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: LisaM@TenTalentsInt.org
God Bless You,