Introducing Rayna Sparrow

On November 9, 2015, at 7:21 AM, Krystal gave birth to our second daughter, coming into this world at 8lbs 8oz, and 22in long.


The Story of Her Name

We have had many people ask us about how we chose to name her Rayna Sparrow. As a background, the past three years have not been easy and more specifically, this pregnancy has not been easy. From the time we were appointed to be missionaries to Rwanda to now, we feel like we have been on a difficult journey of transition, change of identity, and preparing to get to Rwanda. During this time, we feel like we have had many joys, answers to prayers, times of questioning, disappointments, trials of faith and learning to trust in God’s perfect timing.

One of these trials and disappointments was the time it took to actually get pregnant with Rayna. Call me (Krystal) crazy, but having grown up with a sister close to my age, I had always hoped to have my kids close together and really wanted to have our second child shortly after having Grace. This, however, did not happen. In fact, it took much longer to get pregnant than I expected and along the way there were some serious times of disappointment and heartbreak. Nearing our expected departure to Rwanda, I began to think it would be a good idea for us to wait until we arrived in Rwanda before we continued to try for baby number two. However, I was shocked when 9 months out from our expected departure date I learned I was pregnant!

While we were thrilled to learn we were expecting a new baby, this has not been an easy pregnancy. We spent the first half with concerns about a miscarriage and the last part with serious concerns about preeclampsia and preterm delivery. Additionally, because of my diagnosis with preeclampsia we had to delay our departure date and I had to stop working as a labor and delivery nurse, an occupation I love.

bird landing

Yet, God has been with us. Early on, in this pregnancy God comforted us with the verse Matthew 10:29-31:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

She is our Sparrow, and throughout our pregnancy and especially in taking her to Rwanda we must trust God to care for her.

Later, as we were looking at names, Krystal looked up the Hebrew meaning of Rayna: pure and song of the Lord. We liked the name, but we weren’t compelled by the meanings. We weren’t sure how “purity” fit the journey we have been on to being blessed with her or if it fit who we hoped she would become. The same morning I had looked up the meaning of Rayna and was praying over what we should name her, we went to church and heard a sermon that gave a whole new meaning to her name.

mark 6The sermon that day was on Mark 6:45-52 where Jesus walks on water. The sermon however, talked about how Jesus sent the disciples out on a boat into a storm and sat on the hillside watching them as they struggled against the wind all night. The main point of the sermon was that sometimes the Lord places us in the middle of storms on purpose and allows us to struggle so that we maybe purified for his glory. The pastor used the illustration of a silversmith purifying silver.

When a silversmith is purifying sliver he places the metal into a hot fire where it is melted until the impurities are separated from the pure metal. When a silversmith was asked how they knew when the silver was pure and should be pulled out of the fire, he answered, “I know it ready when I can see the reflection of my face in it.”

[It’s great sermon.  Check it out: Sent Into the Storm]

As we reflected on the journey God has brought us on thus far and the journey that we will walk once we arrive in Rwanda, we can see how there are times of trials, disappointments, suffering and hardships. However, we also know that God watches over us. In the midst of trials, we can trust him to be watching. We can know that he has put us into the crucible to be refined, that we might finally reflect his image and for that we are grateful. May our Rayna, also, reflect the image of Christ as pure silver.


Learning to Abide

God has been reminding me again that one reason he had us stay was to take some dedicated time to draw close to him.  Both of us can see how this will give us a greater spiritual reserve to minister in Rwanda. Grace got a story handout at Sunday School recently and I was reading it to her this morning. In the story, beginning in Luke 10:38, Martha was busy getting things done while Mary was sitting and listening to Jesus. When Martha complained, Jesus replied that Mary had chosen the “better” set of actions.

Jesus Visits Friends

Jesus Visits Friends

For many of us,  sitting at the feet of our Lord does not come naturally. However, this seems to be a common theme in both of our quiet times with the Lord. Recently, I (Nick) was meditating on the passage where people have been invited to the wedding banquet but no one shows up (Luke 15). They are invited again to come, but choose to pursue business and the busyness of life rather than to celebrate at a banquet. God seems to be preparing us that it isn’t just about doing the Lord’s work but also setting work aside for time dedicated to resting at his feet, enjoying his presence and abiding.

Jesus invites us into his presence, to cease our business for an important time of celebration and learning with him. He says,

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

I know I sound like a skipping record, but again and again God brings up this lesson.  Would you pray for us that we would learn what he would have us learn, and become the people he is molding us into?

Waiting for Baby

Our brave 3 year old on a climbing wall.

Our brave 3 year old on a climbing wall.

As I type this on Wednesday November 4, we are still waiting for our baby girl. Our doctor is so pleased with Krystal’s and baby’s health she does not feel the need to induce Krystal any time soon. We might have to wait as late as November 14 to meet her! This is good news and an answer to prayer, and probably better news as we have plenty of preparations for Rwanda.  We believe that it is because of your prayers that Krystal and baby are doing so well.  Thank You!

In Rwanda

Gary and Laurie Scheer

Gary and Laurie Scheer

Today, our friends and colleagues Gary and Laurie Scheer, after 7 months in the US for medical care, have returned to Rwanda. They are both excited to be back in the swing of things, and our team is grateful to have their friends back, healthy, and to have more hands on deck to help with the ministry. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send workers!  And in 11 days, Gary teaches one of the final classes for our graduating 4th year PTS students: The Kingdom of God.

Also, for five weeks, our CLIR students will receive instruction from a guest science teacher, Paul Steinmeyer. Pray that he quickly “gets” Rwanda and his students.

Update contact information

If you haven’t done so recently, PLEASE click here or the “update” link at the bottom of our email. It is a multi-step process, but we rely on your prayers and don’t want miss the connection.  With your accurate mailing address, we will send you our Christmas letter.

Financial update

A few of our supporters have had changes in their life situations and have needed to withdraw their commitment to support this ministry financially. We need to get back to 100% to travel to Rwanda. Pray for God to raise up three or four more people to give financially to this ministry.

Last prayers

Pray that:

  • We will be able to accomplish our Rwanda “to do list” before baby comes
  • For the birth of our baby girl -continued health of baby and mom and for the birth as a whole
  • For Grace who has had and will continue to have many big changes coming her way (leaving family, friends and school, becoming a big sister, packing or leaving behind most of her stuff and moving to Rwanda).  Poor girl is sick tonight.
  • God would arrange the perfect plane tickets for us -we are having a hard time finding a time to rebook our donated plane tickets over the holiday season, please pray that tickets would open up for the perfect time
  • That we would continue to use this time to practice abiding and that from that this time would bear fruit both here and in Rwanda