Sunday, January 29, 2017

Currently so far in 2017

Currently……..

Eating- Oh, oh, oh. Smores at the tea plantation with friends and the hubs. Pickling all the things. (beets and dill pickles!) And Rolex’s! (African flat bread, cooked into an egg, rolled up in all its yummy goodness!) This question brings many exciting diverse answers! 




Reading- The 19th wife. (things like the FLDS has always sparked my curiosity.) Its an autobiography of one of the "prophets" wife, who escaped, but also her mother and father were one of the first in the FLDS faith, even when celestial marriage and plural marriage was introduced and how that all went down.

Missing- people! Normally I come home to the states once a year, and its coming up on two years now. My feet are a itching, my heart is lonesome for some people. Basically I want to hug your neck till you have to pry me off with a crow bar. But its odd knowing that going home to the states to visit, also isn't going back to the same people or places I visited last time. Overtime its walking into so much that has changed. As also someone who has changed. But that won't stop me from hugging your neck till you have to pry me off with a crow bar!

Crying- All the tears. Frustration, loneliness, relationships lost, and a deep missing people. But also tears of joy. Unto everything there is a season! Last night one of the girls was joking that she was going to take me shopping. And we somehow decided we needed to make the dog African fabric shoes, and she tilted her head at us with a "huh?" look. Oh my gosh guys, we all laughed so hard, literally B and Rebecca were ON THE FLOOR. We laughed so hard we cried. Even Thierry had tears in his eyes he was laughing so hard. Or perhaps its his head cold, poor guy.

Listening- THIS. Andrew peterson... constantly. But this song... oh my heart. Just, just listen.

And have also been listening to the rain, my goodness. Apparently rain season did not get the memo, it still begins in April. The last year and a half, rain season has been so temperamental and off. 


Dreaming- Some really big dreams. We have been praying about purchasing land here in Rwanda. But thats all I will say about that for now. Also dreaming about my brother visiting in February. Oh how sweet it will be to hug his neck. It has been many a years since I have had a chance to hug that geek. We are planning many adventures! 

Drinking- Truth be told, I decided to stop drinking soda. In fact I watched Fed UP about sugar, and have pretty much swore off added sugar since. So black coffee and water about does it for this girl these days. 

Torn- Guys I still cannot get over that Moses is in school EVERY WEEK DAY! I miss him LIKE CRAZY! But he is doing so good. Yesterday I said "Moses you need to do your homework today." of course it wasn't till after dinner, I was like yeah, I should get on that. So I opened his book, and HE DID IT himself. And it was all totally correct. Of course it wasn't hard, of writing his name, the letter A like 9 times, but also matching numbers correctly. I was like "Did you do this?" "Did Rebecca help?" "Did daddy help?" I went and asked Thierry "Did you help Moses with his homework?" Kid is just too smart! And my heart breathed this huge sigh of relief every time I pick him up and see him having fun in class, or running around with other kids having fun. And to hear his teachers talk about how social he is, and how he talks about "Teacher Sharon". My heart grieves a bit, and sigh a sigh of relief a bit. 

Sleeping- So if you know me well. You know the true test of my emotional state is usually how well I am sleeping. Other than this recurring dream of taking a plane to Brussels to get a mocha frappe, and now included is Reeses in this dream, then getting on a plane and flying back to Rwanda. Been sleeping like a rock. I think we all have been in this house, school and ministry have been tiring this family right out. Bedtime, were ready! (Can someone figure out how to send me a Mocha Frappe, and also frozen Reeses pieces and or Reeses. Apparently this is a long standing issue!) 


I continued to just be awed and amazed at how the Lord provides ALL our needs according to his riches and glory. Me and Thierry have had some bumps as every marriage does, but man, it just keeps getting better and better!! Friends who FaceTime "just because I miss your face", oh my word, my heart. You have no idea the good you do this heart! My missions org and home church. Friends here and across the ocean. I am blessed. Sure I could focus and sometimes do on the frustrations. But I think the Lord was onto something when he says "Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things." Philippians 4:8. And I have so much to look back at and praise the Lord for, and look forward too in great anticipation. 

I haven't been updating the ministry blog, since we are working on a webpage! YAY! So thankful to friends who know how to do that stuff and friends who donated the domain to us. But you can also keep up with ministry or me on Instagram HopeForTomorrowRW on instagram and Tinaz35226. Or you can keep up with ministry on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HopeForTomorrowRW 

And since we started our nifty monthly newsletters by mail, you can email your home address and I would be glad to add you to the list. TinaInRwanda@gmail.com 




Monday, January 23, 2017

Im going to vow against blinking


3 weeks old. 
5 months old
10 months old 

How did we get from that, to......

Yes I sneaked in early to pick him up, and he was just fine. 
All those alligator tears when I said see you this afternoon, 
must have gotten better. (almost 5 years old)


School gets a big thumbs up!! 

There is some hiking required for school. ;) But even that
gets a big thumbs up! 





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.