YAOUNDE, CAMEROON (December 19, 2012) – Although some people might not consider working at a school that educates children of missionaries to be “real” missionary work, that service is as important as ministering to nationals, says Konroy Boeckel, an Evangelical Covenant Church missionary working with the Rain Forest International School (RFIS) here.
He hopes other Covenanters will consider working at the school, which is a partner with the Department of World Mission. Since its formation in 1991, the school has grown from less than 20 students to more than 100.
Since the RFIS population has grown, the number of required faculty and staff also has multiplied. Current openings range from teaching various classes to working with information technology.
Serving at a school that educates the children of missionaries can determine whether the family is able to stay on the field, says Boeckel. It also provides an opportunity to disciple young people as well as witness to the non-Christian families who have children enrolled.
“In some countries, there are no local schools for missionaries’ children to attend,” says Patty Shepherd of the Department of Word Mission. “The only other option would be home schooling, which might not be possible for some missionaries.”
When Covenant missionaries were forced to leave the Democratic Republic of Congo due to civil war in 1996-97, the Ubangi Academy, which served missionaries’ children, also had to close. As Covenant missionaries returned to new ministries in Central Africa, they chose to send their children to RFIS.
That began a relationship with Wycliffe Bible Translators – which started the school – and several other partnering organizations, which include the Evangelical Free Church, North American Baptists, Baptist General Conference, and World Team. A hostel was also opened so the children of Covenant missionaries serving in other countries could board there.
Boeckel says he understands people may be hesitant to do mission work. He initially thought he was unqualified. Still, he says, the nudging of God won out over his reticence.
He works at the school as a “jack of all trades,” serving as a computer technician, yearbook supervisor, and as a teacher and librarian substitute. People who think they have little to contribute actually may have gifts they weren’t aware of, says Boeckel.
Others with specialized skills also are needed, Boeckel adds. His wife, Heidi, has a degree in early childhood education and uses those skills to teach at the preschool she started and visits several different orphanages each month.
All of the coursework is taught in English. For a listing of openings, visit the school website.
For more information, call Lana Heinrich, associate director of missionary personnel for the Department of World Mission, at 773-907-3350 or email her.