Thank you all for your prayers, and keep praying.
We arrived safely on Thursday January 21, with most of our bags. Five bags, including our desktop computer, did not make our crazy 35 minute plane transfer in Doha. Gate A9 to Gate E25 (the exact opposite end of the airport!)
Fortunately they arrived on the next flight, the next day, intact.
Upon our arrival, while I was waiting to fill out missing baggage papers, Krystal and Grace peaked around the corner and saw our entire team waiting for us. The kids had all skipped the end of school to meet us (especially Grace). What a great team! (Pictures to follow.)
Krystal and I were exhausted and settled ourselves into our new normal sleep pattern: 9PM-5AM. Grace, however, had slept on the plane and wanted to nap 10PM-1AM and then be awake. She’s had a tough sleep adjustment. Rayna adjusted pretty quickly, but Sunday night was the first night she slept through the night; given, we did stay up until crazy late: 10:30 PM. As of Monday, Grace has slept through the night, alone, in her own bed for three nights! Hallelujah!
The joke here is that 8PM is “missionary midnight,” but after a day of negotiating a new culture in unfamiliar weather, terrain, driving, language, etc., going to bed early just makes sense. Also, there is no TV to speak of, and streaming videos is both too expensive (paying for data by the megabyte) and too unreliable (our router says 4G LTE, but drops its signal frequently). I’ve tried to upload this letter for about three days!
We were able to ship many of our household items from the US to Rwanda, and they are set to arrive about March 20. Until then, we are living in a borrowed house with borrowed furniture. Praise God that we did bring our toothbrushes, pillows, computers and clothes on the plane. We can make it work, but each of us wants to “nest” in our own way, and we can’t do that until we have our own place. After living with Krystal’s mom for two years (a blessing in so many ways), we are READY for our own place. (Pictures to follow.)
On the other hand, every time we come back to the US on home assignment we’ll feel like we’re in borrowed space. This is just another in a long list of little things that remind us that this world is not our home.
Over the last few days we’ve been learning to drive, find our way around the city, scoping out places to buy daily food (bananas, milk), our core fruits and veggies, the odd prepared items, and cheap Chinese (BPA/Lead included) products.
Also, we were able to go to a 4 hour service in Kinyarwanda! Three sermons were hard, but the music was great. They did praise choruses; by the thirteenth time through, we were able to sing along!
Our team leader, Tim Brubaker, gives this report from our Pastoral Training School:
“We have 20 new pastors studying in our Pastoral Training School. We are two-thirds done with their first term, studying “The True Gospel” (with me) and “The Christian Life” (with Joseph). These courses require a major realignment of perspective and previous understanding. Pray for these guys!! Consider some of the men that we have been teaching these weeks:
- One has been utilizing strange spiritual powers to heal sicknesses. These powers were given to him before he became a Christian and have continued with random visitations from a spirit. He is praying that the Lord will release him from these things if they are not from him. (We are too!)
- One is a 27-year-old widower. His wife died two years ago, possibly from poison. He leads his local congregation while caring for his three-year-old son. His eyes well up with tears when he talks about his wife.
- One is becoming more aware throughout these courses that his adult son has possibly joined a cult. This morning we were praying together; his eyes were full of tears.
- One is realizing for the first time in his life that being the son of a pastor is insufficient to save him. When I asked him to share his testimony, he said he only has his father’s
- One is a newer Christian, having been saved out of Islam. Although he has given his life to Christ, he is becoming increasingly burdened for his son who is still in Islam. He is planning to visit his son shortly after this term to share the Gospel with him.
- One is an older man who came out of paganism many years ago. Although he clearly loves the Lord, he is very nervous about studying. He only finished two years of primary school and his wife is illiterate. He is not sure how he will make it through our program.
These are the men who will be catalysts for change in their local churches. As you pray for these men, pray also for the provision of additional financial sponsors to help underwrite their studies. (If you are interested, let us know, and we will send information.)”
Update: At a group prayer time, five pastors stood up to confess Christ as their savior for the first time. After an interview with each, Tim discerned that two of them just had issues with sin in their life, but three of these pastors received salvation this week. Amazing! Click here for more information via Tim’s update.
Our First Work
On Tuesday, Grace started Preschool and on Wednesday, Krystal and I began with our first work: language learning. We start together with our language tutor, Philemon. We are excited to have words. We are extremely discontent with our limited vocabulary and know that these next few weeks will be hard but very good and rewarding. Pray that Krystal and I will get into a workable pattern of life to study, learn together, and practice while caring for Grace and Rayna.
Again, thank you so much for praying for us. We’ve been blessed and amazed at God’s hand on us in this transition to Rwanda. We are FINALLY HERE! Now to work!