As you may know we decided to stay here in Kenya during the pandemic. For the most part we are locked down on the RVA campus. However, with the exception of maintenance emergencies, we are not allowed to go into other people’s homes. Also when we are outside talking with non-Hoyts we must wear our masks. I confess that it’s very strange not having made physical contact with anyone outside of my direct family in 2 to 3 weeks, but at the same time it’s what is best.
Naturally, as people worldwide are losing their jobs, missionaries worldwide are losing critical financial support. As of now our local Kenyan staff, except essential personnel, have been sent home with pay to self-isolate.
This however doesn’t seem to negate our calling. We continue to share what we have with those in need, our extended family. While it is true life grows less comfortable during this difficult time, it is equally true that life is no less rich. Indeed it is a “Jesus thing”. Somehow, through it all, God is still good and our calling more obvious than ever.
Some time back Melinda and another staff member, raised money to purchase the practical arts department (AKA Home Economics) 15 new sewing machines. Mainly two churches, one in Maine (thank you Beans Corner) and another in Texas, purchased and shipped those machines.
So why am I bringing up those sewing machines? Because while we thought they were only meant to teach RVA students a practical art, God saw a bigger picture. In recent weeks, Melinda, the girls, and a handful of others have been using them to sew hundreds of hospital gowns and masks. Melinda teachings sewing, God is now using those skills to literally save lives. Praise God! What a great time to show the world the love of Christ.
Please join us in prayer for God’s continued providence and provision: Please pray that our scientists soon find an effective treatment, inoculation, and cure for Covid 19. Please pray that people’s basic needs, including those of us in the mission field, continue to be met. Please pray for Melinda as she prepares to teach class on line. Please pray for those families that are locked down with others that physically and/or emotionally violent.
Steve, Melinda, and the Girls
Greetings friend, family, and supporters,
I am sure your eyes have been on the globe like never before. No matter our thoughts or opinions on Coronavirus it has made its presence known and felt around the world.
This is how it has affected our school:
“After evaluating our contingency policies, and in consultation with several outside resources, Rift Valley Academy has made the decision to close school on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. This decision was made out of an abundance of caution, and with the desire to not only keep our students safe, but also to ensure that they are able to be home with family.
While there is no evidence currently of COVID-19 in Kenya or at RVA, countries are moving towards increased travel restrictions, and the logistics of travel is getting more complicated as time goes on, possibly preventing students from travelling home. In order to avoid this RVA has decided to dismiss school on March 17, 2020 and cancel all school activities following that date.”
What this means for the Hoyts is that we have adjusted our school schedule and shortened classes by 2 weeks. We had to cancel a trip to Uganda. We are working on contingency plans to school kids via internet (where possible) from their host countries all around Africa if travel bans create a scenario where kids can not make it back to school at the beginning of third term. We will be available to help in the local community if we have a health crisis. Since this official notice was posted, we now have our first confirmed case.
- That the church will be a place of calm hope and security to those in fear.
- That all our students make it back home without delays or quarantines as they are traveling alone internationally.
- That the spread of Corona is contained quickly with minimal secondary damage to countries that rely on travel and tourism for their economy.
- For missionaries on the field who will have to do the work of many due to numbers of associates that will be stranded because of travel bans.
- Pray for us as it is hard to be quarantined in a country that is not your own with limited medical capacity.
We will be praying for you
Melinda and Steve Hoyt
Not long ago I was reading a book, and though I now don’t remember from which book it came, I wrote down a specific quote that deeply resonated with me. The quote, by the late Eric Fromm, a German psychologist, is as follows:
“No great idea can survive unless it is embodied in the individuals whose lives are the message”
Wow! Not only does that speak of how I’ve been trying to live for the past 2 decades, it also speaks to the lives of all followers of Christ. Whether Christian pastors, engineers, architects, janitors, school teachers, or construction managers, those Christian things we say or do mean very little unless they are a deeply embedded conviction for our own lives, attached like a timeless tattoo on our hearts, souls, and minds.
Melinda continues to build up students, so please pray that these kids continue to see the sacrificial grace and mercy of Christ in her loving words and actions. After all, it’s not enough for them to get good grades if they don’t sense His love through their school teachers.
I continue to build and maintain infrastructure. But that’s only the byproduct. In fact, it’s merely a classroom for building men and women in Christ. Husbands and wives, sons and daughters, and employees are discovering just how amazing it is to work for the King of kings. Please pray as I continue to influence others to give their artisan talents as a humble sacrifice to the Lord.
|Merry Christmas from the Hoyts|
I’m praying this will be the best Christmas ever.
As Christmas approaches, we know that this Christmas will be different. With things as tight as they are, we will fill the girls’ stockings with goodies, but not exchange purchased Christmas presents.
The girls, even our 11 year old Hannah, seem to genuinely understand this situation. Perhaps their understanding is due to the many friends they’ve had over the years that find an enkoko (chicken) in the pot with matoke, g-nut sauce, and a side of green sukumawiki enough of a Christmas present to brag to their friends about their Christmas feast.
We know that this gives us an opportunity as a family to play more games, share a healthy feast, and discuss the true blessings of Jesus like never before, still lingering in our hearts is the question, will our baby girls always remember with heavy disappointment the Christmas they received relatively little?
As parents Melinda and I worry that deep down inside, they just might think we’ve let them down this year. Perhaps some of you have faced this same situation and know the worry – and the difficulty we have in even sharing this with you.
Will they always remember this Christmas that the only gift that truly counts is the humble Savior wrapped and laid in a manger? Will they see that guiding star gently brighten the face of the world’s sacrificial God King? Will they see the sweat and tears that must have covered the pondering mothers face? Will they really understand what we’ve been telling them all these years now? That Christmas is not really about presents. Instead, it’s about His presence. If they do, this in fact will be their best Christmas ever.
I’m praying this will be the best Christmas ever.
Finally, more than ever, Melinda and I are reminded of the many years that you have prayerfully and economically invested in this ministry of building people up in His mercy and grace. Thank you! And we send each of you a very sincere Jesus focused Merry Christmas greeting!
Steve, Melinda, Sophia, Janet, Madeline, and Hannah
I’m finally over the jet lag and have had a few coffee breaks to catch up with mom. It is good to be stateside to visit many of you and to do some fundraising to help replace some lost monthly support (some of our supporters had a financial hit –please pray for them). We also need to help offset the cost of our plane fare here which was $6,000 total (praise God for the $2000 already raised).
In our last update, Steve gave you the story of how, after 13 years in Uganda, we ended up in Kijabe, Kenya. Now I hope to tell a bit about our day to day lives in Kijabe. In Uganda I had a slower paced life as a home school mom and supporter of Steve’s CM/Workshop ministry. My central way of supporting was by boosting women and youth in our community. Here in Kenya, however, I work a lot more hours at both my official title as well as my ministry.
Currently, I am the Home Economics Sewing Teacher, Academic Support Assistant for students with special needs, Tech Club Coach, Library and Cafeteria Monitor, Mentor, Home School Teacher, Mom, and Wife. This means from 7:20AM until as late as 11pm I am teaching, coaching, tutoring, discipling, and loving people. To live and work at a boarding school means you are on from the time you wake till that sweet hour of silence when the house falls asleep.
Missionary Kids (MKs) are a special group of kids that deal with the pressures of life in the mission field. Issues such as:
- Attachment disorders due to their many transient friends and so many moves.
- Trauma from being in or witnessing accidents and violence.
- Fear of disappointing their parents, their mission organization, the people group where they live, their sending churches, and even God.
These kids are highly empathetic and loving to others, but too many, all the while, struggle with feelings of anxiety and abandonment. They are a highly functional, flexible, and gritty group of kids, yet desperate for love, care, and permission to be messy confused teenagers.
This is where God has placed me and why he has given me such a mother’s heart. An Atesot friend of mine, Aipo Janet, often times refers to me as “Totoke Idwe” which translates “Mother of Children”. She gave it to me because she said, “Melinda, in all our years of friendship I have never seen you without children, both yours and so many others.” It is what God made me for and it is no different here in Kijabe Kenya.
My home is filled with wonderful kids praying, studying, singing, dancing, watching cartoons, napping, eating, asking for advice, telling stories, seeking solace, rest, and refuge. This is what we offer at the Hoyt house unconditional, no-strings-attached love, and a safe space.
Both Steve and I are working full time, and both are working on developing relationships here in Kijabe with kids and local staff. Pray for continued health, strength, and connection with God’s people here. Help us bring His love, grace, and mercy to all we meet and to accept the same from others.
We’ve been at RVA in Kijabe, Kenya for 9 months now, and all is well with our ministries, and the girls schooling. Hannah’s doing great in grade school as she continues to collect friends. Janet is homeschooling while loving the positive social life that flourishes here. Both Sophia and Madeline did very well in field hockey while maintaining high honors.
This past month I’ve had some supporters ask for clarification concerning our move to Kenya. And if they’ve asked, it’s probably safe to assume others are wondering the same. So I’ll better explain. But first:
Please note that we are still self-funded and still need prayer and economic support from you. And our support continues to pass through our EMI account
In 2017, during one of my trips to RVA to visit Sophia, I met the maintenance supervisor. During our conversation, I discovered he mostly works with the national staff, of whom build, remodel, and maintain the infrastructure for RVA’s 100-acre campus. Under his supervision, he had 18 fulltime staff and 25 to 60 casual staff. But I then learned that the importance of ministry for these employees was secondary to their physical work. As you know, biblically and functionally, I believe this is backward. So I’ll say it again:
The best investment any organization can make is in its employees. When this occurs the byproduct will improve leaving the client satisfied.
He then mentioned that in a few months he was leaving RVA. The LED flashed on! The opportunity to take what I’ve learned through the EMI Uganda CM program and apply it to an existing program in Kenya, all the while keeping my family together through the high school years, was exciting.
The more we inquired and prayed, the further the door opened. Within months I was offered the job. EMI then agreed to loan me to RVA for 4 years.
I’m now expanding the ministry to Kenya through RVA, while, thank God, keeping my family together through high school.
The ministry is going well. Cross-training is allowing people to improve their professional skills. But the best news? Eager souls are hearing the Gospel according to Jesus. Just as in Uganda, employees, myself included, are growing as Christian husbands, parents, and leaders.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Soon Melinda will be sending some updates concerning our day to day life here in Kenya, and her exciting ministry.
We Finally Arrive in Kenya
After a frustrating 4 hours at the border on Thursday, we were finally permitted to cross with all 6 of our people, our dog, and our truck. But our Lorry of possessions was another matter. That didn’t arrive until Monday morning. And we thank the Lord.
Concerning our ride, a 1990 Toyota Land Cruiser GX, two issues came up the week before our trip that would have left us stranded. Coincidence? I think not. Our truck drove like a charm. And we thank the Lord.
Though we didn’t get stopped by the police between Entebbe and the Kenyan border, we were stopped at least 10 times between the border and Kijabe. I suppose our Ugandan tags attracted some attention. But each stop was quite “efficient”. No bribes were requested. And we thank the Lord.
Our home here in Kajabe is quite lovely. It’s at about 7200 feet above sea level, and we even have a view of a dormant volcano from our yard. It’s “winter” south of the equator. That combined with the elevation, rainy season, and the fact that our home is made of stone, makes it quite cold.
As for the monkeys in our yard, it seems we’ve decreased the quantities, but increased the species. From troops of vervet and some colobus in Entebbe, to lots of sykes, some vervets, some colobus, and some baboons in Kijabe.
So we are here. RVA is beautiful. The staff has been shockingly helpful. We are homesick, but we’ll adjust.
So far, as we tread among the waves of this vast cultural sea called Kenya, we’ve noticed a handful of superficial differences. Soon we will begin exploring deep below the surface. From cultural snorkeling to deep sea diving, please pray that we manage the riptides in a God-glorifying way.
You are a critical part of this ministry. And we thank the Lord!
1 Thessalonians 5:18
I am creating this site to help facilitate the flow of information from our ministry with Engineering Ministries International in Uganda, Africa to our supporters and friends around the world. I plan to post all our email updates/newsletters and prayer requests on this site to better accommodate all our supporters. Updates will continue to also be personally emailed to all our current contacts just as before. This is just another added platform for communication. I will endeavor to add past posts for those that would like to scroll through for a more historical view of our time here in Uganda. This will be an ongoing project so please be patient. If you have any suggestions for improving this site or our other forms of communication we would appreciate hearing them. I am excited to better utilize multimedia and hope this approach is beneficial to all.