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, 

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Walk backwards and always carry a blanket

This week has been nothing but surprises. Saturday they decided to throw in a surprise Umuganda. (Or this America doesn't pay enough attention sometimes.)

I found out we had a surprise day off of school so all the kids were home on Wednesday. (Once again couldn't possibly be that this girl just hasn't been paying enough attention, nope couldn't be that!)

And found out I am going to be a grandma. One of the girls, who doesn't want to be named at this time, is pregnant! So we have been dealing with the morning sickness which for sadly lasts all day, and pretty much has now been OK with bread, juice, and apples. Yeah, thats the list at the moment of foods that do not make her run to bathroom. Meals she hides in her room and stays far from the kitchen, as any smell of food makes her ill. But we did get to see my grand bean on ultrasound and see their little heart beating away. Grand bean (because at the time the baby was the size of a bean, he/she has grown a bit, now that we enter week 9). Moses says its going to be a boy, and she should name his nephew "Box". Though in Rwanda babies are often not named right after birth, but a few weeks after. So Box could still be in the running, who knows.

I have always been honored that my girls trust me enough to have invited their boyfriends over for dinner, or out together so we can all know each other. Most the time boyfriends stay secret till they come with wedding plans, and dowry cows and all that stuff I still am pretty clueless on. In this, because yep, its out of wedlock, I'm sure some have a thing or two to say. Consequences and all. But all I could think about was the women caught in adultery (no she wasn't committing adultery) but all I could think was how Jesus STOOPED DOWN to her. I thought about how Adam and Eve sinned and before he sent them out of garden, he actually clothed them. Aware now of their shame and nakedness, he CLOTHED them. A friend told me a saying that stuck with me "Always walk backwards and carry a blanket" in reference to Noah's son finding him drunk and naked, and covering him instead of exposing him. It made me think of a pastors wife who told me once "If you have a choice between condemning and grace. Always choose grace."

So my grand bean is on the way! We can't change it, like many things in life. But we can make the best of it, and love the beans out of this baby on its way. And reminding this mama, that the best of us, all of us, miss the mark. We all sin. At least I know I do. All the time. I repent, I try to learn to stop working in my own strength and in His. I press into Him. And I take comfort in Him knowing the whole story. The Lord for me personally, he knows why certain words sting more than others when people jab with words. He knows why things not even meant to hurt, can bring me pain. He knows every tear I have ever cried or will cry. He knows my heart, my intent, my every thought. And he also clothes me, when I am found with fruit all over my face I was told not to eat. He also stoops down to me, when I hear the shouts of the angry mob around me, ready to stone me. He is the Rock of ages. He knew every day of my life before a single day came to pass.

The last couple months have been a whirlwind. The program is thriving, and we now have capped off at 10 moms and 17 babies. (yep, we must look like a multiple program!) One mom left the program as she went back to the country she fled and was here under refugee status. Which opened the program to another mom who has twins, and we also have newborn twins and another mom. So we cap off at 10 moms and 17 babies. (because we can maintain 5 home visits a week, with two home visits a month, and of course our Monday madness!)

Which by the way, soon that amazing Monday madness, will soon change to Friday craziness. We should have the chalkboard and desks delivered on Wednesday! We also got a mat, because on the Mondays we serve lunch to all the moms, worship, share the gospel, and generally just spend time talking, encouraging, singing, and breaking bread together. (well this week it will be chapati, with beans and rice!) Once we got everything in place in the next week or two. Then the moms/dads for Vocational school will start in January. (yeah, we were told they could start right away. Now we are told they have to wait for the classes to fill up, and another NGO wants to put some peeps in. so we are jumping in at the same time with them.) But in the next couple weeks, the literacy classes will start. And we will change things up. We will once a month meet on Saturday's for lunch. We will change home visits to after lunch, rather than mornings. We will pack the office for 4 two hour classes for literacy on Fridays! And we will have pick up at the same time they are there for literacy class.

We also have one of the older sibs of one of the babies in the program in need of prayer. At the same time we met the grand bean on screen, we also had taken one of the siblings of one of the babies to the private clinic with us. Umugisha (which means "He is a blessing") has been having rashes and many issues. He over the months has been to the hospital over and over, and the fevers and rashes keep coming back! Which his blood work came back with a suspicious blood infection. So we are going to have to dig deeper into that, in Kigali. Prayers for that would really be appreciated!

We also have the newborn twins we just got sponsors for, but are now in the hospital. Mom and babies are being treated, as mom was too weak to get clean water, and the water was unclean and the babies got diarrhea and vomiting (you ask the problem, they tell you, but never really get into diagnosis.) Babies and mom will be released when the twins begin to gain weight and currently being tube fed, and on IV fluids and antibiotics. Mom also is being nourished, and is going to try to nurse again. (The twins are not yet named, which is common in Rwanda, as they normally wait a few weeks before naming babies)

Over four years here, and still love my times with the Lord on the back of a motto
zooming through the land of a thousand hills!

Grand bean on the way! 

We had a friend whose son was in the ICU from an overdose,
and Moses every night before bed and everyday before nap,
has made it his personal mission to pray for this boy. Be still
my mama's heart! 

Noella had a rough night, and was intrigued with my coffee.
No coffee was given to infants, but cereal, porridge, milk, etc. :P 

John DeMore and John Paul, two of the news twins in the program. 

When we went to pick up all our desks (10), two were done. :p
We were assured that this coming Wednesday we will have
our desks and chalkboard! THANK YOU!! 

Of course we had to spend some time chilling with the carpenters.
I told them I could draw a stick person. They were not impressed!

I am always awed by their skill, gifts, and talents. Give me a wooden stump
and getting to listen to my husband build relationship, and share Christ.
Oh my heart! 

Once a month we serve the moms and babies lunch. (well by proxy to the babies
through the moms. Though some are old enough. And if there is free food, the moms
will bring all the siblings!) Before we would always be running home to grab a sheet
to put down on the floor for the babies. But we wised up and got a mat for them sit
when we all eat, and have our time of devotions, conversation, encouragement, worship,
and dancing. There is always dancing! 

We got THREE packages on my birthday. In one there was
chocolate covered blueberries. Moses cracked me up by proclaiming
"Mom! My favorite fruit is chocolate berries!" Chocolate is made
from beans, so we can just go ahead and say he had a well rounded snack! 

One thing that is always hard for me. Medical issues! Blood infections, feeding tubes,
malnourishment, illness. Please pray for all the medical issues we have going on
in the program. 
As for me... I thought I would give you a currently. . . . .

Enjoying.... the rain season, because it falls right in synch with fall in the states. So it feels a little like fall in Rwanda too.

Blessed.... by packages! Oh my word. We already got 4 and another one is somewhere between here and FL right now. We are in pumpkin spice heaven, and my husband is properly addicted to pumpkin spice. Last night he was so excited about the pumpkin bars!

Crying.... often. Happy tears. Scared tears. Hurt tears. Loved like crazy tears.

Reading.... Heavens Wager by Ted Decker, and also John Piper When I dont Desire God: How to fight for joy. And a recent sermon series I was listening too, has totally got me digging into Genesis with Rachel, Leah, and Jacob. Especially in Genesis 28-31. It has got me gnawing on a lot.

Listening..... well, whoops, see above. Also lots and lots of RAIN! We have been having some good down pours and thunder storms.

Eating..... yes, pumpkin spice stuff!! But in the last year or so, I have begun to like all the things I at first struggled with. Now I can't imagine a diet without some kawhunga with intoryi. I am a bit of a crazy planner. So, we have the entire menu up for the month. Its a funny mix of Rwandan and American food.

Sleeping..... like a rock. I still love when I wake up in the middle of the night, and my husband is facing me. Our handing holding between us, with our foreheads inches apart. It almost makes it hard for me to go back to sleep, because its always one of those moments, I just want to breath in, and hold onto forever.

Watching.... This Is Us (because who doesn't need to be an emotional mess?!), Big Bang Theory (I laugh so hard, at what Thierry laughs at. It makes it all the more funnier!) and I found this amazing movie on iTunes called Les Innocentes. (The Innocents) which is about world war 2, and a Dr, who finds a convent with a bunch of pregnant nuns. If you like Call The Midwife. Check this movie out. Also check out Poverty Inc. Seriously, so good. (Thank you again to my two friends who got me a iTunes and amazon gift card via email for my bday. Season passes for shows, and still not sure how to spend the rest of my amazon card for books. Yay!)

Adjusting..... to married life. A lot happened directly following the marriage, and even direct words to attack our marriage. We are so grateful to those who have encouraged us, our marriage, and our family. But also those attacks, showed me how strong our marriage is with Christ. As I saw my husband stand for our family. Saw him cover me, and shield. Comfort, and stand up and with his family. It honestly was a beautiful attack that did nothing but strengthen our bond, our love, and show us how the Lord really brought this together. It brought us to our knee's in prayer, and pressing in closer to the Lord together as husband and wife.

Needing.... to make more time for sewing. Sewing is sacred time to me. To put on some worship, or sermons, snuggle into bed, or get comfy on the porch and sew. SACRED. Recharge. Filling the cup. In one of the four packages that have come in the last two weeks, I got batting so I can QUILT! (Yes!!) The grand bean will be in need of a good quilt for rain season, y'all!

In Christ,

Make a tax deductible donation HERE

Oh and I am finishing up my Christmas letter. CTEN our missions org is amazing! If you would like to get one shoot me an email with your address