Monday, June 6, 2016


We made it home this evening around 7pm! Travel is always a bit unpredictable and we are thankful that things went relatively smoothly.

After a couple hours of delay in Kigali, we made it to Brussels. Brussels had extra security and it took more time than expected to get through. Our Brussels to Chicago flight went smoothly. Customs was quick - Praise the Lord! We boarded our flight to Chicago, but had to wait for about an hour at the gate so an oxygen mask could be repaired. Jeremy counted 40 hours between the Kigali airport and Memphis and 7 security checkpoints! Whew!

While we were waiting in at the Chicago airport, a lady also waiting commented that after 10 days together we all seemed to still like each other. And we really do. I learned so much serving next to these men and women. I am thankful for each member of our team and the unique talents he or she has. It was a privilege to be on this mission team.

There's so much more to say and process as we reenter "real life". Please pray for us as we deal with jet lag, return to jobs and responsibilities, and continue to reflect on our Rwandan mission experiences.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sunday, June 5

We have had a lovely Sabbath here in Rwanda. We started with breakfast on the deck at Heaven Rwanda. Then we went to Christian Life Assembly Kigali. It was so wonderful to worship here in Rwanda! We observed the Lord's Supper. We noted that our congregation at home at IPC would be taking communion only a few hours later. They read from the ESV Bible, which also felt like home. It was a fabulous sermon. One of the best parts of this trip has been worshipping the one true God with believers here in Africa. He is truly Lord of all nations.

All the ends of the earth shall remember
    and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
    shall worship before you. -Psalm 22:27

We had a marvelous lunch at Mese Fresh (think Swanky's).

We took a tour of the genocide museum. This was a very moving and emotional experience.

Then we found a market and got some souvenirs.

It was quite entertaining to see all our luggage (checked bags and carry ons) and us fit into our bus. It was a little like the clown car at the circus!

We are now waiting at the airport to begin our journey home. Our plane is delayed just a little. Luckily, we're relaxing in a lounge area, having some refreshment and laughter together. We still really like each other! We are missing our people in Memphis and are a little anxious to be home. But God is good.

Saturday, June 4

Most of us got up before dawn today and headed to Akagera National Park for a safari! We couldn't come to Africa and not go on a safari.

(Faye and Phillip stayed in Kigali today and explored a museum and a market. We missed them!)

The safari was so fun. We were so close to so many animals. It was amazing! It's really hard to pick a favorite from our adventure. The only animal we didn't get to see was the elephant. Still, we were not disappointed at all!

Tonight we ended with a fantastic dinner at our hotel, Heaven. The owners have a really neat story and if you get a chance, you should read their book. Faye, Phillip, Kelly, and Kristen were very happy to catch up with Charles, a friend from a previous mission.

Tomorrow is our last day here in Rwanda.  While we are ready to go home to our families, we are also sad to leave this beautiful place and the beautiful Rwandan people. We all feel there is much more to do. We're all leaving a little piece of our hearts here.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Friday, continued

A bike taxi ride
Rolls from Sonrise are the best!
Scenes from Sunrise
And the volcano again because it's amazing!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Friday, June 3

Today was our last day at Gitare and Sonrise. We spent time discussing the Lord's Prayer with the young mothers this morning. Then there was lots of knitting! These young women were really, really good at knitting. We saw all kinds of stitch patterns and color combinations and creativity. We are thankful because we had enough materials for every woman. We started the afternoon session with some words of encouragement for them from Psalm 68:4-6.
4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him!
5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.
6 God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

We finished with a discussion on the importance of prayer. We will certainly be keeping these young women and their children in our prayers.

The men got finished painting the wall at Sonrise! Huge praise!

We had a perfect view of the volcano this evening. A great way to say goodbye!

We had a little bit of a slow departure, but finally arrived in Kigali tonight at around 9pm. We had a fabulous time in the van together, laughing and talking and enjoying each other's company. The delicious treats from our loved ones in Musanze added to the experience.

We are getting up very, very early for a fun adventure day tomorrow. Stay tuned...

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Thursday, June 2

Imana Ishimwe! (I have really enjoyed learning some new phrases with our translators. This means "Praise God".)

We were a little anxious this morning, not knowing exactly what to expect. I walked out of my room, looked up at the volcano and was reminded of Psalm 121 - "I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." And, indeed, he helped us today.

The unwed mothers received a lesson on one of the most beautiful passages in scripture, Psalm 139:14, which says, "I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." What a precious reminder for all of us and especially those struggling like these young Rwandan single mothers...that we are made in God's image with care and attention. He makes no mistakes when he knits us together in our mothers' wombs.

Speaking of knitting, our afternoon session was the economic development project we brought with us - knitting! We were particularly anxious about this because we had no idea if we would be able to teach effectively. Only a few of us feel comfortable with knitting. In God's good providence, almost all of the 130 women in attendance already knew how to knit. We are so thankful for such an incredibly generous answer to our prayers! They young women were very excited to get needles and yarn. We are hoping some of them will be able to take this skill and make things to sell so they can support themselves and their children. Many of them cannot or are not allowed to work outside of their homes. One of our translators said you can by a dozen skeins of knitting yarn for 3000Rwf and most people sell scarves for 12,000Rwf. We were 24 sets of needles short. Please pray we can round up enough sets for all the ladies. We went to the market to find them and one person was out and the other had left for the day.

Please pray for this particular group of young women. They are so young and they are struggling. They seem to have community, but many of them have families who are unforgiving of their situation (babies out of wedlock). They were very curious about single mothers in America. We hope we were an encouragement to them and that they saw we struggle with many of the same problems and feelings as they do.

The women love seeing their pictures on our phones!

We had some time to play with the kids from the elementary school this afternoon. We blew bubbles and inflated a couple of beach balls. Then Kristen and I sang several children's songs for them. It was funny to watch them watching us be silly. I loved it. (I think Kristen did, too!)

The guys finally received their painting materials! This morning we prayed for super speedy painting skills and they were able to finish over 2/3 of the wall! Yay, Kelly, Jeremy, and Phillip! I know these men have really enjoyed renewing old friendships and making new ones at Sonrise this week. How wonderful to have friends here in Rwanda!

We finished our day with dinner with the Bishop and Chantal. It was a beautiful evening full of laughter and fellowship and really, really great food. We were all inspired listening to them speak of their lives' mission here in Rwanda. They are two amazing people. Again, God is good to give us such loving friends half a world away.

Tomorrow is our last day at Sonrise and Gitare. I know we will all be a little sad that the mission part of our African adventure is over. Pray for travel mercies as we head back to Kigali.