Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Caleb, Ethan, Ruth, and Dave in early Uganda days

Just say for a moment that you wanted to assure that your child would always be a social misfit, academic failure, and spiritual basket case.   What would you do?

                How about if you chose to move far from family and friends to Uganda as she recovered from economic, political, and military chaos before the child was born?   What if you thought you heard God’s voice say, “Go and trust me?”

                How about if the child was born during a crisis?    Church conflict abounded and financial backing was rapidly declining.   A few weeks after his birth your family “hit the road,” lived out of a suitcase, and sought new partners.

Caleb's T-Ball team with Kampala Kid's League
                How about if after 11 years in Uganda you finally get a chance to climb the career ladder?   Instead you hear God’s voice whisper, “Go to Rwanda.”

                When you get to Rwanda you can’t find a workable school option.   Why not pack up, write a Rwanda hating blog, and call it quits?   Instead, you do the unthinkable and start an international school.

Caleb and Nathaniel Shelburne at Kenya MK Camp
                Those entrepreneurial endeavors can be nightmares.   You need entrepreneurial partners.   Yet, the successful entrepreneurs have similar psychological profiles as white color criminals.    Starting both a non-denominational church and international school in post-genocide Rwanda guaranteed strange mutating conflict.    Make a child observe and deal with that in his early teen years is a recipe for a true nut case.

                Lastly, if nothing else has broken your child – If Africa is home why not believe, God whispered again, “Leave home.   Go to a land I will show you.    Your scattered people need the skills, network, and experience I’ve given you.”   Do the unthinkable.   Uproot your child from his African home during his senior year of high school.   Force him to leave his best friends and all that he knows and understands.   Incorporate him into a foreign nation at the most cut throat season of life.  That will surely break him.

                Yet, there is just a little matter bigger than these flamboyant missionary endeavors - The Sovereign Providential Grace of the Creator of the Universe, I AM God.  He does the amazing when we act in faith.

                He builds resilience.   The dictionary defines resilience as, “Able to recover quickly from misfortune; able to return to original form after being bent, compressed, or stretched out of shape. A human ability to recover quickly from disruptive change, or misfortune without being overwhelmed or acting in dysfunctional or harmful ways.”  (http://www.resiliencycenter.com/definitions.shtml.) 

How did we ever get this photo of Caleb?
Our son, Caleb Jenkins has been a definition of resilience this year.  We are immensely thankful.

                A little less than 1 year ago, we sold all of our possessions except a few memories, left our earthly home, and moved to Chicago believing in a call to grow the ROC network and serve our people, the Diaspora of Africa’s Great Lakes.   

                Caleb explored and adapted.    He chose to not retreat into the world of internet home schooling.   He chose not to attempt public high school.   He chose to do the humbling.   Caleb is exceptionally intelligent.   He took on the stigma of taking a General Equivalency Degree (GED) test.   He enrolled at a local junior community college, the College of DuPage (COD).    He faced life head on.

With Gabrielle Pribukick, and Krista Deddo at COD Band Concert
                He started off biking 2 miles each day to school.    

                His GED qualified him for student aid, and his college bills were paid.   (We also bounced lots of offices together.   For more reading see http://www.jenkinsinrwanda.blogspot.com/2012/09/office-bouncing-in-usa.html.) 

                He took his trombone skills and joined the COD band.    He sharpened his skills.

Caleb with COD Cru
He embraced his faith.   He found “The Cru” (Campus Crusade.)   He got involved.  He made new friends.   He began to lead.

                From The Cru he found a new church plant just getting started called, “The Branch.”    He embraced our church planting heritage and joined the spiritual entrepreneurs.

                Our missionary family funding has been in decline.   Caleb found a part-time job tutoring younger students.    He is paying his bills.

                Caleb’s grandparents, Gaston and Jan Tarbet reached retirement and no longer needed two cars.   They gave a car to Caleb.   He learned to drive, and smoked his tests on the first try.   He now chauffeurs family and friends around busy Chicago.

Caleb and Jonah Wright at the Harambee
                He saw what he wanted and took a risk.   He only completed the application for the one university he hoped to attend.   Like his sister, Sophia he chose prestigious Wheaton College.  He applied and was given early admission.   He has chased every scholarship that can be found.   Of the anticipated $42,000 that Caleb needs to pay for his freshman year at Wheaton College he only lacked $5,600.

                We followed our African tradition and threw a Harambee Party on Sunday, May 19 http://hekimagreatlakesmessenger.blogspot.com/2013/05/frequently-asked-questions-faq-about.html.)    We feel like we know so few people in Chicago, but 82.75 people attended.  (To see photos of the Harambee check out https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151365289741364.1073741832.650346363&type=3.) 
(For more reading on Harambee see

The Lord worked through our community’s faith to discover another $1,000.  (If you would like to contribute to the Harambee send a check to Caleb Jenkins, 108 Kellogg Place, Wheaton, IL, 60187.)

                So now just for a moment say you want to assure that your child will be socially adaptable, an academic success, and a spiritual entrepreneur?   

                We recommend you trust the Lord’s promptings, take risks of faith, nurture all you
Cheering with the Simba Kampala Kid's League team
can through those transitions, and then let the Lord do the surprising.

                When the history of Africa’s Great Lake’s Missionary Kids are written we believe there will be a footnote that says, “Definition of MK (Missionary Kid) Resilience – AKA Caleb Jenkins academic year 2012-2013."

                Yebaleko ssebo.   (Well done, sir.)

1 comment:

  1. What an inspiring young man. Thanks for sharing a bit of his story.