Sunday, June 3, 2012

A big God, gives big hope, and big dreams.

"Bold prayers honor God, and God honors Bold
prayers. God isn't offended by your biggest dreams or boldest
prayers. He is offended by anything less."
-Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams And Greatest Fears
What dream has God given you?

It's NOT about what you can do,
it is about what God can do!

I prayed for these kids, before I had even seen a Rwandan sunrise.
I prayed for these kids, before a single one of them curled up in my lap.
I hit my knee's pleading in the midnight hour for these kids, long before I knew their names.
I interceeded for these kids, before I danced with them, cried with them, laughed with them.

It began as a aching. A God sized desire.
And when I looked at it rationally, it made no sense.
When I tried to figure out the possibility, it was impossible to me.

But God put this aching in my heart, and I could not shake it.
And to be honest, I knew if I did not step out of the boat, and listen when
God was saying "Follow me here Tina." I would be disobeying Him.
BLATENTLY disobeying God!
And I knew I would not go deeper in my relationship with Christ,
if I silenced his ever growing voice of "Follow me here."

And I have learned over and over, it has nothing to do with what I can do for God.
It has EVERYTHING to do with what God can do through me, for His glory.

Sure, it is scary.
But I have learned to do it scared.
I have learned my emotions will always eventually catch up to my obedience.
And its not my emotions that determine my actions.
It is my actions that determine my emotions.

And normally, it takes my emotions a little time to catch up. . . . My emotions are slow moving sometimes.

When ever I take that first impossible step.
I am shaking like a leaf!
When I speak, my voice cracks.

So, what God sized dream has God laid on your heart?

Sure, I know, the boat is comfortable.
The material is tangable, and you can touch it, see it.
But the miracle is Jesus walking on the water.
And it makes NO SENSE to us when He says
"Step out of the boat."
But you are going to miss the miracle,
and you are going to miss ever knowing what it is like,
to dance atop the crashing waves.

Dreaming God sized dreams and living in raw dependance of God,

Friday, June 1, 2012

Meet my Rwandese daughters... part 3


I will just go ahead and put her description for sponsoring up,
for you to get to know her background.

Valentine is the strong, silent type. She is 18 years old and she takes her work very seriously.
When Valentine was a baby, she was living with her parents in Congo, before she was two years old, they were killed in the war and she was brought to Rwanda to live with a friend of the family. She was mistreated most of her life and at the age of 16, decided to come to Noel to get a better life. She is thankful to the orphanage for taking care of her and for saving her from her old life. 
Even though primary school is free, the family that she had been living with couldn't afford to buy school books, so Valentine hasn't attended school in years. When she came to the orphanage, it was not possible for her to make up all the years that she had missed. Her dream is to work in a salon making braids and doing hair and make-up.

She is happy to be in the sewing school; to get knowledge for the first time makes her very happy. And the money is very wonderful. She is going to save it to help her achieve her dream.
I took Valentine as a sponsor daughter, literelly THE DAY before I left for Rwanda at the end of March!
I was excited and anxious to get a chance to sponsor one of the girls in the No. 41 program,
and looking at all their descriptions, and their beautiful faces, I simply could not decide which one
to sponsor. So I simply shot my friend Tara a email, and told her to pick one for me.
I was soooo happy to get Valentine! I was so excited that I would get to meet her in person
so soon after sponsoring her! And the next day, I was on a plane headed to Rwanda.
The day after I arrived in Rwanda, Valentine was going to Tara's house with some other girls,
and I was beyond exstatic when I got to meet her. She was pretty reserved and shy that
first meeting we had.
That day, I had packed up a bunch of things people had sent me to give to their kids,
and me and some of the girls all headed to Noel, to round up those kids, and give them
the gifts and letters from their peoples in America. It is always semi controlled chaos.
We had gotten the key to the visitors room and I would show the girls pictures, and tell them the name
and off they would run to get that child.
To get to the door, was sorta like having to part the red sea.
As probably a hundred kids crowded in front of the door, and peaked in windows.
(Whats going on in there?!)
I realized as after we handed out the gifts, and we were letting in about 5-6 kids at a time,
to paint nails, give stickers and such. Valentine was right there, painting nails along side me.
All that day, I realized Valentine was there, in the background, silently watching.
We would dust off tiny fingers and toes, and then paint their nails.
The kids started to get more extravagent in what they wanted.
Think french manicure with like three different colors.
I am sure though, most of them wanted to maxamize the time, that someone was solely focusing on them.

Painting nails.... Lots and lots of tiny nails were decked out that day!
One of my favorite times in Rwanda, was celebrating Valentines 19th Birthday!!!
After reading her description, I was SO honored, that I could take her and celebrate her life
for the first time. Tell her how honored I was to be her sponsor. How awesome she was.
How loved she is. And how we are celebrating HER!

Happy Birthday Valentine!!
It was so worth almost knocking sugar cane off that guys head,
running these cakes to New Life!!
I asked Valentine what she wanted for her bday when I was there.
She told me she wanted "meat."
Protien is not something they get often, and meat is a rarity.
Getting a meal with meat may happen a hand full at most a year for the kids in the orphanage.
So me, Cindy Bouffard, Tara, Clevarpitt, and Valentine went out to
Serena that night for dinner. Serena is a hotel in Gisenyi.
And we had burgers, fries, and soda.
Actually I had a mocha latee type of coffee.
I was on cloud nine. I actually think I may have had TWO of em.
It was a little slice of awsome in the middle of Africa. :)
Valentine works for No. 41. She is learning the trade of sewing. 
The bags that they are making will support kids in a local primary school. 
The kids in Rwanda go to school from 7am-4pm and do not receive lunch at school. 
Through No. 41, those kids will be given a lunch, and Valentine and others like 
her will get a trade, and are learning life skills to help them get on their feet. 
When you purchase a No. 41 bag, you will provide one meal, for one child, for one year!

 Valentine hard at work at No. 41!
I had a blast getting to know Valentine. And I loved that as the days went by,
I got to see more of her personality breaking through.
I got to see her beautiful smile.
And hear her wonderful laughter!
She is a precious jewel, no doubt!!
And I am so honored to get to sponsor her, and invest in her life.

Valentine and her first finished No. 41 bag.
I LOVE getting to show it off.
Yep, I snatched up that awesome bag as fast as you can say "Supercalafragalisticexpealadosis!"

Hanging out at Tara's with my sponsor daughters, and two cute kids on my lap.
(Alysse LOVES looking at Americans facebook page. It is likely she has been peaking at your pics!)

My three Rwandese sponsor daughters.

I have learned in my first two trips to Africa, a bigger aspect of sponsorship.
I used to think it was merely providing resources, a financial comittment.
But I have learned it has a huge spiritual and emotional aspect to it as well.
It gives these kids someone to belong too.
It gives them hope.
It helps them awaken to the value of themselves, as someone thinks their lives are worth investing in.

My dear Rwandese daughters.....

I am so glad that God has put you three into my life.
I am comitted too you three girls.
To see you flourish.
To pray for you everyday.
Not a day goes by, that your faces are not in my mind.
Not a day goes by, that your names are not on my lips at the mercy seat of Christ.
You have blessed me way more than I could ever bless you.
You have taught me more than you could ever know.
God has plans for you girls, He has a hope and a future for you three.
And I am so honored to get to play such a small role in your lives.
And I cannot wait to see what God unfolds for your futures.
You girls bless me so much, and I love you dearly.
And as much as I love you, it does not even come close to how much God loves you.

Mum Tina