Saturday, December 29, 2012

First Christmas in Africa.

Wow, I am sitting here trying to rack my brain of all the details from a few days ago of my first Christmas in Africa with the girls. It was surely a whirlwind of activity. And I loved every single moment with them, and the blessings that was showered on us. Alysse kept saying "I will die, I do not trust this day!" No worries, she woke up the next day, and was glad to see she did not die, and could enjoy all the goodies from Christmas.

We started the evening on Christmas Eve, reading the
story of Jesus birth in English, Kinyarwanda, and Swahili,
while the girls had bottomless cups of hot cocoa, and a few
candy canes. I think the hot cocoa went to their heads,
immediately following the time together reading the
story of Jesus!
Bridgette and Alysse.
The next morning, I woke up bright and early at 5:00am.
I waited....and waited....and waited.....
Finally I decided to be a bit passive aggresive and turn
up the Christmas music. Still I was the only creature
stirring in my house.
So at 7am, I went room to room, to wish everyone
a merry Christmas and get a moving!
And the girls opened their first stockings from
the amazing Crystal Decker and family!




Then the girls got ready and they all went to church. I was not able to go, as I had been having this stomach something happening, and could not see myself making it through a 3-4 hour church service. But once they returned home, they had stocking to open from Jeffrey and Brenda Kim.
I do not think I would get any good pictures,
if I did not promise they could do a silly one
directly following the good ones!
Some stockings from the Kim's!!
Then we all hopped on some moto's and went to a hotel
in Gisenyi to get some lunch!
Then we went back home, and relaxed a bit,
The girls where busy painting their nails.
Decking out in necklaces, bandana's, and munching on
candy they still amazingly had room for after lunch!
Then it was the two presents in the evening a few hours
before bed. (Which some pictures are blurry or missing
because they where all screaming and dancing and
jumping up and down!)
First slippers from the Decker's...
And then the girls opened their pajama's from the Kim's...
and then...
Dancing in excitement wearing their new pajama's
and slippers they got for Christmas.
It just wouldn't be a celebration in Africa without
some (more) dancing!
Passy and Diane came the day after Christmas.
They are living in Kigali now, going to a AMAZING college,
and living with some amazing people, they just adore.
I love their expressions when they were able to come
and open their stockings and presents!
I have to say this Christmas had to rank as my favorite. I am sure the more to come in Africa will also continue to be my favorite!! I got a stocking and pajama's from the Kim's, but couldnt really take a picture of myself. But first in foremost my best present was God coming to earth. And knowing that when I am tired, exhausted, and all the earthly emotions, I have a God who understands. He understands those days I wish I had a boat as well, to just paddle somewhere to be alone to recharge my battery.

And this Christmas it could not have been better, than to watch these girls, who I am so honored and blessed to live with, dance, scream in excitement. To see them feel covered in love and blessings from people on the other side of the world. And as they opened them to scream "THANK YOU BRENDA!" "THANK YOU CRYSTAL!" "THANK YOU JEFF!" and so forth. Those where the best presents.

To get to dance to celebrate Jesus coming to earth. To get to REALLY celebrate his birth. To celebrate his birth to the extent of falling on my bed on Christmas night, with the biggest grin on my face, and filled with joyful exhaustion. And to really celebrate the reason for Christmas.

Thank you so much for those who have loved us so well from the other side of the world. Who made this Christmas unforgetable in so many ways! You have blessed the entire house way more than my words could ever begin to express!

Lots of love from Rwanda,





Monday, December 17, 2012

Loved extravegntly!

Hey!! So I have had people wondering why I haven't updated. My laptop decided to bounce across the floor and I sadly report has died. (RIP, Short was our time together but oh you were loved!) So now to access internet I have to run to Gisenyi, and hop on wifi on my Kindle or Android phone. (which is worthless here as a phone, but alas... can use for wifi!) In the midst of a few more complications/hurdles thrown in their for good measure. I have been blessed like you would not believe!!! After my laptop broke, my team leader posted about it on facebook. The amazing Carmen Lindie, who was my awesome room mate on my first trip, her soon to be husband donated one. To make the blessing even MORE amazing. Katherine from my first trip comes back with Visiting Orphans at the end of this month, and will hand deliver the blessing. (I tell ya, I am bursting with blessings!!) Other than that, my house has been a flurry of activity! As donations come we keep getting to do more. I cannot  wait to blog about that when I get my laptpp. The house is plastered in paper snowflakes, we found a Charlie Brownish Christmas tree in Kigali. (In which I carried back on my lap on a bus filled with Rwandese people, staring at me wondering why in the world I had this fake tree on my lap on the bus!) Which we decorated in ordaments I got in Uganda. And we put a banana leaf nativity scene next to it. I think I have broken some Rwandan package record at the post office. I rode NINE packages back to my house on the back of a moto last week! And I have presents hidden all over my bedroom. The girls are so excited to open presents and have a stocking this year for Christmas. We finished the shelter for our guard, we have the garden prepped to be planted. This week we start the shelter for the goats, we got outlets put in the kitchen for the fridge and stove. We are fencing in a area of the yard, for the goats to graze. Two of the girls, my vet, and Fidel went into East Rwanda to look at goats about two weeks ago. Needless to say, it has been the most amazing flurry of business. I find myself running into Gisenyi often to access wifi, so I can keep working on the amazing things coming together at our house. I sit here writing this sipping African tea, in Gisenyi, switching from my Android to my Kindle. (neither is easy to write a blog post on!) But hey, I am in Africa, and writing a blog post on wifi. So the amazingness of that is far from lost! We have been LOVED EXTRAVAGENTLY this month in Rwanda. And I feel the blessings wash over me, and sometimes I am overwhelmed by your love, and could simply BURST! THANK YOU!!! There is still more to get, and donations could so be used in a myrid of ways. We are awed and AMAZED by you! Because seriously, you are the ones who love us so much from afar. I never cease to be amazed at people who love these kids, who have never gotten to talk to them, hold them, play with them, laugh with them, and cry with them. It makes me think how Jesus said how blessed are those who believe and have not seen. I think a special blessing is for those who have loved those from afar they have never met. So in short, you all are loving us so extravagently. And at the end of this month, I cannot wait to show you all that has happened at my home. All that has happened all over this place. For you to see the girls ripping off wrapping paper off presents. And see all the blessings you have lavished upon us. I think I might just burst, from feeling the extravagent love.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Making a house a home.

Hey everyone. 

There has been some AMAZING things going on here. 
And I have to say, I have been BLOWN AWAY. 
One thing that has just simply blown my mind, 
is that recently I had two people come to me about fund raising for us. 

I guess for me that has made me feel like some things are more attainable. 
So I thought perhaps I would let ya in on some of the things we are 
really praying to get into our house. 
And a little dream I have been dreaming here in Rwanda. 

We had a few "couches" in the house, 
but I found out they belong to the landlord, and he came
one day and decided to take all of his stuff from the house. 
Which included a table/chairs (we have a table and chairs, but still
not enough for everyone to sit down to a meal, if everyone is here
for holidays and breaks from school, since some are boarded students)
the "couches" we had in the house, and the curtains. 
Though we have now made our own curtains for main area's that really need it. 

Those where the "couches" the landlord took back and table. 
But there is another table and chairs in the house. 

The AMAZING children of Oswego Christian and Missionary alliance
raised $200 toward a fridge for our house. 
Which is going to be A-MAZING!! 
But for the fridge we still need $150 more. 
Another person is going to be fundraising to get us a stove/oven
which is going to cost about $350-$400 as well. 

I also would like to get some stuff for the girls rooms. 
Like a dresser/armoir for each room. 

So here is the list and the prices of the things are hoping 
to cozy up our home.

Chair 8,000 FRW ($13) (We would love to get 5-6 more chairs)

Table 25,000 ($41)

Couch 300,000 ($500)

Dresser 60,000 ($100)
Armoir 80,000 ($133)
(one for each room)

Coffee table 40,000 ($66)

Shelter for guard 100,000 ($166)

Shelter for goats – 80,000 ($133)

Fridge- 210,000 ($350) ($200 raised so far!)

Stove/oven – 220,000 ($366)

Two more mosquito nets- 5,000 ($8 each)

(600 Rwandan Francs is $1 USD)

Oh yeah, we really want to get some goats, so we 
can have goats milk, and also make cheese. 
I think I am the one mostly dreaming of cheese. 
But before we can get the goats, we need to 
make a shelter or place for the goats to chill, 
and do their amazing milk making thing. 

If you want to donate to help us get some things into the house, 
so it is a bit more homey and cozy. 
You can click on the donate now button up there. 
If you want your money to be used specifically for a certain things, 
then just write that in the note when you donate, or 
shoot me a email and let me know. :) 

I cannot wait to show you the snug as a bug in a rug, 
the house is going to get. For me and the lovelies in there. 

I appreciate ALL of you sooo much. 
And seriously you guys have shown SO MUCH love to us, 
and we are so grateful for everyone of you, 
and all that you have done to continually pour into us. 

Seriously none of this would be possible without you all. 

Lots of love from Rwanda, 

Dreaming a little dream

I have been dreaming of opening up a daycare in Rwanda, 
in the very near future. I have already been talking to people, 
making lists, and looking into curriculum. 
I really want to provide FREE childcare to widowed 
or single parents who are working so hard to 
provide for their children. 
Still looking at how that is going to work. 
And will keep you posted on how God opens doors
and provides as He is so amazing at doing. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

I'm still here. . .

Hey, its been awhile. 

In case ya'll are wondering. 

(Firstly, I hang out with Americans, 
who are southern in Rwanda. So I have this
odd Southern Kinyaenglish style language happening.)

Here is some of what has been going on.

These three left for a awesome University! So we had cake
of course, the night before they left. 

And Amelie took it as a perfect opportunity
to take off in a mad dash with left over frosting.

Seriously though, I miss em, and just adore those three girls. 

I went to Kampala, Uganda for a week. 
And got to see some INCREDIBLE sunrises over Lake Victoria

I felt all cool, and adventurous sitting side-saddle on the Boda Boda.
That is till I saw a elderly African nun owning the side saddle boda boda riding.
(That is Tara and Alison in the pic above.)

I got a serious work-out taking a trip up these steps,
to see a awesome view of Kampala. 

I came home and girls were coming home from boarding school. 
(I seriously think this house has a revolving door!)

Bridgette (holding our puppy) and Alysse,
next to her. So glad to have them back for break!
They all were loving the hotel extra's I packed, and thought
the ornaments make excellent earrings. 

Josiane became a TEENAGER! She is growing up so fast.  Wasn't it just yesterday
I stepped off the bus at the orphanage and she took my hand, singing and swinging my hand?
Oh yeah, that was a year and a half ago. What?! I love the young lady she is becoming.
I totally adore this girl. 

I introduced the girls to this...

And got a bunch of this...

Hanging out with Moses at the orphanage. . .

Seriously, he is growing up so fast too.
He is going to be ONE in March.
And he kinda has a huge place in my heart
reserved for him. 

Watching Rebecca at the orphanage, jump rope,
color, spin, dance, sing, and attempt kartwheels.
Playing that game with rocks with her. Saying "wow" a hundred
times, at the same thing. Giving her piggy back rides
and loving seeing her sweet smile, and precious giggles. 

We got FOUR packages so far in November. 
I might have teared up when I saw tortellini, and beef/cheese sticks. 
You guys ROCK! You are showering me in packages from 
America, filled with love, needs, wants, and more love. 
We are so thankful, you don't even know! 

It's been really weird, that there is a legit war next door in DRC. 
Yesterday quiet a few people asked me if I heard the bombs. 
And its been kinda odd to sit here, and listen to bombs in Goma. 
We are fine, the war is so not in Rwanda, but we are 13 miles from where
the war is happening. So please be praying for peace for our neighbors. 
Its been a bit surreal heading into Gisenyi yesterday (5 miles from the border
where we go to get internet, airtime, power, etc) and see so many
UN, Mercy Corp (No idea who they are, but there is a whole lotta em) 
And I could hear the pops of gunfire, and booms of bombs so much clearer. 
Lots of military peoples. And to see hundreds of people
coming in Rwanda. Some told me they are from DRC, 
others have told me they are from Rwanda, but too close to the border. 
I figure it is probably a bit of both. 
So we are praying for peace for our neighbors in DRC. 

I had the kids at CMA in Oswego raise money so we can get a fridge. 
I had another person COME TO ME, about fundraising for a stove/oven. 
That just blew me away. That these two things, people have come to me
to fund raise. Seriously, that is legit AMAZING! 
I cannot tell you how you bless our socks off. 
And next week, I am going to offer some opportunity to help
us get some other much needed items into this house. :)
And perhaps, some goats. I am researching for goats, 
and I got some of my guys here on the search. 
Goat milk? Yes, please. Feta cheese? YES!!! 

Lots of love from Rwanda, 

PS- To those of you who blessed us with chickens, 
I have been able to bless lots of other people too with eggs. 
Those chickens are amazing crazy egg layers. 
(And cannibals, since they pecked one to death and ate him!)
I was visiting with a elderly widowed neighbor yesterday, 
and was able to give her like 20 eggs. 
And I just wanted to let ya know, what a blessing they are
in so many ways, to so many people. 
Those chickens are legit feathered blessings! <3