Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Leaving Kenya, for good.

Hi Everyone, We are back in Kenya, barely. We've made it to a friends house in Nairobi last night. And today we collect our van, get groceries, and drive the last hour to our house at RVA. Our time at Alongside helped bring clarity to what my family needs. Stability and security. We have both at RVA but not enough, we need over flowing amounts of sameness in our lives. Never ever thought I would say that. Sameness, sounds boring. We could do with some boring for a while. Missionary communities like the boarding school we live at, have 30% turn over in staffing and students every year. We say good-bye to 1/3 of our friends, every year. It's too much for a family already with a history of tremendous loss. RVA has been great for us, but not the best place for us. We came back to Kenya, to leave. I've decided to settle my family in Zeeland Michigan, permanently. Our hearts are broken about another transition, about leaving for the last time as we know it. It's bittersweet. At RVA, we will finish this term (semester) of work and school, build a crate and fill it with what we can't let go of. Ryan's motorcycle, the kid's blankets since they were toddlers, a foot locker of legos, my framed pictures of Kenya, will be shipped in the crate to our house in Zeeland. Thank God, we have a house in Zeeland, already set up and waiting for us. Thank God we have Zeeland Christian School with classmates that remember the Williams as fun kids and friends. Thank God we have family that understand that we are losing Kenya to gain the stability and security of living near them. During Christmas break, we are visiting and saying good-bye to our favorite Kenyan places. And getting on those big airplanes, to leave one home to choose our other home. But the adventures for the Williams family are far from over! How could they be with this bunch who are wired with wandering hearts and wanderlust in our eyes. I completed a 2 year term as a school nurse at Rift Valley Academy. From January through April of 2014, we will be receiving AIM support for Home Assignment (furlough). I don't know what will happen on May 1. If you are one of our monthly supporters, please continue to send in your pledge through the month of April. I will let you know if you can stop supporting us, if God leads me to be in-active with AIM. If you send in support at the end of the year, it's up to you. We have one-time financial needs for our return airfare in December, shipping this crate from Kenya to the USA, and staying on health insurance through April. I would use your gift wisely if you contribute this year. And if you don't, enjoy finding another missionary to support. I know when I decide to give a one time gift to a ministry, it brings me joy. Jet lag is catching up with me, so that is more then enough news to digest for now. May God be with you, always. Dawn, Caleb, Levi, Seth, and Chloe Marie Williams

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Prayer Letter August 2013

Good Afternoon! My computer crashed at Christmas and I lost a lot of data for sending out updates. Sorry you have not heard from us in a while. Updates on all of us: Dawn-loves her work as a school nurse. After 1-½ years, I feel more confident in my skills, more comfortable with immunization records, and more content in getting to know students that come in. Caleb is a 5th grader! He is responsible, resourceful, and reasonable. Sometimes with too much reasoning as he pleads his case after I say ‘no!’ He is a joy to see as he grows into a Man-Child. Levi is a 4th grader! He is passionate, purposeful, and precocious. He transitions from excited to serious in moments. Whatever he is feeling, he is feeling it deeply. Seth is 2nd grader! He is sensitive, silly, and simple. He likes hot dogs and mangoes, science and math, Noah and ripsters. He knows his own mind while remaining teachable. Chloe is a big 1st grader. Chloe is friendly, funny, and a follower. She has many friends calling her for play dates and yet she prefers to stay home with mama. She is a tom-boy, no dresses, but likes her hair braided long and wants a pirates birthday party. We continue to live, attend school, and work at Rift Valley Academy. The transition to another school, another home, and mom working full-time is intense. We are trying so very hard to thrive. Not just survive. We wish we could take the best of America and the best of Kenya and combine it into one life. Caleb would like a bridge from Kenya to MI so we could go back and forth more often. My kids are old enough to experience emotions connected with being Third Culture Kids (TCK’s). No place feels completely like home. And they need to work through how to be content with God’s will for our family. I’ve worried about my lack of communication with you. Would it affect your support and prayers for us? Or would God fill you with peace to have faith in my ministry? God’s blessed me with over 12 years of full time missions. I hope I’ve built your trust in me to keep doing what God wills. We’ve remained fully supported, God is indeed good. Rift Valley Academy is a boarding school for missionary kids run by Africa Inland Mission. It’s over 100 years old and rated as the second best school in Africa. We have graduates becoming missionaries, moving all over the world, even attending Ivy League schools. The community on campus is peaceful, safe, exciting, and challenging. The staff and the students care about each other. It’s amazing. If you are ever in the area, come and visit. I could proof read this to many times and never send get it sent! So here it goes into your mailbox. May you be deeply blessed by our Lord and Savior. Dawn Williams

Monday, April 29, 2013

Snaps of the last 6 months

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Seth prayed The Prayer!

And asked Jesus into his heart. He's sealed! For all eternity! I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.Luke 15:7 And Ryan is rejoicing in heaven!

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Last 7 Months!

Hello! August 2012 I want to share an overview of what’s been going on with us the last 7 months. RVA has 3 terms each school year. We missed 1st term from Sept-Nov. But we did experience 2nd term (Jan-Mar) and 3rd term (May-Jul). Arriving in December with the holidays, jet-lag, and moving into a new house was exhausting. I began my new job on December 30, went from being a full time mom to a full time working mom. I love it. God used the last 2 years to prepare me. I worried I wouldn’t have the stamina I needed. But He supplies. I wake up ready to work, feeling clear headed, and even excited. My free time was spent unpacking, transporting the remainder of my household from Nairobi to RVA, getting the house painted, hanging curtains, stocking the pantry, and sleeping. I was driven, I wanted to be moved in by April and we were. For my kids, 2nd term involved the boys going to school, making new friends, roaming the campus, and coming home late for dinner. Frequently I would hear ‘mom, I don’t ever want to leave, move again, can we stay here forever.’ God didn’t just call me, he called my whole family to return to our Kenyan home. I would ask the kids ‘Can you believe we are actually here?’ Chloe attended pre-school twice a week. She doesn’t deal well with transitions and not having mommy home was hard on her. She wanted to be home when I came home and not out playing. She was intimidated by the size of the campus. She is the only one that occasionally talks about our life in Michigan. I gave her the time and space she needed to be home. I took her for walks everywhere and then would ask her to lead the way home. It was a goofy game. She did learn how to get home from Ethan’s house on her own, and added other friend’s houses to the list. Now she goes out and isn’t anxious. My house is connected to Student health by one door. She comes to visit daily. Esther, the secretary, commandeers her to roll cotton balls and then pays her with a pop-cycle. Seth and Chloe often play dominoes in the sitting area. Ours is the only office on campus with a fireplace in the lobby and kids will hang out just to warm up. Our time off in April was spent resting, updating charts at Student Health, organizing my garage sale stash, and selling home school books. We did get away for a week to Sunrise Acres, cottages on a farm, with two other families. Ryan and I took the kids to Sunrise Acres many times to rest and regroup as a family. We needed to revisit it and experience the joy and sadness of what we had and how that has changed. Third term was intense. Physicals are required for anyone leaving Africa. We did physicals on all 90 seniors, other students and families who were going on Home Assignment (furlough), or leaving permanently. I now know how to do eye charts, hearing tests, lab work, and physical stats. Each person got updated on their immunizations and received a TB skin test. Several students and staff turned up with a positive reaction. I soon took over the care and treatment of these folks. Each one got a chest x-ray, a family history, and received 9 months of treatment. None of them had active (contagious) TB. Instead it’s latent TB which means at some time they experienced a strong exposure to TB and their bodies made antibodies. The TB skin test reacts to those antibodies. They are not contagious, but we don’t want them to develop active TB. The 9 months of drug therapy treats their latent TB and they should never develop active TB. I have become quite knowledgeable about TB, as you can see. I counseled each person about TB and the medications. To finish such a project well, boosted my confidence. My kids and I all struggled emotionally. Coming in ½ way through the school year was tough. Students and adults had their friends. All were open to us but finding time to get to know people is tough. We experienced loneliness, anger, and disappointment. Thankfully God placed counselors and other supportive people around us to help us navigate how much our lives have changed without Ryan. I shared in a chapel for junior and senior high, about being a servant. Ryan had the spiritual gift of being a servant. The characteristics I saw in Ryan that equipped him to be a servant were humility, deep convictions, commitment, and doing everything with excellence. I showed them a 5 minute video of Ryan being a servant as a husband, father, and aircraft mechanic. I had their complete attention, they met my husband, my kid’s father, and experienced a bit of what our life used to look like. Many had no idea who I was or where my kid’s dad was. That chapel helped me fill in the blanks. For the next week, students thanked me for sharing, gave me hugs with no explanation, and just greeted me with understanding on the sidewalks. They now knew who Mrs. Williams is and about her journey with God through grief. I was truly blessed. Graduation was amazing. Too finally meet many of the parents of the boarding seniors helped put more pieces of the puzzle in place. I saw how close the senior class is, how much most are going to miss RVA and Africa, and how broad their world view is. I felt truly concerned for them as they go to colleges that won’t understand them. These men and women are not materialistic, selfish, or disrespectful. They are world-changers, with something about them that attract or repel people because others won’t know what to make of them. It is God raising kids to be different. Through the ceremony I gained courage. To see the seniors turn out great after experiencing adversity, gave me courage that my kids too, will turn out great. I want my kids to graduate from RVA and have the whole experience of the adventures and spiritual influence that RVA brings. First term begins the end of August and I feel prepared. Going to the coast for a week always helps. I have projects to do during the break at Student Health, but it is manageable. It’s just nice not to be on-call for a couple of weeks. My verse for this season is from 2 Samuel 7:18, “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?” I see how hard the 5 of us are trying to grieve well and find Joy. But it’s only because we allow God to carry us, that we have come this far. Be Blessed, Dawn, Caleb, Levi, Seth, and Chloe

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

February at RVA

Hi Everybody,

We’ve been in our new home, in a new location, doing a new ministry at a new school for about six weeks.

New School for my kids
Rift Valley Academy (RVA)is suiting us just fine. My kids love the freedom of living inside a big fence with 450 other kids. RVA has 70 houses for the staff families to live in; it’s a big place. Each kid is adjusting to new friends and teachers. They love the after-school activities. Often at dinner time, we can’t eat because someone is missing. But it gets dark at 6:45 so they come home eventually, tired, happy and hungry.

New Ministry for me
I’m working full time as a school nurse at Student Health. So far, a bad head cold and a stomach bug have gone through the dorms and the families. To keep such illnesses from spreading, Student Health has guidelines for the dorms. Each dorm has dorm parents, kind of like an RD in college. If a kid has a fever over 100 degrees or other various symptoms, they can’t stay in the dorm. Student Health has room for 20 kids to sleep when they are sick. Often kids will come in for a few hours to get cold medicine and a nap, like missing a day of school in the States. Other times kids get sick in the middle of the night and need to come over to Student Health for the rest of the night. The nurses each have nights and weekends to be on-call for after hour illnesses.

That’s a brief explanation, but what I want you to know is that I like my new job. It’s challenging and very different than being a nurse in the states. I am getting to know kids as they come in to see a nurse. The staff are excellent and a great resource as I learn this new position. I don’t mind going into work and I like coming home.

New Location
RVA is an hour outside of Nairobi. It’s high elevation of 7500 feet. And the school is built on the escarpment of the Rift Valley. We have an amazing view of the valley from our perch. The air is fresh and it’s quiet. Those are the biggest differences for me. I don’t need a fan on at night to block out noises because it’s so quiet. Living in a capital city for seven years was very noisy and not fresh. Right now everything is green and blooming, very pretty.

New Home
Some paint color and new curtains make a huge difference in making a house feel like home. Bringing all of our furniture from Nairobi also helped. While we lived in Zeeland, the kids missed their African quilts on their beds, fresh home-made tortillas, and carrot sticks that taste like a carrot should taste. I missed fresh smoothies made from mango, pineapple, banana, and strawberries. This is living. We have a nice home that is big enough for us and has a private covered back porch. Last week I came down with a stomach bug and slept the whole afternoon on my outside couch. We have a love-bird cage that needs love-birds, a fish tank in need of fish, and a yard in need of a puppy. It’s going to be a good year.

Thanks for staying with us on this journey. My financial support of one time gifts was good the month of December. THANK YOU! I continue to hope that God will bring more supporters who commit to give monthly. But I don’t think I worry about money near as much as I used to. I am accountable for my finances, but since my loss of Ryan, money isn’t what matters.

Please pray for us and praise the Lord for all He has done,

Dawn and 4 amazing kids

Levi at water sports day

Seth hit the target and dunked another student

Chloe playing musical buckets

Caleb with shaving cream, I think.

A view of the valley and Mt Longonot. Can you see how steep it is?

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

We fly to Kenya on December 20!

Hi Everyone,
I hope you are well! We are almost ready for our big move back to Kenya. My weeks are full. This is what’s next.

Full-time Job
My full time job for the last 11 years has been at home. Since I’ve applied for a RN position at RVA, I’ve wondered if I’ll have the energy for each day. The answer is yes, but not until that day. Today, God grants me what I need for this day only. I start my full time job as a school nurse in Student Health on December 30 with Staff Inservices. The next week, the boarding students arrive. Student Health has several full-time nurses and a couple of part-time nurses. I will buddy up with a nurse each day for my orientation. And I’m ready. That’s an amazing miracle for me not just to say but to feel. I’m ready to work full time.

My mom is coming with me for 6 weeks to help with our transition. We are moving into a new house, starting a new school, and a new job. The kids and I need my mom to be at home keeping things peaceful. That’s her job and she is good at it. I learned from the best. She will help us get into a new routine of getting to school and work in the mornings. And in the evenings, figuring out each kids homework. And I need to figure out how to get dinner on the table and kids in bed without me melting down.

RVA and staffing
RVA is a large boarding school primarily for missionary kids. None of the missionary staff at the school including teachers, administrators, dorm parents, nurses, etc receive a salary from RVA. This allows the school to keep costs down and tuition affordable for missionaries who send their kids to the school. I will not be receiving a salary from RVA. I will continue to be a faith based missionary which means I need to raise my own support. God is responsible for meeting my needs. I can let you know what those needs are.

My Needs as a Missionary.
If God is prompting you to pray, that is most important. That is why I sleep at night instead of worry about what I have to do yet.
If God is prompting you to encourage, write me, please. Any encouragement you have to give, will be received.
If God is prompting you to help, I am much more open to receiving help with the kids and with packing then I was even a month ago.
If God is prompting you to give, at the end of the letter are instructions about how to give. Support can be one-time, any number times a year, or monthly. Just do what God wants you to do. He has a way of multiplying our gifts. My support is not at 100%. I am short about $1700 a month. I am planning to be at RVA for 2-3 years before our next visit to the states. And I will need financial support the entire time.

Giving Financially
The easiest way to give is online. I support missionaries by having my monthly giving deducted automatically from my checking account. I’ve also given one time gifts online by using my credit card. Sending a check to the AIM office with a note designating it for the support of Dawn Williams, will also work.

For those who want to send checks, please send your support to the address you see below. Just a reminder - any checks sent for our support are to be made out to Africa Inland Mission. Please do not include my name on the memo line, but include a note that your support is for Dawn Williams. AIM will send you a receipt.

Africa Inland Mission
PO Box 3611
Peachtree City, Georgia 30269-7611

Automatic withdrawals from checking or to a credit card are an easy way to ensure consistent giving. Look at the AIM site: www.aimint.net and follow the directions under Giving for both Online Giving and Automatic Deductions.

If you need to contact the AIM office by phone, the numbers are: (800) 254-0010 or (845) 735-4014.

Or you can email me with your questions, and I can try and give more detailed help.

Lately this song is on my mind:
Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.

I see mountains of work and worry ahead of me each day. And then I remember. My God can move these mountains. Mountains of worry that my support won’t be 100%. Mountains of clothes that won’t fit in the luggage. Mountains of people to say good-bye too. My God will handle the mountains. And it will all get done before I board my airplane to Kenya. It Will Get Done!

May God bless you and keep you, as He keeps me,