Thirteen years ago, Jasmine French’s life changed drastically when she and her family moved from the UK to Tanzania to work among the unreached Datooga. She shares:
Our lives are made up of chapters whose beginnings and ends are marked by change. The chapter that began amidst my first major move drew to an end a couple of months ago when I boarded a plane, this time heading from Kenya to the UK for university. As this chapter closes and I look back, two major points of impact stand out to me: being able to see first hand and experience my parents’ ministry, and attending boarding school for seven years.
My sister and I learnt language and culture alongside our parents, enabling us to make friends with our neighbours and to experience a completely foreign culture.
Over the years that my parents served in Tanzania they were involved in a variety of ministries, and I have enjoyed being able to have a part in each of them. My sister and I learnt language and culture alongside our parents, enabling us to make friends with our neighbours and to experience a completely foreign culture. These friendships and the cultural exposure challenged the way I viewed the world then, and will continue to challenge how I live today. I saw resilience, tenacity and resourcefulness in those around me.
Choosing at the age of eleven to attend Rift Valley Academy (RVA), an AIM-run boarding school in Kenya, may seem like a crazy decision. But since my sister was already there, and homeschooling was the only other viable option, it made perfect sense to me. Since I made the choice to go to RVA I really embraced my time there and was determined to make the most of it. Yes, boarding school had its challenges. Not seeing my parents for six week intervals was hard but I am extremely grateful for my time at RVA. I made incredible friends with whom I was able to have amazing adventures, and was hugely invested in by several staff members as they talked with me about life and faith.
Now as I face a future which will, without a doubt, be very different from my past, I know that I will reflect the skills I have built at RVA and the lessons I have learned from watching my parents’ ministry.