Cuba United Methodist Church
Cuba, New York, USA

Africa Inland Mission
(AIM)


Jonathan,    Debbie,    Ed,    Daniel
                & Jennie

      Ed Rothfus, a former art teacher at the Cuba-Rushford Central School, teaches art at the Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe, Kenya (East Africa). The Rift Valley Academy is an international boarding school serving missionaries, nationals, and diplomats through much of East Africa.


The Cuba United Methodist Church takes an AIM offering
for the Rothfus Family the last Sunday of each month.

  Click Here For more pictures of The Rothfus Family  

 


This Video that profiles Rift Valley Academy features a clip of Ed Rothfus (at 3:12)

 

Also, you may check out a website with videos of his pottery presentation:
potterytalk.org


E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
erothfus@rva.org

3/18/2017 1:32 PM

Subject: Log Drivers (Rothfus Update, March 2017)

When we lived in New Hampshire, we drove through Berlin, a town in Northern NH on the way to see my brother, Tedd. I was intrigued by a river that ran through this town to a paper mill. It had a series of mounds that were systematically placed in the middle of the river. It looked like very orderly beavers had planned out an aquatic housing development.

But later I found out that the mounds were really for loggers (formally known as “log drivers”) to stand on to position and direct logs while they floated down the river toward the paper mill. If the log drivers didn’t pay close attention to the logs at hand, there could be a log jam which could be potentially very dangerous and even life threatening. Very interesting, and as I mentioned, rather intriguing.

Have you ever felt like one of those log drivers positioning and managing tasks and events as they pass by? Debbie and I have found this to be true this year. Teaching and working here at RVA, preparing for a graduation in Arkansas (Jonathan’s) and graduation at RVA, and preparing for a transition to Texas for a home assignment year. We would like to catch you up on some logs that have passed and quite a few yet to come…

Looking down river, this is second term here at RVA and it is given the title “The Intense Term.” Along with the normal library duties, teaching, and other responsibilities, we have been involved with the Junior/Senior Banquet and have helped the Senior Class with three Senior Stores. A few weekends ago, we were involved with the Senior Class as they attended their re-entry seminar weekend to help prepare them for many transitions coming up. It was a good weekend, intense, and a lot of information to process. If we look up the river there are still a few events floating toward us before the term ends.

Looking back, we were blessed to have our children here again for Christmas. Jennie, had knee surgery here in Kijabe in December for a sports-related injury she sustained over a year ago. It was nice to have her “home” to recover from this. She went back to LeTourneau to begin her Spring semester including student teaching. Unfortunately, during her second week of student teaching while spending time with the students, she hurt something in her knee and had a lot of pain and swelling. After seeing the MRI report, the doctor said that it was mostly aggravation and slow healing from the surgery, with a scar that opened up a bit. She will need to continue with the PT for a few more months. In order to complete one more required class and take a few other classes of interest to her, Jennie has decided to delay her graduation until December, which we are excited about as she will stay with us during the fall term.

Jonathan was able to bring a college roommate, Riley, for Christmas. What a blessing! We enjoyed these guys. Jonnie returned to his final term at John Brown University and will graduate on May 6 with a degree in Construction Management. He has accepted a job offer on the east coast with RQ Construction (https://www.rqconstruction.com/). He was at an ultimate frisbee practice a few weeks ago when he was caught off guard and hit on the bridge of his nose by a stray frisbee. He told us that the top of his nose was moved over to the left and it bled profusely. It hurt just to hear about it. The doctor he saw told him that although it was probably broken, it is looking good and straight now and is healing, for which we are very thankful.

Daniel had been here for four months working on a computer program for RVA and left Kenya in mid-January. He has settled in Colorado Springs where he is living in a house with four other guys, two of them friends who also graduated from RVA. He is finishing up the RVA program and is enjoying being in Colorado Springs.

Looking ahead, Debbie and I will be heading to the States for four weeks in April and May for Jonnie’s graduation and then returning to RVA three weeks into third term, the “Fast Term.” After RVA’s graduation in mid-July, we will be returning to the States to LeTourneau University in Longview, TX, to serve as Missionaries in Residence (MIRs) for our one-year home assignment.

Going back to the log drivers illustration, there are a lot of events already passed and more floating toward us. If I look up stream, and if I am honest with you, I can easily become overwhelmed and not enjoy the task at hand. Unfortunately, when this happens and without fully knowing it, my attitude slips. In Luke 17, Jesus met ten lepers. They begged Him to heal them and He told them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” On the way they were healed. One of them came back to Jesus and threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked Him. But sadly, the other nine didn’t. I am SO like the nine lepers; this is my tendency and downhill cycle. I get so busy, so focused on the task at hand that I forget or even reason to myself that I don’t have time to “thank Jesus.” Besides, “Look at all the logs floating toward me.” Unfortunately, connected to this attitude are grumbling, negativity, defensiveness, and hardening of my heart spiritually.

It was two weeks ago that the Lord convicted me of this, and I repented. The beautiful thing about repentance is that you let go of something that you really don’t want to hang onto. It was refreshing to fall at Jesus' feet and say, “Thank you!" He brought me back to the truth that “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) If I reflect on the analogy of a “log driver” standing on an island positioning and directing logs, Jesus didn’t put me out there all alone; He is there with me in the busyness and in the calm times helping and directing me. He has been so faithful and He will always be faithful. That is just who He is. He is giving me a thankful heart as a “Log Driver.”

It is nice to be able to share thoughts with you. Thank you for all you do for us, all your prayers, support and your words of encouragement. Only those things we have done through Christ for His kingdom will last. You’re our family in Jesus and we appreciate you.

Love in Jesus,
Ed and Debbie

We’ve attached a picture of us (Daniel, Jon, Riley, Debbie, and Ed) on the day in December when we hiked Mount Longonot, an inactive volcano in the Rift Valley below RVA. Jennie was not with us, of course, because she was at home recovering from her knee surgery.

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
erothfus@rva.org

December 12, 2015 5:34 AM

Subject: Still Waters in the Rapids (Rothfus, Dec. 2015)

As you know by now, I (Ed) love word pictures; that is just how I think. The word picture I am coming back to is the picture of shooting the rapids in a canoe. I believe that not only does this analogy fit for life here at Rift Valley Academy, but in our society where the current is continually increasing.

We have just finished up the first term, a long, intense term. It feels like there was a lot of energy needed to keep everything balanced in my personal canoe as I traversed the daily demands of the term or the river. There were a lot of choices to be made—what to put into the canoe and take out to keep my canoe from being close to waterline and to not bottom-out in shallow waters; how to position myself best in the canoe and how best to position the canoe in the river so as to maintain balance through the rocking back and forth caused by the rapids. As all this is happening, there is also the process of looking downstream and taking in what is coming ahead so as to best to prepare for it. Then there are times when we round a bend, even in the most familiar rivers, when something unexpected happens, such as a tree that has fallen into the river and created the need for a diversion, possibly a portage. It is not necessarily good or bad; it is a change of plans from what I originally had in mind…

This term had many of these characteristics. Though Debbie and I didn’t see the full course of the term ahead, we knew there was the potential for a lot of energy to be expended as we “Shot the Rapids” of the first term. And as we rounded the bend shortly after midterm we found a change in our course ahead as Debbie’s mom went home to be with the Lord on October 26. We had written to you earlier about being in the States for her funeral. But looking back, how good Jesus is! He really does go before us and behind us and hem us in (Psalm 139:5). Debbie was in the States for three and a half weeks (she arrived 5 hours before Mom passed away) to spend time family and help with the different aspects related to Mom’s home going. I was able to go for ten days and then return for the last three weeks of term to wrap up classes before break. We so appreciate our RVA administrative team who all encouraged us to take this time to go to be with family. Our superintendent told me, “I would rather have you go to be with family during this time then to regret later on that you didn’t go. You will never have this chance again.” In the rapids, there was this change of course, but how good the Lord is; He knows exactly what the future holds even when we don’t.

With all this said, this has been a very good term. The new art and pottery rooms are getting settled and we really enjoy them. People ask, “What do you miss about the old room?” I reply, “Honestly,… nothing,” but that is not true. I do miss all the special relationships in the old room through the years (but the new facility is so nice). There have been things to work out like the gas line for the kiln. It took a bit of work, but the last day of classes, the gas line and regulator were finally in working order and we fired the kiln for the first time in the new building. It was a good firing in record time! I enjoy all the art classes and believe it or not, we are working on the 2017 Art Calendar already; it is looking good. Debbie is doing well in the HS Library and is involved closely with the elementary school library as well. We are helping sponsor this year’s junior class and their big event is the Junior Senior Banquet which is already in full swing. They are a great class to work with. We also are helping with the Sunday School program and the Lord has opened up the door with some young people for some special mentoring opportunities.

We are excited about this Christmas because our children and one of Daniel’s roommates from college will be able to come visit us here in Kenya! What a gift! We are looking forward to this time since it has been a several years since we have all been together for Christmas. Three of them arrive this weekend and one next weekend. We have been anticipating this for quite some time now!

Going back to the analogy of the rapids, it is amazing to me how a river can have different characteristics. There are times when when it is raging and intense and other times when it calms down to a much slower pace. My mentality through the river is what makes me a good canoer or only a survivor. A survivor is one who goes through rapids, rarely learning from them, only to pull his canoe out at the end of life to say, “Well I suppose I survived, but it felt like the river was in control.” A good canoer knows how to learn from what he goes through. Number one is to keep Jesus in the canoe at all times, the One who is able to speak “Peace be still” when the waters are raging. Next, understand that the water will always be there, we just need to know when to take our canoe out. There needs to be that time daily where we take our canoe out and spend quite time on the shores of life with Jesus, no matter how strong the river calls our name. In time, my hope is that quiet time with Jesus will become my internal thinking that impacts the external surroundings. Even while the outside is hectic, raging, and fast paced, internally there is a quiet joy and peace knowing I have spent time with my Lord and He goes with me through everything.

This term, the verse that kept coming back to mind was Psalm 23:2 (NKJV), "He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters.” "He makes me...”, because He knows naturally, my flesh does not “lie down.” But, I need to be broken of my busy schedule mentality. Let’s go back to the rapid river that eventually does change to a lull and a calm stretch. I don’t know about you, but I have gotten into the habit through life, that when things calm down, I get restless and begin to paddle hard. The rapids are behind me, but in a way, I begin to create my own rapids and try to keep up the fast pace. I don’t believe this is what the Lord has intended for me, especially in light of what is next in the verse, “He leads me beside the still waters.” Even in the rapids, there are eddies (as in quite pools of water at the rivers edge, not my name as a little boy :o) where we can regain eternal perspective. It is a mentality change that happens little by little daily and a spiritual thinking that only the Holy Spirit can bring. I feel that we are losing the art of mediating on God, His Word, and His faithfulness. It is important to take time to let Him reconstruct His thinking in us. If you could pray for me about this as you remember, I would so appreciate it. Thank you.

And thank you, for all of you, for your special tokens of love, support, words of encouragement, and prayers through this time when Mom has gone to be home with the Lord. We are excited for her, we don’t wish her back, but we do miss this special lady who was and is a big part of our lives. I know I say it a lot, but we do appreciate each of you and the special family Jesus has given us in you. We hope you have a very special Christmas in Jesus this year.

Love in Jesus,
Ed & Debbie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
erothfus@rva.org

October 29, 2015 6:24 PM

Subject: Debbie's Mom (Rothfus Update, October 2015)

This is just a short update to let you know that Debbie’s Mom, Grace Rees, passed away on Monday evening, October 26. Last Thursday morning, Betsy, Debbie’s sister, was contacted from the Memory Care Home here in Texas that Mom was not doing well. Debbie and I were contacted in Kenya immediately and on Sunday we decided to have Debbie fly to the States. She arrived to be here with family, five hours before Mom went to be with the Lord.

When I received the news that Mom passed away, I made plans to come. I arrived yesterday (Wednesday) from Kenya and our children arrive today and tonight for her funeral which is tomorrow, Friday afternoon. The children will go back to college and California on Saturday while some of us will travel down to Slidell, LA, for a graveside service on Monday where Mom will be buried next to Dad. I travel back to RVA, next Sunday, November 8, but Debbie will spend a little more time with Betsy and family to help with things here. She returns to RVA on Thursday, November 19.

Mom was a special lady, but we are glad she is home. I find that it is OK to miss her because this loneliness represents a vacancy of a gift I received—a gift of a very dear relationship. In the body of Jesus Christ, these vacancies are only temporary. The greatest vacancy that will be filled on the day we arrive home is to run into the arms of our dear King and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Jesus is so good in how He surrounds us by such a “great cloud of witnesses” and Mom was one of those witnesses in my life. Mom will be missed, but there are so many special memories to ponder.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed and Debbie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
erothfus@rva.org

7/28/2015 1:18 PM

Subject: Rothfus Scrapbook (July 2015)

Rothfus Scrapbook, July 2015 (Captions)

As we look over the past four months months, so much has happened. We’d like to share a few pictures that capture some of the activities and life here at RVA.

1. What a view! This is what you see from the sculpture balcony right outside the new art room. Here are four art students admiring the view. It is a wonderful distraction!

2. The new art room. The new art room has large sliding glass doors and lots of light. Advanced Art I & II, Art Survey, 9th Grade Art, and 8th Grade Art classes meet here. It is a beautiful facility!

3. The “old" pottery room. This picture of the old pottery room shows the stark contrast between the old room and the new room. We enjoyed the old pottery room, including the little stream that ran through the middle of it during the heavy rains; but it was never intended be a classroom to house 15 pottery wheels plus all the other equipment and students to run a full pottery class.

4. The “new" pottery room. This is only half of the new pottery room, and it was designed for 15 pottery wheels, pottery tables, and all the pottery equipment to run a full pottery class. It is an excellent facility, and we all loved working and creating in this room during this past term.

5. Ed giving a throwing demonstration to Maasai children and their parents. Pictures 5 through 7 are from the weekend in April when we spent time with a family who work among the Maasai. Three of the four children in this family attend RVA. Ed shared with the Maasai children how God works with us like the potter works with clay and how Jesus is active in our lives as His own creations.

6. Ed sharing with Maasai family. I shared the Pottery Testimony during the morning service. Four Maasai congregations joined together that Sunday to pack into this church. At one point during the testimony, I said, “Do you see how how the clay is growing?” and the translator, so caught up in the demonstration, said in English, “Yes!” Then she realized she was supposed to be translating and said, “Oh…oh…” and went on translating in Maasai. I chuckled.

7. Tyler with two Maasai elders. Our nephew, Tyler, was able to come for six weeks in the spring to help move the old art building to the new art building. He came with us on this Maasai trip. What a big help he was and what a blessing to have him here!

8. Our 8th Grade Sunday School class. Debbie and I taught a year-long Sunday School class for 8th grade students. It was a character study of different people in the Old Testament. It was fun to see these young people open up throughout the year.

9. Alumni Weekend. This year, 34 of the 79 graduates of the Class of 2013 came to Alumni Weekend. This was Jonathan and Jennie’s class that we sponsored along with three other couples. What a blessing to spend time with them again! We wish Jon and Jen could have been here with their classmates, but they were busy with summer jobs in the States.

10. July 16, Graduation Day. Here is just one of the many seniors we will miss. Tegan helped Debbie in the library, and she took pottery classes all year long. What a blessing she was to both of us!

11. Our Caring Community. These Advanced Art II seniors were also in our “Caring Community.” We met together at our home every month during the school year and spent time making and eating bread sticks, playing games, and talking. The last event we did with them was a trip to Kitengela Glass in Nairobi, a fun and inspiring place for these art students!

It is good to be able to share these memories with you. We are blessed to have a family like you in Jesus! Thank you again for all you do for us!

Love in Jesus,

Ed and Debbie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
erothfus@rva.org

April 4, 2015 1:12 PM

Subject: "Pest of the Month (Rothfus April 2015)"

This morning, we were awakened by a rather unique sound. It was a loud, low, throaty, almost-pulsating, gurgly sound (that's the best we can do to describe it in words!) I thought that it was baboons raiding gardens since it was pretty close. Tyler (my nephew) and I went out to see what was making this noise. We looked up into the tree next door to see two good-sized Colobus monkeys carrying on a long distance argument with two other Colobus monkeys a few trees away. While we walked over to the grade school gym (an open-air court with a split-level roof over it), the monkeys followed us by jumping from tree to tree to the roof of the gym. Three of the monkeys positioned themselves right above us, and we were trying to figure out who was watching who? Here is a picture of Tyler looking up at them. We had to be careful not to stand directly under them as they were apparently doing some, um... target practice.

Love in Jesus,

Ed, Debbie & Tyler

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
erothfus@rva.org

April 4, 2015 12:58 PM

Subject: "Rothfus Newsletter (April 2015)"

We have just finished the second term, and needless to say, it had its challenges. I would like to tell about one event which is somewhat reflective of the personality of the term. But, the first thing we want to do is let you know that we are doing well in light of the recent terrorist attack on a Kenyan school in Garissa, Kenya.

We heard about the attack, and were saddened to learn of the students and policemen who lost their lives and those who were injured. Such devastation! Garissa is about six hours from us, a lot closer to the Somali boarder. Even though we are in the same country as this attack, it is quite a ways away from us. The Westgate Mall terrorist attack a 2013 was much closer (we used to do a lot of our grocery shopping there). We at RVA are all doing well, but thank you for those of you who have been checking in on us. We appreciate your prayers for this country, for healing for those who have suffered such tragic loss, and that through this time Jesus would draw many to Himself.

Looking back at second term, in the midst of all the busyness, our clay developed a “gas problem” known as “bloating.” Bloating is when the clay actually develops bumps in the sides of a pottery piece during the second firing from gas trapped in the clay (simple explanation). The glaze firings had been getting progressively worse, and there was more and more bloating. In my 30 years of working with clay, I hadn't seen anything like this, at least not to this extent. I felt for the students who had worked hard on projects only to be disappointed by the blemishes covering their masterpieces. I would say that 70% of the 120 pieces fired in the last big gas kiln firing were affected by bloating.

I really didn't know what to do, but pray (and others were praying with me, especially the students.) I realized that I needed to turn to the One Who created the clay, the firings, and the principles that govern these firings. I was reminded of King Jehoshaphat's prayer in II Chronicles 20:12b when he faced a big challenge. He prayed “...We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." Though this is a very uncomfortable place to be, it is a good place to be. That next week, the best times to think this through and listen to Jesus' promptings of the heart were in the middle of the night. I found an article on bloating in clay, and a friend had loaned me a book on kiln design which had a chapter on burners and firings. We were able to isolate the problem and actually build new burners for the gas kiln.These last two big firings actually have gone very well with excellent results and no signs of bloating. The Lord is SO good! Believe it or not, the problem was that we had gotten some clay last year from a different place in Kenya that happened to react to a propane-butane gas mixture from a source we hadn't used before.

Before this clay problem occurred, I had been thinking that there are two types of situations we face: “Those situations we are in control of” and “Those situations we are not in control of.” It was through this life lesson that the Lord reminded me again that there is only one type of situation we face: “Situations we are not in control of.” When I view that I am control, I rely on Jesus a lot less. When I realize that He is control of everything, I rely on Him a whole lot more.

At the beginning of January, the Lord impressed upon my heart, “Jesus is in control, I am not.” This term has been all about relying on Jesus. We have had various students leave RVA for compassionate reasons, some for several weeks and some for indefinite time periods. We have had two families leave toward the end of the term to go to the States for health reasons. Consequently, there was a lot of adjusting to fill their positions in order to finish the term. But, even with all this, the Lord is so good and faithful, and it has been a good term!

Exciting news! Our nephew Tyler Rothfus (pictured here), has come to Kenya to visit us for six weeks. He arrived the week before the end of school and was able to see what school was like during the term. He is going to help move things into the new art room. Presently, he is taking a pottery class with me and doing very well with it.

A prayer request we have would be for the Seniors as this is their last break, and graduation is coming in a little over three months. Pray that they would have good closure in their home areas and finish well in Jesus here at RVA. Since many of them will leave after RVA graduation with their families and go directly to the States to begin college, this break is their last chance to be in their African homes with their parents.

Thank you again for all you do for us and for your encouragement. We love you and think of you often.

Love in Jesus,

Ed, Debbie and Tyler

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
erothfus@rva.org

1/1/2015 10:41 AM

Subject: Rothfus Update (January 2015)

We thought we would send a letter in October…, but then we thought, maybe, November and December.... Finally, January 1, 2015! Happy New Year!

Debbie and I arrived back here in Kenya on August 21, and it has been very good being back here at Rift Valley Academy. We arrived shortly before the students, so these first four months we have had to be intentional about primarily focusing on teaching, the relationships, and the positions God has called us to. Secondarily, with any extra time, we have had to pace out getting settled personally, settling our new home, and planning a little further than one week at a time and beyond first term. At the beginning of the term, it felt like all the immediate demands were somewhat like an avalanche moving at 60 mph and we needed to move at 61 mph, just to keep ahead of it. As the weeks passed we gained speed and the avalanche lost momentum; so by midterm, the avalanche was down to 55 mph and we were up to 65 mph. Needless to say, this December break has been a very good break. The avalanche has slowed way down, and we are able to slow down to a more livable pace. Looking back, those times are “Seasons.” They are not “Life” and the Lord is such a Good Shepherd to lead us through the various seasons we face and bring us next to quiet waters where we can rest, reflect, and regain His perspective.

This December break has been very good with some unforeseen blessings. During the term, a dear friend of ours was over for supper one night and in the midst of the conversation, she asked about Jennie. She made the comment later about how good it would be if Jennie could come for her Christmas break from college. The thought really struck home with Debbie and me. Realistically we knew it wasn’t possible because we just didn’t have the money since we have been focusing our finances toward our children’s college expenses. But we felt like the Lord was challenging our hearts to pray toward this end. Jennie had a rather challenging first term and even though it was hard on all of us to be apart this year, Jennie probably struggled with it the most. One time when we were skyping with her and helping her think through her Christmas vacation ahead, we asked her where she would like to spend her break if she could go anywhere she wanted. Without hesitation, she said, “Kenya,” knowing that was not a possibility. We went on to discuss other possibilities, but from then on we seriously prayed toward that end. It wasn’t too long after that, that a friend, out of the blue, said that she would like to help get Jennie here, and that same week we received a gift that made it possible for Jennie to come! Wow, praise the Lord! Jennie is here and we are really enjoying this time with her.

Another blessing is that Jon was able to go visit Daniel for a week and a half in California. We have enjoyed skyping with them often and catching up on their adventures. We talked with them the day after Christmas and laughed about their Christmas day. They had planned to go to Muir Redwoods National Park on the other side of San Francisco. They got up and drove 1 1/2 hours to the redwoods only to find the main road closed. They found another road to the park only to find the parking lot closed and the park closed because it was so full of people. So they thought it would be fun to eat Ethiopian food for lunch. They drove to San Jose only to find the restaurant closed. Then, surely “In-and-Out” burgers would be open, but… it was closed (no room at the “In” :o). The next possibility was closer to home, so they drove to Gott’s Roadside Hamburger Restaurant, and, yup, it was closed. So they finally decided to buy some buns at Safeway for their hotdogs, and, sorry, that had closed two hours earlier. They were chuckling when they told us they got back to Daniel’s apartment and had their hotdogs on english muffins that were in the fridge. A memorable Christmas Day. Since then, they have been able to do a lot of fun things together like go to the Big Basin Redwoods Park, explore the coast, visit an amusement park, and eat at the Ethiopian Restaurant, twice! Someone once told me (Ed) when I was younger and struggling with sibling rivalry, “Your best friends may very well be in your own family.” The older I get the more I see this. Jon has the added blessing of soon going to visit Tedd (my brother) & Ivy and their family for a week. Talk about climate change! He will be going from Palo Alto, CA, to the Adirondack Mountains in NY where we are sure he will have a lot of fun in the snow! By the way, we skyped Jon and Dan this morning and it was the strangest thing—we were in 2015, but they were a year behind us, still in 2014! (There is an 11-hour time difference between Kijabe, Kenya, and Palo Alto, CA.)

It has been a good December break.

This past year and in 2015, the passage that Debbie and I feel that Jesus would have us to focus on is Ephesians 3:20-21 which says, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” So many times, I focus on myself and what “I think” God would have me do. It is like saying Jesus has a dream for me, but I will do His dream my way. This is all wrong. The truth is that Jesus has a dream for me, for us, BUT He needs to live out His dreams in us His way. My prayer has changed to, “Father, You are doing great things today. I desire to join You; help me to follow You in what You are doing.”

A prayer request we have would be for the students as they return to RVA on Saturday, January 3, with classes beginning on Monday, January 5. We pray for safe travels and good closure with their families in Jesus. Please pray that these students have a good second term and that Jesus would lovingly raise up a high percentage of these young people from RVA to return to His mission field.

We have attached some pictures from this break: Christmas Day with the gang at the Rothfus home, and Dan and Jon in front of redwood trees. We think often of many of you, and we so appreciate the family we have in you in Jesus.

Love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie and Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

October 25, 2014 4:12 AM

Subject: "Pest of the Month" (Rothfus, October 2014)

Yesterday was a normal school day, so I thought. I taught Art Survey first period, went for a walk on upper field with a good friend during second period, and taught Pottery third period. Oh, on the way to Pottery, between the grade school and the pottery room, which are right near each other, I killed a boomslang just before class. Wait a second, how did this event happen to drop into a “Normal” school day?

I was walking up the road to the grade school, and I turned right to head to the pottery room. I saw my students heading to pottery, and I was about to join them. But as I was walking past a Kenyan gentleman, I greeted him and said, “Jambo.” Instead of greeting me, he said, “Nyoka!” and pointed toward a tree. Nyoka is Swahili for “Snake”. I looked over the hedges in front of me at a nearby tree, and he said, “No, no, on the bushes!” So I looked at the flat top of the bushes a few feet away and saw a small green tail. He was rather excited and made motions that it was BIG. I looked about two feet further up the hedge and saw the main body. Yup, it was a bit bigger than I was expecting (I don’t know quite what I was expecting at this point.) I immediately went across the road and grabbed a four-foot limb from a brush pile and came back. I told him that I was going to flip the snake into the road, he said, “No, hit it!” I said, “I am going to flip it onto the road, right where you are standing, so you will want to move.” I didn’t know that an older gentleman could move that fast.

I went over to the bush, positioned the end of the stick under what I thought was the middle, took a quick deep breath, and thought, “I have got to be quick, or it will get away.” Almost in one quick, continuous motion, I slid the stick under the snake and swung it toward the middle of the road. The reeling coil of green landed in the dirt road and immediately headed back for the bottom of the bush. I used the limb to scoop him back into the road where I proceeded to hit his head. It is here that an onlooker would understand why had I quit baseball and joined the track team. I am terrible at hitting moving objects like baseballs and the mouth end of snakes. After four or five attempts, I finally got his head.

I am not one for killing things, but I suppose the father in me took over. We are here at RVA, and even though I don’t teach all the children, I am somewhat responsible for all the children under our care. I was looking at the hedge, the elementary school 50 feet away, and the green snake, the BIG green snake. In my quick thought process, the green snake had to go.

Standing there, stick in hand, looking at this green snake…

After it was dead, I reached down to picked it up by the tail. I touched the tail, the tail twitched, and I launched backwards, one of my best involuntary vertical jumps. I am so glad I was the only one there at this point, how embarrassing. I finally picked it up, tail still twitching. It was a 5-foot boomslang (rather poisonous).

I have come to realize that a “normal” day in Kenya may have a different flavor than a “normal” day in the States. I don’t know what a “normal” day may hold, but I do know Who does. The Lord is good. I have attached a picture of me holding the snake.

Love in Jesus,

Ed & Debbie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

August 24, 2014 8:54 AM

Subject:No Longer "Out of Africa" (Rothfus Aug 2014)

Debbie and I arrived back in Africa two days ago. Thank you for all your prayers! The Lord is good!

It was a good trip. Aunt Esther, Jon, Jen, and the Turley family took us to the Buffalo airport on Wednesday morning for an 11:00 am flight. We flew on an American Airlines flight to Chicago, then British Airways flights to London and then Nairobi. As I was checking in, the ticket agent looked at our tickets and the six bags we were going to check for luggage and said, “Did you know that it will be an extra $400 for the two extra pieces?” We explained that we usually got three free checked bags each on British Airways, but because we were beginning our trip with a domestic flight, we would only get two free bags each and would need to pay $150 each for the two extra bags. She thought, then smiled and said, “We will honor BA’s ticket policy, too, and you can have three bags each for free.” What a blessing!

In London, everything went well until the jet was loaded, all the passengers were in their seats, and we were preparing to leave. The pilot made an announcement. He said, “We apologize for the delay, but there was a family of four who did not get on the jet. We believe they are no longer in the airport. The problem is that we have already packed their 20 pieces of luggage. We need to go into the jet’s cargo area and unload them. Hopefully, it will only take about twenty minutes.” Two hours later we were on the runway ready for takeoff.

In the Nairobi airport, just before midnight, it was crowded and hectic going through customs. Debbie and I knew in advance that our re-entry permits had expired so we were prepared to pay $50 each for visas. We filled out the paper work and had our passports, paperwork, and two $50 bills ready when we arrived at the immigration desk. The passport agent flipped through my passport and found an “I" number and said, “You do not need to pay because your “I" number is current.” He then handed us back our $50 bills. What a pleasant surprise. We so appreciated his integrity.

All our luggage came through, and a driver from Mayfield Guest House was waiting patiently as if we had arrived on time (he was a very pleasant gentleman!) We were able to get a little rest (we went to bed about 3:00 am and got up at 6:30 am for breakfast to get ready for our trip out to RVA). The Nielsens picked us up at Mayfield, and we had fun catching up and doing some shopping before finally arriving back here at RVA at 1:00 pm on Friday.

Needless to say, we are a little tired, but it is good to be with our family again here at RVA. We start workshops tomorrow (Monday) through Wednesday, and on Friday the new students and their parents arrive. Classes will begin on Monday. We would appreciate your prayers for our family through all the transitions of returning to Africa (Ed & Debbie), beginning their second year of college (Jon & Jennie), and working in California (Daniel). Please also pray for safety and a very good year in Jesus for the students and their families as the students arrive, some who will attend RVA for the first time and others who will be returning to a familiar place.

Thank you again for all your prayers! We love you and miss you.

Love in Jesus,
Ed and Debbie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

July 14, 2014 8:28 PM

Subject: Rothfus Scrapbook (July 2014)

Rothfus Scrapbook, July 2014 Life in the Rothfus household has been rather eventful since our last scrapbook. Here's what's been happening in our lives…

1. On May 3, we attended Daniel's graduation from LeTourneau University where he graduated summa cum laude.

2 & 3. Five short but hectic days after graduation, Daniel and I (Ed) left Texas on May 7th and headed for California where he would begin his job with Palantir (https://www.palantir.com/) two weeks after graduating. We drove from Fort Worth, Texas, to Mountain View, California, a five-day trip. As you can see from the photo, we were able to stop and see the Grand Canyon. As I look at creation, I realize more and more that I need to give credit and praise where credit and praise are due, and what an Awesome Creator God is! Then as we were traveling, Daniel said, “Dad, Dr. Baas (a professor from LeTourneau) told me that he really liked visiting the Hoover Dam, can we stop there?” I told him, “Sure, you're driving.” So we did, and that was a rather impressive engineering feat. We arrived in California at Greg (an RVA Alumni) and Rebecca Witmer's home on Sunday, and we found an apartment for Daniel on Monday morning. The Lord is good! After that week spent getting settled in, I flew back to Buffalo and Daniel began work on Monday.

4. We took a short trip to Pennsylvania in late May to visit some RVA friends, the Wagners and the Rineers, before Jon had to leave for his summer job. We were also able to go to a Philadelphia Phillies game, a dream that Jennie and I had talked about for years.

5. We were blessed to have Jennie's friend Rachel (Canada), an MK and RVA grad, come for a visit. We took her to the Niagara Gorge and hiked down Devil's Hole. Here we are in front of the whirlpools.

6. Jon is currently in Ohio working with “Next Step Ministries,” an organization that sends out teams of young adults to lead groups of middle school and high school students in week-long mission trips. Jon's team is in Lorain County, Ohio, where they serve the community by working on construction projects in the homes of needy people and families. Here he is with his team. You can learn more about Next Step and their work in Ohio at http://www.nextstepministries.com/mission-trips/ohio/summary?menu=ohio.

7. Jennie is working as the Program Director's Assistant this summer here at Niagara Bible Conference and Adventure Camp (http://gom-niagarabible.org/adventure-camp/). Here she is with the counselors and staff. We have enjoyed having her nearby, though we usually see her in passing late at night as her days are full and her job keeps her quite busy.

8. We went to Camp Li-Lo-Li in Steamburg, NY, for an afternoon pottery session. I was able to share “The Marred Clay” pottery talk, share about RVA, and then spend time throwing different clay pots with some of the campers. This was a real “hands on” experience as I let the children put their hands on the spinning piece of clay. One of the girls described it as a “chocolate ice cream fish” and I thought that was a pretty good description. We still have a few more pottery talks before leaving for Kenya.

9. Last week, we were blessed to have another MK and RVA grad, Kyle (South Africa), visit us from Iowa where he attends college. We had a lot of fun with him. We were able to take a day off and go to Niagara Falls. We walked from the U.S. side across the bridge into Canada. As we were going through customs, the customs agent said, “Your U.S. student visa is not enough to allow you to enter Canada; you'll also need a Canadian visa. I am sorry, but I'll have to send you back to the U.S.” If you notice in Kyle's hand, he's holding the piece of paper that states he has permission from Canada to re-enter the U.S. Even though we didn't get into Canada, we did enjoy walking across the bridge and hiking all around the American Falls.

With all this said, both Debbie and I have been rather busy these past few months here at NBCAC. We have been helping out with the grounds, maintenance, and housekeeping. This past winter, there was major logging done on the grounds; and in the early spring, we were concerned about the condition of the grounds and whether or not they would really get back to normal in time for the busy summer months. But now that summer is here, the trees are full and the grounds are beautiful. Many people have volunteered their time helping to clean and restore the grounds, and it has been fun working alongside many of them. I have enjoyed the manual labor as it has been good to have time to work and have “think time.” We have enjoyed some spectacular sunsets over Lake Ontario while living here in Olcott, NY and thought we would share one with you.

Looking ahead, we have been cleared to return to Rift Valley Academy, Praise the Lord! So on August 20, we leave for Nairobi, Kenya.

Though we are looking forward to returning to RVA, this will be the first time we leave our children in the U.S. and return to Kenya, just the two of us. We have so enjoyed time spent with our children this year, living near Aunt Esther, and visiting with family members in various places, but we know we will soon have to say good-bye to all of them. Please pray for us through these transitions. There are also a lot of things we need to do between now and then to wrap up our time in the States: college details, purchases for the next few years, packing, and many good-byes.

We appreciate all your prayers, all you do for us, and the family we have in you in Jesus. The missionary life can tend to include quite a few good-byes and can be quite transitional from time to time, but I believe the quality of friendships runs deep because our roots are not connected to locations but to relationships—first to our King and His Eternal Kingdom and then to those He brings into our lives. Thank you for being part of our family!

Love in Jesus,

Ed and Debbie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

July 4, 2014 9:34 PM

Subject: "ALL" not "Most" (Rothfus Update, July 2014)

First, I would like to share a follow up to the car accident that happened a little over two months ago, and then (in another update to follow soon) catch you up on the lives of the Rothfus family members.

To begin with, yes, there have been times when I (Ed) have thought about our recent car accident (April 12, 2014) and the car accident from 42 years ago (May 22, 1972); but more importantly, what is the Lord doing through all this? I have come to realize that the Lord has been tightening up my foundation. Let me see if I can explain this. In the Bible, I Corinthians 3:7-11, Ephesians 2:22, Hebrews 3:4, and I Peter 2:5 reflect on our Heavenly Father as a loving Builder and Architect. He is a Perfect Builder. What He works with is less than perfect, yet He knows how to work with it, work with us, not just at the beginning, but throughout the whole building and growth process. In fact, I believe He involves us in the process, allowing us to make choices with the building materials He gives to us.

What if I were to place a series of stone blocks next to each other as the first row of a foundation. They are the right blocks, but some are sideways, and because they are sideways, there are gaps. The next row fits on top, but it is not the most ideal foundation even though it has the right bricks in it. What needs to happen is that an expert mason needs to come in and take the right brick that is in the wrong direction and reposition the right brick in the right direction.

In the foundation of Ed Rothfus, I believe that my Heavenly Father has placed the right bricks in my foundation, but I in my humanness have placed some sideways, or through time have allowed some bricks to slowly slip a few degrees out of their original positions. This shifting is not God’s fault in the least. It is that I am human and sinful, and it takes a long time to mature in Christ, to develop a solid, tight foundation in God. How did these bricks get out of alignment? It could be that I heard the right words at a younger age, like “Praise,” “Worship” and “Adoration,” but had not yet learned the fuller meanings that come with time. It could be that some of my thinking has been influenced by the world around me and the subtle fallacies that can shift my bricks ever so slightly. Regardless, my King and Master Builder has been working to true up and tighten my spiritual foundation.

He has taken this recent accident, in which no one was seriously injured, and worked with it against the backdrop of the car accident in which my whole family was involved, in which three people were killed. Let me share with you Romans 8:28. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I have shared this verse throughout the years concerning the first car accident and how God worked through it. But somewhere some of my foundation bricks, the right bricks, had shifted or were not positioned properly. You see, I had been doing a lot of thinking and somewhere in my heart, though I can quote Romans 8:28 word perfect, my heart translation read like this: “And we know that in MOST things (98%, maybe 99%) God works for the good of those who love him,…” During the end of April, I was wrestling with the thought that maybe something did slip through God’s fingers, but I was challenged with the absoluteness of ALL, not 99%, but ALL, 100%. This has not been comfortable and I realized that my thinking had shifted and needed to be realigned. In fact, I saw that some of the other bricks in my foundation needed truing up too. Foundational bricks such as college for the children, finances, future events, and the mission field. I could see by my restlessness that I believed that my Heavenly Father was going to take care of these things MOSTLY, but ALL is pretty Absolute. I have to confess that I had slipped into this thinking, and this thinking is wrong. I asked the Lord’s forgiveness, and the real peace came when I rested in the truth: “And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him,…” The April 12 accident has been good. It has helped to realign RIGHT thinking which helps to build a RIGHT foundation in my King.

I had a friend at church ask if he and I could meet at Tim Hortons for coffee; he wanted to talk. I said sure and we set up a time. We met and he started sharing. Then he looked at me and said, “Ed, the Lord placed you on my heart on April 12, and the next day when I got to church I heard about your accident. I have been praying for you a lot. What’s happening?” I told him and through the tears, I was again amazed at how God catches us off guard through prayer and encouragement. Thank you so much for all of you who have been praying for us. We continue to feel the many times you lift us up. What a gift, when friends and family in Jesus give sacrificially to take time to lift up their fellow family in Jesus, when no one else notices but the Father, and what a difference it makes. What a difference it has made in our lives! Thank you for all your support and words of encouragement. We so appreciate you!

Much love in Jesus,

Ed and Debbie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Monday, April 14, 2014 9:54 PM

Subject: Unexpected Change of Plans (Rothfus, April 2014)

Unfortunately, we have had a major change of plans. We have already contacted some of you, but we wanted to let all of you know what happened this past weekend. We were involved in a car accident on Saturday morning. We were pulling onto a main highway in Pennsylvania and collided with an oncoming car from the left side. Debbie and I are all right, and the other lady (the only person in the other car) was mobile but was shaken up and complained of head, neck, arm, and wrist pains. I talked with the Pennsylvania state trooper this morning, who was a very nice gentleman. He said that when he talked to her after the accident when she was still in the hospital, she was sitting in a chair. He felt that she was doing OK and didn't think there were any broken bones. It will be some time before we find out any definite news, but we would appreciate it if you could pray for her healing. Her name is Diana.

Saturday was the second day of our 18-day trip to travel down south to visit friends, family, schools, and Africa Inland Mission headquarters to finally attend Daniel's graduation on May 3. We were looking forward to seeing many of you, but are disappointed that we won't be able to stop and see you as scheduled after all. Our friends, Jason and Janet, took good care of us Saturday. They were right there in five minutes, unpacking our car and packing their vehicles to move everything to their home. Then yesterday, Jason packed all our things in his car and drove Debbie and me back to Olcott, NY, a 11-hour round trip for him. What a blessing when friends make such a sacrifice in a time of need!

State Farm has been very good to us and very helpful. Needless to say, our car is now out of commission permanently. We are looking at a change of plans, with less extensive traveling. We still plan to go to Daniel's graduation, but will fly down to Texas and most likely fly back to NY with Jen and Jon.

Please pray for Debbie and me as we are a bit shaken, but Debbie keeps saying "I'm so glad it wasn't a second earlier." If you could keep in prayer the sorting out of the details, insurance matters, the state trooper's report, our redirection for preparing to return to RVA, but most of all, that Jesus would use this to His glory. The Lord is good and we know He is working through this, praise the Lord.

Debbie and I had Deuteronomy 31:8 as our verse when we were engaged and I was in Africa and she was here in the States. “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." This verse came to mind again last night, what peace. We know that some of you have already been praying for us, and we thank you! What a blessing to feel the peace that Jesus brings (Philippians 4:6 & 7).

We appreciate the family Jesus has given us in each of you.

Love in Jesus,

Ed and Debbie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 09, 2014 7:59 PM

Subject: Rothfus Scrapbook (April 2014)

Rothfus Scrapbook, April 2014

As Spring approaches, we would like to catch you up on these past nine months with a series of fourteen pictures beginning at graduation at RVA in Kenya to the present time here in New York. The captions begin at the top and go counterclockwise.

1. Our family is seen here at RVA's 2013 graduation with Jon's and Jen's close friends Daniel and Anna (also twins) and their parents.

2. In this photo, Daniel is using his 3D printer to help print parts for more 3D printers. Several years ago, Dan and a friend were the first to build 3D printers at their college. This year for the first time, all incoming freshmen engineering students were required to build their own individual 3D printers as part of their introductory engineering course. Recently, the college set a new world record by having 102 3D printers printing the same part simultaneously (the previous record was 39 printers printing simultaneously.)

3. We ate supper with Jen, Dan, Dan's roommate, and some students from RVA at the beginning of their fall semester before making our big trek up north to New York.

4. In October, during a missions conference we helped with in Cuba, NY, we went to nearby Houghton College to spend some time with former RVA students, other MKs, and their friends. We were able to go to some of their classes and even see a former pottery professor and good friend, Gary Baxter. What a good day!

5. Jon's and Jen's colleges are sister schools, and their chapters of Mu Kappa (an organization for MKs) met together during fall break for an MK camping trip. Here are Jen and Jon with the RVA MKs during that weekend.

6. While spending time with Debbie's family in the Fort Worth area in November, we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving with our children and some of their friends from college and RVA. Here we are doing the circuit run after that weekend, getting everyone back for the last few weeks before finals.

7 & 8. There is a fun story behind these two pictures. After the school term ended, Dan, Jen, Thomas (an RVA student we adopted for Christmas break, what a blessing he is!), Debbie and I drove up north to New York. Because Jon's finals ended a week later, he was scheduled to fly up the Saturday after we arrived. As we were getting ready to go pick him up at the airport, I happened to see an email alert about a flight schedule change for his flight due to a winter storm. I tried to call him, but he was already in the air. When he arrived in Charlotte, NC, he realized that his next flight wasn't scheduled to leave until the next morning at 11:20, which meant that he would be in the airport over night. We were feeling sorry for him, but Jon remembered that Kyle (one of his friends from RVA) was supposed to be in Charlotte with his aunt and uncle during his Christmas break. To make a long story short, I contacted Kyle, and Kyle contacted a family friend to come and get Jon from the airport. We were relieved to see this picture on Facebook later that evening, proving that he had arrived safely at Kyle's aunt and uncle's home (picture 7). Later, we found out that their daughter had gotten married earlier that day, oops, but they loved having Jon there and gave him a great pancake breakfast before getting him back to the airport the next morning in time for his next flight. Here we are picking Jon up finally in Buffalo, NY (picture 8).

9. One evening during Christmas break, we found out that Stevie (an RVA classmate of Jon and Thomas) would be near us for a few hours. So Thomas, Jon, and I all bundled up and drove an hour to meet him at a Starbucks near Buffalo. Because of the multicultural aspects of missionary life, MKs tend to be very relational. We appreciate this quality, and we are glad to invest in these memory-making moments. We had such a good time that evening, even if it was only for those few hours. That was one of many highlights of Christmas break.

10 & 11. These are a few snapshots of our time together during Christmas break with ALL our children (our children and our RVA children). As we mentioned in an earlier email, in addition to our own three kids, we had seven other former RVA students stay with us at different times during the break. By the way, while we were still in Kenya, I thought, “Lord, it would be fun to have some snow next winter. We haven't seen snow for a long time.” I don't say that too loud, because I am not sure I want to be blamed, but we definitely have had snow this winter. I am ready to go back to Kenyan weather.

12. We were blessed to have Daniel come up to New York for spring break. It was rather humorous; he came up north from Texas and during the week, we got one of the worst snow storms of the winter. But he made the best of it. A couple of days after the storm, he went down to the shore of Lake Ontario and made a new friend.

13. A week later, Jon was also able to come during Spring Break. The day that Jon was leaving, we got some snow, so here are Jon and Debbie before leaving for the airport. We had such a good time with both Daniel and Jon during their week-long breaks!

14. We have had the opportunity to share pottery talks with churches, youth groups, and children's programs this year. Along with the pottery testimony, I have shared another talk called “The Marred Clay” in which the clay, thinking it knows better than the potter, actually makes a mess of things. It is only then, when the clay is ready to yield to the potter, that the potter works his design through the clay. In addition to these two talks, we have shared with children another talk, “What If Clay Could Talk?” After some of the services, we have enjoyed inviting children up to the front to watch and ask question while I am working on the wheel. In this picture I am throwing on the wheel at Gage Chapel in Forestville, NY. This is the church my father pastored during the first six years of my life and where my mom first said, “When Ed grows up, he's going to find a professional way to get dirty.”

In sharing the pottery talks this year, I am realizing more and more that I am quite a bit like that clay on the wheel. How many times, even subtly, I have tried to tell my “Master Potter” what to do, and how many times I have tried (and continue to try) to “force the hand of God.” Only then do I come to realize that, left to myself, I make a mess every time. But the real peace comes when I finally “follow the hand of God” and allow Him to shape as He sees best. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” Humbled, submissive clay can be lifted up to be made into a design that the Master Potter can use.

We will soon begin a month-long trip which will include seeing supporters, friends, and family. We will visit Africa Inland Mission's headquarters in Peachtree City to talk about future possibilities. After Daniel's college graduation on May 3rd, Ed will help him move to California and transition into his new job (which begins two weeks after graduation). Debbie, Jon, and Jen will drive back up north in time for Jon and Jen to begin their summer jobs, and Ed will fly back to New York. We would appreciate your prayers for these trips--for safety, for all the details to be accomplished, and that we would draw closer to Jesus and to each other through this time.

Thank you, thank you for your prayers, for your words of encouragement, and for all you do for us. We so appreciate you!

Love in Jesus,

Ed and Debbie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Friday, January 17, 2014 5:21 PM

Subject: The Notch (Rothfus Update, Jan 2014)

In previous emails, I shared about life using analogies about Niagara Falls and the Niagara River, but this time I would like to share an analogy from hiking in the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

We love hiking in the White Mountains because we have have to work for the view. But the perspective that we gain is worth the effort. I remember back to times of vigorous climbing, sweating, huffing, and puffing, thinking, "Why do I call this fun and enjoyable?" Some of the trails were long, winding, steep and treacherous. At times I wondered if the trail would ever level out and when we would reach the top. But then it happened! There would come a break in the trees, and we would turn around and see how high we had climbed and how far we had come. We would stand and take in the view. There was a breath of encouragement at that moment. Our perspectives just seem to change; there was an internal or emotional breath of fresh air.

There are particular parts of this mountain range that are called "notches." A definition of "notch" is, "a deep, narrow mountain pass." On Franconia Notch, the view was breath taking as the Presidential range opened up. We could see what lay ahead. All the hard work and sweat seemed rather insignificant in comparison to the incredible panorama that suddenly filled the horizon. It was one of those times when the wind was blowing through my hair and mind, and I stood there exposed to the elements and the excitement of life. It was a notch, a mountain notch, a reflection of life.

Debbie and I feel that we have just caught a glimpse of one of life's "notches." But the unique perspective about this notch is that we are standing on a vantage point where not only do we see what lies ahead, but we can look back over the terrain and see where we have come. Here we are in the notch just having sent all our children back to college. Looking back over the range we just traveled, we think back to arriving in the States in July. We look over the mountains of August and September and settling our children in college and traveling up north to Olcott, NY, our "home base" for most of the year. Then came the peak of October, when we helped with a missions conference at our church in Cuba, NY, and rekindled friendships with our family in Jesus there. We visited churches, shared through pottery talks, and spent many lunches and suppers together with dear friends, but we still weren't able to see everyone. It was a very good trail, but one we knew would be marked by a brisk pace. (It was during this time that we found out that Aunt Esther would need hip replacement surgery in January 2014. We are so glad that Jesus has called us to this trail that will enable us to be near her this year through this time.)

After arriving back in Olcott, we were able to regroup for a few days before tackling the next mountain range and heading back down south, from New York to Texas. Our trip down south had a focal point of helping the Owens family as our niece recovered from major reconstructive jaw surgery. On this particular trail we were able to visit family, friends and supporters. It was a special time, but, again, the trail called for a brisk pace and the time went very quickly. (Just a footnote about all these travels, what a blessing to travel with the "Bride of My Youth." Traveling with her, there is always something to talk about, and I so enjoy spending time with my best friend.) We arrived in Texas about a week after our niece's surgery. It had gone very well, and the X-rays from before and after the surgery were amazing. For those few weeks we were there, we were able to help with some small projects and spend time with Nana (Debbie's mom). Even though Nana, in her confusion, couldn't always remember who we were, she always seemed to know we were part of her family, and she is a special lady to spend time with. During Thanksgiving, we able to spend time with our children, their friends and some students from RVA. A few days later, an ice storm hit the Dallas and Fort Worth area, the same winter storm we mentioned in a previous email. As the residue of that storm was finishing up, we were back on trail. We headed to LeTourneau University to pick up Daniel and Jennie and another RVA graduate (who we were blessed to have stay with us during the Christmas break) and began our travels up north.

At an earlier time, Debbie and I had discussed the possibilities of the first real break of our "college" children, their Christmas break. Yes, we were looking forward to spending time with our children but felt that if we had the opportunity, we would love to open our home to students from RVA who needed a home for this break. After all, we feel that Jesus has called us to stand in the gap for the children of missionaries, and many of these young adults are here in the States now. After taking Jonathan to the airport to head back to college a few days ago, we counted and realized that, besides our own three children, we had seven RVA students visit our home during their Christmas breaks, from anywhere from two meals (the shortest visit) to three weeks. What a blessing!

Back to "life's notch" Here we are standing on the notch of the New Year mountain peak, the notch of transition. Looking over the past five months, the 12,000 miles we have already driven, the view is incredible! It has been a good hike. Yes, it has been busy, but a VERY good hike. Jesus is SO good and His mercies are new every day.

Now picture with us what it is like to turn around and look at the mountain range ahead…

Could you imagine with me the feelings you would have if you were standing in this notch looking at this this beautiful view, with the stark realization that you are lost? You realize you are not sure what direction to go, but you know you have to traverse the mountains ahead? Where do you begin? How do you go about doing this? It would be a feeling of fear, overwhelming fear…

BUT, this is NOT the scenario! Yes, we are standing on this notch looking at the beautiful panorama of the mountains ahead. But what peace to follow the eternal Shepherd who has traveled this path many time before. He leads us, and He travels with us. If we look at Psalm 23 in the light of trail ahead, what peace! He is a Shepherd; He goes before us. Then what comfort to see that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8)! But what about the trail? Ephesians 2:10 talks about the "good works He has prepared in advance for us to do." Here we are on the notch, and we have just looked at the range we just traveled. Our Shepherd was so good and faithful, He was with us throughout this part of the journey, leading us, going before us. In fact, we have come to realize He IS a faithful Shepherd; it is just in His nature to be faithful throughout the whole journey of life.

Looking at the trail ahead, Debbie and I are excited. We are able to be a part of the church that I (Ed) was a member of growing up. We are looking forward to being involved in various ministries. We are teaching a homeschooling art class and loving it. We will be helping out here at the campgrounds where we are staying. There will be church visits in which we will share about RVA and the mission field, and pottery talks coming up. The nice thing is that the long distance travels are over for a while, and we will be able to live in the same house for a longer period of time for the next several months. Looking further on down the mountain range on the not-so-distant horizon, we see August and returning, Lord willing, for two more years to Rift Valley Academy.

We would appreciate your prayers for our children as they adjust back to college and that we would all have a passion for our King. Please also pray for Debbie and me to be wise with our time, for balance with what the Lord has called us to, and to make the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:15-16).

Thank you again for all you do for us! We are grateful for your support and the important part of the team you are in Jesus. I know we say this again and again, but we DO appreciate you. We love you!

Love in Jesus,
Ed and Debbie

P.S. The picture at the top of this letter was not taken in the White Mountains, but was actually taken in the Smokey Mountains while visiting our friends at the Master's Mission

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Friday, December 06, 2013 8:39 PM

Subject: Hello from Sunny Texas? (Rothfus Dec. 6 2013)

Two days ago, I was outside walking around in a t-shirt and was warm, it was 78 degrees. A bit above the normal temperature for this time of year here in Fort Worth, Texas. Today we woke up to sleet hitting the windows, snow on the ground and ice on the trees. A storm front came through last night and the high today was 29 degrees. As I was cleaning off the car, I looked at my niece and said, "Well, I guess if last week was black Friday, this week is White Friday." I thought that was pretty good, she just groaned. I have attached a picture, notice how the outfit I am wearing here matches the picture I sent earlier of me holding the snowball in New York. But, in this one you will notice I am a little older and wiser, I am wearing gloves.

We have also attached a picture Debbie took of some leaves in ice, a rather fun photo.

Love in Jesus,
Ed and Debbie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Thursday, December 05, 2013 9:18 PM

Subject: Thank You for Your Prayers (Rothfus, Dec 5, 2013)

Thank you for praying for Daniel and Jennie. Daniel has decided, after a lot of prayer and weighing out thoughts, that the Lord is leading him to Palantir in Palo Alto, California.
Even though he will be where the cost of living is rather high, he is looking forward to being in the Silicon Valley and feels that this is the area where Jesus would have him to be for ministry and personal growth. He begins his new job right after graduation, by the middle of May.

If you would like to look at their website it is: palantir.com

Jennie is doing well; the lymph nodes on her neck are still swollen, but it is good to know that they are not malignant. We are hoping and praying that the swelling will go down in the next few months.

We had a good Thanksgiving with all our children, several of their friends, and Debbie's family here in Fort Worth, Texas. It was beautiful weather and a lot of activity. It is hard to believe that in just a few weeks Jon and Jen will be done with their first term of college and only one term left for Daniel. What else is hard to believe is that as I am writing to you, the sleet and freezing rain are hitting the window; yesterday it was 78!

Thank you again for all your prayers for Dan, Jennie, and all of us. We so appreciate each of you and all you do for us.

Love in Jesus,
Ed and Debbie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 9:39 PM

Subject: Two Prayer Requests (Rothfus, November 2013)

We have two prayer request for two of our children, Jennie and Daniel.

Our first request is for Jennie and please do not be alarmed; this is not an emergency. Before graduation, Jennie had some swelling in her neck and we thought that it was probably related to sinus problems, but not anything major. After coming to the States, life was rather hectic and continually in motion before we took the children to college. After the first few weeks of college, Jennie mentioned that the swelling on her neck was still there and was a bit sensitive. Both Debbie and I were concerned and thought that this really needed to be checked out since it wasn't going away. We were also concerned because we have had some friends who have had this and it did turn out to be lymphoma. So in October, Jennie went to see a doctor and this began a series of events to follow. The original doctor sent her to a surgeon, who in turn sent her to an ENT doctor. She had a cat scan, blood tests and needle biopsies. This past Monday we went with Jennie and the school nurse to her ENT appointment to see what the biopsy results were. He let us know right away that the results came back negative and that Jennie doesn't have lymphoma, but just a cluster of swollen lymph nodes which could be related to a previous virus or infection. He feels that no other action is necessary at this point, but he would like to do a follow-up visit in mid February to see if the swelling has gone down.

So our prayer request for Jennie is that the swollen lymph nodes would return to normal with no further complications, and Jennie would be able to finish her first term well. She is a real trooper, but having to handle a lot of medical appointments and tests while adjusting to her first term in college has been challenging.

Our second request is for Daniel. He is a senior in college this year and has three job offers for next year, two of which he is seriously considering; and he is finding it difficult to decide which job to choose. These offers have deadlines, and he plans to make his decision before the end of the month. They are excellent offers with excellent companies, one in the mid west and one on the west coast. Since they are both great opportunities, the decision is not clear cut. We have been talking with him about this, and said that when making a decision like this, he needs to follow the "Road of Peace". In talking it through with him, we discussed that either could be the Lord's leading, but Jesus knows which one would be the best direction. The best way to proceed is take this matter to the Lord in prayer and see which direction has more peace. If you could pray for Daniel to follow the Lord's "Road of Peace" in the next few days, we would so appreciate it.

Thank you for your prayers and for all you do for us. You are a blessing to us in the Lord.

Love in Jesus,
Ed and Debbie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Thursday, October 24, 2013 9:37 PM

Subject: Not in Almost Three Years… (Rothfus, Oct 2013)

Well, this morning I got up and looked out the window and thought to myself, "I'm definitely not in Africa." October 24 here in Cuba (Cuba, NY), who would have thought that we would get snow? It has been almost three years since we have seen snow. Of course, the little boy in me had to go outside and make a snowball. But the old man in me had to work to stay warm. Before I went out I put everything warm on that I could find (if you count the layers of clothing you will find that I have four on :o)

Love in Jesus,
Ed and Debbie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Saturday, October 05, 2013 8:54 PM

Subject: The Rapids Below the Falls (Rothfus Oct 2013)

Well, if I were a dare devil attempting to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, at the onset, I would probably assume that going over the 173-foot drop (Horseshoe Falls) and making it to bottom alive would be the biggest challenge and goal, right? Wrong!

Now, for one thing, going over Niagara Falls in a barrel is illegal. And for another, I am committed to my bride, and they don't make barrels for two. Just Kidding! I am looking forward to many good years in Jesus with the “bride of my youth.” An event like this could put a serious crimp in my future. The reason I bring this up is to follow up on the last email, written about eight weeks ago and entitled, “Graduation and Niagara Falls.”

I thought that things would calm down somewhat--wishful thinking--but they have been rather hectic. I have to remember that there are rapids above the falls, but there is a different set of rapids below the falls. Below the falls, there is a deep, swift river with turbulent waters and a dangerous bend called “The Whirlpool.” The river goes on for quite a few miles before emptying into Lake Ontario. Below the falls, the river is anything but peaceful and calm. If a dare devil made it over the falls, still alive, there would be dangers and perils awaiting him in the depths and around the bends, everything from being pulled under in the falls themselves to being sucked under in all the whirlpools. The falls, in one way, is just the beginning of the perilous adventure ahead.

For us, these past eight weeks have required a bit of traversing in “the waters below the falls.” We, again, had meant to stay ahead of the situation and to keep you posted on the Rothfus family. But we have found ourselves working hard not to let our canoe capsize. Today I feel there is enough time to lay down the oars to pick up the pen (computer, in this case) to catch you up on the past stretch.

Let me see, where did we leave off? We had let you know what was happening when we arrived in Texas in July and then traveled up to Lockport, New York, for a week. Jen, Jon, Debbie, and I arrived back down south at the Owens home (Debbie’s sister and brother-in-law) at the beginning of August to regroup and prepare for college. The next few weeks were spent in Fort Worth going to Goodwill, Sears, and Walmart to get clothes and supplies for college. We have a new appreciation for Amazon as they make shopping for technology (everything from cell phones to computers) easier and more efficient. Also included during that time period were two big trips, one to pick up Daniel after he finished his summer internship with Garmin in Olathe, Kansas, and one to purchase and pick up a car from Debbie's cousin in Huntsville, Alabama. In the midst of all the busyness, we were all able to have some fun and fulfill some family goals of going to Worlds of Fun Theme Park in Missouri (Jon) and attending a Texas Rangers game in Dallas (Jen).

Then it was off to college. Debbie and I realized that we needed to divide and conquer. I would take Jon to John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and Debbie would take Jen and Daniel to LeTourneau in Longview, Texas, since the required new student orientations at both colleges began on the same day. I spent three days with Jon and planned to drive down to Texas to meet Debbie, see Jen and Dan, and then drive back to Fort Worth. Things were going well getting Jon settled in, and I was pleased with how well he was adjusting. We had a good few days until... the last hour and a half. I was trying to help him buy his books and last minute things, but he was in a bit of a mood. Finally, in his room, just before I was going to leave, I asked, “Jon what is going on?” He said, “Dad, can I be honest with you?” I said, “Yes, please.” He looked at me and said, “Dad, I love you…but I am enjoying my friends here…Could you leave?” I responded with a big, “YES!” and a thumbs up! I told him that this is what I had been waiting for and praying for. I think he was a bit relieved that he didn't hurt my feelings and that he could be honest. I went on to say, “Jon, can I be honest with you? I love you, too, but I am really looking forward to getting back to the “bride of my youth.” I told him that Jesus had been preparing him for college and also preparing his mom and me for this chapter. I let him know that leaving him would have been terribly difficult if he had been in tears dreading my departure, begging me to stay.

All our children are settled in college and seem to be doing well. Debbie and I have traveled up north, visiting family and friends on the way. Three thousand miles later, we arrived in Olcott, New York, at my Aunt Esther's. What a blessing to be near her! I keep slipping and calling her “Mom.” She chuckles and says, “That’s OK. That's a high compliment.” A week later we went to visit my brother Tedd, his wife Ivy, and their children. When we were leaving, their children paid Debbie and me one of the highest compliments. They asked, “When are we going to Aunt Debbie and Uncle Ed's to see them again?” Wow, not only do they enjoy our children (who were NOT with us during this visit), but they enjoy spending time with us! What a blessing. We returned to Aunt Esther's for a week, and now we are settling down in Cuba, New York, for almost four weeks to be near friends and our Cuba church family. The river seems, I think, to be leveling out a bit. And I think the roar of the falls and rough waters are trailing off behind us. Again, I think so, but we will see. It is so good to have a Captain in our boat Who knows the waters and rivers of life so well. He knows the future, the waters ahead, and nothing catches Him by surprise, even if lies around the next bend.

Here is what our calendar looks like through the end of 2013. We will be here in Cuba, New York, for the month of October. The first week of November, we will be back in Olcott, New York, with Aunt Esther. The second week on into the third, we will be traveling down to Fort Worth, Texas, visiting friends along the way. From the middle of November through the second week in December, we will be with Debbie's family in Forth Worth, spending Thanksgiving with our children and some of their college friends at the Owens home. The second week of December, after LeTourneau’s final exams, we will pick up Daniel and Jen and travel up north to Olcott, New York. Jon will fly up to New York the next week since his finals end a week later then Dan’s and Jen’s. We are looking forward to spending their Christmas break together in New York.

By the way, the picture we have attached is a picture of us sitting on the shore of Lake Ontario, the lake where the Niagara River ends. How good to be able to share life's adventures with you. Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement; what a blessing you are to us in Jesus!

Much love in Jesus,

Ed and Debbie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Saturday, August 03, 2013 10:57 PM

Subject: Niagara Falls and Graduation (Rothfus Letter, August 2013)

Niagara River is a substantial river that carries water from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, two of the Great Lakes. At one point, this river runs over a large fault in the land. This fault creates a massive waterfall called Niagara Falls.

I have been meeting with different senior guys throughout this year; and we have come to realize that for the seniors, their families, and anyone directly related to the senior class, this year is similar to the Niagara River and graduation is like Niagara Falls--the “point of no return.”

As the river gets closer to the falls, even the characteristics of the water (the current, the sounds, and the pace at which the water travels) changes. In fact, within a few miles of the falls, it is possible to see a cloud of mist rising up from the volume of water rushing over the edge. I had to chuckle when one of the young men said, “Yeah, and as you get closer to the falls even the people on the banks are waving good-bye!”

Today, July 13, 2013, is the day when not only the current is extremely rapid and we are looking at the mist cloud looming high above us, it is the day when the roar of the falls is deafening. We can see the water disappearing into the mist of the unknown as it rapidly flows over the edge. This is the morning of the great event--Graduation Day--the day that many of these students have been looking forward to with excitement and fear. Here they are at the “point of no return.” This is the day they couldn’t wait for and now the day they cannot escape from. At one point earlier in this year, they felt like they were in control, but now they are doing all they can to keep their boats intact.

Since two of the 78 seniors who are graduating today live in our home, I thought that it would be good to capture the thoughts before and after this event. I need to get ready for the Rift Valley Academy 2013 Graduation, which begins in a little over an hour, but I will pick up again soon once we make it safely over the falls…

…It is now three weeks later, Saturday morning August 3, 2013. This analogy hit home a little more than I expected. It seems once an object goes over the falls, Niagara Falls, there are a series of events that take over. The churning of the water under the falls, the undertows, the twisting and turning of the river, and the whirlpools in one of the bends. A floating object is at the mercy of all these forces acting upon it. If it remains afloat, it will eventually drift downstream to calmer waters.

Right after graduation, we took a lot of pictures and said many, MANY goodbyes to dear friends who would be leaving in a few short hours. Later that afternoon, Jennie and I sat down and finished filling out some college information that she needed to submit. That evening we wanted to get a jump on packing so we worked on that for a few hours. The packing actually took quite a bit more time than we thought since we were packing for two people to go to college and two people to go on a one-year home assignment, moving to a temporary home for three days, cleaning up the house we were leaving, and putting things in storage for when Debbie and I return to RVA. From graduation to Wednesday, things were hectic and the current was strong, but we still had some good times together. We had some special friends who saw the situation we were in and had us over for a couple of meals, gave us a breather, and kept us from existing on a very poor diet! Wednesday, the day we were to leave, those same friends came over and helped us pack, moved things to storage, and helped clean as the floors became visible. We were supposed to meet the bus for the airport at 4:00 p.m. and leave the RVA parking lot at 4:30. I came running down to the parking lot at 4:25 huffing and puffing (a little sweaty, too) having just locked up the storage space.

Things went well on the way to the airport, getting on the jet, and flying to the States. We arrived in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday. All our bags made it through with no problems. What a blessing to meet Debbie’s family and be with them again. We spent a day with them, and then on Saturday, all four of us got on another jet to fly to New York to help with Vacation Bible School at Ridgewood Bible Church in Lockport, NY. We shared about life in Kenya and some experiences as missionaries, helped with crafts, and did a series of pottery talks; and on Sunday morning I shared my pottery testimony. We were able to spend time with my Aunt Esther and special family at the church. It was a great time in the Lord. Tuesday we arrived back here in Texas and the current is beginning to slow down enough for us to get our feet back under us.

I had fully intended to write soon after graduation (the next day) to give you an update. But, you can see that as Niagara Falls is series of connected events, so in life after a major event, there is a series of connected events. These past three weeks have been very good; the Lord has been so good and so faithful!

I look at Jesus’s disciples, fisherman whose main mode of transportation was a boat. In a boat on a lake they didn’t experience rapids or waterfalls. But they did encounter situations that were just as dangerous: the wind and waves (Matthew 14:24-33, Mark 6:47-51 & John 6:16-21) and a storm (Matthew 8:18, 23-27, Mark 5:35-41 & Luke 8:22-25). When I look at these different accounts, I find it interesting that the stabilizing factor in the fluid surroundings was to put the Rock in their boat, the solid eternal Rock of Jesus Christ. From an earthly perspective, it didn’t make sense that they would add weight to an already sinking situation. But, from a spiritual perspective, it made the most sense to add the right weight, the right Rock, to keep from sinking.

Going back to the past three weeks and the very fluid environment we have just come through--the rapids, the current, and the major events--what a peace to have the Lord Jesus Christ, the Solid Rock and our stability in our boats as we have gone through all the ups and downs, the twists and turns. We are all the more intact because of Him.

So…we are here in the States and looking forward to spending time with many of you at some point this year. Thank you for your prayers and for all the thoughtful things you do for us. We appreciate you!

Love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jon and Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Monday, April 29, 2013 3:10 PM

Subject: Rothfus Scrapbook (April 2013)

Rothfus Scrapbook, April 2013

Here is our scrapbook from this past term to now (January through April). We apologize in advance for some of the pictures being a bit over crowded, but we thought it would be good to give an idea of the events instead of being able to identify every person.

1. Roofing the church at the IDP Camp. The fundis (carpenters) are putting on the last few sheets of mabati (corrugated metal). Just in time, too! If you look in the background, you will see a torrential rainstorm going through the valley.

2. Circuit rider and his wife? How many of you have had the speaker arrive for the Sunday morning service on a piki (motorcycle)? Debbie and I went to the Tree Church at the IDP Camp where I spoke three out of the four Sundays this past break. We found some creative ways to travel down to the church.

3. Easter Sunday church service. The church family gathered for a picture in front of the new church building. Two weeks later, we met inside for our first indoor service. The long rains have come, so the timing was perfect!

4. & 5. Varsity Girls Soccer Team. Here they are having fun at their post-season supper. Their team won the league championship, and Jennie enjoyed her position as goalie.

6. Titchie Tennis Baseball Team. Jon coached a team of elementary students in this fun and unique RVA game (kind of like baseball but played with a tennis ball and tennis racquet instead of a baseball and bat). He and his team had a lot of fun no matter what the score was.

7. Uganda Interim. Every year, juniors and seniors, accompanied by RVA staff members, participate in week-long educational experiences to various locations around East Africa. Jennie chose the Uganda interim this year, which included, helping at an orphanage, painting at a school on an island on Lake Victoria, bungee jumping and rafting the Nile.

8. Rafting the Nile. One of the activities on the Uganda interim was rafting the Nile. Here Jennie and her group are heading down into a set of rapids. She is the one in the turquoise shirt, next to the young lady who is in the process of doing a face plant. Everyone had a great time.

9. Northern Kenya Interim. Jonathan chose the Northern Kenya interim, which included exposure to the surrounding people groups and cultures, camel riding, rafting, kayaking, zip lining and rock climbing.

10. Mudslide! On Friday evening, April 26th, we received 5 ½ inches of rain in four hours--a torrential downpour! At 3:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, there was a huge mudslide right next to Rift Valley Academy. Pictured here are the guard trail and the destroyed security fence on one edge of the campus (the AIC Church side). Unfortunately, many of the Kenyan families in the surrounding community have suffered the loss of homes, possessions and crops, and sadly, one family lost three little girls. If the Lord puts this community on your heart, we would so appreciate prayer for them and for the healing that only He can bring.

11. Train tracks above RVA. The train tracks that run just above the RVA campus were blocked and partially torn out by the mudslide. The tunnel that can be seen here was completely filled in, and some of the train rails were found quite a distance down the hill. This was just one of many mudslides of this past weekend. Of the four access roads leading into Kijabe, only one was still open on Saturday; the other three had been washed out or blocked by the mudslides. Today (Monday) a second road is again open.

Thank you again for all your involvement in our lives and our ministry here at RVA. We appreciate your words of encouragement and support. Soon we will see many of you as we are preparing to return to the States for a year as Jonathan and Jennie begin their first year of college. We love you.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jon and Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Saturday April 20, 2013 12:43 PM

Subject: Rothfus Newsletter (April 2013)

The Next Step…

In a previous update, we wrote about “Standing at the Crossroads.” It is now four months later, and we have traveled with our Shepherd, Jesus Christ, down the road of His leading. We have a clearer picture of the horizon ahead and some (not all, but some) of the things He has in store for us.

Looking back to the beginning of thinking about colleges for Jon and Jen was somewhat like looking at a rather impressive, yet threatening mountain range. From our vantage point, we could see many of the massive mountains looming over us, too many to take in at one time. The overwhelming thought comes, “How in the world will I climb all those mountains; where do I even begin?” We must admit, this feeling is somewhat what we felt, when we began looking at colleges for Jon and Jen. Look at the finances, their future directions, the choices and decisions! Then, it was as if Jesus spoke quietly to both Debbie and me reassuring us that we didn’t need to climb all those mountains (look into all those colleges), but just the ones He had for us. The real process was to look to our Shepherd for His leading and follow Him down the road of His directing. There was a peace knowing that we walked a road into that mountain range that lead to specific mountains. Climbing a mountain takes energy and effort, and it may not be an easy climb; but there is contentment knowing it is not beyond our reach, but something we can do. And there is a focus and investment in climbing just those mountains God has placed before us. The college Jennie has chosen is LeTourneau University (where Daniel will be a senior next year), and the one Jon has chosen is John Brown University. Both colleges have helped our children financially, and we are excited about this path ahead for them.

Debbie and I have talked and prayed about next year and the various possibilities. We look forward to flying from Kenya to Texas after Jon and Jen’s graduation in mid July. It will be nice to spend time with Waylan and Betsy and their family and Debbie’s mom again. Then in mid August, we plan to begin settling our children into their colleges. After getting everyone settled, we plan on traveling up north to be near my Aunt Esther, in Olcott, NY, as we feel it is important to be near family when the Lord opens the door. We are planning to make Olcott our base as the Lord leads amongst all the travels of home assignment. We look forward to visiting Debbie’s family in PA and my family in the Adirondack Mountains when we can. We are also looking forward to being in Cuba, NY, for some weeks in the fall and hopefully also in the spring to reconnect with church family there. We hope to see many of you in our travels next year. What a blessing it will be to be near you again!

It is amazing how Jesus keeps directing me back to “on-the-job training” with my walk with Him. Lessons learned in Jesus are not to be learned and left behind, but rather learned and lived. We are facing a new chapter of life applying previous principles He has taught us. Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Be still and know that He is God… in the midst of changing chapters of life, in the midst of major decisions, in the midst of moving from one continent to another. I come back to the basics of the practice of letting the peaceful, still waters of abiding in Jesus spill out over the rapids of my day. Please do not think I have arrived in any way in this area. Remember this is on-the-job training, and some training I repeat over and over. I am a slow learner.

We would so appreciate it if you could pray for us with the details for next year: for Jon and Jen with details about college and for their thinking as they transition into this new chapter of life; for Debbie and me for the transitions that are ahead and for a strong finish to this school year here at Rift Valley Academy. Also, Debbie and I are still in need of a vehicle for next year and are open to what Jesus has for us.

What a blessing we have in the heritage of Jesus Christ! Look at the family we have in all of you and all the special relationships He has brought into our lives! And these relationships are not accidental; they are intentional and of His design. What a gift you have been to us through the years, and how we have grown through your input and involvement in our lives. We are blessed. We think of you often and love you.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jon and Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 3:14 AM

Subject: Rothfus Scrapbook (January 2013)

Rothfus Scrapbook, January 2013

We have been working on getting out our Rothfus Scrapbook, which we originally had intended to send in December; but as you can see it is now being sent at the end of January. The pictures are arranged counter clockwise and even though we took them from November through January, they are not necessarily in chronological order. We hope you enjoy them.

1. A special Visit. Daniel and his roommate from LeTourneau University, Terry, were able to come and visit for three weeks during Christmas vacation. What a gift to have them come! This was Daniel’s first time to visit since his high school graduation in July of 2010. Here are Ed, Jon, Daniel, and Terry standing on the edge of the Great Rift Valley in front of Mount Longonot.

2. Thanksgiving Dinner. Debbie went to Texas for four weeks during November and December to visit her mother and family. This left Jen, Jon, and Ed “momless” and “Debbieless”. Good family friends, Chip and Becky Carter and their family, took us in for a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner and a great time of fellowship.

3. Varsity Basketball. Last term Jennie played on the Women’s Varsity Basketball team, and they went on to win the league championship again this year! A fun bit of trivia about this team is that five of the eleven girls have either a twin brother or sister.

4. The Tree Church. The next three pictures are from the Tree Church at the IDP (internally displaced people) Camp. This picture was taken on December 2, 2012, almost four years since the first meeting under the tree.

5. Construction is underway at the Tree Church. This building will be big enough for the church family to meet in and eventually will be used for a kitchen facility and ministry center when the actual church building is built a few years from now.

6. It’s not just in America, but even in Kenya, guys will be guys. When I got ready to take this picture, they all picked up a big block to pose for the picture! It reminds me of my college days, and I had to chuckle. (By the way, Jon, our son, is the one in the back right in the bright orange sweatshirt, just in case you didn’t know! :o)

7. Christmas Day. We were able to be together this year as a family, and we had a dear friend over to spend the day with us. What a blessing in Jesus! We even included Winston, our cat, in our family picture.

8. We went to the Aberdares National Park, our favorite place to go here in Kenya, for two days on a family vacation. Here is Terry with the big (well, not-so-big) catch of the day, a rainbow trout.

9. The Aberdares. What a blessing to be together again in such a beautiful place!

10. Brothers. As Jon and Dan were relaxing on a big rock n front of Chania Falls, Debbie got them to turn around for this picture. The Aberdares is a high-altitude rainforest and is the largest water source for Nairobi.

It has been so good to share with you the Lord’s faithfulness and goodness through the years. We want to express our thankfulness, once again, to have family like you in Jesus. We so appreciate your words of encouragement, prayers, and all you do to support the Lord’s work here at Rift Valley Academy. God has blessed us through you.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Daniel, Jon & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Saturday December 29, 2012 8:15 AM

Subject: Standing at the Crossroads  (Rothfus Prayer Letter December 2012)

Have you ever come to an intersection, stopped, and looked at the roads that lay before you and wondered, “Which way do I turn?” Debbie and I realized eighteen months ago when we returned to Kenya that such an intersection would lie before us as a family. We have wanted to write to you to let you know our thoughts about the future, but as of now, we have no definite conclusions. What we can share with you are some inklings of the heart that God has given us, and where we are in this process.

Standing at the crossroads, what are the roads that are before us? One road called college, another called family involvement. A road called ministry, and yet another called the year after next year.

Both Jon and Jennie are seniors this year here at Rift Valley Academy and are looking at starting college next year (all three children will be in college at the same time next year). Jennie is interested in physical education, and Jon is open to construction management, architecture, and industrial design. Between the two of them, the colleges and universities they have been accepted to are LeTourneau, Union, Cedarville, Calvin, Dordt, Houghton, John Brown, Bryan, and Asbury. We are excited for them and at the same time trusting Jesus for all the details that lie down this road.

As for Debbie and me, we are open to the ministry that Jesus has for us next year as we begin a year of home assignment. Some of the markers along this road are possible ministry at the college level, spending time with family, and involvement with family in Jesus who have been actively involved with our ministry here at RVA. A big consideration is that Debbie’s mom is getting older and facing changes, and we wonder how we can best help in the transitions that are coming in her life.

At this point, our family will be flying into Texas in July and traveling to Jon’s and Jennie’s colleges to settle them in August. Beyond that, it looks like next year’s road is marked with a lot of traveling from south to north. After next year, we feel Jesus is directing our hearts toward returning to Rift Valley Academy for one or two more years. There are some projects in the works here at RVA in which we would like to be involved. One of the main things is that RVA will soon begin construction of a new Fine Arts, Graphic Arts, and Wood Technology building, and it would be nice to come back and help set up the art department in this new facility.

We also know that there will be adjustments as Debbie and I will now have a new road to travel called the “empty nest.” We have spent a lot of time talking with friends and missionaries for the insights and experiences that they have offered, and this has been invaluable. One thing they have shared is that though you may make plans, families face obstacles that may require detours to be made. What if our children struggle? It would be hard to be on another continent unable to help them through these difficult times. The Lord already knows the direction He has planned for us, and we are open to His leading. As we anticipate the changes in our lives, I (Ed) appreciate the bride Jesus has given me in Debbie. And though I know we will miss our children a lot, I am looking forward to traveling into this new chapter with her.

As we think about our travels during our home assignment, we won’t need quite as big a vehicle as before. If anyone has an idea for a smaller car for next year or comes across a good deal, we would be very open.

Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” Debbie and I have been learning that a walk of faith in Jesus Christ is never easy, but faith needs to be active and practiced daily. Anxiety is directly related to who is driving our family car (figuratively speaking). If I try to take the steering wheel, I find myself more restless and irritable. But, if I give the steering wheel to Jesus, there is definitely less anxiety and more peace knowing that my Lord knows road ahead. He created it (Ephesians 2:10) and desires to drive it with us.

We would so appreciate your prayers through this chapter and the road ahead. Thank you so much for all your words of encouragement through the ministry years here at RVA. What a blessing in Jesus you have been to us! We love you and look forward to seeing many of you next year and being with you again.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Daniel, Jon & Jennie.

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Saturday, September 01, 2012 10:35 AM

Subject: Rothfus Scrapbook (August 2012)

Rothfus Scrapbook (Captions), August 2012

We have already begun the 2012-13 school year, but we thought it would be fun to send you some pictures from the end of last year and this past break. We hope you enjoy them.

1. This is a picture of Mount Longonot, a dormant volcano, in the Rift Valley, about fourteen miles away. Its peak is just over 9,000 feet and the rim is a little over three miles in circumference. We took this picture from the RVA campus.

2. Here we are at the summit of Mt. Longonot with the hardest part of the climb behind us. Pictured with us is a young lady, our “adopted” daughter for most of this past break and Jennie’s good friend. For quite some time now, we as a family have wanted to climb Mount Longonot. When we arrived at the base of the volcano, the weather was cloudy and bit rainy. Even when we climbed to edge of the crater it was very misty, and we hiked most of the rim in a rather dense cloud at times. It is the strangest thing to look ahead with only about two hundred feet of visibility and see the trail you are walking on fade off below you into a cloud on both the right and left sides. But, when we reached the top for lunch, the most beautiful sight opened up. The cloud cover that had plagued our vision on the ascent rolled back to unfold a view beyond words. We were standing on the peak watching remnants of clouds being wisped away by the wind to reveal the volcanic crater waking up to the sunlight. The rest of the day was spent enjoying this glorious view as we descended. The Lord is good in all His timing and loves to display His artwork if we would just take the time to enjoy the Artist and His artwork.

3. On our way down from the peak, Debbie took this picture of the inside of the volcanic bowl with the peak at the center.

4 & 5. These two pictures are connected. Nine years ago, Jonnie and I climbed Longonot with another father and son. Picture 5 shows Jon and me on the peak. I have been looking forward to when we could do it again, and we finally did as you can see in picture 4.

6. I was asked at the end of last year to speak at a pastor’s conference near Naivasha, Kenya. It was a bit intimidating to think of speaking to at least sixty Kenyan pastors who are on the front lines for Jesus. But I have to remember that it is Jesus who speaks through us. I shared the pottery testimony with them and took questions at the end. Here I am with my translator, a pastor from Nakuru. I find myself amazed at God’s goodness, at how I can sit down in front of a group of Kenyan men, and at the end of that hour and a half, we have become close brothers in Jesus Christ. What a blessing!

7. We helped host the Alumni Tea for the Class of 2010 during Alumni Weekend in July. Almost thirty of the sixty-nine classmates were able to make it back for that weekend. We were blessed to hear and see how the Lord has been working in their lives through these last two years of adjusting to college and life beyond RVA.

8. One Sunday when we went down to the Tree Church at the IDP camp, we were greeted by many children, probably 150-200 of them! I looked at Daniel, my translator and a church elder, and asked, “Should we do a story from the Old Testament?” He very enthusiastically agreed, so we acted out the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Here we are looking into the fiery furnace to see the four figures walking around. I really have fun acting out stories with Daniel, because he gets into the story too. Look at all the Kenyan dirt on his clothes from when we were on the ground.

9 & 10. Graduation is always a bittersweet time: a time of saying goodbye to close friends in the class ahead of you, a time of realizing that next year’s graduation is not that far away, and a time when the graduates pass on the baton of seniority through hugs, tears and words of encouragement. These two pictures show Jennie with a fellow flute player and Jon with fellow trombone players.

11. A church in Western New York wanted to share in a dream that I have had to build a potter’s wheel for the IDP Camp. They said that they would pay for this “potter’s spare wheel” it if we built it. It took about five months to find all the various parts needed, from bearings to a Peugeot wheel. Here Zed and I are on the day we finished assembling it. We are using it with the pottery classes for part of this year to work out the kinks before taking it down to the IDP Camp.

12. This past break, we got together with RVA “station kid” members of the NEW senior class for game nights. Station kids are non-boarding students whose parents live and work at RVA or at the nearby Kijabe Medical Center. As you can tell by this picture, our evenings were pretty lively and… a lot of fun!

It was a good last year and a good break. I think that the big thing the Lord was showing me was that I needed to fight for more margin time when I have time off from the busy school schedule. I needed to let projects fall off my mental clipboard. In doing so I found I had more time for Jesus and relationships. I found that He, Jesus, had actually been waiting to use that free time for relationships He counted very important. I can so easily be a project driven person, but I hope these lessons that Jesus is teaching become life lessons and not just one-time events.

Thank you again for all you do for us. You are a special team in Jesus. Your prayers and words of encouragement have meant so much to us. We love and appreciate you.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jon & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Saturday, May 26, 2012 2:37 PM

Subject: Rothfus Scrapbook, May 2012

Rothfus Scrapbook Captions, May 2012

1) Family Picture. Here is a recent picture of our family, including Winston our cat. It’s still strange to not have Daniel here in the picture with us!

2) Grade School Library Class. Debbie is shown here teaching the first grade library class.

3) Rainy Season. From the end of April to the beginning of May we were getting very heavy rains, but the rains have evened out a bit more recently. This picture was taken during one of the heaviest storms, during which we received 4.3 inches of rain in a span of about six hours. Needless to say, I (Ed) got rather soaked taking this picture.

4) Crevasses in the Valley. A friend of ours let us use this picture for our letter. Recently, there was an earthquake with some shifting and settling in the valley, though our family didn’t feel it. With the recent heavy rains, these crevasses have begun to appear in various places in the valley as the ground is washed into these cracks (some rather large, as you can see).

5) Interims. Jonnie and Jennie were each able to go on week-long educational trips at the end of last term, called Interims. The junior and senior students sign up to participate in one of fourteen different trips around Kenya and some surrounding countries. The students have the opportunity for a fun mix of ministry and experiences while they interact with various people and cultures. Jennie went to Malindi on the coast of Kenya, while Jonnie went to Uganda. Here he is bungee jumping over the Nile River.

6) Tennis Baseball. Last term Jon and a good friend of his had the opportunity to coach a team of kindergarten through six-grade students in an RVA sport called tennis baseball. It’s a game kind of like baseball, but students hit tennis balls with a tennis racquet rather than a bat, and everyone gets a chance to bat every inning. Fun to play, and fun to watch, too!

7-9) Advanced Art Students. These three pictures show several of Ed’s Advanced Art I and II students (including Jon and Jennie) working on their projects. Jennie is sculpting a hand; and Jonnie is working on a Victorian Style house, a project that took over fifty hours of working time to complete.

10) Gigantic bubble. Jonnie and a young friend from next door had a lot of fun one day creating huge bubbles, some over ten feet long.

11) Soccer Goalies. Jennie made the varsity soccer team this past term and played goalie. Here she is with two friends and fellow goalies. The girl on the right is a good friend of Jennie’s who was the JV goalie, and the girl on the left is a short-term missionary who played goalie on her college soccer team. She spent many hours coaching and encouraging Jennie and her friend in their goalie positions.

12) League Champs! The girls’ varsity soccer team won the league championship this year. The team was a strong team with such excellent defense that Jennie didn’t see as much action in the goal as she would have liked during league games (which is not necessarily a bad thing!) She worked hard defending the goal during practice, though, and often came home from practice covered with mud and bruises!

It is nice to be able to share a few pictures and thoughts so that you can get a little of the flavor of life here at Rift Valley Academy. We enjoy the opportunities the Lord has opened up to work with these young people. We so appreciate the team the Lord has called together to make it possible for us to be here for Him. We love you and thank you for all you do for us!

Much love in Jesus, Ed, Debbie, Jonnie & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Saturday, May 26, 2012 1:35 PM

Subject: Thoughts About the Driver's Seat (Rothfus, May 2012)

This past weekend, RVA had a mini spiritual life conference. It was student initiated, and the students who organized it asked three faculty members to speak. I was honored to be asked to speak on Sunday morning (and scared stiff at the same time). But, the peace comes when we realize that it is not we who are speaking, but the Holy Spirit through us. I would like to share a few thoughts from Sunday morning.

The theme for the weekend was “Limitless.” I shared a thought from a Wayne Watson concert that Debbie and I went to in the mid 90’s. Wayne, right in the middle of the concert, stopped and said, “There are two things I want you to remember tonight. God is God, and I am not!” I have remembered that so many times since that concert. I shared that story and added, “God is limitless, I am limited, yet He wants to do limitless things through His people.” Ephesians 3:20-21 says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

I would to share with you an illustration from the end of the talk. Can you imagine what it would look like if our lives were similar to a car. In a car there are four seats, one being the driver’s seat. (There were four chairs and an actual car steering wheel set up on the stage.) I would like to look at The Driver’s Seat. It is the control point of the car, it feels comfortable for the most part, and when we are sitting in it, we are in control of where we go and what we do.

When we become Christians, we give our lives to Jesus Christ. He comes into our lives and we give him the “Driver’s Seat” of our lives. (I moved over from the driver’s seat to the passenger’s seat, the rider’s seat.)

As time goes on, there are conscious choices to be made. Are we going to give Him freedom to lead and go where He sees best? What happens when we start to feel like we can help Jesus steer a little bit? “Oh look over here, Jesus. This friend is more popular and I know we need to turn this way. Jesus, You’re turning toward someone I don’t feel very comfortable being seen with…” “Wait Lord, You’re turning down a lonely road with potholes and bumps! There are not a lot of houses, and it looks like there are mountains and valleys. This looks like it will take me out of the way…”

“Look over here, Jesus. This road gets wider. In fact, it looks like a new four lane leading to those bright lights.” We reach over and put a hand on the wheel and help Jesus turn toward the city, but we don’t let go. In fact, we slide partially into driver’s seat, somewhat crowding our Lord. By now, both hands are on the left hand side of the wheel. (I was illustrating in a Kenyan car.) “Wow, Jesus, look how fast everyone is going! This is exciting!” But, before we realize it, we slide a bit more into the driver’s seat. Now we move one hand onto the right side of the wheel and without realizing it have slid our Lord out of the driver’s seat. We are now in control of our lives, all the gauges, shift, clutch (most cars are standards in Kenya), brake, and gas pedal. We are doing all we can to keep up with those around us.

What we didn’t realize was that we couldn’t see the rear view mirror from the passenger’s seat. But now it’s right in our view. We happen to glance into the rearview mirror, and we are distracted by our past, what’s behind us. What was exciting just a little while ago has now become very stressful and tense. We try to hear the Lord’s voice, but the sound of the cars around us, the city noises and distractions, are drowning out His voice… Wait a minute, where is He? He is not in the front anymore, how did He get to the back seat and why is it so hard to hear him?

At this point, I said, “Stop! Question: Who is limitless and who is limited? Who is God and who is not? Who would actually make a better driver in the vehicle of our lives?”

Truth: “God is God and I am not. He is limitless, and I am limited.” The driver’s seat of our lives is for Jesus Christ; it is God’s position, not ours. We need to ask His forgiveness, humbly slide back to the passenger’s seat, and give our Lord His position. We need to take our hands off the wheel and trust Him fully for the road ahead if we want to arrive safely and intact in Jesus Christ.

Verses that will help us focus on putting our Heavenly Father in the driver’s seat of our lives:

Psalm 139:16                 He is my Author
Proverbs 3:5-6                God is God, and I am not
Jeremiah 29:11                 He has a dream for me
Isaiah 64:8                    He is my Designer
Ephesians 2:10               He has prepared a road for me
Ephesians 3:20-21             He is limitless and wants that for me
Hebrews 12:1-2               Fix my eyes on my Driver

Daily we need to give the Lord our driver’s seat. But, if you’re anything like me, we still find ourselves wanting to help just a little bit, to just reach for the wheel just a little… No, we need to remember to pull our hands back. “God is God, and I am not. He is limitless, and I am limited.” It is when we trust Him fully, that we find a limitless God, working with His limited people, and doing limitless things through them for His honor and glory.

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Monday, May 07, 2012 12:46 AM

Subject: A Love for His Ministry (Rothfus May 2012)

Last term, toward the end of the term, Debbie and I had a 90% date. We had to go to Nairobi to shop, but I had the opportunity to take my bride out and do some fun things together. One of the things we did was to go to Java House (a fun Nairobi restaurant) and sit, think, chat, and dream together. As we were talking and reminiscing about teaching at RVA, Debbie burst out laughing. I suppose if you saw my face, you would have been able to tell that it had caught me off guard. I was beginning to look around to see what it was that made her laugh. She looked down and tried to bring herself under control so she could tell me. A few moments later, she said, “You said that you really enjoy working with the students and feel that they are ‘round welded’.” Of course, being the humble, understanding man that I am, I said, “No I didn’t. I said “well rounded’.” If it wasn’t the next sentence that we were talking about RVA students, and I said, “round welded.” I heard it this time, and we both sat there chuckling. Needless to say, it has become one of our favorite phrases.

The students recently returned from April break, and during the first week of school, Debbie asked one of her sixth grade library classes what countries they had spent time in during their break. She received an answer she didn’t quite expect. The sixteen students had visited a total of sixteen different countries! Several of the students had been in the same country, some had been in several countries, and one girl had spent time in five different countries! However, none of them had been to the United States or Canada. Here are some the countries they covered in their travels: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique, Benin, Rwanda, South Africa, England, Lesotho, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Angola, South Korea and Sao Tome e Principe. Just when we think we are becoming familiar with teaching here, the Lord catches us off guard and reminds us that only He is the author and designer of a school such as RVA.

Debbie and I have talked during this past year about being here in Kenya. We enjoy all the various aspects of serving Jesus here, including helping down at the IDP camp and Tree Church (we’ll be letting you know more about that sometime soon), and the various ministries in which we participate. But we find that the Lord continues to reinforce to us the calling that drew us to Kenya in 2000--to stand in the gap for the children of missionaries. Whether teaching, mentoring, listening, sponsoring, training, or serving, we love these young people and really enjoy working with them. I find in my walk with Jesus, many times, it is not “bigger and better.” Rather, Jesus calls me to “simplify and organize” what has He called us to and simply serve our King.

We should be sending the “Rothfus May Scrapbook” soon. By the way, I had a very special day with Debbie in Nairobi.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jonnie & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Thursday, April 19, 2012 8:30 AM

Subject: Struck by a Bright... Idea? (Rothfus April 2012)

This past term something interesting happened here at Rift Valley Academy. It was Monday, February 27, and I had gone to Nairobi with nine other faculty members from RVA for a one-day educational seminar. In the afternoon, there was a heavy downpour in Nairobi for about twenty minutes. It was a bit unusual since it was not rainy season, and we had to wait for it to pass since it was rather deafening in the auditorium we were in.

I arrived back at RVA about 5:30, and Debbie, Jon, and Jennie told me about a storm that had gone through that afternoon. I said, “Yeah, there was a major downpour in Nairobi too.” They went on to say that a lightning bolt had hit the CB building (a main classroom building) shortly after 1:00. Here is part of an email that our superintendent, Tim Hall, sent out:

This is an email to update you on our recent series of unfortunate events. During a recent intense unseasonal downpour, Rift Valley Academy was struck by lightning. The deafening explosion rattled windows and sent staff and students alike scurrying to find out where the lightning had touched down. A visiting team of technology experts working in the main computer server room testified that the entire room lit up. Fortunately, no one was hurt and there was no structural damage to our building that was hit. Our electrical protection system setup to protect our computer network prevented the surge from entering our network from the power side. Unfortunately, the surge did somehow enter through the data side impacting many critical pieces of our distribution equipment.

What I found out later was that the wiring to ground such strikes as this had been disconnected because the building was under construction. The lightning followed part of the computer wiring system to pass through the building and affected our entire computer network system across the campus. We are so thankful that even though so many people in and around that building saw bright flashes and effects, no one was hurt. Praise the Lord!

But, our communication with the outside world has been severely damaged, and we are still in the process of recovering (two months later). We apologize for our lack of communication this past term, but there were some unusual challenges. We are going to try to catch you up on this past term, so hopefully in the next few weeks you will hear more from us.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jonnie & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Friday, December 09, 2011 11:08 AM

Subject: Rothfus Reflections (December 2011)

We are now beginning our break. The first term finished last week, and this past week we finished our annual AIM Conference here at Rift Valley Academy. Though it was intense and busy, we feel it was a very good term. I have been looking forward to the chance to finally think and process some of the “rapids” (very busy lifestyle) our family has faced these past two and a half years in planning for home assignment, home assignment, and then three and a half months ago returning to RVA. We are putting together our “Rothfus December Scrapbook” (which will be coming soon in two parts, the captions and the picture) and also the “Pest of the Month” which is a wolf spider (please feel free to delete it if you don’t like spiders).

I would like to share a thought with you from Mark 1:35, Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Many times when I read in the Bible, I find certain passages so refreshing and they tend to call to my heart, and this is one of those passages. There is not much in our daily lives (world) that is called “solitary” especially coming off such a busy term. Yet, I believe that there is that “solitary” quiet place to meet with my Lord Jesus even in such a busy schedule. I have appreciated the time to get up early this past term when “it was still dark” and spend time in prayer. I have found that the more I spend time with Jesus, the more His quiet peacefulness spills over and calms the loud restlessness of the daily rapids. Sadly, the less I spend “solitary” time with Jesus, the more the daily rapids tend to press in and distract me from the little time I spend with Him.

If you are interested, we have a Facebook account:
Ed-Debbie Rothfus

We also have a website, set up for us by one of my former art students and his wife (good friends of ours):
potterytalk.org

We appreciate each of you and the way Jesus has used you in our lives. We miss you, especially during this Christmas season, but hope you have a very good Christmas in Jesus.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jonnie & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 12:52 PM

Subject: Rothfus Scrapbook (October 2011)

Rothfus Scrapbook, October 2011

We are on mid-term break and wanted to let you all know that we are all alive and doing very well in Jesus. Here are some pictures from the last few months.

1. August 14. We are with our family in the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport just before leaving for Kenya. It is always difficult saying good-bye to family, but the biggest adjustment this time was leaving Daniel in the States as he returned to college at LeTourneau University.

2. & 4. Outreach Day, September 10. We helped with outreach to the IDP Camp in the valley. We spent time with the children, face painted (as displayed by these fine looking young men), and played games (here are Jen and Jon playing volley ball).

3. Ed’s Junior young men’s Sunday School class. At the beginning of this year, several young men from my previous 9th grade Sunday School class asked if we could put together another class for this year. We received permission to do a Discipleship, Accountability and Outreach class. Three Sundays a term, we will be traveling off campus to the IDP camp to help with the Sunday morning service and a possible children’s program. One Sunday a term we will be traveling to a Maasai church to do the pottery testimony, and these young men will be helping with set up and clean up. The other Sundays we will be focusing on discipleship. I am excited about this class, because Sunday School is optional for Juniors and Seniors. How good it is to see young men who are on fire for Jesus.

5. The first Sunday we arrived back, we went down to the IDP Camp and the Church Tree. It was good to see everyone! We brought your greetings to them, and here they are waving and sending you their greetings. Yes, I was asked to speak that Sunday. I feel that the Lord has placed on my heart to share Old Testament stories and how they relate to today. It is good to be with family in Jesus down at the IDP Camp.

6. Here are three men preparing to pour a foundation for the Church Tree outhouse (a “long drop” in Kenyan terms). It has a men’s side and a women’s side. A good friend of ours noticed that the men’s side had a flushing toilet and a hole in the floor, but the women’s side only had a hole in the floor. He said to the man in charge, “In the United States, we would have put the flushing toilet on the women’s side.” The man looked at him and said, “Hmm, I never thought of that.”

7. Zed at RVA throwing on the wheel. Last year, he and Serephine lived and worked in the Nairobi area and enjoyed being near their boys in their boarding schools. Toward the end of the school year last year, we touched base, and he was very open to coming back to Kijabe and helping with the pottery program. It is so good to be able to work with Zed again here at RVA.

8. One of my Art Survey students working on his project. This project is cross hatching a face in ballpoint pen. I am impressed; it’s his first time doing this. It is good to be back here with the students in the high school and grade school (Titchie).

9. Winston, our cat, did not take long to move back in and make himself at home when we returned!!

It is good to be back here in Kenya at Rift Valley Academy!r4444444 Debbie, Jonnie, Jennie and I have talked quite a bit about culture shock, and though it is not as bad this time as other times, we still face it. Being away from family and friends, Daniel being away at college, the weather being so different without the four seasons, the busyness, different time zones (being seven or eight hours ahead of the U.S.)--these are just a few things. But, I find deeper than ever Philippians 4:11-13. It says, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Contentment doesn’t come from me being in control or having everything under control, but rather knowing that my King, my Lord and Father has everything under HIS control and it is through Him that we do all He has called us to. Yes, it is good so good to be back here in Kenya at Rift Valley Academy.

Thank you for all your support and all you do for us. We do miss you.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jonnie (yes, his friends call him Jonnie) & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Saturday, August 20, 2011 3:53 PM

Subject: The Rothfus Family in Kenya (August 2011)

We are here at Rift Valley Academy and wanted to send a quick note to let you know we are doing well. We are finding it a challenge this time with jet lag, and our sleeping schedules are off. Could it be our bodies are just slowing down in adjustment time (hmmm, this wouldn't have anything to do with our ages?!?) Anyway, the trip went very well and it is good being back and and getting settled. The Lord is so good and faithful! Just a note, we flew from Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, where the temperatures were over 100 most of the time we were there, and now we have arrived here in Kijabe, Kenya (not too far from the equator) and our high two days ago was 69 (we are at 7,600 feet which has something to do with it). Thank you for all your prayers. What a blessing to spend time with many of you this past year! We miss you already.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jon & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Sunday, August 14, 2011 10:37 AM

Subject: Short Note from the Rothfus Family (August 2011)

This is just a quick note to let you know that we arrived safely in Texas a week and a half ago. We had hoped to send a bit more of an update, but we will save that for Kenya (we'll try to catch you up then). We leave today for Rift Valley Academy at 5:50 from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (we fly to London then on to Nairobi). We are all doing well, it has been such a good time in the states with everyone, especially spending time with family here in Texas. As those of you who have children in college know, there is a new dimension to saying good-bye, I know it is going to be hard to say good-bye to our son Daniel as he will be in the states this time as the four us fly on to Kenya, but we have so enjoyed any time we have had with him. We love you all and will write soon.
Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jon & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 12:41 PM

Subject: Answer to Prayer (Rothfus July 2011)

We received news yesterday that our support for the next two years is all in place, and we will be flying out for sure on August 14 from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Thank you, thank you for all your prayers and words of encouragement. This has been a very good year in Jesus. We find that there were many times that were not comfortable and some areas that were just hard, but, overall, very rewarding and good in Jesus Christ.

As we get closer to leaving, there is an emotion that is making himself evident again. The other day, Jennie and I (Ed) went on a date. After a time of thought, she looked at me and asked, "Dad, do you get tired of saying good-bye?" I said, "Hmm, let me think..." I thought for a little bit then said, "Yes, I get tired of saying good-bye, but not tired of saying good-bye." Let me explain. I get tired of saying "good-bye" in the sense that there is a direct proportion of emotional energy wrapped up in invested relationships. For instance, the more I have invested in a relationship and the higher I value it, naturally it will cost more emotion to adjust and transition away from those deep investments. But, on the other hand, I never want to tire of saying "good-bye" because that is all part of the nature of relationships. I feel that God has designed us in such a way that we naturally feel profound sadness when a valued relationship is vacant. I have also come to realize that this is OK because it is the reflection of depth and meaningful investment. It's OK to hurt and shed tears; it's healthy and normal. Besides, isn't our ultimate loneliness rooted in the desire to be with the One who designed us? I long to be a creation in the hands of my Creator, focused on Him.

With all this said, the emotion showing itself again is quiet sadness. Debbie, Jon, Jennie and I have been talking about the fact that we were so ready to go back to Kenya when we arrived last fall. Now, things are falling into place and, Lord willing, we will leave in August. Please don't misunderstand; we are very excited to be heading back to Kenya and so thankful for answered prayer. This is just a time where it is hard to embrace the future without looking back to all those meaningful relationships that have made us who we are in Jesus. We love you all very much and so appreciate you. We would gladly leave many things here in the States if only we could take you with us, yet we know we can't. Something encouraging is that time goes quickly, and it won't be long before we see you again. We believe Jesus is returning soon, and we may see you before two years is up--how cool that would be!

Again we love you all and so appreciate you. We will try to stay in good touch through these next two years.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jon & Jennie=

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Thursday, June 30, 2011 9:10 PM

Subject: Pest of the Month (Rothfus June 2011)

One night about a month ago, I received a phone call from a friend of mine. He said, "Ed, we have a snake in our house! Can you come over and get it out for us?" I responded, "Uh, sure." Jon heard the phone, saw me putting my jacket on, and asked, "Where are you going, Dad?" When I told him, he asked if he could come along, and I responded that he could. We arrived and our friends told us that the snake was in their bedroom. We went into the corner with the snake, and I asked my friend if he had any big leather gloves that he used with the wood stove. He gave me a thick pair. I put on the right glove, reached down under their dresser, and picked up this three-and-a-half-foot guy. I placed him in a five-gallon pail and began to head toward our car. Now whatever calm and cool composure I may have presented up to this point was immediately dissolved when my cell phone went off in my pocket. Do you know how unnerving it can be to be holding a snake in a bucket and have a sudden and unexpected vibration tickle your right hip? I am not sure, but I think I may have had an involuntary vertical jump of four inches. On the way home, we let the snake go in an open field.

Jon and I looked the snake up on the internet, and we think that it was a nonvenomous northern water snake. Even in the States, we have encountered some fun "Pests of the Month". We love you all and appreciate you.

Love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jon & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Saturday, May 07, 2011 2:08 PM

Subject: Snow Fort Edition (Rothfus, May 2011)

Since the Rothfus family has been suffering from "Snow Deprivation" (We hadn't been in snow for eight years!), we took full advantage of the snow, the cold, the shivering, the... hmmm...Wonder why I missed it so much? But, anyway, we had a lot of fun building four different snow forts. Here are the different models:

1) This geometric masterpiece was design by Jonathan and Daniel. It was precisely engineered with 90-degree corners. Each block was pressed from an Igloo 9 quart (8 liter) ice chest (seen pictured here in the foreground). After the walls were meticulously crafted, a loose layer of snow was applied to the interior in order to duplicate a midwest stucco effect. The temperature was 31 degrees, ideal for this architectural undertaking (very symmetrical, I might add).

2) This country-Christmas-style living space, built on December 23 in the Adirondack Mountains in Uncle Teddie and Aunt Ivy's front yard, is a covered, three-room igloo. It features a living room, a den, and a family room which can hold eight people uncomfortably (ten if you get a running start). The special feature of this fort is the medieval turret positioned in the center of the roof so that the inhabitants may pop up at a moment's notice to pelt unsuspecting snow marauders and parents. This fort was constructed in 10 to 15-degree weather and required most of the snow in the front and side yards (and many hot chocolate breaks, with marshmallows :o)

3) This little beauty features an arched doorway (the Roman Aqueduct flavor including keystone), a feature never before seen in a Huntsville, Alabama, snow fort (and most likely, not to be seen again for another 20 to 25 years). This fort was constructed rather quickly in 34-degree weather using neighborhood cooperative efforts and talents.

4) This is our eclectic garbagecan-washtub-tupperware model, also constructed in 34-degree weather. An early Romanesque-style arch was used in the doorway, an excellent collapsing feature useful for hindering the enemy during the war (unfortunately it collapsed on the owner of the fort).

5) This was the big snowball war that led to the destruction of forts 3 and 4.

With all this goofiness said, I was reading in Genesis this week. God says to Noah in chapter 8, verse 22, "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." I guess I had never really realized the depth of this wonderful promise of God until it was shown to me against the back drop of another country's seasons. You see, in Kenya, there are two seasons--dry season and rainy season. There is no snow to mark the winter, and the sun's difference between coming up and going down during the yearly cycle may be all of 25 minutes as we live so close to the equator. There are season's in Kenya, but they are different from what this "Northern Boy" has experienced for the majority of his life. Now that I have already walked two years into this fifth decade of my life, it has been a blast to come back to a very snowy "winter season". But, I must say, now that I am a little older, after a snowy winter, I think I am ready for "Spring" (actually, am I really ready :o)

We love you all.
Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jon & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Wednesday, May 04, 2011 9:35 PM

Subject: Pest of the Month (May 2011)

When we were traveling back up north from Texas, we stopped by a museum in Clarksville, TN, with Don and Sally Mosman. There we met this neat, big lizard named Tiggy. The lady at the museum let us get up close to Tiggy and touch her. We realized that Flat Cammie was in the car, so we explained that we were from Kenya and had this chameleon traveling with us. We explained the story to the people in the museum and they were amused. We asked if we could take a picture of flat Cammie with Tiggy and they said, "Sure." They thought that it would be fun. Here is Flat Cammie with his new friend Tiggy. If you listen closely, you can almost hear Flat Cammie saying, "When I grow up..." (just kidding).

We have so enjoyed spending time with everyone this year. We are torn--we love being here with close friends and family, yet, we look forward to returning to Kenya in August. But the beauty of this life is that no matter where we go, we can always go there with Jesus.

Love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jon & Jennie (& Flat Cammie)

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Thursday, April 14, 2011 7:51 PM

Subject: Rothfus Scrapbook (April 2011)

Rothfus Scrapbook, April 2011(Captions)

1) Nine Rothfus cousins enjoyed Christmastime at Uncle Teddie and Aunt Ivy’s home in Lake Pleasant, NY.

2) Our nephew Blayne married Cari on January 8 in Wake Forest, NC.

3) We enjoyed a snowball war in the front yard… Wait a minute! This is not Buffalo, New York; this is Huntsville, Alabama! On our trip down to Texas, this snowstorm, the worst one in the last twenty years, dropped eight inches of snow on Huntsville. Needless to say, we were delayed a day, and we had a blast!

4) On our trip back up north, we were able to visit friends along the way. Here we are with the Mosmans at the Clarksville museum--a fun day made even better because of the chance to spend it with some special friends!

5 & 6) We visited with the Hoesels and had a lot of fun playing games like Settlers and Checkers. I think the Rothfus clan lost most of the games, but that just means we’ll have to get together again some time and have another go at it.

7) We visited with the Sharps, friends from Debbie’s high school days, and discovered that dear friends are still dear friends, even when you haven’t seen them for over twenty years!

8) We stopped by the Parthenon (in Nashville, not Greece), and the inspiring sight made us all feel very “Olympic.”

9) We enjoyed spending time with the Stoehrs. How good it is to be with friends who just draw us into their homes and lives. We walked away all the richer.

10) On the way up to Ohio, the Bray family met us at the Florence Mall on the border of Kentucky and Ohio. We only had forty-five minutes to visit (imagine the non-stop talking!), but it was so much fun to cross paths and build deeper relationships.

11) The Madisons, as always, made us feel so welcome. Have you ever noticed that no matter how much time you spend with good friends, it is just never long enough?

12) We spent two weeks in February with our church family at the Adirondack Bible Chapel Ministry Center. That was so much fun, and we left with some very special memories.

As we wrote in our recent letter about “Chapter Two” of our home assignment (our trip down south and back up north), we realize that our time is the States has been busy, but enjoyable and meaningful. We are now well into Chapter Three and continually find new blessings and encouragement in Jesus. Thank you again for your friendship and for ALL your prayers. We so appreciate you!

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jon & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Monday, April 11, 2011 8:11 PM

Subject: Rothfus Newsletter (April 2011)

As we walk through the pages of this year (this year being, “Home Assignment”), we see that the Lord has divided it up into three chapters. The first chapter was called “Arriving in the States and Adjusting.” Chapter Two was called “Blayne and Cari’s Wedding and Our Travels Down South.” We are now in chapter three, “Building Bridges and Preparing to Return to Kenya.”

Chapter One began back in July when we arrived in Texas. We spent time with Debbie’s family; prepared for and settled Daniel into college at LeTourneau University; visited with family as we made our way up north, and settled into our home base in Cuba, NY, in mid-September. In November and December, Ed did some long-term subbing for the art teacher on maternity leave here at Cuba Rushford Central School. We were able to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with Ed’s family here in New York. At the end of September through December, we were also visiting churches. Chapter One ended at end of 2010 and lasted a little over five months.

Chapter Two began the first week of January as we traveled down to North Carolina for our nephew Blayne’s wedding to Cari on January 8. After the wedding, we headed southwest and met a major snowstorm in Huntsville, AL. It was the worst storm in Huntsville in over twenty years, and we had the blessing of being “snowed in” for a day with Debbie’s cousins, Mike and Leslee Chapman. The next day we were able to get Daniel back to LeTourneau (only one day late!) and traveled on to Fort Worth where we visited with Debbie’s family for almost three weeks. At the end of January, we wandered back up north through Alabama, Tennessee, and Ohio, and had a very special time visiting family and friends along the way. We then traveled up to the Adirondack Bible Chapel for a two-week stay at the Ministry Center. Again, we enjoyed memorable times with family and friends, and we were also able to experience quite a few types of winter sports. After being away from snow for eight years, we couldn’t have asked for a better, snowier winter. Wow...we have enjoyed the snow, but we’re kind of ready for spring :o) Chapter Two lasted just under two months.

We are now in Chapter Three, which began on March 1. This chapter has a lot to do with spending time with our family, friends and church families. We have visited churches and helped with two missions conferences. We see this time as preparing ourselves for our return to Kenya. At this point, we are scheduled to leave for Africa on August 14. There is a lot to do between now and then. For instance, Debbie has done a lot of shopping at Good Will stores and has been able to find many great deals, but there is still a lot to purchase for the next two years in Kenya. I have been making purchases for the art department at RVA and purchases related to ministries with which we are involved. These are just some of the many facets of this chapter of “Building Bridges and Preparing to Return to Kenya”.

While we were visiting Adirondack Bible Chapel, Pastor Ian Clark shared a sermon on the “Practice, Position and Promise in Christ”. In this sermon he spoke about King Jehoshaphat when Moab, Ammon, and Edom declared war on Judah (II Chronicles 20:1-30). Jehoshaphat was facing some very difficult circumstances, but at the end of verse 20:12, he said something that even now strikes a cord within our hearts. He said, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

Jehoshaphat intentionally set his eyes and focus on the Lord and NOT on the approaching army. He sought God. The LORD responded, “For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (v. 20:15). The people worshipped. In fact, they positioned their singers first, in front of the army, and God took care of the approaching conflict (the enemy). Our God is still the same great God today! He says to intentionally set our hearts and minds on things above, no matter what challenges and circumstances we’re facing. A very timely sermon! The Lord is so good! We have already found much comfort in resting in Jesus in spite of the challenges and difficulties that lie ahead as we move toward the end of our home assignment.

Here is our itinerary for the next few months:

April
April 12-27: Debbie’s mom and niece will visit us here in Cuba, NY
April 17: Share the pottery testimony and share about RVA in the morning service at West Clarkesville Baptist Church in West Clarkesville, NY
April 20: Share the pottery testimony with the youth groups at Ridge Road Bible Church, Lockport, NY
April 23 and 24: Tedd and Ivy and their family will visit us here in Cuba, NY

May
May 1: Share about RVA in the morning service at Gage Chapel in Smith Mills, NY
May 6: Share about RVA and give the pottery testimony at the Senior Luncheon at Family Life Ministries in Bath, NY
May 12: Travel to Vermont to spend time with the Williams family
May13-16: Travel to Maine to spend time with the Titus family
May 15: Share the pottery testimony and possibly about RVA at Kennebec Community Church, Augusta, ME (both services)
May 16: Travel to New Hampshire to spend time with Hutton family
May 17: Travel to Massachusetts to spend time with the Downs family
May 18: Travel back to Cuba, NY
May 22: Share the pottery testimony in the morning service at Yates Baptist Church, Lyndonville, NY

June
June 12: Share the pottery testimony in the morning services at Grace Bible Church, Newfane, NY
June 24: Speak at Cuba Rushford’s Baccalaureate in the evening
July
July 4: Share the pottery testimony at Light House Christian Camp, Somerset, NY
July 19: Begin traveling back down to Texas, visiting family and friends on the way

August
August 14: Fly out of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport for Nairobi, Kenya

Please pray that the Rothfus family will keep our “eyes upon the Lord.” What a special family we have in each of you. Thank you again for all you do for us.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jon & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Monday, January 17, 2011 4:47 PM

Subject: The Traveling Rothfi Family (January 17, 2011)

We are in Texas and have so enjoyed our time with family. Last Saturday, January 8, was Blayne (our nephew) and Cari's wedding. It was a beautiful, God- honoring service. The wedding was in Wake Forest, NC, and we had lots of fun being with Debbie's mom, Betsy and Waylan and their family, cousins, and friends we haven't seen for a long time. During the service, Waylan, who was performing the ceremony, said, "I know many of you were wishing for a White Christmas, but I didn't know that we would have a White Wedding." Everyone looked out the windows to see a passing snow squall, and we all chuckled. We have attached a family picture picture of the wedding (Blayne's side of the family).

Well, to catch you up on our travels, we left Cuba, NY, early Monday morning, January 3. The trip went very well and we arrived in Raleigh, NC, at 8 pm. We helped that week with pre-wedding activities and family events before the Saturday wedding. On Sunday morning we left at 7:30 am to head down to Huntsville, AL, to stay one night with Debbie's cousins, the Chapmans. On the way down, we saw ahead these beautiful snow-covered mountains, and then it hit us that these are the Smokey Mountains and we would be going through them. As we approached them, we started seeing snow on the ground as we climbed to higher elevations. Eventually the two-lane interstate became a one-and-one-half-lane interstate as one lane was good and the passing lane was rather precarious and slick. Most of the traffic was moving half speed and stayed in the right lane. It was beautiful but treacherous. On the way down, the conditions kept improving until we were out of the mountains and the traffic was back to normal with no sign of snow.

I share this because of what lay ahead. We had heard that there was a potential winter storm coming that would hit the south. Just after we had passed through Knoxville, TN, Mike Chapman (Debbie's cousin) called us and asked what our plans were. We told him that we were planning to continue on to Huntsville and take Daniel on to LeTourneau University in Texas the next day. Then he told us there was a big storm hitting and it was coming our way. We told him we could reroute and go up over the storm front and down through Memphis and Little Rock and just drive through the night, and he told us he would look check the internet reports and let us know. He called back a few minutes later to let us know that wouldn't work, since the storm was already hitting both those cities. He told us that if we decided to go on to Huntsville, we should make it in time before any bad weather hit. We decided to head for Huntsville, stay the night, and see what would come of this storm.

We arrived at 8 pm and the roads were fine with no sign of sleet or snow. About an hour later, we heard sleet hitting the living room window, and an hour after that we looked outside to see the ground covered with a two-inch blanket of snow. Mike and Leslee said that if this storm was as bad as they were predicting, Huntsville would be closed down on Monday. Sure enough, we got up on Monday morning to see seven inches of snow on the ground. Leslee looked at Debbie and I said, "How fun! We get to have you all to ourselves!" What a blessing! We had a blast with Mike, Leslee and Drew Chapman! We put together a puzzle (well, tried to--it was a 1,000 piece puzzle), built snow forts, had a good northern snowball war, drank hot chocolate, and just had a great time together. Mike was telling us that there had not been a snowstorm like this in Huntsville for over 20 years. Daniel called Letourneau and let them know he was stranded in Alabama and their reply was, "We'll put you the list." They let him know that even though classes would still begin on Tuesday, they wanted everyone to use caution in their travels.

Debbie and I decided to try to leave Tuesday morning because the weather report showed that as we travelled south, the weather would get better and warmer (upper 30's and low 40's, a real heat wave). The interstate report showed that the roads were open, but to use caution especially on the bridges. We started out and used a side road to get to the interstate since the overpasses were closed. We got to the the interstate (565) and traveled slowly, the right-hand lane was fair for the most part. Bridges were still hazardous so we we were careful, giving plenty of distance between us and other vehicles. Not a lot of people were out other than trucks and people braving the weather. As we traveled south, conditions kept improving. Around Birmingham, the roads were good, although the bridges were still a bit hazardous. In Jackson, Mississippi, the snow disappeared, but there were still signs of the storm on the sides of the bridges. Before we left Mississippi, the sun was breaking through and it was turning into a beautiful day. From then on we made good headway and arrived at LeTourneau at 8 pm. We arrived safely in Fort Worth at 11 pm, completing the fifteen-hour trip.

When we began the trip, both Debbie and I started noticing cars along the side of the road, some from the day before, some from two days before, and some rather recent. We kept track of the cars from the beginning of the trip to the end, from Alabama to Texas, and there were 59 cars off the road. Praise the Lord, we didn't see any serious accidents where cars or trucks had rolled or overturned. They were cars that had slid into the middle sections, off the roads, or had just plain had gotten stuck. This started me thinking about Psalm 139:5, "You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me." How many times when traveling in Kenya or here in the States, do I think, "Oh, it is just a normal day with nothing out of the ordinary," when in actuality it is a blessing every time we arrive safely whether just going to the store or driving fifteen hours on treacherous roads. Our God is faithful and is the same Lord regardless of the conditions. He deserves my praise every time. I'm embarrassed to say that I can be so human, think that it is me keeping us safe, and take my Lord for granted. I need to continually find ways to give Him the praise and not overlook or withhold it. We serve an awesome God who is actively involved in our "everyday" lives.

Next week, we will begin our travels back up north. Thank you for those of you who have been interceding on our behalf through prayer. We love you and so appreciate your involvement in our lives.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jon & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 07, 2010 8:53 PM

Subject: Rothfus Arrival and Itinerary (November 2010)

It has been very good to be in the States and just be able to spend time with family and friends, catching up on those relationships that we have so missed. Here’s a quick summary of the past few months since we arrived and also a listing of future plans and possibilities in the Lord:

July & August

July 23, Thursday, the Rothfus family arrived in Fort Worth, TX. We were able to slow down a bit and spend some time with Debbie's mom and family, Betsy & Waylan and their family. We did some fun things while we there like go for a weekend to the Alamo and take the Jen and Jon to Six Flags Over Texas.

August 19, Thursday, we took Daniel to LeTourneau University in Longview, TX, for New Student Orientation and Parent's Weekend. We have skyped with him quite a few times since then, and he seems to really enjoy college life and is doing well there.

September

August 30 through September 4, we traveled from Texas to Ruffsdale, PA. Along the way we visited Debbie's cousins in Huntsville, AL (Mike, Leslee & Taylor Chapman, Doug & Rene Chapman) and our friends, John & Carol Saltsman in Ohio.

September 4 through 7, we visited Debbie's brother, John & Sharon and family in Ruffsdale, PA.

September 7 through 11, we traveled to Olcott, NY, and visited Ed's Aunt Esther.

September 11 through 15, we traveled to the Adirondacks and visited Ed's family, Tedd & Ivy and family.

September 15, we traveled to Cuba, NY, to our home church and settled in for a while. It was good to get here and unpack from all the travels.

October

October 3, Sunday evening, we shared at the Rushford Baptist Church (Rushford, NY) in their Missions Conference.

October 10, Sunday morning, we shared at Grace Bible Church (Newfane, NY) in the morning services and then with the October youth gathering in the afternoon.

October 13 through 26, Debbie's mom was able to fly up and spend some time with us. We made a lot of applesauce, something we really missed in Kenya.

October 31, Sunday morning, we shared in the morning service at the Cuba United Methodist Church (Cuba, NY).

November

November 7, Sunday evening, we shared at the Adirondack Bible Chapel (Piseco, NY).

November 14, Sunday morning, we shared in both the morning service and Sunday School at Ridge Road Bible Church (Lockport, NY).

November 21, Sunday morning, Junior church and adult Sunday School class at Yates Bible Church (Lyndonville, NY).

November 25 through 27, Thanksgiving, spent with Ed’s family, Aunt Esther, Tedd, Ivy & their family at the AMOC (Olcott, NY).

November 29 through December 22, Ed is substitute teaching at Cuba-Rushford Central School in the high school art classes as the teacher is on maternity leave.

December

December 5, Sunday morning, pottery testimony at North Park Wesleyan Church (Cuba, NY). Ed is also helping to teach an adult Sunday School class for three weeks at NPWC.

Here are our plans for the next few months:

December 11, Saturday evening, Daniel arrives from Texas in Buffalo, NY, for his term break (yea!)

December 23 through 28, we’ll travel to Adirondacks to spend Christmas with Ed's family, Aunt Esther, Tedd, Ivy & their family.

January

January 3 through 9, travel to Wake Forest, NC, for Blayne & Cari Owens wedding on January 8.

January 9 & 10, travel from North Carolina through Huntsville, AL, to Fort Worth, Texas, to get Daniel to LeTourneau on the evening of January 10.

January 10 through 28, we’ll be in Fort Worth, TX, spending time with Debbie's mom and family, Betsy & Waylan and their family.

January 28 through 31, travel to Huntsville, AL, to visit Debbie's family in Alabama (Chapmans) and share the Pottery Testimony and about RVA with their church family.

February

February 1through 4, spend time in Nashville, TN, area with friends.

February 5, travel back to Cuba, NY.

February 14 through 28, travel up to the Adirondacks to be near Tedd & Ivy and their family and help at the Adirondack Bible Chapel's Ministry Center for two weeks.

February 28, travel back to Cuba, NY.

March

March 3 through 7, travel to Carrollton, OH, to spend time with friends (John & Carol Saltsman) and share Pottery Testimony with the church family at First United Methodist church of Carrollton.

March 7, Travel back to Cuba, NY.

April

April 1 through 3, help with the North Park Wesleyan Missions Conference.

May

May 6, Friday, share the Pottery Testimony and about Rift Valley Academy at the Family Life Ministry Center (Senior Luncheon) in Bath, NY.

May 13 through 16, travel to Farmington, ME (Greg & Nancy Titus) to share with their church the Pottery Testimony and about Rift Valley Academy.

May 22, Sunday, share the Pottery Testimony at Yates Baptist Church in Lyndonville, NY.

June

June 27 through July 3, possible missions trip for Ed and Jon to Haiti to help build church building.

July

July 18, begin traveling down to Texas to spend time with Debbie's family, visiting family and friends on the way.

Aug

Aug 14, scheduled departure for Kenya to return to RVA

If you could pray Psalm 90:12 for us: that the LORD would "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (His wisdom for this year), and that if it be His Will, all would come together so that we may be able to return to RVA in August. Thank you. Thank you for all your encouragement. We so appreciate you in Jesus.

Much love in Jesus,

Your family,

Ed, Debbie, Daniel, Jon & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Friday, November 19, 2010 6:50 PM

Subject: Culture Shock (Rothfus Nov 10)

This is a good vantage point to write to you about this thing called culture shock, about four months after arriving in the States. I could have written to you right after we arrived and my comment would have been, "Oh, it's really not that bad!" (because we were all overrun and overwhelmed by the numbness and immensity of it).

Where do I begin to put into concrete something that has been so abstract? I guess it is like trying to open the front door to a hurricane...?!? There is no front door, you just jump in and catch thoughts as they fly past. When all is said and done, we may have shared a few things, but only a few; there is so much more.

Coming from Kenya to the United States, I could say, "Oh, I didn't do that (or did do that) because I was going through 'culture shock.'" The truth is that we are all going through it, especially in this society. Coming from Kenya to the USA is only one aspect. For instance there is a "technology culture shock", there is an "age culture shock", there is "relationship culture shock", there is a "food culture shock", and there is a "shopping culture shock", just to name a few.

Even though some of these things may be a lot of fun or exciting, they are still an adjustment (culture shock/change), and it takes energy to readjust our thinking. Maybe it would be good to define culture shock. Here is the dictionary definition: "the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes." I am coming to realize that culture shock has two parts: "what is" and "what is my part", then we culturally adjust to the "what is". I am not sure if we could ever put a time line on the "what is" and fully adjust to our surroundings because our society is becoming more fluid and there is a type of continuos culture shock going on. For instance, once you master the computer programs on your computer and get a handle on them, there are a series of new ones to learn. I would term this "technology culture shock".

As soon as you finish one chapter of your life and have begun to master the lessons to be learned there, you step into the next chapter. We took Daniel to college (he's a freshman), and our family identity has changed from five to four. We still set the table for five at times. It could be our other children graduating and a series of other family changes, not to mention that our (my) body is getting older and gravity stronger (it's harder to get out of bed and sit ups take more work!), but, these are related to "age culture shock".

Then there is the time you are away from family, especially children, and you get back together. The children you use to wrestle with could now tie you up in a knot. Or the little children you would look down to, you are now looking up to as they get taller (and I get shorter as I get older, again that gravity thing). This is "relationship culture shock" and a lot of us face it especially during family gatherings at Christmas.

Then there's food and shopping. It hit me about the volume of food there is to choose from and the size of Walmart; they are now almost all super stores. Wow! Debbie and I chuckle about "cereal culture shock", how we have gone down the cereal aisle and have literally spent fifteen minutes trying to figure out what type of Cheerios we were going to buy (I get distracted easily and that is a great place to get distracted). But you see that culture shock, is so much more than just going from Kenya to the USA; we all face it quite often. We as the Rothfus family are just facing it on a much broader and longer scale (and I can use it as an excuse for dumb things I would normally do.)

One of the comical things was that we bought a cell phone that slides open. Whenever we get a phone call, we need to slide it open and begin talking (at least I think that is what I have figured out). I think I hung up on the first eleven people who tried to call me (if you're one of those people I hung up on, I am really sorry). I think my track record is improving, I think my average is now that I only hang up on two out of three people (please remember, it's not by choice, but cultural klutziness). Boy, what ever happened to the ring-ring and you picked up the receiver from a weighty dial box thingee? I always knew where the phone was and I didn't lose the receiver because it was connected with a phone cord.

An interesting thing (and this is a Kenyan thing), was the time change. Not the eight hour difference from Kenya to the USA, but the time change of living near the equator to different daylight and nighttime in the States. For instance, in Kenya, we have basically twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of nighttime (give or take about twenty minutes throughout the year). Talk about consistent, you can really get on a system with this. We came to Texas in late July and after about two weeks, I realized I wasn't suffering from jet lag, but the fact that I hadn't thought through when the sun goes down and comes up. It wasn't setting at 6:45, but closer to 9 something, and without thinking about it, when it started getting darker, then I was thinking about starting to get ready to go to bed. I needed to think that through and force change some of my thoughts. Then two weeks ago, we changed our clocks back and now the sun begins setting at 5 pm!

Another thing, my blood must have thinned out or something, because the other day I went for walk and I dressed (what I would term) warm. I had put on a t-shirt, sweat shirt and a fleece coat and I was ready to go with Jon for a walk to the top of the hill. I was feeling rather good (warm enough) and I was ready to brave the nordic outdoors. We walked down the street, and there was a kid delivering papers only wearing a t-shirt and the temperature was 50. Hmm,...

Going back to... the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes (culture shock). I see this as becoming more a part of our lives no matter where we live in the world, but sometimes, it just takes flying from continent to continent for me to see it a little more clearly. I think this is why God is portrayed so often in scripture as the Rock. Psalm 61:2 says, "Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I." Lead me to the Rock that is higher than all the culture shocks I have faced and will ever face; lead me to the stability and consistency in life. Isn't so good to know that as the currents of our society (or societies) pick up, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). It's good to know that all these days ordained for me (culture shock included) were written in His book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16). There is a real peace knowing that I can go to the Author of life and ask for guidance through all that is coming. "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).

As I mentioned earlier, there is so much to this and these are only a few thoughts as so much flies by. I will try hard not to hang up on you when you call me, but please be patient, because not only is it culture shock at times, it is also age. :o) It is good to be in touch with you again; we appreciate you.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jon & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 2:36 PM

Change of Address (Rothfus)

My goodness, I apologize for the lack of communication, please forgive me (Ed), I am sorry. We have been changing over to a new computer and today is the day to get everything up and running. After you receive this short email, there will be more to follow updating you on what has been happening and our itinerary for the next few months.

The main purpose of this email is let you know we have a new email, the Kijabe email no longer works, please change our email to:

rothfusfamily5@gmail.com

Thank you very much,
Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jon & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
erothfus@kijabe.net

Friday, September 03, 2010 10:51 PM

Chamie at LeTourneau (Rothfus Sept 2010)

Last weekend, Debbie, Jonnie, Jennie and I went to LeTourneau to see Daniel after his first week of classes. We were able to visit with with him for two hours before he had to go to an afternoon seminar for Freshman. We walked around the campus and visited, and it's still hard to believe we have a son in college. At lunch, we joined Daniel and his roommate Terry PLUS Josiah and Noah (friends from Rift Valley Academy). While we were eating a young man came up and said, "Mr. Rothfus? Do you remember me? I'm Michael, I had you for art in 8th grade at RVA." He is now a senior at LeTourneau, and we hadn't seen him for years. My goodness, how good it was to see him again! (Pictured from left to right are Debbie, Jennie, Jonnie, Daniel, Noah, Michael, Terry, and Josiah.) We are thankful that Lord has opened the door for Daniel to be at LeTourneau. He is doing well, which makes it a lot easier, though we miss him a lot.

We took a picture of flat Chamie in front of the LeTourneau sign; he went to visit, too.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Jonnie & Jennie

P.S. Debbie told Daniel, after eating in the cafeteria, "We don't feel sorry for you at all!" Wow, was the food good and what a selection!

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
erothfus@kijabe.net

Friday, August 27, 2010 11:41 AM

(Former) Pest of the Month (Rothfus Aug 2010)

One evening at RVA we were walking home. This was our last month in Kenya before coming to the States. We looked down on the road and to our amazement, we saw a chameleon hiding on the road. We almost missed him. He was the same same color as the dirt road, motionless, and... flat, very flat (an excellent technique for blending into his environment, we thought). So before he could get away, we picked him up and took him home. Actually, we knew he wasn't alive, but we were amused that he had been caught mid-step while crossing the road (picture 1), and we chuckled at how he almost totally disappeared when viewed straight on (picture 2). He was so flat (and dried out) that we decided that it would be fun to bring him with us to the States.

You may have heard of the children's book, Flat Stanley. It's the story of a boy whose bulletin board fell on him, leaving him so flat that he could be sent through the mail in an envelope. Now we know a bulletin board didn't fall on this little guy, but none the less he is flat. We have named him "Flat Chamie" (kam-ee) and thought that it would be fun (!?) to take him traveling with us this year; so we hope to send you some pictures of his adventures through the year.

It is good to be here in the States and to be with family. What a blessing. We love you all.
Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Daniel, Jon & Jennie (oh, and Flat Chamie)

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
erothfus@kijabe.net

Thursday, August 19, 2010 11:32 AM

Rothfus Scrapbook (August 2010)

Rothfus Scrapbook, August 2010

1. Graduation Day: Here we are after Daniel's graduation from RVA on July 17th. It's hard to believe that today (August 21) we will take him to LeTourneau University for new student orientation!

2. JV Volleyball: Jonathan was a member of RVA's JV volleyball team last term. Here he is serving the ball during one of the tournaments.

3. Jennie's Big D but: Jennie played the part of Jane, a servant girl, in RVA's production of While Shakespeare Slept.

4. Diploma: Daniel received his diploma from Dr. Rich, Chairman of RVA's Board of Education. On a rather comical note, Dr. Rich is the head of the Kijabe Hospital?s dental clinic, and each senior chose their favorite sugary soda to give to him as they received their diplomas. He in turn gave them each a new toothbrush with Class of 2010 printed on it :o)

5. Traveling to the States: While traveling from Kenya to the USA, we knew we would be in Heathrow Airport in London the same time as Rebekah Frost, who was traveling from the States to Kenya. We were able to visit briefly with her before she boarded her flight to Nairobi. Rebekah, one of Ed's former RVA art students, recently graduated with an Art Education degree from Union University in Tennessee. She will teach art at RVA this year while we are in the States.

6. A Trip North: After landing in Dallas, Ed received news that his Uncle Bob had passed away. The next day, he flew to New York for two days to be with Aunt June and her family. Here he is with Aunt Esther, his brother Tedd, and Tedd's son Tyler.

7. Grad Cap Toss: After graduation, it is a tradition for the seniors to toss their caps into the air.

8. Potter's Wheel: Ed and Zed, the Kenyan potter who has helped at RVA, had a lot of fun designing and constructing this potter's wheel. The kick wheel was made from a spare tire.

9. Making Glass Beads: One Friday evening, we got together with some Advanced Art students and had a new and unusual art adventure making glass beads. It was a fun and creative evening!

10. Oil Burner: Zed is embarking on a new adventure in Jesus this year. He will be setting up a pottery business and ministry near Nairobi. Through this past year, we have been preparing for this move, making bricks for a kiln, designing a potter's wheel; and here we are testing out a burner we designed for a kiln he will be building. The burner pictured here is fueled by used car oil.

We hope you enjoy these pictures. They represent a transition from one chapter of our lives to another as Jesus opens new doors. We so appreciate all of you! What a blessing you have been to us through these past four years! We hope to see many of you in the months ahead.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Daniel, Jonnie & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
erothfus@kijabe.net

Saturday, July 31, 2010 11:17 PM

Rothfus Newsletter (July 2010)

Rothfus Newsletter, July 2010 Well, the Rothfus family has arrived in the US and it is good to be here! When I told Debbie how I had started this letter, she said, “My, that sounds a bit arrogant, saying the Rothfus family has arrived.” I said, “No, just the opposite. It is a reflection of the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness.” Two weeks before graduation, I came home one day not feeling so well. First, my temperature was low and then that night it went up; I had caught a flu bug that was going around RVA. I thought, “This is really not a good time with all that needs to be done before we leave,” but thank the Lord, He is never caught off guard. When friends would come up and say, “How is the packing going?” we would just chuckle and ask, “What packing?”

One week before graduation, Jon came home one day and said that he didn’t feel well. Sure enough, he had a fever. Then, a day or so later, Jennie came home with a fever. And guess what? Not far behind was Daniel. . . three more cases of the flu. One or two of the Rothfus kids were on the Student Health sick list every day during the last week of school. Praise the Lord, Debbie never got sick through this whole time.

During the week of graduation, we thought that everyone was on the mend and that we could finally begin packing for the States. Then one evening, nine days after he had first come down with the flu, Jon sat in a chair shivering and said that he thought he had a fever. He did--103.6! Poor guy, no wonder he didn’t feel well.

Graduation day was Saturday, July 16, and what a special time we had seeing our son graduate along with all those special young people we have worked with for so many years. We knew this day was coming and it happened so much faster than we realized. It felt like we were riding a speeding subway train. As we stood holding a handle bar above our heads looking out the windows, we saw the graduation stop come into view and pass quickly as we sped by. That afternoon, Daniel and Jennie took naps and Jon just laid low. We were all worn out, yet Debbie and I began packing. Sunday, we all rested and had a quiet day together. We felt like this was most important to the Lord and there was a quiet peace knowing that He would take care of the next few days.

The week after graduation, we packed Monday through Thursday. It was a rather busy time, non-stop, but down deep there was a peace that Jesus would take care of the important pieces. We moved boxes into our storage space, we moved our household items and furniture into another house for a family to use next year, we packed 15 pieces of luggage for the states, Debbie finished getting the grade school library ready, and I finished preparing the art room for next year. Thursday afternoon, we had about 10 minutes of free time, where we waited for the RVA bus to pick us up for the airport, and it felt so good to just sit mindlessly for a few minutes.

We arrived in Texas on Friday evening. After we had collected all our luggage and gone through customs, what a good feeling to go through the airport doors and see our family (Debbie’s mom, Waylan, Betsy & their family) waiting for us. This was a moment we had been looking forward to for a long time.

On Saturday morning, I (Ed) received an email that my Uncle Bob had passed away; his death occurred during the time we had been traveling. I knew his health was not good and I was sorry to hear of his death, but it was good to be able to fly to New York on Sunday to be with Aunt June, Aunt Esther, Tedd (my brother), his son Tyler, and other family members. I flew back to Texas on Monday evening.

Today is Saturday, two weeks after Daniel’s graduation. I think that now you can understand why we said the Rothfus family has arrived in the U.S., and it is definitely good to be here! These past few weeks from two weeks before graduation to two weeks following graduation have been turbulent (to say the least), but it is good to be led to the Rock that is higher than I (Psalm 61:2) and to find firm footing through the turbulence.

We will be sending some pictures soon and an itinerary of our upcoming travels. We have two email addresses that we will be using this year; please feel free to use either of them. They are:
erothfus@kijabe.net
rothfusfamily5@gmail.com
Thanks again for all your prayers and all you do for us. We love you all and it is good be back in touch with you. Incidentally, everyone is healthy.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Daniel (RVA Alumnus), Jon & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
erothfus@kijabe.net

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 10:30 AM

Rothfus Scrapbook (April 2010) & Itinerary (2010-2011)

The Rothfus Scrapbook, April 2010

Top Landscape: While flying to northern Kenya during the Aviation Interim, Debbie took this picture of Mount Kenya. The glacier can be seen to the right of the peak.

Top Left: We took our 9th grade Sunday School class to the IDP Camp for a Sunday service. Here are some of the young men having fun with the children. Notice the corn growing behind them; the Lord has blessed this area with good rains!

Top Middle: The two pilots on our Aviation Interim were a real blessing!

Top Right: Jennie enjoyed her position as goalie on the JV Soccer team.

Upper Middle: Here's an RVA student in the co-pilot's seat getting ready for take off during the Aviation Interim.

Middle Left: Our family visited Aderdares National Park in April. Notice that Dad and Mom are getting shorter (or could it be that others are growing?)

Middle Right: The Aviation gang posed in front of the Cessna 206 in Kurungu, Northern Kenya

Lower Middle Left: One Friday evening a few weeks ago, we were sitting down to supper, and I remember thinking to myself, Whew, finally a free night after such a busy week. The phone rang, and it was one of the elders at the IDP Camp telling us his wife had gone into labor and needed to get to the hospital right way. Dan and Jon said, Dad, we'll come with you! One of the nurses here at RVA came too, just in case the baby was born on the very bumpy 14-kilometer trip up to the hospital. Thankfully, we made it safely. Here is a picture of baby Josiah, his mom, and our friend.

Bottom Left: Dan and Jon coached a Titchie tennis-baseball team this past term. The eight kids on the team represent four different nationalities!

Lower Middle: Debbie and our friend, Pat, were sitting on a path near a waterfall in the Aberdares, when Pat gasped and whispered to Debbie, There is an ANIMAL behind you! Debbie thought, Oh, no, something is going to eat me, and turned around to see this timid little bushbuck, looking as surprised to see her on his path as she was to see him!

Lower Middle Right: Here's Jon in the Aberdares with the first big catch, an 11-inch rainbow trout.

Bottom Right: Dad and Jen enjoyed time together at the Aberdares.

 

Rothfus Tentative Itinerary for July 2010 to August 2011

July July 17, Saturday, Graduation, RVA
July 22, Thursday, fly to the states and spend time with family in Fort Worth, Texas.

August Mid-August, settle Daniel into LeTourneau University in Texas

September Beginning of September, begin making our way up to New York, visiting family on the way.

End of September/beginning of October through December, settle into home base in Cuba, NY. While there, visit family, friends, churches, involvement in ministry, and homeschool Jon & Jennie. January Beginning of January, travel to Wake Forest, NC, for our nephew's wedding then on to Texas to settle Daniel back into LeTourneau for his second term, and spend time with family.

Beginning of February, begin traveling back up North

Mid-February through end of June/beginning of July, Cuba, NY, visit family, friends, churches, involvement in ministry and homeschool Jon & Jennie.

July Beginning of July, begin traveling back to Texas

August Mid-August, fly to Kenya

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
erothfus@kijabe.net

Saturday, April 17, 2010 12:00 PM

Rothfus Newsletter, April 2010

We took a family trip last week to one of our favorite places, Aberdares National Park. You might think that a national park in Kenya would be hot and dry, but the Aberdates is just the opposite. It is the mountain region of Kenya and is like a high altitude rain forest with several beautiful waterfalls. Kenya has received more rain than usual lately, so the waterfalls were flowing stronger than ever, the roads in the park were sometimes muddy and slippery, and the weather was cool. As usual, we had a great time.

We are presently nearing the end of our second term break and realize again just how fast Daniel’s senior year is going! Daniel has had quite the busy term, taking two AP classes this year (AP Chemistry and AP Calculus) along with his other classes. Some significant things happened this term, including Junior Senior Banquet, his last Senior Store, Senior Re-entry Weekend, and a mountain biking interim trip. On top of this, he had the unique privilege of attending LeTourneau University’s “Heritage Weekend” in February along with about 90 other high school seniors. While he was not awarded one of the ten full scholarships, he did receive a STEM (Science/Technology/ Engineering/Math) Grant for which he interviewed during the Heritage Weekend. We are grateful for the good financial aid package which will allow him to attend LeTourneau in the Fall.

Jon and Jennie have risen to the challenges of being freshmen in high school and have adjusted to the increased academic demands and workload. Both Jennie and Jon play in the high school Wind Ensemble, and Jennie also enjoyed playing on the JV soccer team as goalie. At the end of the term, Jon earned a spot on the JV volleyball team for term three. During first and second terms, I have had the special privilege of having both Jon and Jen in 9th grade art. I know my children probably think that they have to put up with dad’s great jokes :o) and stories again, but I really enjoy working with them in the classroom setting along with their classmates. Both Jon and Jen are planning on taking Art Survey next year, which I (their dad AND teacher) am excited about.

Debbie and I are doing well. As usual, we have been involved with art classes, Titchie Library responsibilities, Sunday School, and various school activities. We have been active with the Senior Class, helping with three Senior Stores this past term, Senior Re- entry Weekend, and attending the Junior Senior Banquet. We lead the Aviation Interim again this year, and enjoyed our group of eight Juniors and Seniors during our week-long adventure in Northern Kenya. Next term during the week of mid-term, we will travel with the seniors to Mombassa for the long-awaited Senior Safari. We’ll also be busy at school and at home wrapping up these past four years here at RVA before returning to the USA for a one-year Home Assignment. Please pray for the relationships (with Jesus, family, staff, seniors, and students) to be built eternally strong, thank you.

The Lord has been challenging me for some time now and I would like to share some of these thoughts with you. To begin with, suppose someone were to say to you, “I have a brand new car (like a Toyota Prado, for example) and I want to give it to you,” OR “If you are willing, I will let use MY car the rest of your life. If it wears out from age and normal wear and tear, I will replace it.” Which would you choose? I must admit, the first time the Lord challenged me with this thought, the idea of owning something, totally owning it, was appealing, and I would have chosen the keys to the car. Since then Jesus has been challenging me that life is really about “Stewardship” NOT “Ownership”.

This is a really hard concept for me to grasp since my whole life I have learned to “own” the things that surround me, my home, my car, my job and even my family. But, recently (three years ago), it started become very real to me that someday I will leave this earth. Now I don’t want you to think this is too heavy a thought, because when I am talking with students about this, I chuckle and say, “Let’s keep things in perspective. You know about 200 years from now, someone will be throwing this body on the wheel.” The truth of the matter is that this body is rental space; heaven is home. Coming back to the concept of Stewardship not Ownership, if I am given the “keys to my Master’s vehicle” to use the whole time I am on this earth, how will that change how I live?

If I own something, I believe it is mine, and I have certain rights that come with this ownership. But, if I am the steward of what I have been given, I have certain responsibilities to the True Owner and the things that come into my life are gifts, not givens. How can I be wise with what I am given? To go a step further, in my family Debbie is not a given, she is a gift. Jen, Jon, and Dan are gifts, and we have been given the gift of spending 18 or 19 years with them before they go to college. In my classroom, I don’t own that room or the students; they are a gift and I am a steward of these relationships that come into the art room.

I find these thoughts very challenging, but at the same time very freeing. In the New Testament, Jesus talks so much about wise stewardship, and I think it is finally sinking in. With all this said, I believe Jesus is coming back very soon. It’s almost like the first drop on a roller coaster (Jonnie would like this analogy). It takes time for the chain lift to pull the coaster to the top, but once on top there is no time to think because everything has now been set in motion. I feel we are a lot closer to the peak than we realize.

We will be sending a Rothfus Scrapbook for April soon and also an idea of the Rothfus itinerary for next year. We love you all and appreciate the gifts God has given us in each of you.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Daniel, Jon & Jennie

 

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E-mailed Letter From Ed Rothfus
erothfus@kijabe.net

Sunday, February 28, 2010 2:51 PM

Pest of the Month (March 2010)

This past week at Titchie (the elementary school), we had some excitement. One of our 6th grade boys reached for his backpack and, low and behold, there was a green snake taking a nap between the hanging backpack and the corner of the lockers. Well, if he wanted to catch some shut eye this place should not have been his first choice. I think it was something like throwing a match into a freshly emptied gas can. There would be a lot of excitement, and there was!

I was teaching my high school art class and happened to be walking between the art room and the pottery room. I saw a bunch of grade schoolers running toward the lockers saying things like, "Snake", "Huge!", "Deadly", & "Hurry!" I thought that they had probably found an 8" grass snake.

I found out later that the elementary principal and Mr. Charles (our grade school custodian) knocked down this 3 1/2 foot snake to the ground. The principal bravely pinned down the head with a "Snake Capturing Safety Device" (a street hockey stick) and Charles wisely sprinted away. It is smart to hold down the end that bites, but what do you do from there? Eventually, they were able to contain him in a vacant aquarium.

They found out that they had captured a boomslang. We had a friend of ours, Rachel Holden, visit two years ago and she was telling us about the boomslang snake. We wish she could have been here for this exciting event. Here is a picture Debbie took of him.

Much love in Jesus,
Ed, Debbie, Daniel, Jon & Jennie

 

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