Our First Steps Toward Rwanda

Appointee Orientation

Since our last blog, WorldVenture asked us to attend the Appointee Orientation (APO) in November, where we learned a significant amount about the business of being a missionary: record keeping, study, policies, etc.  Not really the tools we need to teach in Rwanda, but the tools to get to and thrive in Rwanda.

Our list of tasks to accomplish before May.

A highlight was meeting the “appointee class of 2012.”  One of the factors that drew us to WorldVenture was the longevity of their missionaries in the field.  At their renewal conference, we got to see how many missionaries reconnected with their appointee classmates after 15, 20, or 30 years.  For us, it is exciting to know that that will be us some day.

Getting to know each other

They also had a commissioning service where each missionary group got to share a three-minute version of our story: who we are, where we are going, and why.   While the whole service was closer to 75 minutes, below is a shortened version, mostly of the testimonies.  (Ours begins at minute 23:18.)

Church Presentations

Krystal and I feel extremely blessed to have such great connections with several churches.  In the last few months, we spoke with some of them. The Korean Church of North Denver where I was a youth pastor offered to support us before we even asked.  We have been invited to speak at their annual missions conference in January.

We spoke to the leadership team at Scum of the Earth Church, our Denver home church where we attend on Sunday nights.  While they cannot commit to support us financially, we are all excited to help get the congregation excited about missions.

First Baptist Church of Rawlins, WY, was the first church to whom we gave our full presentation.  Pastor Bryan Roberts, a close friend from seminary, invited us to speak at the Wednesday evening service of their first annual missions conference.  Krystal, Grace and I enjoyed meeting the lovely people there, and we cannot wait for our next visit.

Finally, just after Thanksgiving with the Pirolo family, we visited Gateway Community Church in Washougal, WA, where my Mom has attended for five years.  We knew going in that the church is generous to quite a few missionaries, but does not have funds to take on a new missionaries, right now.  We appreciated the time we shared with the director of the missions committee and to hear a bit about their other missionaries.

As missionaries, some funds will come through churches, and we are grateful for them.  However, individuals and families will make the bulk of our supporters, and that is a good thing because, while we can’t go until we have the finances, we need as many people as possible lifting us up in prayer.  We know in all situations, our God will supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19).

Grace

When last we posted, Grace was still in utero.  Now she has passed her 5 month birthday.  Her birth story was beautiful story of grace, and if you are interested, we can tell you the 2 hour version.  Briefly, God worked miraculously, and he used our doula and our midwife to make for an amazing delivery at Littleton Hospital.  We would recommend all three.

We love telling people how we got her name.  Both Krystal and I have loved the name “Grace” for a girl since before we were married.  My mom’s mom’s name is Grace.  And we love this song covered by Nichole Nordeman titled Grace.

Krystal’s sister’s middle name is Liberty.  (She was born on July 4.)  When it was possible for Grace to be born on July 4, we started thinking about that for a middle name.  The more we thought about what Liberty means as children of God, the more we loved it as a middle name anyway.  To quote the Bible, “It is for the sake of liberty (freedom) that Christ set us free.  We have been called to liberty, only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:1, 13).  Christ set us free from sin and death that we might truly live, that we may be restored into the image of our creator.

Here is a slideshow of Grace for those interested. 

What is Next

While our plan was to be home (in Port Townsend, WA) for Christmas, plans changed, then changed again.  Although it pains us to delay that time with family, we can’t leave Colorado before we have a chance to share personally with our friends here.  We have a few tough choices coming up involving how much “normal” work we can afford to do and still do “partner development.”  On the flip side, we need to maintain health insurance and pay the rent.  Pray with us that we will be able to do both.

We appreciate all the encouragement we have received from so many of you.  Every time we tell our story, God reaffirms our call to Rwanda and to this ministry.  We know our time here is short and we want to make the most of it.  We leave for Rwanda in November 2014, or sooner.  Pray for us as we find partners in ministry who will hear how God is calling them and who will come beside us in our work.

Next time, I’ll give an update on the work currently happening in Rwanda through New Creation Ministries, and introduce you to the team with whom I’ll be working.

Blessings,

Nick, Krystal and Grace

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