He Who Began a Good Work

Although I don’t recommend breaking your leg…in Rwanda…on safari…the first time you have a family member visit…while you are 7 months pregnant, God has showed me his goodness in many ways. We have had the great support of community gather around us and lift us up. We have had our Rwandan friends come to the hospital with us to advocate for us and sit with us, we have had a nurse from our mission advocate for us with insurance, we have had friend bring countless meals, drop in for visits and offer to drive me places so that I don’t go crazy. We have had teammates drop everything to help us with our kiddos when we have had hospital visits, x-rays and meetings. We have had workers help keep a little 2 year old and 5 year old busy playing so that they don’t go crazy. We have a church that lifts me up every week in prayer. We have had specialists consult on my case from all over the world. And we have had a God who has supplied an abundance of grace and resilience in our family and especially for me during this time. This month has been one of the hardest I’ve experienced but I can see the way God has used his good work in me to make me thankful and joyful in the midst of the hard things, exhausting and scary things.


Some Numbers

  • 9          Days until Krystal’s cast comes off (she is counting it down to the hours!)
  • 34       Pastors attending our Pastoral Training School (PTS)
  • 3          Pastors at PTS who currently understand the Gospel (vs. works righteousness)


    Initial report from our PTS teachers is that this is a sharp and spiritually responsive group of pastors.  Pray that they are transformed by the gospel.

  • 2          Years the Pirolos have been in Rwanda
  • 7          Weeks until our baby boy is born



Eric Flaa receiving the burden of directorship from Tim Brubaker

We began our year with three major transitions. First, our colleague Dan Janzen took over leadership of the Christian Leadership Institute of Rwanda, the university program at New Creation Ministries. Next, Krystal took over leadership of our WorldVenture team in Rwanda. Finally, Eric Flaa, another colleague, was elected Director of NCM. All these positions are opening up because ONE person is stepping down: Tim Brubaker. He is scheduled for a transition to ministering in America. He and his family will be missed, and he is leaving big shoes to fill. Three of us, to make one of him. Pray for us as we use this time of transition of leadership to refine programs, develop staff, and double down on discipling students.


Giving … Your Time

This month, we want to highlight different way you can be involved in what God is doing in Rwanda. Many of you give financially. More of you pray. Perhaps, one or two of you want to come to Rwanda! We have positions open for short-term, mid-term, and long-term workers here.


Laura Pearce, NCM Project Manager, and Daniel Ledama, PTW Teacher 

Do you want to come work with us? Here’s a list of what where looking for:


The bulk of what we do is tied to discipling Rwandans at New Creation Ministries. More and more, we see the need for professionals from all walks of life to be involved in the process. If you are interested in learning more, click a link above, or shoot us an email. We pray that “the Lord of the harvest would send workers” to Rwanda.


Eric Flaa, NCM Director and Joseph Muyombano, PTS Director

Down Time

That’s a bit of a misnomer, since Nick is doing the legwork and driving of two parents, and it takes Krystal twice as long to get anything done. However, Krystal has had to take a break from her ministry at Iranzi and Nyabisindu to heal well. Thank God the cast comes off on February 8! Nick is between classes, and has class prep time for his classes on Old Testament Theology and Missions.

Prayer Request:

  • Continue to pray for the health of Krystal and Baby –both that Krystal’s ankle would continue to heal well and that pregnancy would continue to go well.
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    Friends at Iranzi Clinic praying for Krystal, her leg, and the baby.

  • Pray for delivery of our baby here in Rwanda –for God’s perfect timing and that it would be uncomplicated
  • Pray for Nick as if takes on more responsibilities in our family and prepares for the next courses he will be teaching

We feel blessed to be in your prayers and to be involved in this good work to whichGod has called us to.





Pray for Healing

So, my mom came to visit, and treated us to a safari at Akagera Game Park. We saw the amazing sight of about 50 elephants playing in the lake and eating papyrus, an 8 foot crocodile out of the water and a leopard. And I broke my ankle.

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I wish I could say I was running from a lion or rescuing my child from a charging rhino, but no. I was walking back to the car from an outhouse.

So here I am, 29 weeks pregnant with a (probably) broken leg, on the first day of a three day visit to the game park. I’m in pain, but I also know that it’s a once in a lifetime chance to take my mom on her first safari in Africa. So what do we do? We finish the safari, of course!

I end up getting an x-ray and a cast, but the doctor says, “I would absolutely do surgery on this injury, but you’re pregnant, so we’ll just cast it.” Ummm, of course I want my baby to be safe, but I also want to heal right!

I got home with a half-plaster cast, and couldn’t climb the three stairs into my house. The cast weighed close to 30 pounds! I struggled with it for a few days and it lightened up a bit as it dried, but I continued to seek second opinions on the fracture and the best way forward.

I sent the x-ray to a second doctor here who said, “You absolutely need surgery.” But when he found out I am pregnant, he recommended a new cast.  This one is much more manageable in size, and along with crutches, I have been able to borrow a wheelchair from the clinic I work at, so I am a bit more mobile. With that said, Rwanda is by no means a wheelchair/ crutches friendly place!

I was able to get a third opinion from an orthopedic surgeon in the States. His belief is that the best course of treatment, pregnant or not, for this fracture is NOT surgery but being in a cast for 6 weeks.

As you can imagine, the thought of needing surgery while pregnant and living in the developing world was scary, and troubling, and filled with uncertainty. Fortunately, I have been blessed with a team, friends and even a husband and two little girls who have surrounded me with support, prayers and a helping hand.

You are part of my support team, and I need your help through prayer. Please pray specifically for:

  • Complete healing of my ankle
  • Pain level –because I am pregnant I am unable to take the pain medication that would normally be recommended for this type of break.
  • No complications –both with my pregnancy and with the fracture in general
  • Sanity –Currently I am non-weight bearing, and unable to drive. Also, Rwanda is not a place of convenient elevators and wheelchair accessible bathrooms or entry ways. Much of my time will be spent at home, and for an extravert like myself, this is a bit overwhelming.
  • Nick –Pray for Nick as he has to take on more responsibility with our girls and helping me while continuing his regular work.



PS. As we went through a crisis moment, thinking we would need medical evacuation, and needing prayer for wisdom for the doctors and ourselves, we realized that we were ill equipped to get our prayer need out to all our prayer partners and prayer chains, using only our phones. This is a process to work on for next time, so that we can let you know sooner so that you can lift us up sooner.

Thank you for your prayers and your faithfulness.



With Thanksgiving around the corner, we wanted to share with you our Top 5 List of things we’re thankful for these days. (Not necessarily in order of our gratitude.)

#5. Family!

The big news is we are pregnant!



We are expecting a baby boy in late March.  From the 20 week ultrasound, mom and baby look healthy.

Grace and Rayna continue to bring joy to our lives.  Our family traveled to Cape Town in late September to attend a WorldVenture conference. While it interrupted school for Grace and Nick, it became a refreshing break from the hundred little things that had been wearing on each of us. After the conference, we stayed a few more days to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. Both of us grew up on the beach (San Diego and Port Townsend), so it filled us up, seeing our daughters play in the sand and waves.

Finally, our parents are visiting! We are excited to host Krystal’s mom in December, and Nick’s mom in March.

#4. Church!


Grace and Rayna in Sunday School

In October, we were invited by several friends to attend a young Kinyarwanda church called Gospel Community Church. This church understands the Gospel, has sound theology, and is excited for outreach, evangelism, and missions. Krystal has begun attending a cell group on Tuesday nights (while Nick keeps an eye on the girls). This is a church where we feel fed, and we believe this church will play a strategic role in the future of discipleship in Rwanda. It is a joy to be part of a healthy church!

#3. Ministry!

We are so thankful for the meaningful work God has us in and the people we serve.


CLIR Students

I (Nick) successfully finished a term teaching Systematic Theology, and then a term teaching Teaching and Educational Ministries at New Creation Ministries. Some of my students have far reaching influence in Rwanda, and are now better equipped to teach the truth of God’s word.

Krystal has a new title at Iranzi: Mentor to Midwives. She continues her work at the prenatal outreach clinic, and has taken a more intentional step toward observing and coaching the Rwandan staff.


Krystal teaching a group of midwives about labor support

#2. Matching Grant!

Our hearts fill with gratitude knowing that, for the second year in a row, a donor has offered to match all new sponsorships of pastors in our Pastoral Training School (PTS) made by December 31! After the pastors pay their $80 annual school tuition, there remains about $1800 per student to fund their education and discipleship. While that is only $150 per month, with 35 pastors expected to begin in January, that is more than we can bear alone.   This matching grant makes it easier for new sponsors to give.

If you are interested in more information, a brochure is linked below. And the sponsorship link below that. Every dollar helps! Krystal and I are so excited about this, we have already committed to sponsor a portion of a pastor’s training.

Pastoral Sponsorship Information

Pastoral Sponsorship Donation

#1. YOU!

We’ve often quoted Philippians 1:3-5 to you: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”   And it is true. We are thankful for each of you who has given your time, prayers, and finances, to see the gospel, the Good News of the Kingdom of God, spread throughout Rwanda. You are PARTNERS with us, we are yoked together. We rise or fall together, but by God’s grace, we are rising, and we hearing God’s name glorified in the nations. Krystal and I are so thankful for you and we couldn’t be here or do what we do without you.img_5189

There you have it, our top 5 things we are thankful for this year. What are you thankful for? Let us know in the comments below.

Bringing Peace and Joy to the Fearful

Over the past year and a half of being in Rwanda, my heart, emotions and understanding of God’s sovereignty have been deeply challenged. Caring for pregnant moms at the Nyabisindu outreach clinic has brought me face to face with profound suffering.

A typical mom we serve is very, very poor. She is probably unemployed, though she would jump at the opportunity to have a job. Her husband may have left her after she became pregnant. She has likely experienced violence from partners, family members or neighbors and it is possible that her pregnancy is one result. Though she may not want additional children, her partner’s control or her church’s theology leave her with little to no say in the matter. She might be HIV positive – from birth, from her husband’s infidelity or from using prostitution as a way to feed her other children. She knows little to nothing about childbirth and is reliant on the, often incorrect and sometimes harmful, advice of the abakecuru (old women) in her community. It is likely that she has already lost a child.


One of our midwives visiting a mom in the hospital 

These are the moms I get to walk with. I see them on a monthly, biweekly or weekly basis throughout their pregnancy. They tell me their stories, shed tears with me at their sorrows and ask me their questions. I get to feel their babies’ positions, listen to their babies’ heartbeats and send them for a twenty week ultrasound to see their unborn child. I get to pray for them when they experience heartache or prepare for delivery. And I see their pain and suffering. I have measured the tummy of moms who have died in the hospital. Sometimes, the very baby I have felt arakina (playing) in their mommy’s tummy has died during pregnancy, labor or after delivery.


Low-risk moms are able to come to Iranzi clinic to deliver. Iranzi, the Kinyarwanda word for “He knows me,” is a midwife-led birth center where Nyabisindu moms have access to holistic, evidence-based labor, delivery and postpartum care. I have worked in other hospitals and clinics in Rwanda and I can safely say that Iranzi is one of a kind!


Iranzi midwives teaching nurses and midwives a neonate resuscitation course at a district hospital

When a woman comes in to deliver, her husband or family is allowed to stay by her side. The woman has access to a bed with sheets and blankets, a birthing ball, stool, flushing toilet and warm shower. Our staff of Rwandan midwives and nurses have all been trained in Helping Babies Breath, Helping Moms Survive, CPR, and Neonatal Resuscitation, courses that few hospital nurses in Rwanda have taken. They provide labor support by assessing fetal heart tones, giving the mom food and drink, helping her with natural pain control methods and placing pressure on her back. They sing to the women and pray with and for them. If a mom or baby is transferred from Iranzi to a hospital, a nurse or midwife will visit them throughout their stay. After delivery, moms have access to postnatal care for themselves and their babies and, if they are high risk post-partum, will often receive a home visit from one of our nurses or midwives.

One of the most important and beautiful parts of Nyabisindu and Iranzi is that the women are known, not just by God, but by us. We know each woman’s history, family and income situation. We have cried and prayed with her. We have taught her about breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact, the dangers of inducing labor with traditional medicine, warning signs in pregnancy, normal signs of labor, fetal kick counts, infant and child safety, family planning and normal newborn care. As we serve them, these women come to know and trust us.


Since Grace is on vacation, she got to go with Mom to work.

IMG_8534 2

This woman let Grace listen to her baby boy’s heart beat.

One of the women we have been seeing regularly is Epifani (not her real name). She is close to delivery of her third pregnancy. Unfortunately, Epifani has no living children. With her first pregnancy, she arrived at the hospital full term, expecting to deliver a healthy baby. Her child was moving and had good fetal heart tones on admission, but by the time she delivered the baby was stillborn. The second time she again arrived at the hospital full term and this time delivered a live baby. However, two days later while still in the hospital, her second child died. The only explanation she had for the deaths of her babies was fetal exhaustion. Now she is full term awaiting the delivery of her third child. So far, she seems to have had a healthy pregnancy, but every time I see her, I think of the fear she must have surrounding the delivery of this child. And every time I see her, I pray for her and her child.

It may not seem like much to someone who is used to state of the art equipment, resources, doctors and training. Yet I am blessed to know that God sees this mom and her heartbreak and that my prayers make a difference. When I pray against fear and intercede for the life and health of this child, our powerful God hears me.

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First time mama who I saw during her pregnancy.  During a prenatal visit she told me that she had just watched her friend die in the hospital delivering her first child.  Obviously, she had a lot of fear surrounding her own delivery.  It was such a blessing to pray with her every time I saw her and get to see that she had a good delivery with Iranzi midwives and now has a beautiful healthy baby. 

This is just a glimpse of what I get to do. There are many stories I could tell here – some amazing and many sad. But what a blessing to be a part of something so beautiful for God’s glory.

T-minus < 5 weeks!

It is with great trepidation that I report that I am actively writing lesson plans! My first university level class as a teacher begins April 18. I’m teaching what is usually Theology 101: God, the Bible, and Revelation. Who is God and how does/has he communicated with us?

Screenshot 2017-03-16 12.53.26

While this class was taught before, it had 4 different teachers. I’ve playfully called it “The Cursed Class” because each time someone started teaching the class, they were unable to finish. (Except the last one, who taught the last four weeks.) Accordingly, there is a rough outline, but I’m creating a great deal from scratch. And I’m loving it!

I love doing the research, thinking deeply about these topics again, from the perspective of our students this time. I love the inspiration that leads to the perfect illustration or class project. It’s cool, but I’m afraid I’m going to run out of time. Your prayers for me are appreciated.

Pray also for the students at CLIR. They are in an intensive month of General Science (year 1) or Greek (year 3 students). We also have a teacher offering a Hebrew Elective this semester!


Thanks for your prayers for my preaching.  It went surprisingly well. My method was a bit cheating, but the right move for my current language ability and the next steps I need to take. I wrote my lesson in English, and had a bilingual pastor translate it. Then I read through his translation, underlining things he did that I didn’t understand. Next, we worked through the translation together to figure out why he said things certain ways, and to correct the two or three places that he either didn’t understand my English and translated inaccurate theology. Finally, I read through my manuscript in Kinyarwanda and discovered that I had created a 75 minute beast! I am not physically able to speak in Kinyarwanda for that long. Even practicing, my throat got sore.


So on March 5, I preached the first 45 minutes, and I will finish on March 19. (Pray for me again!) Of course, I read my manuscript, so I could focus on pronunciation, and because I’m still quite a beginner at this.

My American colleagues were impressed by what I was able to do, and excited for the beginning of this part of my ministry in Rwanda. My Rwandan friend said, “I understood what you said 100% … But I wonder if you understood yourself 100%.” I laughed, and agreed that I understood about 75%.


February/March has been a tough one for our family. Among us we had four amoebas, and little Rayna had to take harsh antibiotics while she had painful mouth ulcers from a completely different virus. Krystal didn’t hear me preach because she was home with Grace, who had thrown up twice that morning from another sickness.

The evidence of God’s grace, is that after all this, and even through it all, we are still doing well, feeling encouraged, and excited for our ministry.

New Team Members

Our team has two new members. Corey Trick has joined our team in a State-side support role, helping to promote NCM. He lives in Minnesota and is using his “extra time” to help us! Laura Pearce has finished her support-raising and will be arriving in Rwanda next Thursday to help coordinate special projects and administrative tasks. Pray for our team to function well together, with injection of new ideas and contribution of more hands.


I am amazed at how quickly they are growing up!

IMG_6470Rayna blows kisses and says “bye” to us. This late walker is a quick one and is out the door and down the driveway before we know she’s gone.

IMG_6544Grace is getting tall. She can reach the tap to wash her hands at all the sinks in the house without a step stool. She loves playing outside, swimming, playing with friends and doing art projects. It has been fun to host some of her Rwandan classmates at our house for play dates.

IMG_6394We are blessed that our daughters love each other so much and find many ways to play together despite the 3.5 year gap.

IMG_6436Krystal is staying busy with our girls, recovering from sickness, working at an outreach clinic in in the slums doing prenatal assessments and teaching and practicing Kinyarwanda.

Thanks for your continued support of this ministry.

Specific Prayer Requests

  • Nick’s preparation for his first course in CLIR (the university program at NCM)
  • Nick’s next preaching IN KINYARWANDA
  • Continued healing and protection from sickness
  • Kinyarwanda study
  • Krystal’s ministry with the mom’s in Nyabisindu


One Year in!

ONE YEAR!  It is hard to believe, but we have been serving the Lord in Rwanda for one year, as of January 21. We are filled with such joy and gratitude that God has chosen us for this purpose, that he connected us with each of you to send us and partner with us in His work in Rwanda, that he saw us through tough times, and that we have seen signs of thriving.


January 2016


January 2017, 5th birthday party for Peace

Iranzi Clinic Training

Krystal is participating in staff training at the Iranzi (God knows me) Clinic for three weeks this month. This clinic aims to serve as the birthing center for the poor women in nearby Nyabasindu, where Krystal has served at pre- and post-natal clinics on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These women now have a safe place to give birth!

img_5925One story from the training: Iranzi Clinic has a policy that patients will be discharged home 8-12 hours after delivery and will have a home visit the following day. (This is part of the philosophy of midwifery.) If they haven’t paid, they will not be held captive at the clinic until they pay, a common practice at hospitals and clinics here in Rwanda where a patient can be held for weeks or months adding to a debt that they already cannot pay. As our new team discussed that we will not be holding captive moms who cannot pay, most of the Rwandans began to protest! “But if they don’t pay, they shouldn’t leave! If they don’t pay before they go, they will never pay and they will go home and tell their friends to come to this clinic because they can receive free care.” The new staff feared that they would lose their jobs because the business would fail if people were discharged without paying.

dsc_0371Something that is very different about Iranzi is the that it practices care within the context of relationship. All of the women who come to the clinic for delivery will be part of a midwifery/nurse team. They will have been seen several times prenatally at Nyabasindu’s outreach clinic before they deliver. Each midwife and nurse that is apart of their team will know them, their social situation, their birth history and will have been praying with them along the way. This is a completely revolutionary way of practicing maternal/baby care in Rwanda!

Continue to pray for Krystal as she interacts with many strong personalities all day. This has been exhausting emotionally and physically. Meanwhile, she isn’t getting as much time with our girls, or any time to study Kinyarwanda, or time to exercise, or much time for devotions. Important things and activities that feed her soul are on hold for these intense training weeks.

Pray also that we can establish a reasonable new normal after the training.

Language Helper

Philemon got another job! After working with us for 11 months, our language helper let us know that he was hired into a ministry position discipling Sunday school teachers. It is an answer to prayer for him and for us as we prayed for his future in ministry.

img_3769Now, we need another helper, part time. We have several leads, but we need wisdom choosing a new helper. Even as we begin more ministry, we need to keep studying the language or else it will slip away from us.

Matching Funds

Through our GoFundMe account along with email and Facebook campaigns to raise awareness, we received $11,400 in matching funds! Praise God for bringing in so many to partner with us, and praise God for the anonymous matching donor who shared of his abundance. This funding allows poor, rural pastors to receive training at our Pastoral Training School.  If you would like to sponsor any of them, here’s the link.

ncm-pts-2016Keep praying for these pastors.  Many struggle as we undo years of false doctrine and help them to study the Bible for truth.


img_5928Girls keep growing up!

img_5841Rayna is walking on her own and has been cutting molars! She loves to drink amata (milk) out of a straw cup like her big sister. Crazy girl loves to smile, wave and blow kisses; she LOVES being tickled. Saturday, she even said, “Hi. Da.”

img_5761Grace loves school, visiting our neighbors, and coloring with Mom. One year ago, she was terrified of trampolines and swings. Now, our brave girl jumps from a chair to her swing. She’s going FAST on her balance bike. If we could find a safe, flat road, we’d start teaching her to ride a pedal bike (unfortunately for her and us this is the land of a thousand hills and driving here is chaotic to say the least).

Thank you for your continued prayers for us and for Rwanda.

Helping the People

Thanks for your prayers for my family while I was away from Rwanda. Being in Naples was exciting, educational (both for the conference and tour of Pompeii), and restful. But it was also hard to be away from my girls for seven days. Not as hard as it was on Krystal for me to be away for seven days, though.   We all made it through.20161019_170400



Though I studied to be a teacher, it was excellent to refresh my education in the context of theological education. I enjoyed the camaraderie and networking opportunities allowed by meeting other theological educators who work in formal (seminaries) and informal settings (non-degree or church programs). Because New Creation Ministries has programs in both realms, what I learned will be especially helpful.


New Creation Ministries

In our undergraduate program (CLIR), we are on the last term of the second year, with classes “Teaching Jesus” and “Missions.” In January, God willing, we will start another cohort into Year 1 courses. Pray with us for the right 25-35 new students.

The first year students in our Pastor Training School (PTS) have just begun “False Teachings” and “Intro to the Bible.” Pray for all our students to be transformed by what they learn in the classroom, that they would come to know Christ better, and be better equipped to lead their flock. 20161026_145625

Matching Donations!

We have just received word of a matching donations grant. We have a pastor sponsorship program for the pastors and church leaders in PTS. From now through December, any new sponsorships (full or partial) will be matched, up to $16,000. Click here to learn more about this program. Currently, our budget is heavily dependent on missionary teachers. As we find highly skilled Rwandan teacher/ theologian/ discipler/ pastors we like to bring them onto our teaching team. These sponsorships enable us to realize the dream of Rwandans trained to teach and disciple Rwandans. Click here to see the brochure. Here to give through WorldVenture.  Here to participate through our GoFundMe page.


After an unusually long dry season, we are having an unusually hot and dry “rainy” season. I have heard reports of dead grass and dying cattle in the eastern province. Farmers near the city watch their crops wither in the heat. Additionally, the price of staples (plantains, potatoes, beans) has been increasing in the city. In the village, families go to the market and find no food to buy. Pray with us for rain to sustain Rwandans.

Grace and Rayna

Pray for Grace. We have her on various medications to help her kick a lingering cough that might also be allergies that might also be asthma. Pray with us that she recovers completely.

Pray for Rayna. She has four full teeth, but is cutting three more. She is so sad and is having trouble sleeping.


Pray for our finances. While we left for Rwanda with commitments to cover 102% of our monthly support, some of our supporters have lost jobs and can no longer participate in this way. Pray about becoming a financial partner with us. Click here to join.

We are grateful for each of you for your prayers and sacrificial giving.


Nick, Krystal, Grace and Rayna