Rwanda Photoblog

Here are some of my favorite photos I have taken the past 3 months while in Rwanda.


agnesphoto: Agnes (P2 student in Kayonza)

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photo: Agnes in front of her P2 classroom

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photo: J. (P2 student in Kayonza)

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photo: Hillary (Dream Center vocational sewing student/genocide survivor)

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photo: Vivian (Bugesera student)

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photo: Hope visit in Bugesera

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photo: Child in Bugesera, Rwanda

 

Umeze Ute?

Hope you are all doing well! Things are going very well here in Kigali. My work here keeps getting busier and busier. Yes, I know I was busy in Austin, but I’m actually doing a job that I love now and that God wants me to do.
I am pretty much settled into my new home. Although, I am still figuring out different meals to make myself that don’t require an oven. Working with a hot plate has it challenges, but it works for me. At least it does for now. I thank God for Kayan and Marc every.single.day!
The past few weeks I have done more stories then I can count. Sometimes it can be hard listening to someone talk about their past. In this country there is a common one-word theme to people’s pasts: genocide. I try not to bring it up, but it always makes an appearance. I sit and ask them questions while I watch them cry and pour their hearts out in front of me. It makes me feel awful for them, but then I’m reminded that their words and their stories are shaping God’s kingdom. These amazing women and men are the future leaders of this country. It has also helped me to get to know my co-workers better. Listening to their stories helps show them that I love them and want a relationship with them. They can now trust me.
Last week I began language classes. Well, more like a few tutoring sessions. Gary and I decided to give this a stab together. If you don’t know Gary…he moved to Kigali to work in our theology college earlier this year. He is brilliant and already knew about 500 words before he arrived. We ended up not liking our first teacher. He wanted to jump into grammar right away and I got frustrated really fast. Every time he would say “this language is a nightmare…I know, but it will get easy” I wanted to throw my book at him and leave. So, we decided to ask one of our volunteers here in the library to help us. I met with him this morning for the first time and actually learned something!!! We went over Greetings. Since coming here in 2012 I was told to say How are you? as Amakuru? This is NOT how you say how are you. Who knew! That word means what’s up or what’s the news? The proper way to say How are you to someone is “Umeze Ute?” with a response of “meze neza”.
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When I’m not in our office I am working at my favorite coffee shop: RZ Manna. I love them for many reasons. 1) They have 4G internet there and I can get tons of work accomplished! 2) They have delicious coffee with sweet messages written on top and the nicest staff! 3) When I walk in the door they say “Hi! You want Butter Bread?” I buy my bread here and love it because it’s really soft and yummy!
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Last week I posted a picture of two cute little kiddos in our Dream Boys program who need sponsors. Good news! With the help of my friend Deborah in Austin we got one of the boys a sponsor. Please pray with us as we find someone who would want to sponsor the other kid. Or email me if you would like more info on Evariste!
I also got to visit my Jean Claude last week. With the help of my friend Ashlee, Lisa, and some of Lisa’s family we all support him monthly. He was born without an anus and his intestines have never developed properly. We are praying he sees a doctor next week. He was supposed to see him today, but the doctor will not be in Kigali till next week now. Please pray for JC as we hope his intestines will get stronger and he can have surgery.
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​photo: JC and me…he now knows who the best football team is in Texas!
Thank you all so much! I can’t say those words enough to you. I am hoping you can all come visit at some point. I am leading our Thanksgiving trip this year. If you have questions about it please email me! I’d LOVE to see you!
Thankful for you,
Betty
If you feel like supporting me monthly or making a one time donation please click the link below:

http://www.gcmweb.org/betty.krenek

“Come and See”

Last Friday was my 33rd birthday (just like Jesus) and I got to celebrate it here in Rwanda! My co-workers here in Kigali surprised me at lunch with a cake and sang Happy Birthday to me…yes, I cried.

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Later that day I attended my first traditional Rwandan wedding for one of my co-workers, Doreen. It was amazing and I got to wear my new mushanana dress!

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I am now completely settled into my home and got my VISA last week right before my birthday! That was probably the best gift I got this year. 🙂

Today I spent my morning listening to Pastor Rick Warren from Saddleback Church speak to over 31 visiting African countries. It was a joy to hear him preach on the purpose driven church. He spoke about the story of Nehemiah and his vision to build a wall around Jerusalem. After 26 days the people grew tired and wanted to give up. Nehemiah was a great leader and would not let them quit. He reminded them of what they were doing and why it was so important. The people finished the wall in 52 days total. Rick Warren says this message to every leader: “You must teach the vision again every 26 days.” If you do it the way Jesus did it; you get Jesus results! We tend to study Jesus’s message, but forget Jesus’s methods. (ahhh….that’s such good stuff!!!)

My favorite part of Rick’s message was on the first three words Jesus spoke in his ministry. This was after being with John the Baptist. Andrew and John asked “Where are you going Lord?” And Jesus said, “Come and See!” This is where his ministry began and where ours should too.

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photos: Pastor Charles (VP of the Peace Plan) introducing Rick Warren. Rick Warren with me and my co-worker Gogo.

Pastor Charles is the VP of the Peace Plan. He introduced Rick and asked all the visiting 31 African countries to stand (there were also representatives from China, India, Sweden, and Russia. He went through each country and even America was announced. Then he said would everyone from Rwanda stand and I stood up proud! It was a great moment. The guys sitting behind me said “you’re Rwandan?” I said YEP! and then I whispered…but I’m really from Texas. And they laughed. People love Texas here!

Rick said, ” I may be white on the outside, but I’m black in the inside.” Everyone laughed and cheered.

Then he said, “I’m glad to be home.”

This is a GREAT place to call home.

 

20 hours till Rwanda…and counting!

Hi Friends!

Well, the time has come…in less then 24 hours I will be boarding a plane with my awesome co-worker and friend Natalie and her little love Jude! I have a million thoughts running through my mind right now, but one word that comes to mind is thankful! I can’t thank you all enough for everything you have done for me. You have emailed, text, and called me with wonderful words of wisdom over the last few weeks. You have donated countless items and gift cards. You have joined me at more then one going away party. You have sat with me at dinner and just let me enjoy Austin for the last time. You have provided a home and car for me. I can go on and on, but I can never say thank you enough!
Two months ago I thought to myself “I have plenty of time for that!” This week has been so different.  I am definitely in chaos mode and will be until I get settled in my new home in Rwanda. I will be living in our Africa New Life guesthouse for the first month I am there. I am also blessed to have many short-term trips arriving throughout the month of July and 4 women on those trips are hauling some of my suitcases there for me! I ended up with more bags then I thought, but when God says move…you move!

Some of you have asked if you can come see me at the airport tomorrow morning. Yes, you can! I will be arriving there around 7:30 to check my bags in and then will hang out in the “lobby” area until 8:30. At 8:30 I’ll be going through security. So, if you want to see me please come before 8:15 to be safe. I am flying with United. (and if you want to upgrade my flight…I won’t stop you! 🙂
Also, many of you have asked about sending me things I need. I have an awesome group of women here in Austin who are my advocacy team! This is one thing they are in charge of! I will send out an email when I am in need of anything. You will then want to ship the item or drop it off to Elizabeth Giddens hair salon.
Please let her know ahead of time when you are dropping items off or shipping them to her. If you ship them, please put attn:Betty on it. Please email me back directly to get her contact information and address. Thank you!
I can’t believe the time has finally come! I am beyond excited, nervous, full of joy, and very happy for this new journey! I could never have done this without you! I love each one of you and will miss you dearly. Thank you for walking this journey with me and for supporting me!
How to Give:
Below is my link for monthly or one-time gift donations:

http://www.gcmweb.org/betty.krenek

Prayer requests/praise report: 
  • Pray for wisdom in making a final decision with housing in Rwanda
  • Pray all my luggage arrives with no issues
  • Praise God for putting you all in my life
  • Praise God for all my monthly and one-time supporters
  • Pray my relationship with God will only grow stronger
  • Pray for Africa New Life, my new job, the staff in the US and Rwanda, and for God to continue to bless this organization every day. May we see double blessings and miracles!
  • Pray for no issues getting my visa.
Please email me back with your Skype info! Thanks!!
Beyond thankful for you!
Betty
My new home!!!

Remember and Hope…yet

Hi Friends,

My first two weeks at MTI training in Colorado are complete! We focused primarily on phonetic mouth drills and language learning. Our MTI trainers introduced a new way of language learning to us using LAPS. It helps adults process a new language the way a child would and is very helpful! We were broken into several groups the past two weeks and I was put in the French group. Let’s just say instead of saying “Merci Beaucoup” to my instructor I said “Merci buckle”. She loved me! And, I did learn a few words and sentences in French in only three days. I feel 100% confident going to Rwanda learning Kinyarwanda now!
Photo: My GLUE series called how to filter water.
One of our instructors Dwight told us that the word “yet” is one of the most important words. You normally hear people say “I can’t do that..” or “I can’t learn that..” When you put the word yet at the end the entire sentence changes. “I can’t do thatyet.” “I can’t learn that yet.” The word yet gives you a sense of hope and helps stretch things you thought were impossible. “I’ll never climb Mt. Kilimanjaro…yet.” “I can’t run a mile…yet.”
photo: Our instructor Dwight and his wife Barbara who also taught us.
Our weekends have been spent outside as much as possible until it snowed…a LOT! Last weekend we went to Garden of the Gods and today we hiked 9,000ft. Mt. Herman! I was pretty impressed with myself making it so far up!
  
We have had lots of homework and projects the last two weeks. We were asked to write a paper or be creative with how we viewed language learning before coming to MTI and how we view it now. I decided to make a vision board in the shape of Africa for my project!
​Our instructors were amazing and we will miss them dearly as we move onto the culture portion of MTI the next two weeks. This will be a more emotional side to our training and allow us to focus on conflicts, crisis, and goodbyes.

​photo: Our MTI trainers: Barry, Tim, Andrea, Dwight, Barbara, J.D. and Robin
​I had a terrific call last weekend with Africa New Life and GCM. It helped give me a better perspective to what my first 3-4 weeks in Rwanda will look like and how I can start to prepare for it. As of right now my departure date is July 7th. My heart is full of emotions and great joy as I enter my last two weeks at MTI training. This program has been a blessing to me and I am honored to be here. I can’t imagine how my journey would be if I did not come to MTI. I feel this program should be a requirement for all missionaries going overseas!
Thankful for you,
Betty
Here is the link for donations below.http://www.gcmweb.org/betty.krenek

Click where it says GIVE NOW by my picture

Then click Regular Giving
Then click where it says to create a new login
After that just follow the steps.

It is Finished!

Earlier last week I had the honor of being surrounded by my beautiful advocacy team. They are a group of about 12 women who gather together once a month to pray for me and work on a list of my needs while I am getting ready for my move to Rwanda in June. Once I am gone they will continue to meet every month or every other month to be my backbone and major support system. We prayed that night for healing with my thyroid and also that my support would be complete by Easter. The Lord is good! An hour and a half before Easter day started my support was complete! God showed me something big in all of this…patience and trust! This was my personal goal and I had complete faith in him. Everyday since I said yes, he has opened my eyes wide to how big his promises are.

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Who knew many years ago when I was growing up with my sister not knowing who God was that he would find me in 2008 and lead me to a third world country to share his word with the nations! 

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One person who always showed me love and had a heart for helping others like Jesus did became a role model in my life. Even though my granny isn’t here anymore, I know she would be so proud of where I am going and what I am doing!

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​I spent this past weekend telling some of my family goodbye. It is so nice having them all support me on this incredible journey God has designed for my life. Spending time with my granny’s best friend Helen was a memory I’ll always have forever. 

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Now it is time to prepare to head to Colorado in less than two weeks. I will be at MTI training May 5-31st. I am excited to see why God is sending me here and to spend more time with him before I leave.
It has been an honor working with my GCM coach Keva every week. We have weekly coaching calls and she has kept me “sane”, stress free, spirit-filled, and strong while I support raised for 15 weeks. She knew I was going to be a hand full when she met me in Orlando back in November, but she took me under her wing and guided me through this amazing and humbling experience. I got to share a little of my journey with her and two other international missionaries today on the phone. I told them that everyday since I said yes to God he has done something wonderful in my life. He is always in the little details and I am blessed by that. I knew from the moment I said yes that if God wanted me in Rwanda he would get me there. And he has!
Thank you all for everything! I am excited for you to come visit me….and speaking of that…I will be the team leader for this years Thanksgiving trip!!! YEAH! So….I encourage you all to pray hard! See if God is calling you on a short term trip to Rwanda over Thanksgiving! Not only do you get to spend Thanksgiving in the most beautiful country in the world but you get to spend it with ME! Yeh you! 🙂 Please email me if you want more info!
Love,
Betty
P.S. You can always make one time gift donations before and while I am there. This is not part of my monthly support goal and helps with unexpected costs along the way. I appreciate all the special gifts from people the past few months!
Link for donations below.

http://www.gcmweb.org/betty.krenek

Twenty years later

Twenty years later Rwanda is a beautiful and safe place to live and visit. Their parliament has more women than anywhere else in the world. Rwanda is working hard to make sure women are educated so that they are able to lead! I am beyond honored to be able to work in this country starting in June.

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My last week in Rwanda was full of God’s grace! It was exactly the way I imagined it to be. I sat with many co-workers on staff to get to know them better and to share my personal story with them. One of my favorite new co-workers is Benjamin. He is an incredible man of God and has the biggest smile I have ever seen. Every time he saw me he would come and give me the biggest hug, smile and say “God bless you Betty, you are such a blessing to us”!
Earlier today I had a call with my GCM coach Keva. She asked me what was one memorable way God spoke to me in Rwanda. I told her He did everyday. He was always in the little details. Even using Benjamin to welcome me daily and say kind words to me was all God’s work. The one moment that stands out the most was my morning spent with Anna. She is Pastor Fred’s wife and we spent last Friday morning together talking about my life and why God called me to Rwanda. After I shared my story with her she prayed for me and then said “Betty, I’m as certain that you are to move here as Jesus was certain he was going to the cross.” I haven’t been able to get those words out to my mind.
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I was honored to share my personal story with girls in our beauty academy. I told them I am here to be their friend and to feel safe to share anything personal with me. Later that day two girls shared some of their life struggles with me and I was able to pray for them. Elizabeth Giddens and Christie Gonzales arrived last Saturday and taught at the school all week. The girls were blessed each day by them and were showered with many gifts from God. New cutting scissors, shampoo, and even new “dummies” to work with!
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My favorite student in the program was Immaculi. The next day after I shared my story with the girls, she stood up and told us about her walk with the Lord and how she has been sick for a while. Christie and Elizabeth invited her back to our guest house the next evening and had one of the doctors on the medical team examine her. It turns out she has pneumonia and we were able to pray for her and make sure she has everything she needs to get better. The next morning she came back to the beauty school and said she was already feeling much better! Yeah God!

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The week after I returned home I found out Immaculi was hit by a car walking to school. She is doing much better now and has received medical care. Nothing broken..praise the Lord! But, prayers are greatly appreciated for her. She is a widow and has two small kids.

I now have raised 94% of my support! Praise God!!! I am so blessed and can’t wait to see the rest of the people God has chosen to be part of my ministry team!

 

Not what I thought it would be

 

Coming to spend four weeks in Rwanda is not what I thought it would be. Every second of every day I am here I am reminded this is not about me and everything I imagined prior to coming is not the experience I am having. It is so much better! I see God in every detail here. I am constantly reminded why He called me here and trust Him even more than I did 5 days ago when I boarded a plane in Austin,TX to travel here. I can now see bits and pieces of what my life will look like when I am finally here full-time in June…and it looks amazing. (praise God!) When I am weak, He is strong. When I have doubts, He gives me faith.

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Every day, I learn something new. I am truly humbled to be chasing after the dream God placed on my heart. I love knowing that what I am called to do IS making a difference.

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I know things will not always be perfect and easy. I know things will only get harder. But, I do know God has this covered. I do know God specifically hand-picked 14 women to stand by my side and walk this journey with me. These women are my A Team! I am forever grateful for them and love being able to share every part of this journey with them. Can’t wait for all of us to be in Rwanda together!

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The author and perfecter of our faith

I think by now most people know I am moving to Kigali, Rwanda this June! I am overwhelmed with excitement and joy! It has taken me three years to say YES to God and after hearing him speak to me in a loud (very clear) voice I knew this was the time to go. After all, my timing has not been perfect through any of this and His has been slow and graceful. I know He was preparing me the past few years. I needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to move forward on this path He designed and created for me.

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith”-Hebrews 12:1-2

I recently read this somewhere:

I’ve wanted a god I could predict and control more than a rush of His uncontrollable Spirit.-

That was so very much me! Thinking I knew when the right time would come for me to make a huge decision like this. Thinking I was in complete control of my life and decisions. Thinking I could keep going about each day ignoring the one true gift God placed on my heart three years ago.

I was blessed to do a bible study around this time last year with Jennie Allen here in Austin,TX. It blew.me.away.

The title of this study is called Restless: Because You Were Made for More I always knew God wanted me in Africa, but I tried my best to put His desires for me in the back of my mind. When I did this study last year one of the homework assignments opened my eyes for the first time. I mean wide open!

We were to write down a highlight from each life stage when you felt pleasure in what you were doing, moments you remember being proud and satisfied and memories when you remember suffering from ages 0-6, 7-12, 13-18, up to present time. The purpose of the homework was to build a picture of your story- to show the events that have shaped you.  I did the assignment and then realized that all the memories of suffering and satisfaction I wrote down are things that I’m working with or using right now. All those years before 2008 (when I was saved) God was planting seeds in my life and I never knew it.

I love how God is the author and perfecter of our faith. He wrote a beautiful and unique story for each of us. It’s up to us to actively fulfill the calling and purpose He has placed in our lives. I love that I can finally say that I am doing just that!

photo by: Natalie Green