RVA, Kenya, and Tanzania: Rabenold Update

January started off with lots of fun and work as we started our second term of school. Here at Rift Valley Academy we have a week of meetings called “In-Service” for all the teachers and staff before each term starts. Tim Hall the superintendent of the school asked me to roast a pig for the staff. We ended up roasting 2 of them–a total of 285 lbs of meat which was perfect for feeding the 150 missionary staff and their children. It was fun as Colton was with me from Arusha. There were also a few of his friends, as well as other staff that volunteered to help. If there is anything more fun than eating roasted pork it is cooking it for hours with friends!

There have been lots of things happening in this New Year. Many of our girls from our dorm are in Field Hockey and Soccer. We have been going to their games and cheering for them!  They have been playing excellently. Our girls soccer team has only lost one game this year. Classes continue to go well and I am teaching two courses while Kim works with special needs kids from the primary school.

On the 22nd of January I was asked to be the speaker at Moffat Bible College’s “Missions Day.” It was a great day as I got to meet over 120 African pastoral students from 5 different countries. The topic I was asked to speak on was evangelism and discipleship among animists, leadership development as well as community development with an emphasis on beekeeping. It was also excellent to get the opportunity to meet the many staff from the two different Bible colleges who attended.

The 19th of January I went with (5) RVA students to preach in a village called Olepolos. It is a Masai village outside of Narok, Kenya. I spoke on Genesis and God’s goodness in creation. Think of it, our God made a world full of things He didn’t need! When was the last time you made something you didn’t have a use for?  Truly God’s love for us started even then as He put us in a world full of wonderful things to eat and enjoy. Of course, afterwards I taught the church members a seminar they had asked me to come teach on beekeeping and its use in helping them diversify their income as farmers and pastoralists. Interesting fact: honey was the only sweetener the world knew until the extraction of sugar from beets became possible/practical in 1750. The RVA students and I had a great time and it was good for them to be off the school property.

Please pray for my good friend and Kenyan co-worker Zed who was hit this Saturday by another motorcycle while on his motorcycle. He sustained a compound fracture in the middle of his left tibia. I was able to make it to the hospital in Kijabe before he arrived by taxi and helped get him in a wheelchair and get wheeled into the emergency room. He needed surgery with a plate affixed to help the bone heal. He is my only co-worker in the pottery classroom here at RVA and is an amazing potter. Pray for both him and me. He needs prayer for recovery and I need it as my responsibilities are more in the classroom now than simply teaching. I will also be firing the kilns and keeping the classroom in enough clay for both the pottery and sculpturing class.

The 14th of March we chaperoned an educational trip to Zanzibar together with 10 seniors from Rift Valley Academy. The trip went great and we were blessed to visit Stone town and learn about its history–the slave market where slaves from the interior were gathered and sold before the 1874 ban on slavery, spice tour, and we got to serve in an English training school just outside of Stone town.

After returning from Zanzibar I packed for a two-week trip to Tanzania over RVA’s spring break. We cannot express how grateful we have been for the ability to visit the ongoing  work in Rukwa Valley, Tanzania during the school breaks here at Rift Valley Academy. God gave me a safe trip to the Valley and back again in time for an educators’ conference going on right now here at RVA. During my trip there I had meetings with the leadership of Grace Church, visited several developmental plots to the north of Kapenta, and spent time with the team of missionaries and nationals serving in Kapenta. These pictures are a sampling of the things we were able to be involved in while on our Zanzibari trip and subsequent trip to Tanzania.

Thanks for your kind prayers and generous support. It is great serving together with you!


My good friend Chris who is in my Swahili class praying as we close the church service in Olepolus.


Presenting a hive to Bwana Sena who hosted a beekeeper training seminar at his Mennonite church in Olepolus, Kenya. The seminar was directed at impacting local Masai, one of the most famous of Kenya’s 42 people groups.


Training beekeepers in Usa River. These three men from the Songea district government met me in Arusha region for a weekend seminar on beekeeping.


Training pastors from Kenya at Care of Creation’s pastoral seminar in Kijabe.


Our dorm girls from Rift Valley Academy. It will be a sad day when we say goodbye to these girls, who have become like our family, after graduation.


Peter and Savy at the famous RVA Banquet 2014:)


Mose, Elaimu, Jericho, and James in Lyanza. I have worked with the three men on the left for over 20 years now. I couldn’t ask for higher quality guys!


Cosima with Red Lady papaya tree in Lyanza. We introduced this new gaiety of papaya to the valley in 2002. It is a prolific bearer of fruit and produces its fruit low to the ground for easy picking.


Frenki on Tree of Life’s new Lyanza plot. We continue to plant sugar cane on this plot as it can be harvested and the money used to pay those working on our new agricultural project. We are continuing to seek ways of modeling progressive agriculture for local valley farmers. We have 37 new acres for our project.




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