Here are some of my favorite photos I have taken the past 3 months while in Rwanda.
photo: Agnes in front of her P2 classroom
photo: J. (P2 student in Kayonza)
photo: Hillary (Dream Center vocational sewing student/genocide survivor)
photo: Vivian (Bugesera student)
photo: Hope visit in Bugesera
photo: Child in Bugesera, Rwanda
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.
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!
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.
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.
- 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.
photo: Our MTI trainers: Barry, Tim, Andrea, Dwight, Barbara, J.D. and Robin
Click where it says GIVE NOW by my picture
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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