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Children's Ministry

A Legacy of Faithfulness: 12 Years Starting a School in South Asia

Sally and Kevin and family in South Asia

After 12 years of service at our school in South Asia, Sally and Kevin will move back to the States—but they leave an indelible legacy behind them of persistence and faithfulness. 

Starting the school

Sally and Kevin signed on with Love Justice in 2012 to start a school for the children in the Family Homes Program. Kevin would take on cultivating the physical grounds of the school, and Sally joined a team of two others to plan, prepare, and launch the school. 

“The coming years would be more full of difficulties than we could ever have anticipated, with one after another frustration touching nearly every aspect of trying to build a kingdom-class school in a hostile and challenging environment,” said John Molineux, founder and CEO of Love Justice International. 

planning to open the school

The young couple arrived in South Asia and spent the next three years planning for the school. The typical school system in the area was based on rote memorization and shame-based punishment, with all private education taught in the students’ second language, English. The school director that the team trained with said that the system produced kids who were “bilingually illiterate.” (Pictured: Sally and Kevin on the left with two other original school planning team members and John Molineux)

Before two years were up, Sally and Kevin were the only members of the original team still there. 

“Coming wasn’t the hard part,” Sally said. “Choosing to stay was hard. The big ‘Yes’ is usually easier; it feels more noble and exciting. It’s the small ‘Yeses’ that were hard for me.” 

When she became pregnant with her first child, the family returned to the States for the birth.

“Before we came back, I remember sitting and being like, ‘What am I going to do? I have a 3-month-old, there’s no school, our team is getting smaller…’ We didn’t have a house, we didn’t have a community, we didn’t have anything,” said Sally. “But then a song by Rend Collective came on, ‘The Cost,’ and I had a moment where I felt like, ‘I don’t know what I’m walking into, but I’m willing to take the next step.’”

The first few years in South Asia were very lonely for the young couple as new parents without a large community, trying to pioneer something new. 

“But I look back and it was also a really sweet season, you know, where we just kind of learned how to navigate. Like it wasn’t necessarily loneliness; you almost have to reframe it as solitude and seasons of dreaming and making decisions but taking it just one step at a time,” said Sally.

She shared a thought she recently had while driving her scooter in the fog. When she tried to look too far ahead, she couldn’t see where she was going, and it was stressful. But the fog opened up in front of her just in time so she could see enough to drive safely.

“I think our beginning season in South Asia was like that—we could only see so far ahead of us. And if we tried to look too far ahead, it was really stressful. It was really unclear. It felt like there was no way. But when we just looked at what was opening up in front of us at that moment, it felt very doable,” she said.


Launching the school

In 2014, Khemraj and his family joined the team. Khemraj was local to the area and was hired to be the principal. Having a local person on the team propelled everything forward, as he was better able to gain favor with officials to get required permissions and paperwork taken care of. 

First day of school

Finally in 2015, after receiving the necessary permissions on Christmas Day, the team built a temporary school building and opened its doors for its first school year. That first year, there were only 55 students and 16 staff. Although in later years the school would include kids from the community as well, that first year all of the students were from LJI’s family homes. (Pictured: students lined up for the first day of school)

Reflecting on that first day of school, Sally said, “I remember John [Molineux] coming up to me and saying, ‘How does it feel?’ And I was like, ‘It feels okay.’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, usually you think it’ll feel really great, but it kind of just feels like a normal day.’” 

Sally described the tension she felt then and still feels sometimes, to be both proud of how much they had done so far and simultaneously aware that there is much more to be done. 

“It was a beautiful thing to be able to see things that we had been working towards finally become a reality. But it also made me realize how far away we were from what we were dreaming and hoping for,” she said. “I remember thinking, ‘I hope we can continue to grow.’”

Sally and Khemraj doing teacher training.

Sally and Khemraj doing teacher training the first year

Picking out fabric for school uniforms while child naps

Sally picking out fabric for uniforms while her son naps in the store.

buying books for the school
Buying books for the school
school staff year one
First school staff members


Setbacks and challenges

Three days after the school opened its doors, there was a major earthquake that devastated the entire area. 

Months later, a blockade on shipping from a neighboring country caused massive shortages of basic supplies. Sally and Kevin heated water for bucket showers during four-hour power windows and cooked food in the rice cooker because there was no gas available for the stove. At the school, they cooked lunch over open fires.

In the midst of that difficult season, the couple celebrated seeing major growth in the kids’ learning at the school.

“They were willing to ask questions. They weren’t afraid of making mistakes. We were able to create a classroom culture where the kids felt safe, and that felt like a big win,” Sally said.

Every year it seemed like they had some sort of road challenge, with the road to the school either being blocked or closed for various reasons. One year there was a landslide that completely rerouted the road. 

Similarly, they faced many struggles seeking various permissions from local authorities. 

“I think Khemraj even has a document where it shows he had over 30 cups of tea with an official just trying to get him to sign one piece of paper, and every time they say, ‘Come back next time and we'll sign it.’ And they don't. So there is almost this feeling of powerlessness when it's a really easy thing,” said Sally.

Although Love Justice had planned to build more permanent school buildings, it soon became apparent that they needed more space for the school. Costs of land had risen, so they began looking for land to lease. 

In 2019, new school buildings went up on newly leased land in a beautiful lush valley near a river. 

Then in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, causing global disruption. The school was one of the first in the country to pivot to online learning. 

Students wear masks during the covid-19 pandemic

Sally said, “I remember having a meeting with John [Molineux] and I'm like, ‘This is an impossible situation. Most of our students don't have devices, and even if they have internet, it's not reliable. So what you're asking me to do feels impossible.’ And he goes, ‘Well, just sit down; we'll find a way.’”

They surveyed students to find which ones needed computers for online learning at home, and then lended computers from the school to those families. For those that didn’t have internet access, they had teachers visit homes for tutoring sessions outside at safe distances.

In addition to external challenges, they struggled through team conflict as people dealt with stress and learned how to navigate hard moments as a team. 

So, how did they get through so many hard seasons? Sally said partly through “Midwestern stubbornness” and partly because she knew the school wasn’t at a place yet where it would survive if they chose to walk away from it. 

“Thinking about those kids and the kinds of opportunities I had as a child, it was motivating to me to want to be able to provide opportunities for them that they wouldn’t otherwise have,” she said.


The fruit of their labor

from students to teachers

Today, there are 212 students enrolled at the school and 40 staff. Along with family homes children, about 68% of the students come from the general community. The school provides education concepts and opportunities otherwise unavailable in the area.

A total of 414 students have received education since opening, and 57 have graduated. Four previous students currently work as staff at the school. Three other previous students worked on staff for a time before going abroad to finish their degrees in South Korea, Lithuania, and Canada. (Pictured: three teachers who were once students)

One student from the community, who switched to the Love Justice school on a recommendation after struggling with some mental health problems at her other school, said this about it: 

“When I am at school, all of my bad energy just goes. I'm like home. When I come to school, I'm like, ‘Oh my God, I'm so happy!’ When I first came, I was like, ‘Does this place exist? How did I not know this place existed?’” 

These kids love to read, know how to work hard, and experience the wonder and joy of learning. Their standardized test scores are higher than the national average, proving that learning can be fun and yet still effective, and that education does not have to be punishment based in order to motivate students to excel. 

“We are not done. Our aim is for the school to be kingdom class—more like what God intends education to be than anything else,” said Molineux.

kids in the school sitting outside

The next chapter

As the school became more stable, the Sally and Kevin began to feel it was time to move on. After so many difficult years building a school quite literally from the ground up, establishing long-lasting systems and procedures, their vision for it was coming to completion. The school was turning into something that would continue to grow and thrive without them.

“Some of the girls that are in my homeroom class right now, I've known since they were three,” Sally said. “Because we stayed and put our roots in the ground and didn't leave when it was hard, [we’ve had] the joy of seeing these kids here grow up … [seeing] the young men and women they're coming to be.”

Persevering through the hard years brought rewards they will carry long into the future.

“I mean the greatest blessing is just experiencing something amazing—the starting of a school—and to be able to do it with my family,” said Kevin. “That's probably the greatest thing—to be able to be a part of that.”

So, what’s next for this family?

They are buying into their family’s farmhouse in a small town in Nebraska. Kevin hopes to start a farm, and Sally will continue leading the school remotely while they transition out. Their children will attend the same school that Sally attended as a child.

Reflecting on these 12 years and this faithful couple, Molineux said:

“Something in the way that ideas and visions are given birth in the real world by the application of virtue through hardship over time, with God’s hand of provision at the back and the steady march of light over darkness and justice over chaos, resulting in changed lives—it put me in almost rapturous inspiration.”

Truly, we are inspired by this family, for refusing to give up even when everything was really hard, for remaining faithful to God and the children they served. They leave a thriving school full of bright, young minds behind them, an impact that will reach much further than the school grounds. 

To everyone reading this, take the example from Sally and Kevin as an encouragement to remain faithful to whatever God has called you to do—you never know the lasting impact your faithfulness will have!

Want to join in their legacy? Apply for jobs at the school or donate to our school programs at the link below!

Give the Gift of Education

*All data and statistics current at the date and time of publishing. Some specific names and locations excluded for privacy and security purposes. 

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