Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Life As We Know It

It rained on Sunday.  This was the first rain in Rwanda since June, and I am told that even the rain they had in June was very small.  It is the "dry season" in Rwanda, everything is dry & dusty.  Dust kicks up off the roads & coats everything outside and inside.  It is a welcome relief to receive a little rain.  I stood in the doorway of our house & watched it come down lightly at first.  You should have seen all the birds frolicking out there in it- loving it.  Of course, a month or so from now we will be into one of their two rainy seasons of the year.  All the dusty dirt will turn to a caking clay mud that gets tracked everywhere.  Then we will be grateful for a few sunny dry days (especially so we can dry our clothes)!

Apparently we have feral cats living here too.  One early morning we heard a cat carrying on quite loudly.  I asked the neighbor boy about it & he said the cat lives on our roof & it has babies (or apparently it was having babies, thus the noise?)  Now, we hear a cat meowing from time to time & it is like a "Where's Waldo?" for KaLia- she has been the one to spot the cat in the yard twice and I did not see it at all.  Then tonight I saw a cat outside the kitchen window.  From it's description KaLia thinks it is a different cat than the one she saw, so maybe we have a cat cluster living on our roof- who knows!

The kids (well, KaLia mostly) are begging us constantly for a puppy.  The neighbor has a cute fluffy puppy, so we may be checking into that.  It would be good for the kids to have some kind of entertainment.  We brought our Wii, but we have no TV so that is not available.  We have a portable DVD player, but KaLia is not really interested in any of the movies (she's seen them all) and Nate has to earn the priviledge of watching movies by being obedient in school (so far he's only been able to watch movies on weekends... sigh!)  Nate and the neighbor play together just about every day, but I can tell that KaLia is bored at times.  She reads a lot, and then she starts entertaining herself by being a pest.  Yeah, time for a diversion...

I just am still feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything right now.  Lots to do and I hate to add more to it (taking care of a puppy).  Tomorrow we have someone coming to work for us, her name is Sanyu.  She is a friend of many years & she will help me with the house cleaning, shopping at the open market, and some of the cooking.  I did get to go to a ladies Bible study today.  It was created for foreigners living in Rwanda, it is hosted at various homes, and the members are from a variety of churches and backgrounds.  Some of the ladies there today were from South Africa, England, and America too.  We are going to be studying James, which is so appropriate since Mike & I are really needing wisdom in so many areas right now!

KaLia is doing fine in school.  She is excited because they are starting up an afterschool music program.  She is joining the school band (she wants to play the flute or the trumpet) and the same teacher is also offering a guitar class (great since KaLia has a guitar in the US but hasn't had any lessons yet).  Nate's road in school so far has been bumpy.  The principal is unsure if the school is able to help him adequately, and has offered to allow for these first two weeks to be a trial period of sorts, and then we will meet together to discuss where we will go from here.  I am unsure of where this will lead, if we will end up having to homeschool him or not.  Please pray for us, for wisdom, and for the best for Nate.

We got to see our daughter Christine last weekend.  She is doing OK, but we really would like for her to be with us after she finishes her term at boarding school (their school year ends in November).  The government of Rwanda has put a hold on all foreign adoptions, but they have also promised to work through the applications that have been waiting to be processed (all 120 of them!  They apparently have been piling up since the beginning of 2010).  Our paperwork is somewhere in the middle of that pile, but I know someday soon it will be reached & our prayers will be answered as God has promised.

Thank you for your prayers for us. We are doing a lot of work right now with the ministry, sorting through things and restructuring some things. We definitely need lots of wisdom (especially for Mike).  I am so glad that God has promised "if any of you lacks wisdom let him ask God, who gives generously to all"!


(and soon I will add some pictures to these posts- it's just going to be a labor of love & time because of the lack of speed on the internet here!)

P.S.  I added a new page to the blog here, see it on the left?  It's right above our family picture & it says "Wish List"...

Monday, August 23, 2010

We Are Here!

We arrived in Rwanda Thursday night, as did our luggage (which you really learn to appreciate once you have a trip where it does not)!  Coming from the airport, riding through the streets of Kigali, it was a strange feeling.  It felt familiar and strange all at the same time.  Rwanda is familiar to me from the other times we have lived here, but it was also strange because of the length of time since I was here last (15 months).  It also felt strange because the reality of what we are doing was still sinking in.  I was thinking, "Really?  Are we really doing this?  We're going to stay in Rwanda for 9 months?  That's a long time!"  Granted, not as long as other missionaries who may come for 4 years or longer at a time, but it still feels like, "Wow!  Really?"

I am very thankful that our flights this time went quite smoothly and 28 hours of traveling is not bad at all for going half way around the world!  I even got some sleep on our last flight- I have had trips where I didn't sleep at all so this was a welcome relief.  We arrived at the house we are renting for the next four months & found out our furnished home had a completely bare kitchen and no blankets.  Thankfully I had packed our water bottles and even a couple of light blankets, and the next day (after having breakfast at a restaurant) we got some things out of storage where we had plates, cups & other home items.

Friday we went and visited the school the kids are enrolled in.  They were still very jet-lagged and Nate had fallen asleep on the way there- fast asleep.  He was crying and carrying on about not wanting to meet his teacher.  Well, I figure this way we've made the worst possible first impression, so if Nate is pleasant during his first day of school they will be pleasantly surprised!  We did meet both their teachers and I am sure this is going to be a great place for KaLia, and I hope for Nate too.

Bad news is our home definitely has a cockroach (like the 2" long kind) and ant problem.  Good news is that our neighbors are English speaking and have a young boy as well as 2 girls who are near KaLia's age.

I have to go pick up the kids from their first day of school now- thank you all for your prayers for us!


Monday, August 16, 2010

Prayer Requests

As we prepare to leave for Rwanda this Wednesday, the 18th, I would ask for your prayers on our behalf:
  • please pray for the travel itself:  about 28 hours... misery if you're not able to sleep.  Please pray for us to get some sleep in the airplanes.
  • Nate's ears while traveling:  when we went to Mexico his ears did not adjust to the plane's pressure & it was very painful for him (and uncomfortable for everyone around him)!
  • Our vehicle in Rwanda:  last we heard it was not running.  Please pray that it would be fixed & ready for us when we get there.
  • Our luggage: for everything to arrive safely & at the same time we do!  We have had luggage missing before, and I would really like everything I pack to get there with us.
  • Flights: (we only have to make 2 connections (Chicago & Brussels) on the way there, but I would pray for us to make those connections without a problem.
  • Health & safety for our family.
  • Kids school:  this will be their biggest adjustment.  A new school, homework, new friends, etc.  I have talked in the past about Nate's issues with behavior & attention.  I am praying for his teacher to be experienced & ready to help him, as well as for him to settle into his new routine at school quickly.  That he would see the benefits of complying & would be able to learn along with everyone else.  For KaLia I am specifically praying for her to find some great new friends.
  • Our home here in the US: we just found out today (2 days before we leave) that our renters are moving out.  Joy.  We will have to lean heavily on friends & family to help us get new renters in there.  We know that nothing takes God by surprise & he wouldn't provide the funds we need to get to Rwanda only to leave us with mortgage payments looming over our heads back in the US.  Please pray for us to get some good (reliable) renters in there quickly!!!
  • Jet lag:  please pray for us to adjust quickly to the change in times (9 hours ahead).
Thank you for agreeing & believing together with us.  Our God is amazing & each of these situations is just another opportunity for Him to be glorified in answering it!  Now, I have to get back to packing-- you can pray for me to be able to finish our packing & remember everything too!  Ugh- it's all a bit overwhelming at this point- so much to do!

Praise Him!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I told you!

We are going- oh yes we are!  Funds have been given, additional commitments have been made, and now we can see the answer to 15 months of prayer coming to pass.  Ever since our whole family was last in Rwanda we have been praying and asking God to send us back for an extended period of time.  Here we are, seeing the fulfillment of that desire (placed in us by God I am sure).

I rejoice in what God has done, and at the same time I am very humbled.  We had an event last Saturday night to raise funds for our family.  There were about 45 people there: around one-fourth or one-fifth of what we had at our Ten Talents banquet last year.  And yet there was over $6,000 given.  That amount represents many people giving sacrificially.  People are giving, not because they have extra money sitting around they need something to do with, but they are giving as an exercise of their faith.  They are giving because they believe in the work God has called us to do.  It is incredibly humbling for me, and I am so grateful.

There are several wonderful things about this.  First of all, I know God will reward their faith.  He will bless them.  Secondly, now these people have become partners with us in the work we do.  Everything we do, every life God allows us to touch, they have been a part of that touch.  They will meet people in heaven who are there because they chose to give.

This is why we believe God usually does not provide through just one person.  He uses many people as givers, that way they receive the blessing of being an instrument of the provision of God and they also receive the blessing of giving by faith and seeing God take care of their own needs.  It really is magnificent.  This is why we are not ashamed to give people the opportunity to give.  It really is a blessing to give.

We are still a few thousand short of what we need, but commitments have been made & we are confident that all will be provided.

Now, I will admit I am a procrastinator.  And I will admit that I am just today starting to pack- only 8 packing days left!  We leave August 18th & arrive August 19th (25 hours of travel- not too bad for going half way aroud the world)!  Our kids will start school a few days late: Monday, August 23rd.  Nate just got glasses today: hopefully they will not get broken in Rwanda!

Thank you for your prayers on our behalf!