Christmas In Kenya

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope you had a lovely holiday season wherever you are in the world. I hope you were able to spend it with friends and family and remember the reason for the season. I spent my first Christmas in Kenya and I thought I'd give you a peak at what it was like.

Kids Crafting Chaos

'Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the campus; not a creature was stirring, not even a monkey;  The stockings were hung by the fireplaces with care; In hopes that something fun soon would be there.

Over the December break, the campus almost shuts down - all of the dorm kids return home or visit family. Many staff and teachers travel or return to the USA/home. It's quiet.... really quiet. While there are occasionally on-campus activities for the staff who remain - they are mostly for adults. 

I thought it would be fun to hold a kid's crafting party. I invited staff kids, in grades 4-12, over to make Christmas cards and tags for a few hours. It was so much fun seeing them get creative, as they played with my stamps and scrapbook paper. Everyone left covered in glitter and full of sugar. 

The Sweetest Note

One of the highlights of my Christmas in Kenya was the multiple secret Santa gifts and notes dropped at my door and in my mailbox. A couple of families brought Carmel popcorn, some left Christmas cards but my favorite was this super special note left in my mailbox. It was so sweet and kind. I really appreciate how people have helped to make me feel at home here at RVA.

Christmas in Kenya Snapshots

Making new friends on long car rides into Nairobi to go grocery shopping and to visit the Farmer's Market.
We had a gingerbread house decorating contest...I won the most creative use of ingredients (stain glass windows, chocolate-dipped chip roof shingles, and marshmallow poinsettias).
I saw Santa riding a camel at a Christmas Craft fair.
I was able to dog-sit for a family on campus - Yukon became my Christmas buddy
Decorating looks different when you don't have access to all the supplies but I love the way my paper snowflakes and twig Christmas tree turned out.

Answers to Prayer

12/25/19 - Christmas away from my family was really hard but I am so thankful for everyone who prayed for our international family (Canada, Chad, Kenya, England). We were able to FaceTime on Christmas day and it was so special to talk about how our days were going, laugh over silly things Josh did (like usual) and pray for each other. I miss them all like crazy but this was such a precious Christmas moment.

COMPUTER UPDATE: In my last newsletter I shared that my computer screen broke. I was able to send it home with some staff who were visiting the USA for Christmas. I was able to get it repaired. In the meantime, I was able to borrow a computer from the school photography/videography department so I could get work done. I'm so thankful for this huge answer to prayer!

Prayer Requests

  • New School Term: The kids arrived back on campus, on Saturday, and school started on Monday this week. I'm excited to begin to see what school life at RVA looks like. Please pray for us all as we get started.
  • Teaching: I've begun teaching 6th-grade science. Please pray for me as I begin learning the student's names and try to get a grasp on all the material I need to cover with them.
  • Work Visa: I'm still waiting or my work visa to be approved. Please pray that the approval will come in soon so I won't need to get another visitor visa extension. 
  • Sunday School: I start teaching Sunday School this Sunday. A small group of 7th-grade girls will come to my house in the morning before the church service and we will study the Word together. Please pray for us as we build relationships and grow in our faith together.

P.S. I am incredibly thankful for staff on campus who invited me to join in on their holiday moments and made this year special. I was able to attend an American Thanksgiving potluck; Christmas Eve Fettuccini and a movie; and Christmas Dinner with three families. On Christmas day, I was surprised with peppermint syrup so I could make candy cane hot chocolate (something I was really missing) from one family and a gift to unwrap from another dear friend. Spending the holidays alone was really hard but made sweeter by new friends welcoming me into their family. Thanks for praying.

If you'd like to support my ministry, you can give online at the links below - just enter "Tori Bissell" under specific missionary. 

Online Giving - Canada 
Online Giving - USA

xoxo, Tori


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