Friday, October 19, 2012

Where am I?

I mean, really, what has been going on, right?  Well, I am still here.  I survived (and my family survived) me working full time (sometimes more) for half of August & all of September.  I spent a week or so after that just catching up & now I am trying to get some things done in my house.  I have asked God to help me create more of a "home" here.  You see, although we have been in the house we share with my dad for the last several years, most of the time we were here for a few months (a year was the longest) and then in Rwanda for some time, back and forth.  I have not felt like I was "home" for a long time.  Bit by bit I am trying to make this place feel more comfortable & welcoming.  It is not my natural talent, but by God's grace I believe it will get better.

The kids have been busy with school and activities.  Kelly is in the busy-ness of college.  Michael Jr. is enjoying football & has a few more weeks left.  KaLia is in school band and drama club.  Nate gets to just enjoy being Nate!  We just celebrated his 9th birthday- amazing!  We celebrated KaLia's 14th birthday is September.  They are all getting used to their schools and starting to make friends there (keep them in your prayers for all of that).
On our way back from camping this summer.

We have all gotten to the point where we miss Rwanda now.  Even Nate asks when we can go back so he can visit his friends.  I miss the people there & just being there.  I am not ready to live there again, but I would really like to be back there for a visit.  Kelly has been hoping that she would be able to go with her dad and the team when they go in December of this year.  She has been trying to raise funds & hopes to find a way to get there.  I would love it if all of us could go visit sometime soon, but the money to do that is a pretty big mountain...  although I know that's what our God does is move mountains!

I am planning to start another part time job (if all works out) November 1st.  We would appreciate your prayers for our family finances as well.  We are praying and asking for God's direction as well as his provision in the area.

God has been so good to us & we are thankful for all he has blessed us with.  We have a great family (extended included), fantastic church, good schools, amazing friends, meaningful ministry and more.  It is not easy to manage the ministry in Rwanda while being half way around the world, but we trust & know that God knows what He is doing.  It's all His work anyways, we are just the caretakers.  Thank you for traveling with us in this amazing journey of life here on Earth (with our hearts fixed on heaven).

God Bless You,

P.S.  I finally updated the page that used to "Family Wish List" and now it is "Family Prayer Requests".  I mentioned most of them here in this post, but if you want to visit the page you will find the link on the upper left hand side of the blog.  Thank you!

P.P.S. for those of you who receive these blog posts via email I just realized that the blog title on those emails had my old (like 2+ years old) title- back when it said Mike, Lisa, KaLia & Nate... and our family has changed since then!  I have corrected that error so now the email title matches the blog title- we are the McColm family- all 6 of us!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

You Must Be Busy...

Yes, I am!  We have been back in the USA since June 2nd, and although I have been very glad to be back home and with our friends, family, and chuch; life has been very busy!  Managing a household of 7, catching up on medical/dental appointments, getting school details taken care of (including college), and just the busy-ness of life have really kept me going non-stop!

It's amazing that we are already part way into August.  Mike has been in Africa for the last 3 weeks & thank God he comes back home on Monday (finally)!  In a few weeks our daughter Kelly will start her new college life- lots of excitement and nerves for her!  The rest of the kids start school a few weeks after that.  Congratulations to Kelly on passing her driving test & getting her driver's license today!  Big step!

Our son Michael has finished his 6 week summer school course at Portland Christian High School.  Lucky for him his class included lots of field trips to places like the Portland waterfront, Multnomah Falls, and downtown.  He will start school at King's Way Christian High School on September 5th.

KaLia and Kelly had a lot of fun visiting their Grandma Julia in California.  They wanted to go on their own & have some "girl time", which they did!  Now I need to schedule some "boy time" with grandma too!

Nate has been SOOO happy to be back in "America".  He has been eating all his favorite foods (non-stop it seems) and watching lots of movies!

I have been looking for a job for a few weeks to help supplement our family income.  Just yesterday I started a temporary job working for a company that translates documents for elections.  We proof read the formatting and make sure it matches the original.  Thank God for the job & I hope we are able to balance this new commitment with all of our other family needs as well.

God has been good to us & although life is busy He is leading us to good places!
Thank you for your prayers for our family's adjustments to school and new surroundings.

God Bless You,

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our family arrived safely in the USA late at night on June 1st.  It has been an amazing journey to bring us to this point in time, and we are thankful to God for bringing us every step of the way.  Shortly after arriving here we took a tour of what will be Michael Jr’s high school, and the school graciously allowed Michael to join in their summer basketball league.  It has been fun for him to get involved in the basketball team, meet some of his classmates, and become more familiar with his new school.  He also started his summer school today.  He will be attending summer school over at a Christian school in Portland, working on English and social studies.  We still have some home school classes for him to finish up before he starts 10th grade in the fall, so please be praying for us to get that all done. 

Our daughter Kelly got some exciting news recently as well.  Concordia University in Portland accepted her application.  This is a private Christian university in North Portland.  We still have to figure out the logistics and finances for it all, but we feel like this is something great that God is doing in Kelly’s life and we trust that He has a plan for all of it.

We have enrolled KaLia and Nate in the public schools near our house.  I know there is still a part of KaLia that wants to be at school with her best friend, but it is comforting to hear her talk about *her* new school (calling it hers) and I trust that God has good things ahead for her there, as well as for Nate at his new school.

Please continue to pray for our transition.  We are all adjusting to a new culture, new surroundings, new way of living.  Pray for us to be comfortable in our new roles, and for our kids especially to make connections and good friends here.  We are also dealing with the limitations and constraints of 7 people (we live with my dad) sharing a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house.  It’s a bit tight!  I (Lisa) have been feeling a bit overwhelmed with trying to get everybody & everything situated in our new place, and all the details of life for 6 different people.  Please pray for me to feel like I’ve got my feet under me & my head on straight!  J

I am so grateful for all the God has done in our lives.  Amazing to think that just two years ago we were a family of 4 wondering how we would get ourselves to Rwanda, and look now where God has brought us!  What he has done is amazing & we trust him to take care of all of our needs for the future.  For his glory!


P.S.  I wrote this on Monday, then on Tuesday we got a letter in the mail letting us know that 75% of Kelly's college tuition is eligible to be covered by grants- praise God!!!  Earlier that day God had told me that he wanted me to just accept his love, and this is just another blessing from God showing us how he loves us & wants to give us good things!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Time is Flying...

Wow, only a little over 2 weeks left here in Rwanda!  Please be praying for us as we try to sell off our personal belongings and also finish preparing to leave our staff here in charge of the ministry.  We have good staff people that we trust will handle well the work helping the children and families in our program.  This is all new to them so please pray that God would help them to work well together, that they would get into the rhythm of their positions, and to make this transition as smooth as possible.

Please also pray for us as in the next 2 weeks we need to sell a lot of stuff.  We have both big ticket items (like our car, the quad, extra tires & wheels) as well as medium (refrigerator, washing machine) and lots of small stuff.  Pray for God to bring the people who are ready to buy all of these items and thus help us be on our way.

We leave Rwanda May 31st, in the evening.  We arrive in the USA very late on June 1st.  Please also pray for us personally as their is a lot of stress, for everyone in the family, facing these kind of changes.  Nate is perpetually excited, he just can't wait for America & it's practically all he can talk about.  KaLia is happy to be going back to her family & friends there, but she has also made good friends here and leaving them is painful.  Kelly and Michael Jr. are excited but also have to face the reality of leaving some people behind when they go.

Pray for all of us to transition well into life in the USA.  It will be lots of changes, lots of work, but we know God has good things in store for us as well as for Ten Talents International.

Thank you for believing with us.
God Bless You,

P.S. I hope you all had a good Mother's Day.  My Mother's Day this year was good, can't you tell?
That's me getting my foot massage & hair brushed.  Ahhh!  

Saturday, April 28, 2012

He got it!

Thank you everyone for your prayers for our son Michael to get his student visa.  He got it!  We are so happy to know that our family is going to be able to stay together!  Michael will be attending a private Christian school in our hometown.  We've purchased our plane tickets now & we will all be arriving in the USA on June 1st (although me, Kelly & Michael Jr. will be on a different airline for the last half of the journey, at least we're all going at the same time).

We appreciate your continued prayers for our family and the ministry as we prepare for our departure May 31st.  We have people in place here in Rwanda who will make sure the ministry continues in our absence, and we will be completing their training in the month of May.  Mike will be back in Rwanda in August, with a team from AGCI coming at that time too.

A lot of changes coming up, but we know that our God is faithful and he will lead us through them.

God Bless You,

Saturday, April 7, 2012

We Keep Praying

We are still asking for God's help on the requests I mentioned in my last post.  Most pressing right now is getting Michael Jr's student visa.  He went in for an interview at the US Embassy a few weeks ago.  We were trying to get him a visitor visa so he could travel earlier than 30 days before his school starts (visa regulations).  They did not give him the visitor visa & told him to just reapply for his student visa.

I now have the paperwork needed in order to get him an interview for a student visa; however, when I went on their website last night to make his appointment they were showing no appointments available.  I am not sure what is going on, and I have sent an email to the consular at the embassy (although they are notoriously hard to get a hold of).

Please pray with us for an appointment to open up soon!  We still need to purchase plane tickets for myself, Kelly Christinah, and Michael Jr.  (Kelly & I were on separate tickets from the rest of the family because of our being delayed with the adoption process last year, we had to purchase round trip tickets from Africa to the US and back again.  So, now we need new tickets to get to the US.)  Please also pray for us to have the finances needed to purchase these tickets, for us to find low priced tickets, and to get home at the same time as the rest of the family.

As I pray about the visa Michael Jr. needs I am reminded a lot of my prayers at this same time last year.  Last year we were praying and believing for God to help us finalize Kelly's adoption; similar to how we are praying, hoping, believing for Michael to get his visa.  Posts like this one from last year when we were praying for God to make a way.  I remember praying so many times, "God, can't we just have an answer now?  Can't it just be finished so we can be settled in our hearts & know that it's done?"  And now, again, I have those same prayers in my heart.  I just want Michael's visa to be done & settled.  But, at least for now, we are still in a journey to get there.  God is leading, and we trust him, but I can't help calling from the backseat, "Are we there yet?"

Thank you for praying with us.  For whatever journey God may be leading you through right now I pray for you to have the faith and the trust to know that He loves you more than you can imagine and He will lead you to the promised land.  He is leading you to a place of blessing and abundance, but we can't take any shortcuts.  We have to follow his leading.

Thank you God for loving us and leading us as a gentle shepherd.  Help us to listen to your voice and follow you.

God Bless You,

Monday, March 19, 2012

Prayers from a Mother's Heart

All day long my mind runs back to the prayer requests I have right now for my kids.  Of course there are always many prayers on a mom's heart for her kids, the foremost being that their hearts be molded & shaped into the image of Christ.  At this moment I also have many "here and now" prayer requests for my kids (of course for our whole family & ministry as you have read in my last post).

Our son, Michael, needs a visa to come with us to the USA when we leave on May 31st.  We have found a private school that has accepted him to attend high school there next fall (praise God!)  Now, it is a matter of getting the US Embassy here in Kigali to extend to him a visa so he can travel to the USA.  This is not an easy thing (as you may know if you've been following our family's story for the last year).  However, we serve a big God!  And we know by faith that it is God's will for our family to be together.

The other day I was reading again in John 14 where Jesus said, "13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."  I think the real meaning of what Jesus was saying has been lost, as "In Jesus Name" has been turned into the "in-Jesus-name-amen" requirement to end every prayer.  Was Jesus saying that if we use those "magic words" then it will make our wishes come true?  No!  

I was having a hard time putting into words what my thoughts on this have been, so I found this explanation on the internet & will share it with you because it mostly sums it up:  Praying in Jesus’ name means praying with His authority and asking God the Father to act upon our prayers because we come in the name of His Son, Jesus. Praying in Jesus' name means the same thing as praying according to the will of God, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15). Praying in Jesus’ name is praying for things that will honor and glorify Jesus. 

Which brings me back to: we believe God wants our family to be together, so we when pray for our son Michael to get his visa to the USA we believe we are praying according to God's will and that He is going to answer.  Michael has his visa interview this Thursday, March 22nd.  Please pray for God to go before him, prepare the consular officer to receive him with favor, to believe him, and to grant him the visa to travel on the 31st of May.  Pray also for Michael to have peace & know that God is in control & holds him in the palm of his hand. 

Our daughter Kelly has submitted all her application paperwork for Washington State University- Vancouver campus.  That is her first choice school, and her only application out right now.  Please pray for God's will to be done and for him to direct her path to the blessings he has for her.  Pray for her to have peace as well, and the faith to believe that God has GOOD things planned for her future & she can trust in Him. 

KaLia has her heart set on homeschooling next fall, mostly because of her best girl friend who will be homeschooling then as well.  I, on the other hand, do not think homeschooling is a good fit for her personality and does not encourage her to challenge herself enough.  We have been praying together for God to direct our hearts as to where she should go to school.  I have concerns about how she would do in public school socially, but private school seems out of the question (since we are already praying about how we will afford private school for Michael and praying that Kelly will receive plenty of financial aid for college).  Please pray with us for our hearts (including KaLia's) to be directed in this issue.

Nate has been doing well in his Montessori school and I have been very pleased with the school.  I like how they work with each child on an individual basis and help them to work at a pace that is manageable for them.  I would love for Nate to be able to continue at a Montessori school in the US, but again this is financially out of the question.   So, as we consider putting him back in public school, I am praying for him to be at the right school & in the right classroom where God wants him to be. 

Besides the kids, Mike could also use prayer as he works very diligently on two things: getting Ten Talents registered in Rwanda & getting plans/etc. ready so development on the Acres of Hope can begin.  Did you see the post on the TTI blog- very exciting opportunity & very exciting to see this property that God provided now being close to being developed.

Now you know what is going on, or in the works, with our family.  I am believing God always for great things in all of our lives.  "If our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?  And if our God is with us, then what could stand against us?"  I used to shout that song in my car (thank you Chris Tomlin) when we were praying and believing for God to provide so we could get here to Rwanda, and I still believe it!

Thank you for believing with us.
God Bless You,

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Letting You Know...

Before I get to the point of this update, I want to preface it with some background (for those who may not be aware)
Mike first traveled to Rwanda in 2002, and it was at this time that he felt compelled by God to help the kids who were living on the streets of Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda.  In 2003 we opened our first home for former street children.  In 2004 Mike started bringing short term mission teams to Rwanda.  In 2005 we opened the second home for former street children and created the non-profit organization Ten Talents International in order to give more structure for the work going on in Rwanda..  Both of the first two homes we had opened were being managed by a local charitable organization in Rwanda. In 2007 we started a third home, The Home of Innocence, and we decided we would maintain management of this home through TTI.  We started a sponsorship program both for children in the home as well as for children who were at risk for ending up on the streets (those in extreme poverty) so they could attend school each day.

During these years Mike was continuing in his career as a professional carpenter, as well as managing the work of Ten Talents International.  As the ministry continued to grow doing both of these things became increasingly more difficult and time consuming.  Then, in the summer of 2007, Mike felt impressed by God that “now is the time”.  God was saying: “Now is the time” to do as much as possible in the country of Rwanda, “Now is the time” to push the ministry forward, and “Now is the time” for Mike to quit his carpentry job to work full time for TTI.  This meant a huge step of faith as he left behind a steady paycheck and believed by faith that God would provide for the needs of our family. 
 2007 family photo
We had spent many years ministering in Rwanda while at the same time we continued to live full time in the USA.  Mike would travel twice per year to Rwanda, spending several weeks there at a time.  In 2008 we decided to bring our family to Rwanda for a 3 month trip, and we did the same in 2009.  Following those trips we felt that God was calling us to live full time in Rwanda, at least for a while.  What God did was give us what I called a “two year plan”.  We knew we would go to Rwanda for 9 ½ months, then come back for two months in the summer, and then return to Rwanda for another 9 ½ months (coinciding with the school year for our kids).  When people asked, “What is the plan beyond that?” our honest response was, “We don’t know”.  God gave us a two year plan, and we prayed to see Him bring it to fruition.  It took many months for us to have the finances required to get our family to Rwanda, but God did miracles and in August of 2010 we came to live in Rwanda full time.

Fast forward to today, here we are in the beginning of 2012, just a few months away from the end of that “2 year plan” and many people are wondering, “What’s next?”  We feel quite sure of the next step.  After our term ends here on May 31st of this year, and we return to the USA, we will be once again based full time in the USA, as we were before.  Mike will continue to make several trips a year to Rwanda to see first-hand how the ministry is progressing here, as well as to continue to lead mission teams (now done in partnership with All God’s Children International’s Embrace Missions teams).  In fact, he will be leading a team in Rwanda this coming August. 
TTI has 7 1/2 acres of property called the “Acres of Hope”that God blessed the ministry with back in 2007.  We have been waiting for the finances to develop that property into additional resources for reaching more children and families:  transitional homes for former street children, homes for local families that adopt orphans, training facilities, and more.  We believe that this year God is going to provide so that the development of this property can move forward!

You may be wondering, “Who is going to be in charge of the ministry while you are gone?”  God is already bringing together a team who will faithfully handle the work of the ministry in the times when we are not here, but we appreciate your prayers as we seek God’s wisdom in finalizing those details.  Thankfully the internet and telephone enable us to maintain contact and, just as we did prior to living here, this will enable us to keep things running smoothly during the few months at a time when we are not in the country.

If you are wanting to know what has prompted this decision, apart from us believing that this is God’s leading right now, I can tell you that we have had to carefully weigh what the needs of our family are.  Our oldest daughter, Kelly Christinah, is currently working on finishing her 12th grade studies via homeschool and has plans to attend college in the fall in the USA.  Our oldest son, Michael, will hopefully soon be receiving a student visa which will enable him to complete his high school studies in the USA and then continue on to college there as well.  Our younger daughter, KaLia, while enjoying the private school she has been attending here, is also ready to return to school in the USA.  Our younger son, Nate, we believe will benefit from the additional resources and options that are available in the USA to assist him with some developmental delays that he has.

On a personal note from me, Lisa, I will be honest and tell you that living overseas, half a world away from family and friends, has been very difficult for me.  I need to be closer to them.  Mike & I could also use a break from the constant stress that comes from living in another culture as well as constantly being in demand for ministry (what could be called “need overload”).

The ministry of TTI will continue without a break or hitch, just as it did before we spent two years living in Rwanda full time.  In fact, we expect the work we are doing in Rwanda to expand and to grow.  Our calling is the same: that we work in Rwanda “until every child has a home”.  It just means that our family is going to be based in the USA instead of in Rwanda.  For how long will we be staying in the USA, and will we come back to live in Rwanda full time again at some point?  Honestly, we don’t know.  We are just following the path in front of us right now.

Our family would really appreciate your prayers during this time of transition.  There are many things that we could be anxious about, if we allowed ourselves to be, and sometimes we do.  There are still many decisions to be made, and provisions to be seen.  We will continue to work full time for TTI and trust for God to provide for the financial needs of our family.  

Thank you for being a part of what God is doing in Rwanda, as well as being a part of the miracles he has done on behalf of our family.  If you have any questions that I did not answer in this article, please email me:

God Bless You,