Saturday, December 26, 2015

2016 is quick approaching

I know, I know, I have been horrid at this blogging thing lately.

Back in September I went back to the states, and spent some time at a retreat in Colorado. Seriously, I think every person in full time ministry needs to go chill at marble retreat for a week. This place is incredible!

Then after turning 35, I headed back home to Rwanda. (I am officially in my mid 30's? When did this happen?! Seriously.)

I have been thinking so much about what my word will be for 2016. I have  never done the "word for the year" thing before. But perhaps turning 35 has spurred me to do things, I never did before. Like making a bucket list. (Who am I?) I have made some personal goals for 2016. Once I got back to Rwanda, I hit the ground running. Literally. I started to work out a lot more in my mid 30's. But once you start seeing and feeling the benefits, you just keep going with it. So I decided to start training to hike Nyringongo. It is a volcano not far from my house, its active, has the largest lava lake in the world, and I want to climb up that bad boy. So I have started hiking a mountain near my house, and find myself walking probably 5-10 miles a day. (Today was 11 1/2. I pulled a muscle on my way back from Gisenyi, and it started to hurt too much, so I hopped a motto on the last half mile home!)

I realize spiritually, emotionally, and physically, I do so much better when I am working toward a goal. I need a goal in front of me to work towards. So hiking the volcano in February it is. I planned February for a reason. As the revolving door of my relationships, keeps on spinning. I know that come the end of January, I will be here in Rwanda without any other missionaries or expats. (Well in my little corner of Rwanda!) So I wanted a goal that I would still keep pushing toward, after I say another "see ya soon." or "goodbye."

So I have considered "goals" as my word. In Colorado I clung to Psalms 116:7, so thought "rest" might be my word. "Seasons" could easily be my word every year, as it seems the seasons of life pass way too quickly around here. I have considered "courage". The courage to be OK, and the courage to not be OK. But apparently I am not too good at this "word of the year" thing.

A new year is coming so quickly, and so is new seasons in my life. New ministry. The dynamic of my life is changing. So much is changing. You either choose to go with the flow, or get sucked under the current.

So that is basically where I am at, at the moment. Setting goals, and crushing them. Preparing for new seasons and new ministry. Enjoying my family. Clinging to God.

Here are some pictures from Christmas. Which was absolutely AMAZING!!

I was shocked on Christmas morning, that Keisha left her ENO
here when she left, for me, for Christmas. I am in love with this
thing. And am actually blogging from it now. 
I have the most amazing sneaky friends, who snuck
presents to the kids for me on Christmas morning.
I just adore it so much!! So blessed. Feeling so loved! 

Drawing Christmas to a close, after we had a
party with a friend and her house. 
Christmas collage. Woke up at 5:00am to the drums from the
church signaling it is time to celebrate. The kids were all on
cloud nine, but none more than Rebecca who got the bike
she has been praying for and asking for, for two years now. 
We laughed so hard, when we played games at
Tara's for Christmas dinner, and fun.
It was "fun crazy" as Rebecca said at the
end of the day!
This is where I ended the day. And after my almost
12 miles today, where I am now chilling as
it rains. I think I might just cacoon myself in here
this afternoon for a nice nap. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The state of pups

My dogs have no idea what "dog food" is. 
They eat a mixture of rice, carrots, cabbage, 
With some protein thrown in. 
Eggs, beans, or really stinky little fish. 

I have no idea what it is here to take my dogs to the vet.
That is because we call the vet to us. 
Thankfully! Because I couldn't imagine wrestling 
These dogs on some bus.

Wednesday the vet came, hunkered down at our house, 
And yesterday morning, we transformed the front porch
Into our makeshift OR. 

Tumu needed to be fixed, both dogs needed shot updates, 
Then for good measure we added two dogs from Goma, 
And put chips in both my dogs! 

Blood, medical stuff, doesn't really bother me. 
In fact, it facinates me! 
You could find me hunkered down on down days
In the states watching discovery health channel, 
Like some obsessed fan watches.......whatever. 

When I think about the human body (or any living things body) 
I am in awe of God. How it all works together, without thought.
How the human body, heals itself, the function of so many things.

So, why not assist surgical procedures? 
I was stoked she showed me how to inject more Anateshia. 
I loved getting to watch! 
And I love that she told me "no, ask all the questions you want." 
Eeeeeh! Free pass to pick your brain as you do surgery! 
Be still my heart! 

"What's that you just clamped?" 
"Why did you do that?" 
And loved getting to hold clamps, give injections, 

So yesterday was an interesting day! 
Not many assist in their own dogs spay surgery! 
Not many get to assist in other surgeries! 

Sleep still eludes me often. 
I'm not even sure how I did that yesterday on 3 hours sleep! 
The next few days though will be the hardest. 
I have to keep Tumu chill, and Tilly away. 

Tumu is barreling around into everything with the cone on her head. 
It's quiet funny, as she stops, and puts her cone to the floor, 
And just stares at the floor. 
We often joke she is saying "don't even look at me, the shame!" 

If I can keep Tumu chill, and both dogs separated,
So they don't go into full play jumping on each other mode. 
Then we will call it successful! 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A picture is worth a thusand words

Recently we had a dear Kiwi friend come to visit, 
who also happens to be a photographer. 
She always blesses this mama's heart with pictures, 
to treasure for a lifetime!! 

Uwera- 21, me (age unstated), Flora- 17
Rebecca- 10 Moses 3 1//2

Little man has grown up so much, from that 3 week old baby I fell in love with, 
from that 10 month old munchkin who came into my home. 
That totally flipped my world upside down, in all the best ways possible. 
Conversation will revolve around cars, birds, and so forth. 
My animal lover! Who you can find laying in the yard watching the birds. 
My cautious boy! He will often remind this nervous mama 
"I'm OK. I careful mama." and will remind you to be careful too. 
Currently boycotting nap times, and wanting to do everything himself. 
With a slight juice addiction. 

A year and 9 months home! 
Rebecca has grown in leaps and bounds! 
She has become the most inquisitive commentator who you will often find
tagging behind you. 
Her sense of humor and laughter is enough to light up the whole country!
She has dreams of becoming a mom, doctor (till she found out about giving shots!), 
a vet, a pilot, and a myrid of other things. 
She loves the dogs, and has a really good head on her shoulders. 
Just sit down for a conversation with her in French, English, or Kinyarwanda. 
She will give you as much insight as she will questions. 

My Uwera! 
Been stuck with me from day 1. 
She is busy coming into her own, and figuring out this independance thing. 
She has a tender heart, especially for the elderly. 
You will often find her, at a community center volunteering with 
the disabled of the community. 
She has hopes and dreams as wide and vast as the night skys. 
Her compassion runs as deep as her loyalty. 
She is silly and fun, and can make the most cranky person burst out
into fits of laughter! 

My Flora! 
She will trick you into thinking she is the shy girl. 
But you  might walk into the back, and catch her dancing. 
It is worth the time, for her to break out of her shell. 
Under her quiet and shy demenar, is a silly, loud, opinionated girl. 
A insanely talented artist, who loves to crank her music and draw for hours. 
Or you will find her across the street at the tea plantation, 
completely obliterating the guys in basketball. 
If you get to experience her unguarded personality, 
you know indeed you are being given a gift! 
Loyality that runs as deep as her drive to achieve her dreams. 
 Which goes between being a police woman, an artist, or pro basketball player. 

As for me, its been three years now, calling Rwanda home. 
My little family nestled in our little corner of the world, 
keeps my heart firmly nestled in the rolling hills. 
Family dinners, is the highlight of my everyday. 
Laughter, sharing, and unguarded silliness abounds! 
As new ministry moves forward, being home with my little family, 
is the deepest joy I have. 
They have taught me so much, and continue to bless my socks off. 

Joy abounds!

Growth abounds!

Grace abounds! 

Hope abounds!

Love abounds! 

 One time a friend told me about her kids "You grow up together." 
Even as adults, we are still learning and growing up. 
And indeed in a family we do grow up together. 
We do laughter, grace, and hope. 

Life has a way of throwing some curve balls, and some speed bumps. 
But it has become a saying in this house when we face a obstacle. 
"Its a speed bump, we'll get over it." 

We are family! 



Friday, August 7, 2015

So good, so cold.

a friend sent me a package this week, WITH AN ICECREAM MAKER! 

Ice cream is something I think of and miss way too much around here. 
So an ice cream maker was a huge blessing and cause for much excitement in the house.

After three blown fuses, and a small electrical fire, we finally got it working! 

Rebecca was so excited, she watched about 40 of the 50 minutes, 
Of the churning process. 

After we had our fill of peanut butter ice cream with chocolate chips and chocolate magic shell, 
We decided to go give some to our night guards. 
We all ran out with the ice cream bucket and scooped two large spoons in, 
And handed it to both guards. 
Who both smiled, laughed, grimaced and almost cried
Proclaiming "oh it's very good, but so cold.!" 
And we all rolled in fits of laughter. 

Then Uwera decided she wanted her friends to try it. 
So the last bowl, she grabbed and bolted down the street, 
To try and get it to them before it melted. 
And I just stood there on the front porch laughing, and thinking....
"This is the life." 

We followed up the night washing dishes, rapping to "beggar." 
One night the girls were sounding it out in Kinyarwanda, 
Which turned into an impromptu stomp/rap session. 
Now we all know our parts and beatbox and jam it. 

Once again I thought...
"This is the life." 

Nothing to do. No meeting to do, no paperwork, no rabbit trails. 
Just fits of laughter, jam sessions, and our little family in our little corner of the world. 

Thank you Crystal for ice cream maker and all the fun toppings. 
We love it!! 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Breaking the blogger silence.

Some men sawing up in the mountains.
Rebecca met her biological grandmother on mother's day. 
Rebecca's bio mother passed away when she was a pre-schooler. 
So getting a chance to meet and visit with her mother's mother, 
was such a sweet treat! We both soaked in the time together. 

 As most of you know, I have come under Commission To Every Nation. 
They are a amazing missions org. Recently we had our pastoral 
care couple come to visit. It was a sweet time of fellowship, encouragement, 
prayer, dreaming, and we got spoiled! What a wonderful couple we just adore, 
and cannot wait till they make their rounds back out our way again!

I just love this picture of Rebecca gazing out the window in the
mountains and the light reflecting off her face. 

Arthur is a sweet little munchkin that hangs out with his mama
at our house. I love that he gets so excited and smiley when he hears my 
voice. Handsome boy! (All clothes are gender neutral here!)

My little man, isn't so little anymore! 
Can someone please make the growth spurt stop?! 
At Imbabazi for just a relaxing day with the pastoral care couple. 

My handsome little man, in his suit that a sweet friend gave me for him. 

Another village trip up into the mountains. 
Our dear Tasia is from this village, and we regularly head up there. 
I have just fallen in love with these kids. 
I leave a little more of my heart in the mountain villages, 
with each and every trip! 
In Christ, 


Thursday, March 19, 2015

New seasons

As ministry here has been changing, things are changing. Two weekends ago I went into Kigali to be with the Voice For Rwanda founders. I packed the kids up and brought them with me, as Moses had a little friend to play with, and Rebecca is glued to their daughter the same age as her, Laurette. Eric came over early on Saturday, and laughed and said "I am going to have you climb a mountain today." I laughed it off, thinking he was joking with me. (I guess climbing steep dirt hill paths, is NOT something Eric jokes about!) And I headed out with Moses and Eric, to go visit the families in their HELP program. 

The HELP program is unique, as they minister to the entire family. They provide spiritual, emotional, physical, and educational support to the family. This comes in the form, of helping with school expenses, for the children. Providing health insurance for the entire family. Mentoring and disciplining, esp the children in after school and school break programs, as well as visiting the families, listening to their situations, counseling them, and also praying with them.

I got a chance to visit 5 of the families in their HELP program there in Kigali. From boys in University, that have been in the program for years. To meeting with a family with 6 children. I got the whole spectrum! And got to see what it looks like, to minister to the entire family. 

After praying and discussing with them. This is something I want to persue in my area! So then the next weekend the co-founder, and the in country director came out here. We introduced our idea's to the local government in my area, introduced ourselves, and basically knocked on the door, to see if it would open in this area. 

Today was another meeting, and we are waiting on the final paperwork which will allow me to start the program in this area. But we have been met with enthusiam, and doors swinging wide open!!! 

I am so excited for this new season! I have already been so blessed with both A Voice For Rwanda, and Commission To Every Nation. CTEN offers such emotional and spiritual support of their missionaries on the ground. And again, I cannot wait for the pastoral care couple to be visiting in May! Doors are swinging wide open, to be involved in other aspects of ministry here on the ground. And I am itching to get things moving. I could not ask for a better support system, with my home church, the partnering organizations, and all my dear friends. 

Walking into a new season of ministry, 

We were both pretty tired from walking in the afternoon sun.
One of the families I just loved getting to know, pray with, and minister too.

Before we both got exhausted climbing up the hill.
Moses let the in country director carry him the last leg of the walk back to the office.
One of the dads in the program.
Please be praying as we continue to work for me to establish this program here in my area.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Some changes have been happening behind the scenes!

With the closing of the orphanage gates, so closes a chapter here in Rwanda. As most of you know, Noel orphanage was home to over 600 children, who captured my heart. Some of those kids, are the ones I still tuck in at night, kiss their booboos, fix their hair, get them ready for school, pray with at night, rejoice with at every milestone and triumph, and hold when the tears come. As the orphanage gates closed, new doors have been opening. With a heavy heart as that season has ended, I am excited to share with you the new doors and opportunities that have begun!

I am now partnering with a new organization called Commission To Every Nation, CTEN. CTEN “helps ordinary people partner with God to accomplish the extraordinary” It is a 501c3 non-profit organization that will provide me with pastoral care, accountability, will receive and process my funds, send donor receipts for financial sponsorship, and help in printing and sending my newsletters. They partner with over 500 missionaries worldwide.

I am continuing to serve in Rwanda with a ministry called A Voice For Rwanda as group home coordinator. Orphan prevention is deep in my heart. I am prayerfully and excitedly hoping to partner with local hospitals, to start a sponsorship program to families who have lost their mother for one reason or another, to provide formula for their infants first year of life. I will also minister to the families in a tangible way, sharing the gospel with them, as I partner with the family to ensure the health and survival of the infant.

What does this all mean?
I am being sent by you spiritually and financially, partnering with Commission to Every Nation, and serving with A Voice For Rwanda

That is a whole lot to say, there has been a few changes going on. You may have noticed the donate button on the right hand side has changed. If you would like to learn more about CTEN, or partner with my ministry here in Rwanda, go ahead and click it. 

I haven't forgotten about my blog, but so many things have been changing, mostly I have not even known where to begin lately. So I figured posting about the changes would be a good place to start! 

 If you would like to join my mailing list for my newsletters, go ahead and shoot me a email, with your home postal address! (Who doesn't want mail that isn't a bill?!) 

In Christ, 

First time thieves attempted to break in, in this house.

So Rebecca got a ferocious guard dog. Cute puppy.

Some visitors Moses protests them to leave.
Getting some school prep done in town.
Moses started Pre-K at home with mom.
Tagging along with mommy.

One of our favorite visitors, Safiwae.
Our new pup Tumukundae (her name- we will love her)

Just a couple papers for immigration.