Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Close your eyes and imagine this...

You're getting ready to send your daughter off to international boarding school. You're sewing the little ribbon name tags into the back of each piece of clothing. You've taken the list provided by the hostel where she'll be living and gathered things like sheets, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, towels and washcloths, book bag, and all the other things she'll need to be as self-sufficient as possible far from Mom and Dad. You've even cut her long, beautiful hair short so that she can take care of it by herself with the braid wrapped and stored as a keepsake. You send another prayer up that her visa comes in time since she's not only going away from home for school, she's going to a different country.

I'm having to imagine it myself since I'm speaking for my Mom. She is the one that can truly tell you what it's like to send your child off to another country to boarding school.

However, I can speak as the child since I was that child. Mom and Dad did a great job of making it an adventure. I felt very grown up to be going off by myself to school. I knew other kids who had already begun doing that, and at the time it was normal to start boarding school in 4th grade. Mom had home schooled me up to that point because Cameroon didn't have public schools that were good enough to keep me at the same level of education as my peers in the United States. Now it was time to do big girl things and go to school in Nigeria.

I have no children of my own, but even imagining my nieces and nephews being sent off at a very young age causes me fear. Would they be safe? Who can they go to if they get homesick or need help with their homework? Will they be okay? What happens if they have trouble in school with other kids or with their teacher?

So when I found out about the opportunity to go to Cameroon to help build the Rain Forest International School (RFIS) for missionary kids, I checked out their web site. Since it's a fact of life for a lot of missionary kids, I wanted to find out if they had goals and beliefs that would make the school the best it could be. It's important to me that when parents send their children away to school that it's safe and the child comes first. I liked what I saw and decided that I wanted to be a part of that.

So, I embarked on a journey; raising money to go and be a construction worker at the new school site. Thanks to God's grace and a lot of people who were generous both financially and with their prayers, I left for Cameroon on September 10th, 2009. And, lucky me, my Dad went with me.

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