Thanks for following our adventures, friends and family. In the last six months, Krystal and I have had several significant life events we wanted to share with you.
We discovered in October that there would soon be three Pirolos living in our house. Yes, Krystal is pregnant with a baby girl, due June 27. We had hoped that God would bless us with a little one at this season of our lives and feel extremely fortunate that God allowed us to get pregnant. Krystal just entered her third trimester, and we are both excited to meet our baby girl face-to-face.
We are keeping her name secret until she is born, but she does have a name. When people insist on knowing the name, we tell them “Jezebel Delilah Pirolo.” If you are confused, each name is that of a Bible character. Look each up on Wikipedia.
As second item of good news, I am officially a Denver Seminary graduate! While I was finished with my classes when I returned from Rwanda, I had not applied to graduate, so my graduation date was December 31, 2012. The graduation ceremony is in about a month. Anyone who cares to come is invited: Saturday, May 12, 10-11:30 AM, Southeast Christian Church, 9650 Jordan Rd., Parker, CO US 80134. Reception to follow. Email me if you want more information. I’d seriously love for any and all of you to attend.
In February, my parents came out to Denver to visit us for the first time ever. I hadn’t seen them since the previous May, and our visits always seemed too short. They were celebrating their 12th anniversary on the 29th, and I insisted that they come to visit me. We got to show them the sights: Scum of the Earth Church, Garden of the Gods, Focus on the Family’s visitor center, the Denver Mint, and even the Denver Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and WorldVenture’s home office because Dad was feeling adventurous. While that schedule sounds packed, mostly we sat and talked.
For Krystal and me, it was a rare chance to simply be with my parents instead of feeling continually rushed from one event to another. The feeling was mutual, it seems, because my Dad later told my Mom that it was the most fun he had had in a very long time.
I received the news on Tuesday, March 13 at 5:46 AM. I was about to bike to work when my phone rang. Seeing it was my sister-in-law, Sara, and realizing that she was a time zone away, calling me at 4:46, I knew immediately that the news was bad. I answered it and she announced that she had terrible news. My father, my namesake, our recent visitor, had passed away. He had a cold that became pneumonia. He went down for a nap on Monday, passed into a coma, and never woke up, finally passing away on Tuesday morning.
Krystal and I rushed back to Vancouver, Washington to be with family. The service was held that Saturday at his church. After the pastor gave a brief sermon on salvation by grace through faith, he invited people in the congregation to come to the faith that my Dad had. (After the service, two people talked to the pastor about salvation!) Then each of his children gave a formal eulogy, followed by a time for people to share thoughts and stories.
What amazed me about the formal and informal eulogies was how consistent my father was. He was a quiet man, but his actions spoke volumes. Wherever he lived, he became deeply involved in church: attending men’s meetings and Bible studies, and praying for the church leaders and missionaries.
While my Dad was a teacher, and knew how to speak to audiences of any size, he was never one to seek the limelight. Instead, he knew how to be steady support for the people he loved and respected.
As part of the memorial service, Darlene Bocek (my sister), Jonathan Pirolo (one of my brothers), and I created a powerpoint with pictures and music. There was no easy way to transfer it to Youtube, but one version is here. Also, Darlene has a guestbook related to his obituary. We would ask all who knew him to sign it before it closes.
When my parents came out to visit in February we went to Garden of the Gods, a beautiful area with red rocks, green trees, and blue skies. It would be a bit of a hike on paved paths, so my Dad borrowed a wheelchair from the visitor center for my Mom. Mom walked for most of the time, but for the uphills, she welcomed the rest. Now, my Mom isn’t heavy, but pushing her up the hills at the park was hard work! Dad, noticing my lagging strength, put his hand on my back and added his strength to my own, making my labor light. What a perfect metaphor for my Dad’s life of support ministry! It is also a picture of how my Eternal Father is also my helper.
I am going to miss Dad greatly. I already do. I miss his singing. I’ll never have him to consult on childrearing. He will never sing “My cup is full and running over” with my children. I miss his laugh, and his eagerness to share a joke. I miss his thoughtful Bible questions, and the discussions that followed. I worry that the mantle of his ministry of prayer and support will fall to the ground and that I am not faithful enough to take it up.
On the practical side, Mom is living as a widow. The logistics of life, most of which my Dad managed for them, have now fallen on my Mom’s shoulders. My brother, David, who lives closest to her, has stepped in and taken a lion’s share of the load of helping Mom. Pray for them both to have wisdom and grace.
We received news from WorldVenture: they accepted our applications and have invited us to interview to be Long Term Missionaries to Rwanda. Our interview date is this Monday, April 30, 2012. In many ways, we have a lot in our favor, and they have a lot of good reasons to invite us to be part of the team. We each will have Masters degrees. We have both experience and education relating to intercultural ministry, and experience in Rwanda. Finally, the current team in Rwanda asked us to come back!
On the other hand, this is not just a “rubber stamp” process. We are two people with strong convictions and personalities. While we have not taken any new school loans in the last three years, we have more school debt than they like to see. Additionally, both parties need to make sure that we truly are a good fit for both WorldVenture and Rwanda. Are our theological differences ones we can live with? Will both Krystal and I be able to thrive in this context with this organization?
This is the final piece in a serious interview that will set the direction of our lives for a significant amount of time. Because Kinyarwanda, the language of Rwanda, is so difficult to learn well, they ask that families make a ten-year commitment to the field. While we will come home on “home assignment” once or twice in that time, they accept us, and we accept the appointment, we will be making Rwanda our home, and the country in which our children grow up.
Pray for us as we interview. We need discernment, and they need discernment. We wouldn’t have gone this far if we didn’t already feel like it is what God wants, but we also want to make room for him to speak if he has other plans.
As I mentioned, I walk in graduation next month. Krystal will be finished in December of this year. This summer is my last as a youth pastor at the Korean Church of North Denver. After that, I will focus my ministry energy on “support discovery” through WorldVenture. We are excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel, as our time in Denver comes to an end.
- Safe and healthy pregnancy and birth
- Grace and wisdom as we grieve and make decisions related to Dad’s death
- Discernment for our interview at WorldVenture
- Perseverance to “finish well” in Denver
Thank you all for your kind words and frequent prayers.
Nick and Krystal