I Went All To Africa To Do...

While They Run...They Pray 


Last fall, when I was home in Stouffville, I began to sense that God was speaking to me - trying to tell me it was almost time for me to go. I wasn’t sure where, but I felt like I should start praying for direction.  Little did I know that there were two running partners in Kenya who were praying at the same time…for me!

While I was in Kenya for two weeks visiting Rift Valley Academy (RVA), an Africa Inland Mission boarding school, my favourite moment was sitting across the table from two moms.

While their husbands were away at a conference these missionary wives invited me over for dinner. We spent hours chatting and they shared with me that they are running buddies and while they run they solve the world’s problems.

For over a year they had been talking about some of the struggles the school had been having with bullying between students, as well as other common teenage issues, and the need to strengthen their abuse prevention policies.

These moms knew there had to be someone out there who was trained and knowledgeable - someone who could help. So, while they run, they’ve been praying. They’ve been praying that God would raise up someone with a love for missions and a heart for child safety. That God would prepare this person’s heart for RVA. One mom said, “Tori, we’ve been praying for you.” I get chills just thinking about it. God used that conversation, among other things, to confirm that I should accept the position of Child Safety Coordinator at RVA.

I Went To Africa To Do Paper Work


I stepped off the plane, gathered my luggage and walked through the doors - I made it to Kenya! The fresh, warm morning day along with the faces of a hundred taxi drivers and family members eagerly awaiting new arrivals greeted me. 
I was nervous but excited... to be honest, I had no idea what I was in for or what I would be doing during the next two weeks - I just hoped to be a blessing. I knew I had an army of friends and family at home praying for me and supporting this vision trip as I tried to discern if RVA was the place for me or if I was the person to fill the role of Child Safety Coordinator. 
During the first few days, in this new country, I asked a lot of questions. It’s as if I knew innately (or perhaps more accurately, the Holy Spirit showed me) that the best way to be a blessing was to figure out what their greatest needs were. I learned that earlier this year, the school had done an external audit on their current policies and, while overall they had been doing a good job, the report that indicated many gaps. The report left the current staff with a list of items to fix, update or work on. Sitting and discussing with the current child safety coordinator, Bobbi, it became obvious to both of us the greatest needs were policies and documentation.
 
I spent the next two weeks developing updated and strengthened policies for the school – including such topics as screening and training of the staff, appropriate touch, high-risk activities and transportation. I spent time with Bobbi discussing their issues of documentation and I did research for them on different software providers which might fit their unique context. 
 
In the evening I visited a different staff member’s home for dinner. Over and over I had deep conversations with staff, all who shared a commitment and dedication for not only their students but also for their safety. I met staff who passionately loved their dorm kids, who prayed fervently for the kids they coached, who cared about their students.
What struck me was that staff who were committed to safety but needed help to refine their policies and procedures. In addition to my work on policies and research, I created a resource sheet with books, articles, apps and websites for staff, parents and students on a variety of topics: bullying, mental health, pornography, school study habits, healthy eating, etc. Perhaps it’s funny to go all the way to Africa to do paperwork but I seriously can’t think of anything I’d rather do. 
Over the past 5 almost years, I often wondered why I was working at Plan to Protect. Now I can see why..I am able to take all the knowledge, expertise and training and apply it to help make RVAsafer. God has prepared me to assist in a really practical way making people’s lives and workload easier. Sometimes we feel lost and wonder what God is up to and sometimes He gives us a glimpse at the big picture and to be honest it’s both scary and exciting.
When he says “For I know the plans I have for you...plan to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11) He really means it.

Where does RVA fit?

Rift Valley Academy was established in 1905 to serve the educational needs of missionaries’ children.  RVA is a school of approximately 500 students, from pre-school to grade 12, with boarding students from approximately grade 4.  RVA plays a critical role in that by providing high-quality education and a safe haven for children of missionaries.

RVA is a ministry of Africa Inland Mission, the organization that I will be serving with. Aim’s vision is to see Christ-centered churches among all African peoples.  That means that missionaries will live and serve in remote locations or in contexts which are difficult for students to stay in through their pre-teen and teenage years. 

"When will you come back?"

While I was at RVA, people asked me whether I could get to RVA sooner than August 2019.  I feel this tremendous pull to go back to Africa, as soon as I possibly can, and I truly believe that this is the place God has created me for.  Realistically, I won’t be able to go before July 2019, but before I can go, I need to build a team of prayer supporters and raise both monthly and one-time funds.  This along with pre-field training with a mentor and completing some required Bible and missions courses means that the months leading up to my departure will be full.
 
 Will you pray for me?

Please pray for discipline, efficiency and good health during this busy season. I want to finish my work with Plan to Protect well and I also have a contract to complete.  Pray that God would prepare me – mind, body and spirit – for my role at RVA through AIM’s pre-field training and the courses I need to complete.
 
Will you consider supporting me?

AIM has set out my financial support targets and I need to have commitments for $2500 per month which provides for living expenses, health insurance, RRSP contribution and ministry cost etc. In addition, I need $22, 000 in special one-time gifts for training, flights, moving expenses, visas, household set-up etc.  The deadlines for these funds to come in is June 10, 2019, one month prior to my scheduled departure.
 
Giving options are below.  Think of it this way, if 50 people gave $50 OR if 100 people gave $25 I’d hit my target. If you choose to begin your monthly donation now, your gifts will build up in my account and help toward my outgoing costs. For example, $50/month given from December to June 2019 means $300 toward my $22,000 goal. One-time gifts are also greatly appreciated.
Pre-Authorized Debit
 
To authorize monthly giving through direct debit from your bank account:

Cheques
 

For post-dated cheques for monthly support or one-time gifts: 
  • Cheques should be made out to Africa Inland Mission
  • Include a separate note indicating it is for "Tori Bissell's Support"
  • Mail it directly to Africa Inland Mission (address below)
  • American donors, please mail your check to the AIM U.S. Office (address below)

On-line Giving

For monthly support or one-time gifts:

Canadians

  • Visit here
  • Check off "Specific Missionary" and enter Tori Bissell
  • Alternatively, call the office (877-407-6077) and provide credit card information by phone
Americans
  • Visit here
  • Specify the amount you would like to give
  • Complete the “Worker Full Name” field and include (Canadian) to avoid confusion

 

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