Sunday, January 15, 2017

God of wonders.

Its been awhile, huh? I have been changing things up a bit on my little corner of the world, and have been doing most of my updates via a monthly newsletter. So if you want in on that cool snail mail in your mailbox, shoot me a message with your home address to TinaInRwanda@gmail.com and I would be happy to add you to that list.

What has been on my heart lately, is how faithful the Lord is. How many of his miracles and promises fulfilled I have been watching unfold in front of my eyes! One of my girls fiancee was in an accident. And less than two months later, he is back in Kigali at work. Guys, I am just floored. Two brain surgeries and some major traumatic brain injury. God surely has been at work! It was quiet the roller coaster ride, and it just tore up my mama heart to watch my girl struggle, and not be able to fix it for her. But one thing the Lord has been teaching me, is I cannot even heal myself! Only he can. He is so faithful too.
The day he was released from the hospital.
We petitioned many prayers during his surgeries, and
his recovery. 

One of the x-rays of the crack in his skull. His brain
was jolted so harshly in his skull, that a large blood
clot had formed on the other side of his brain,
which had to be removed. 


This picture is a couple weeks old. Just before he went back
to work in Kigali. I was awed to see him regain his strength,
ability to walk, talk, eat, etc. It was less than a month,
before he was back to being independent. A true work of the Lord!! 

This morning I came across this in my bible. As I was adding to my list
of prayer requests and answered prayers. I had to smile, and one of
the verses I have watched the Lord unfold in my life is Psalm 113:9
"He settles the barren women in her home as a happy mother of children."
I had no idea back then....... 

This house is never short of seats around the table.
God indeed is faithful. 



And getting a little peak at my grand daughter, being knit together
in her mothers womb. I downloaded an app on my phone, and every
week it tells us where she is in her pregnancy and whats happening.
I am amazed, as the Lord knits together LIFE! 
Watching hope unfold. Two of the moms in Hope For Tomorrow,
who have special needs will begin at a vocational school for those
with disabilities. And will be able to receive therapy (physical, speech,
vocational, music, etc) We have loved watch them get encouraged,
and find the abilities they have. 
A few months back we started literacy classes at the office.
This particular mom, a few months back was learning the
alphabet. The hard work and determination she has put into her studies.
The other day I watched her write the words she learned in alphabetical order.
And I just sat back in awe of her incredible hard work. 
And watching her daughter be encouraged and inspired by her mom. 
And the best thing I never knew I wanted.
This man is such a big blessing, and work of the Lord in my life.  

One of my favorite pictures, so Theirry painted it and it hangs
above our bed now. A nice evening walk with my man. He strong
arms are that of protection, comfort, and refuge. He leads us
in the word, in worship, and in Christ. Two people, one path.
He has blessed this family so much! 
I am going to try and do a currently tonight or tomorrow.

And if you want to get a newsletter sent to your mailbox, let me know!

In Christ,
Tina

Thursday, December 8, 2016

New seasons, new mercies


Some people come up with a word for the new year. 
Unknowingly it seems that I have a scripture for the last three years. 
So much that I had one put on a necklace, and one verse 
became a constant comfort that a friend gave to me. 

This year has surely been a new season. 
I am talking uprooting weeds, shaking some wheat and chaff. 
Pruning sheers all over the place. 
The soil of my heart tilled, broken, and new seeds planted. 
New plants blooming with beauty that I never knew the 
Lord had in store for me. 

Proverbs 16:9 
"In his heart a man plans his course,
but the Lord determines his steps." 

No thats not my verse for 2018. But man has it also been true for last year. 
Things I said I would never do (ahem, marriage). 
The dynamics of the house changing, as it always changes with new
people, and now a new totally different dynamic, as I have an amazing
husband, and the kids have a father figure. 
Life has changed so much across the Ocean, and I get bits and pieces of it
and my heart grieves, longs, aches. Yet it seems my roots have
dug pretty deep into the volcanic soil of my little Rwanda village. 

Not much has remained consistent. Financially (which we totally get,
sometimes people who partner have life happen, and cannot continue. We
totally get that! Life happens a lot to us. So we get when life happens to others too!) 
And we continue to pray for all those who encourage us, and partner with us, in prayer, 
financially, and other ways. 

Starting a new program, has been such a learning process, and leaves my head spinning. 
As sometimes I sit in the middle of a pile of files, budgets, numbers, order lists, 
a calculator, big prayers, and checking and double checking to see if all the 
donations came through for that month. 

I dont know how to explain, but lots of places that once felt solid, 
no longer do. And new places, I never knew existed, foundations are being laid. 
It really has been a new season, new gardens, and lets be honest some
new fears and new hurts and new losses and new gains! 

You see though. I dont so much like all this change. I am the one who loves me 
schedule, loves routine, loves predictable. (and how in the world I ended up
as a missionary in Rwanda, Lord knows. He must use broken vessels, because
let me tell you I am a broken sinful lover of Jesus, clinging to him like a toddler
who doesn't want his mom to leave them at daycare!) 

And as the soil is so freshly tilled and turned in my heart. 
And I look back at old foundations, that lie in crumbled ruins at my feet. 
As I look at the mountains around me, and know the Lord is able. 
As I look at how the Lord has continued to fulfill his promises to put 
the lonely in families, how he has made the barren women a happy mother in the home. 
As I look at the seeds of new fruits, new seasons, new harvest. 

2018...... 

1 Chronicles 16:11
"Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always." 

Ingoma 16:11
"Mushake Uwiteka n'imbaragaze, Mushake mu maso he iteka ryose." 

Anyone want to put that verse on a bracelet or necklace, seriously 
let me know. (The verses I wear now from the last two years are Psalms 116:7 and Joshua 1:9) 

Here we go Lord, a new year quickly approaches, and I yield it to you. 
I yield the harvest, I yield the fresh turned and tilled broken soil of my heart. 
I yield my family, my time, my hurts, my healing. 
My strength will never get me through, your strength is sufficent, in fact
you say your strength is made perfect in my weakness. 
I am weak, I am broken, I am yielded, I am at your feet. 

Not my will Lord, but your be done. 
I will seek your face always. 
For you are good, and your strength is sufficient. 
Your mercy is new everyday. 


Friday, November 11, 2016

Dear the me five years ago

Dear me five years ago, 

You are still ablaze from a spark, from your missions trip in the summer. You are gearing up to go back, and you feel a call to full time missions. A few things you need to know…. 

You are going to learn new levels of redemption, that you have crossed off the list, threw in the towel and say, “Nope, never.” You will stop and look at your husband, and sometimes cry at times because you never knew it would be like this. You never knew redemption would be this amazing with such an incredible husband. 

You will learn orphan care, orphan prevention, foster care, racism, transracial relationships, and transracial adoption is so complex, and filled with loss. You will learn you were never the first choice, and the children who call you mom, call you mom from a deep place of loss. You will change your mind on things, you never even had to consider before. Things like white privilege, systematic racism, micro aggressions. You will start listening to adult transracial adoptee’s and question yourself, and take some deep hard looks at yourself. You will look at things, consider things, you never had to consider before. Because of your white privilege you never had to consider these things. Now you do. 

You will learn love on some new levels. Love that rips out your heart. Love that doesn't love back. Love that puts you in the raging fires and allows all the crap to surface, and you will have to face wounds, and hurts, and choose to forgive and heal again and again and again. Love that allows others to struggle too, and learn to solve problems. Love that does what is best for someone which isn't always what feels good, but in the long run, is the hard deep lessons of life. You will start to wonder who it hurts more to say no sometimes. 

You will be a single mom for many years, and you will often have everyone in your home upset with you for one thing or another all at the same time. (Even the dog, when you make her go outside when she is annoyingly begging too much!) 

Those things people think that magically disappear on the missions field. You will find the exact opposite. They are magnified. And some days your emotions will be so strong, and everything around you so intense, you will fill like you are choking on your own breath. 

You will get over yourself, and learn you cant save anyone and were never intended too. . . . 

You will do so many things scared and alone. That you will be desperate for friendship, yet start to wonder if you even know how to have a normal conversation with your own culture. You will be that purple person. (if America is red world, and your host country blue world, you dont become blue, and you will never again be red, you turn into a purple person. And it can be kind of confusing!) 

You will get hurt and discouraged. You will want with all that inside of you to go home, and with all that is inside of you, to dig your feet deeper into the foreign familiar soil. 

You will wonder if you should keep messaging, calling, and checking Skype for those you miss. You will wonder what relationships are worth the hurt of pushing past the cultural differences, the miles, the time differences. You will feel like you are endlessly reaching out to connect to your passport culture. You will hate to admit, that you wonder if many have forgotten you. 
You will both anticipate your next furlough, and dread it. You know you will be so overwhelmed, excited, confused, and homesick on a level you never knew before within a a week. 

You will wonder if God is all sufficient. And you will feel horrid for wondering that. You will question, wrestle, and root your faith deeper than you knew. 

You will wonder why you moved halfway across the world to do these things, when you could have been doing them in your home country all along. 

You will write this, while listening to your husband play with the kids, as he always lets you sneak off to the bedroom after dinner, while he plays with the kids, does bedtime stories, brushes teeth, and reads another two or three stories, and at the same time see pictures on Facebook that make your heart so divided and confused. 

And you will remind yourself what you tell your kids….. what you tell the moms and caretakers in the program………


“An easy life is not always a good life, and a hard life is not always a bad life.” And you will thank God for the struggle. Because it is the struggle to emerge from the caccon, that strengthens the butterflies wings to fly. And struggle isn't always such a bad thing. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

My Rwandan mom


She lives near one of the moms and babies in the program. 

One day, she approached me. 

She told me she loved me for what Jesus does with me.

She asked me about my mom. I told her my biological mom passed. 

But I have had many moms along the way. 

She asked me if I had a mom here. I said no. 

She told me "Then I will be your mom!" 

"You will visit me when you can, and I will teach you old Rwandan games, 
and how to cook old traditional foods, and teach you old proverbs." 

I smiled and accepted her offer and asked what can I bring, as is culture. 

She threw her head back in laughter and said "I dont have enough teeth 
to chew!" 

Her stories are heavy with wisdom and experience. 

Her hands wrinkled and soft, and her touch tender and sincere. 

Meet Rose (Rosa) my Rwandan Mama. 

I never want to snap pictures, out of respect. 

Today we swung by during home visits, and today she asked me 
if I would get our picture and print it out for her. So she can 
remember her new Rwandan daughter. 

She wants me to teach he some English, and she is teaching me
proper and old Kinyarwanda. 

I have yet to learn the games, but she jokes I have yet to bring her 
something she can chew. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A couple changes....

You might notice some changes on this blog.

This blog is about to get a whole lot more personal.

We have been trying to separate home and ministry to a certain extent. Of course we do ministry all the time, be it reading bedtime stories, answering all the deep spiritual question that never came up all day, but suddenly need answering at bedtime. And sometimes its the phone calls, and hospital visits.

Right next door to our house is our office, and right behind the office is the transitional house. And were trying to separate our home life from our full time ministry, as we still snuggle into this whole family life, and married life.

So we have made a separate blog for ministry! Here  
And we even made a separate Facebook page for the ministry..... Here 

On this blog you will find the crazy happenings in our life.
Or perhaps a place for me to just vent about the lack of M&M's.
Or share what the Lord is doing and teaching me.
Or how I stuck my foot in my mouth....again.
Or how if I ever did write a book it would be called doing it scared, because most things terrify me. and if I didn't do life scared, I probably just wouldn't do life at all!

I hope you go and follow the new blog, and like the new Facebook page, so you dont miss out on all that the Lord is doing in this ministry. (because lets be honest, apart from him, I can do nothing, we can do nothing. Praise God it is not about this socially inept, awkward, yucky past girl. But it is ALL about God. Its not about how good we are, its about how good HE is. Its not about what I can do, its about what he can and did do!!)

We can't do a blog post without some pics.....

My husband and a dear friend preached at a church last Sunday in
one of the villages a mom in our program live in. 
I kept telling my husband, I couldn't wait to watch them climb
the mountain to church. ;) 

I have a thing with gazing out windows at the rolling hills.
Even church windows. Obsession. 


I was so proud of my husband and his obedience to Christ,
his heart to see others come closer to Christ, and minister! 

School is out for summer! So we had the obligatory yay dinner out.
So of course it was a photo shoot, duh! 

Seriously, it was just the other day she fit into 4-5 year old clothes.
I told her I was going to have one of our night guards start
following her around. Any boys talk to her, my guards will step in. ;) 


Guys, this just captures our family so well. There is just something
I love about real family pictures. This is us y'all! 

Flora in all her awesome Floraness. 

There is a new restaurant in Gisenyi we are so in love with. We ended up playing some
games while waiting for our food to come, and introduced the girls to smoothies! 

I had a mocha latte. My heart is still all a flutter. 

We all went into some form of food coma! 

Guys if you cannot appreciate this picture, I'm not sure we can be friends.
A veggie sandwich, with a beet and goat cheese salad. 

My little salad lover, wanted to get half a chicken sandwich and a baja
california salad. I love that she loves her veggies! 

And to end our celebratory dinner out, a cookie and milk coma for the mini man. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Whats going in our little corner of the world....

"How I love thee, let me count the ways."
Thats what I have written on the front of a journal, we write in daily, 
to tell each other what the other did that day, or something we love about
the other. The pages are filling up quickly. This man, his love is gentle
yet fierce. He guards and protects, and loves and leads. 
My favorite time is on the weekends when we all worship together, 
and in the morning when we go before the throne together. 
I often wonder how I got so blessed to call him husband! 

Once a month we do lunch, worship, encouragement, etc with all the moms 
in the program. I absolutely love that time with them . 


Lunch and devotion Mondays get really amazing, busy, and bless
my socks off. 

Look at how cute Ester looks. With as big a personality
as the country itself!! This girl! Oh my heart! 

Mama Giraneza is an amazing traditional dancer, 
she has taught me, but I can't hold a flame to them. 
I tell them all the time, to slow down, or they will burn 
off all their lunch and have no energy to get home! 

This scene just blesses my heart in ways I cannot express!!

Visits to the carpenter shop to get the desks, chalkboard, etc. Of 
course it wasn't done on time, which provided much more conversation
with these guys. I love finding these guys, and watching them work. 


Seriously they impress me so much!

One of the most exciting days ever! Getting the calk board and 5 of the 10 desks! 

Loading up the truck. I love when we load trucks! 
Oh be still my heart. Look what God is doing! 


I was giddy with excitement!! God is moving in some 
big ways! I cannot wait to get the literacy classes started! 
And to also bless the moms and dads with bibles. 

Our first doodles on the board. Compliments of mommy and Moses. 

Cant forget the grand bean! Where you will find me and Thierry
relaxing is often on the porch. Him painting or drawing, 
while I plug away at my latest sewing project, listening to either a sermon, 
a podcast, worship, or perhaps a documentry on Russian history, 
19th dynasty Egypt, Roman history, or something just as random. 

I loved how the quilt was looking with the sunset. 
Sewing and quilting, it just can't get more relaxing 
and recharging than that. Quality time with my man, 
as we just are together, both doing what we love. 

Guys, guys, we got FIVE packages this month. 
From new knickers for all, socks, and lots of fall treats!
The caramel apple pops did not last long in this house. 



We capped off in the program at 10 moms. 
Where in the world did we get 10 moms to be our cut off? 
Well, the program is very personal. We visit each mom biweekly at least. 
So in order to keep it personal, where we have time to meet and know
each mom, baby, and family. We can do 5 home visits a week. 
We can do program on Monday (soon on Fridays!) 
And still maintain personal relationships with all the moms and families
in the program. This is one of the new babes in the program, Florence. (one of twins)

This new mom and her EIGHT kids have captured our hearts. 
Her and her newborn twins have struggled with malnutrition. 
The twins are Emmanuel and Florence. 

Emmanuel all snug on his sisters back. 

I cannot believe how much they have all grown up! 
Nadia and Nadine, are sitting, cubby, bright eyed, and
have such a hopeful future ahead. It seems like yesterday, 
we head their mama's hand, while we held our breath, 
watching this little one get resuscitated in the hospital. 
Praise God, he is moving, guarding, protecting, and thriving
in the lives of the moms and babies. 

Our other new mom, and one of her twins. Jean DeMoure. 
The other twin is Jean Paul. 




Jackson was excited to show off his new crawling skills! 

Babies belong with their momma's. 
I can't imagine Jackson being anywhere else
but with his mama clapping and smiling with pride, 
right behind him, cheering on his every milestone! 



Jackson is also pretty darn proud of himself too! 

Now that the babies who we started the program with 7 months ago, 
are all now sitting, crawling, etc. It makes the program days quiet
a bit interesting. As we try to keep them all in one place! 

Emmanuel, (one of the new, newborn twins)

This little guy was cracking me up. 
Mugisha Muzee, you rock. 

And this Dorkus was playing a bit of hard to get. 
She was so much fun! 

This big family has big love, big faith, big dreams, and a big God. 
Man we have fallen in love with them for sure! 

The new newborn twins, Florence and Emmanuel. 

Big sister is pretty amazing with her new baby bro and sis. 

In Christ, 
Tina

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