Hello! I’m Joanna, HIMI’s first missionary!
I have some exciting news to share! As some of you may know, I recently finished my credential program at Point Loma Nazarene University and have obtained both of my Special Education Teaching Credentials. Currently, I am finishing up my thesis and am on track to receive my Masters Degree of Special Education in December 2021. I have been teaching in Bakersfield, CA for the 2020/2021 school year but have given my letter of resignation effective in June because of an incredible opportunity I have received. It is with great honor to announce that I will be moving to Rwanda as a missionary to teach internationally at Virunga Valley Academy (VVA) in Musanze, Rwanda for the next two years! I will be going over there to help them develop a Special Education Program and I am so excited about this next adventure!
You may be wondering how this all came to pass so I will share the short version of the story. I had the privilege of spending the summer of 2020 in Alaska. What began as a passing comment from a friend about me teaching in Rwanda turned into curiosity on my part as to what VVA was like. The Lord then used the imagery of an iceberg to reveal to me that He had so much more for me if I chose to explore this opportunity to teach in Rwanda. I eventually was introduced to Matt and Andrea Miller, the directors of the school, and we started a series of emails and video chats so I could learn about the school and the potential teaching opportunity there. Virunga Valley Academy is an American International School that provides a faith based education for students from preschool through 12th grade. They also revealed that they had a desire to develop a Special Education Program because of a growing need and were looking for individuals with that background and training. This directly spoke to my heart because I realized I fit that description. After much prayer and guidance from parents and various spiritual mentors in my life, I submitted an application in November 2020. In January 2021, I accepted their invitation to teach and I will be moving to Rwanda this summer in July 2021 directly following a missions trip to Kenya! Yes you read that right…back to back trips in true Joanna fashion!
First and foremost, I would like to ask you to partner with me in prayer as I am about to embark on a life changing season. Please keep in touch as I will need the support of my community both near and far. Secondly, I would ask you to pray about supporting me financially. In an effort to keep costs affordable for local Rwandan students, VVA asks their international teachers to raise their support as a missionary. So I am being sent through Hearts Ignited Ministries International as a full time missionary and will have a webpage on my church website (The Garden) that will regularly be updated. The Lord has confirmed that He is leading me in this move so I have complete peace about going and about raising the monthly support that I’ll need to be established over there. I will need to raise about $3000 in monthly support starting in June to cover my cost of living. However I can begin receiving one time donations now to cover the cost of preparations. I have included a generalized breakdown of my monthly expenses below:
Hygiene/Personal Expenses: $150
Insurance/Health Care: $200
Educational Ministry Expenses: $250
Emergency Fund: $200
USA Bills: $500
Personal Savings: $200
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. There are many more details I was not able to fit that I would be happy to share over coffee or on a phone call. Please reach out if you have any questions. I am so excited for what the Lord is going to continue to do in my life in this next season and invite you to partner with me in whatever capacity you are able!