This past week, I have had the privilege of being in Kijabe, Kenya at Rift Valley Academy with more than 40 or our school aged children. I was joined by our team of educational consultants and some of the staff of RVA.

Mayfield
Mayfield Guest House

During this week, the children had their own academic program as well as joining the elementary school of RVA for classes. Standardized testing, as well as in depth individualized educational assessments were available. Reading methods, math games, transitions and organization were some of the topics covered in workshops for the parents.

Pray for our families… Many are working in difficult and isolated circumstances—educational choices available might not be in their mother tongue, children may have learning challenges—mothers feel isolated in alone.

Praise God for weeks like this when families can spend time together and encourage each other. Pray for me as I attempt to help our families to reach the people to whom God has called them…

 

God Bless! Ellen

East Africa 2011

Dear Friends –

Greetings from the shores of Lake Victoria – Mwanza, TZ! My apologies to those of you that might be on more than one of my address lists and thus have received multiple copies of this letter – Feel free to delete!

You may be wondering, have the Hargraves moved back to East Africa? The answer is – not at this time – We are still based in Fort Myers where Bob is on loan to ECHO from AIM – Africa Inland Mission – and Ellen is working in support of the education of our missionary kids.

The main reason for this particular trip is Bob’s assignment to head up a Symposium to be put on by ECHO in Arusha, Tanzania February 8-10th – eeek – that is next week! There is always plenty for me to do here in East Africa, so since it looked like Bob would need to be on this side of the water for about 6 or 7 weeks, we were able to work it with our mission for me to come as well. Part of the time I have been with Bob and part of the time I have been working on separate assignments in different places.

We left the US on January 9th along with Karyn Traum who just finished her internship at ECHO. She is Bob’s assistant for this particular project. We purposefully routed ourselves through Atlanta to avoid holdups with winter weather – but as you all probably know, the winter storms hit Atlanta brutally at the time of our departure, so we were rerouted through Minneapolis!!!! Although it was very cold and the snow was deep – the skies were quite clear – and we made it to Nairobi at the expected time.

How great to be met at the airport by George who works at our Guest House there and who we have known for many years! We were able to rest there at Mayfield Guest House and then fly on to Eldoret, Kenya where we lived Fall of 09 when we taught at the AIC Missionary College. It was great to reunite there with old friends and stay in the home of Ray & Jill Davis who are now on their Home Assignment in North America. We were able to use the Davis’s car during our week in Western Kenya. That was extremely helpful! A trip was made to the home of our dear friend Hellen- She is a Kenyan woman who lived in Cheptebo when we did and left about the same time as us. Her husband was usually drunk and abusive and she had two extremely mentally challenged children – along with a fine son who loves the Lord and is now in college studying Social Work (thanks to our Sunday School Class in Fort Myers). Our time with Hellen’s family was very encouraging!

Next we travelled to Cheptebo and as always were very warmly welcomed by Sally and Joseph. Joseph, a fine Kalenjin man, took over the project leadership from Bob when we left the summer of 03 – and has moved things way beyond anything we ever imagined. One clear mark is that now people all over the community are growing and marketing many delicious varieties of mangoes – and vast improvements can be seen in the average person’s economic situation. Also, the size of the congregation in the church has about tripled – and there are clear signs of spiritual growth and vibrancy in the church service – and all aspects of community life.

It is hard for me to express clearly all of the emotions that going back to Eldoret and Cheptebo evoke in me. It is very humbling to see “youth” that we ministered to and with come to maturity as such godly and competent leaders in the church and many aspects of social and community life.. Thank you Lord! It is only by your grace –

As you probably know, James is now a missionary in Mwanza, Tanzania. He took a bus from Mwanza, through Bukoba, TZ and then Kampala, Uganda and on to Eldoret meeting us there. Consequently, another delight was the fact that he was able to join us on this leg of our journey. He had not been back to Cheptebo for 8 years – so this was a great time for both James and the community – and of course a joy for us to get to spend this time with him.

It was quite hard to leave the valley – and many pictures of that time are on Facebook – if any of you are not on Facebook and would like to see those pictures, I can send you a link! Let me know!

The following week, Bob and Karyn headed on to Arusha, Tanzania to work on the Symposium, James headed to Nairobi to see a childhood friend who was visiting his parents along with his wife and daughter and I went on to AIM’s ABO – Africa Based Orientation. This is a three and a half week orientation for all of our new missionaries from the US, Canada, Asia, Down Under, Europe, South America and Europe – . I was able to help set things up and be a part of the first few days of this orientation. I met individually with each of the parents, and discussed their plans for educating their children in Africa. I was also able to help part of the day with the Children’s program – specifically the time when they were working on their academic school work that their mothers had assigned. The rest of the day they had a program which basically mirrored the program of the parents at their level – this time there were just 8 children aged 4 – 11. I did not post any pictures from this week.

After a weekend in Nairobi, where I was able to enjoy time with very close friends and James, I headed on to Arusha to join Bob and Karyn, while James went back home to Mwanza. Last week I was with Bob at “Engedi” – this is the base for AIM’s TIMO program – (if you are interested in learning more about this, you can check it out on AIM’s website: www.aimint.org/usa. and find the link to TIMO). Over the course of the years, I have been quite involved with many in our TIMO program, so it was such a delight to be able to come be there myself – a wonderful retreat about a 45 minute drive outside of Arusha with an unbelievable view of Mt. Meru. I have a lot of work that needs to be done by computer – so besides enjoying the environment, I spent a good deal of time working there.

We left Arusha by plane from Kilimanjaro Airport (with a lovely view of the mountain) on Saturday to join James in Mwanza. How special to be surrounded by the community in which he is living and meeting those that are a part of his daily life! He has just moved into his new home which is on the compound of a delightful Tanzanian family that have welcomed him – and thus us – with open arms. After church on Sunday, the folks from his local congregation made their way to his new home for a special blessing which we were delighted to be a part of. It is humbling to see our son thriving as an adult here in the Tanzanian community. His Kiswahili has certainly surpassed mine!

Today, Bob is flying back to Arusha. I will take the night ferry with James across a segment of Lake Victoria to Bukoba where part of his missionary team – all fellow Americans – reside. I will be there until Thursday morning, at which time I will fly back to Arusha to join Bob.

Next week will be the ECHO Conference – and then Bob will stay in Arusha to finish details, and I will travel to Kenya to work in the Children’s program of another AIM Conference and consult with more of our Homeschooling parents after which time we will return to the US!

Thanks to so many of you who pray for us, support us emotionally, spiritually, practically and financially – We could not have the privilege of serving the Lord without you!!!!

Much love and prayers –

Ellen Hargrave – for Bob as well

Happy New Year!

Christmas in Florida and then off to Africa!

Christmas
Becky, Elliott, Bob and his Mom; Ellen, Ginny, Stephen

Greetings from Florida as we prepare to travel to East Africa for most of January and February. We had a wonderful time at Christmas with our daughters, their husbands, Bob’s Mom and James by Skype!

2010 was a busy year for Ellen and I and 2011 promises to be no different.

Off to Africa

We will start the year off with a trip to Kenya and Tanzania, leaving January 9th. The first week in Kenya we will visit friends in our former
places of ministry in and near Eldoret.

The original purpose and my main reason for going is to oversee an ECHO East Africa Symposium in Arusha, Tanzania which will take place February 8th through 11th.

Ellen will be helping with an AIM Africa-based orientation before the symposium and an AIM seminar the week after the symposium. And then instead of coming straight home the last week of February she will go to Pearl River, NY for US candidate week.

Christmas

Backing up a bit, we welcomed Stephen and Ginny back from Sudan just in time for Christmas. Elliott and Becky joined us from St. Louis and my Mom came down from North Florida. We enjoyed a great time together here in North Fort Myers and included James via Skype for a few minutes. They are all now scattered across the globe:

  • Mom back at home near Gainesville
James and Father Paul in Mwanza
James and Father Paul in Mwanza
  • James now has a place to call home in Mwanza, Tanzania; a real answer to prayer for someone who has been in a succession of temporary places for more than a year.
  • Stephen and Ginny settling in Albuquerque for the near future.
  • Elliott and Becky in St. Louis where Elliott is in seminary for another year and a half and Becky teaches elementary music.

Please Pray

We welcome prayer on behalf of:

  • The referendum in Sudan that will take place from January 9th to 14th for more information see this UN website.
  • Ellen’s continuing AIM assignment helping AIM parents with their children’s education
  • Ellen has also taken on the part time responsibility of writing the AIM US prayer guide
  • Bob’s continuing service with ECHO and especially the responsibility of coordinating the effort to open an ECHO East Africa regional office
    in the next two years

We deeply appreciate you and and your involvement in our lives and ministry and wish you God’s blessings in the year ahead.

With warm regards,

Bob and Ellen

May Update

Update from Ellen

May 18, 2010

Greetings from our current home in Pioneer Village – North Fort Myers, FL.

One of these days I’m going to get it together and spend the time figuring out how to use all of the things available to me on my computer and send you all a very spiffy looking newsletter – I promise, one of these days!

In the mean time – I want to just update you and thank you for your friendship, prayers and faithful support.

So – What’s new?

AIM (www.aimint.org) – Ellen continues her work as TCK Educational Coordinator for AIM US. That means that I get in touch with all of our families on their Home Assignment and see how education is going for their kids. I try to help out wherever there might be problems. I also attend all of our US Candidate Weeks to meet with all of our new missionary families and again help them walk through what it is to raise and educate their children in Africa.

From April 1, 2010 – September 15, 2010 – Ellen is the Interim Regional Administrator for the Southeastern US. That means that I am meeting with and interviewing many in the SE who are applying to work with AIM in Africa. In the past 6 weeks I have traveled to North Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and East Tennessee. Next week I am hoping to get to South Florida (Atlantic Coast) – and probably one or two more trips to the Western part of my territory before I turn over the reins in September.

ECHO (www.echonet.org) – Bob is still on staff at ECHO answering requests from ECHO’s “network” all over the world and interacting with interns and visitors. He will also be arranging a forum for network members in East Africa and making a trip to Tanzania June 17th – June 28th to help get the ball rolling on that.

Ellen also meets with the young married women at ECHO on Monday nights and we are currently beginning the Power of a Praying Wife.

Family – James is now officially a missionary with OCMC (www.ocmc.or) and is in Tanzania upgrading his Swahili. He has quite the challenging commute across the capital city Dar es Salaam!

Ginny is winding up her classroom studies at Taylor University and Stephen has concluded his teaching at Ivy Tech in Eastern Indiana. They will be leaving for Southern Sudan on June 17th where Ginny will complete her Masters degree with an internship in water development and she and Stephen will both serve with SIM (www.sim.org) into December of this year.

Becky and Elliott are still in St. Louis where Elliott has wound up his second year at Covenant Theological Seminary (www.covenantseminary.edu) and Becky, her second year of teaching music at Ethel Hedgeman Lyle Academy to Middle Schoolers.

July 2nd, Ellen’s dad will be celebrating his 90th birthday and we are hoping to celebrate with family in Cincinnati.

Ellen is also looking forward to celebrating her 40th Reunion for Finneytown High School the 2nd weekend of July!

Back in Kenya – As you know, we had the privilege of being back in Kenya this fall to teach at the AIC Missionary College. What a rewarding time of teaching and spending time with many that we ministered with and to in our past years. there. Things at the college and Cheptebo are moving on well and we just heard that one of the couples we worked with are now proud parents of a new daughter.

I still receive many requests for school fees – urgently is needed about $250 for Eunice Basele from Loglogo who is coming near the end of her degree. I also have many requests from Cheptebo of impoverished families with children in Secondary and Tertiary education. If anyone is interested in contributing anything to help these young people who love the Lord and want to help their families, their God, their futures and their country – please let me know and I will get the fees to the right places.

strong>Logistics – Once more we are changing residences. But don’t worry, we will continue to get our mail at ECHO (address below), continue to have the same cell phone numbers, and continue to have the same e-mail addresses. We will be moving to a different mobile home in a different park – this one has two bedrooms and two baths, so we can once more host visitors, but is further from the ECHO campus.

Spiritual Growth – Ah… why is this last? Maybe because it is easier to sum up “What’s happenin'”  – To reflect on how God is working… now that takes more thinking and reflecting. Now, what are we learning. Continually, utter dependence on God. God is Sovereign. There are many things going on in the world at large and the world we see more intimately that are distressing and concerning and can cause us to think that God is sleeping or not at work. Yet, in the midst of that, we see him alive and active in both big and little things. So – we are learning to trust when not everything makes sense… Haven’t we learned that before? Of course! And so, now, yes, we DO know that this is true – but we relearn each day as new challenges come our way.

Again, we are thankful for each one of you that is a part of who we are – yes – that is each of you! We covet your prayers and love each of you in your own unique and special way!

Blessings! Bob & Ellen Hargrave

Ellen Hargrave

c/o ECHO

17391 Durrance Rd.

North Fort Myers, FL 33917

239 464 6516

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too.

1 John 5:1  (New Living Translation)