I went to the same international school in Mozambique from kindergarten to 8th grade. When my parents separated and my sisters and I moved to Kenya with my dad before my 8th grade year was over, I was devastated. My whole world felt like it was spinning off its axis.
I had never been to a Missionary Kids’ School and had never been part of an evangelical Christian community before Rosslyn Academy in Nairobi. My classmates and teachers were so genuinely warm and welcoming, it almost made me feel uncomfortable except that it was exactly what my hurting heart and desperate soul needed then.
My 9th grade year at Rosslyn will always hold a very dear place in my heart. It was the year my life changed forever. I responded to the Holy Spirit and made the commitment to become a follower of Jesus. It was also the year that I met this kind and caring boy that I grew to really like (little did I know then that I would one day be adventuring on the road, all across the US with this same boy and our two little girls!) So you can imagine my disbelief when, before the year was over, my dad informed me that we would be moving back to the Philippines!
This time I dug in my heels. Africa was my home and I refused to leave. Fortunately for me, my father kindly relented and made me a deal. If I could find a suitable host family to live with, then he would allow me to stay. Before heading to the Philippines for the summer I explained my dilemma to friends and teachers.
My dad and I returned in August even though I still had no options for where I would stay. I clearly remember attending registration day at Rosslyn that August morning. Going around different tables and signing up for classes with various teachers. I remember feeling nervous as the likelihood of me staying was looking very dim.
I remember getting to the table where Aunt Linda was sitting on the other side, signing up students for Spanish class. When it was my turn to sign up I remember Aunt Linda smiling her bright smile at me and asking me how I was doing. I don’t remember what I said but I do remember glumly fumbling around for a response. I remember her saying she had heard I was looking for a place to stay. And I remember feeling so dejected that it took me a little while to realize what she was saying. She informed me that she and Uncle Dave had been praying about it and that if I hadn’t yet found a place that they would very much like it if I lived with them! I remember being in a bit of a shocked state and I might have even asked if she was being serious.
I remember how seamless it was to join their family and how it quickly felt like home. The stability, consistency, and genuine love and forgiveness that flowed through them from the Father was like a precious handcrafted gift from God. It was such an emotionally charged time in my life and they loved me nonetheless, like one of their own. Even though the privilege of living under their roof spanned a short time, that whole experience deeply shaped me in ways that God continues to use.
I am so very grateful for this chance to re-connect and see them again. Thank you Uncle Dave, Aunt Linda, Elliot, Emily, and Juniper for taking time to see us and host us! We loved our time with you and we hope to see you again soon!
Note: My parents eventually reconciled and are back together. I did eventually move back to the Philippines with my whole family. After Rosslyn Academy Phil and I continued our friendship long-distance and eventually started dating (in college), and then got married.