Transitions

As of today, Thursday, co-worker Eric Flaa will be on home assignment to get married, reconnect with supporters, and debrief his first term.  With his departure, I will be stepping in as the Acting Director of New Creation Ministries.  Taking a good share of the work, though, will be a Rwandan colleague, Jean Bosco, and another WorldVenture Missionary, Gary Bennett.  Pray for us, as we, three, carry our own work load, and take up more responsibility.

In the past 12 months our staff meeting has changed from 14 to 9.  We have lost 6 regular staff at NCM: (1 retired, 1 returned to US for pastoral ministry, 1 resigned to dedicate his time to pastoral ministry, 2 in the US for medical reasons, and 1 just now going on home assignment), and gained 1 (dedicated to teaching PTS).  In the next five months, we are hopeful to have two return from medical leave and one new arrival to work with NCM from a partnering mission organization.  ALL THE MATH!  But really, it is change and transition, and unsettling.  More importantly, Rwandan culture fears uncertainty.  Pray especially for our Rwandan colleagues in this time of transition.

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Seven of these fifteen people at our staff retreat in 2017 are not currently serving with us in Rwanda.  Jean Bosco is next to me, fifth from the right.  Eric is next to him in the black shirt.

Remembrance

Sunday marks the 25thanniversary of the Genocide in Rwanda.  Join us in prayer for our Rwandan colleagues and friends who still bear the scars, mental and physical, of that time.  Rwanda has come so far, but there is still a long way to go to see the Gospel transform and heal.

Retreat

We are going to the triennial East Africa Spiritual Life Conference in Kenya next week.  Please keep us in prayer as we have time to reflect and grow spiritually, and reconnect with our leaders at the WorldVenture Home Office.

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This is Grace three years ago at the last Spiritual Life Conference.  Despite her nonplussed expression in this picture, she had a blast!

That meeting will be followed immediately by a family vacation.  Krystal’s mom, Shari, will join us in Kenya with her new husband, Grandpa Steve.  Okay, his name is really Steve, but he’s the first grandpa any of our children have ever known, so there is some excitement.  Pray for traveling mercies all around.  Traveling with young children is not easy, and vacations can sometimes be more work than fun (for the parents).  Pray that this time is restful and refreshing, and a time of joyful meeting, reuniting, and growing deeper all around.

 

Remembering

Real+Salt+Lake+v+Seattle+Sounders+FC+l1IFfiBphOblKrystal, Grace and I were able to attend the first game of the season for the Seattle Sounders FC. Before the kick off, a local ROTC marched on the field and unfurled an enormous American Flag in preparation for the singing of the national anthem: The Star Spangled Banner.

The 15 star, 15 stripe banner from Fort McHenry

The 15 star, 15 stripe banner from Fort McHenry

While everyone loves to cheer as the singer reaches the high note (“free”), few remember what we are remembering. Francis Scott Key originally titled his poem In Defense of Fort M’Henry, writing his first draft on a boat in Chesapeake Bay during the Battle of Fort McHenry on September 13, 1814, part of America’s War of 1812. Few can personally identify with ramparts, rockets and bombs, so we focus on the easier parts: flag, free, brave. September of this year marks the bicentennial for the writing of this poem, and an American victory in a battle long forgotten.

Remembering the genocide, 20 years later

Remembering the genocide, 20 years later

April of this year marks an important milestone for Rwanda. On April 7, Rwanda marks the 20th anniversary of the genocide. Fresh memories of the failure of humanity, lost family members, death, imprisoned loved ones who participated in the killing. Pray for the people of Rwanda in this time, as they collectively mourn. They mourn and swear, “Never again!” We know that until we are changed by God, we are slaves to sin. Pray that the Holy Spirit would change lives in Rwanda.

Family Visit

Krystal shares that she was the first Christian in her family, but not the last. We regularly pray that God would draw on the hearts of those that do not know him, using us if possible.

We went frog hunting!

We went frog hunting!

Last week, Krystal’s brother’s family from British Colombia came to visit on their Spring Break. It was chaos, and fun, and special. Krystal’s brother is a former atheist and his wife is a former Catholic, and they self-identify within the zone of agnostic/spiritual but non-religious. They, however, are very deliberate about letting their 12 year-old son, my nephew, make up his own mind. He and I had a few conversations through the week. At one point, his parents both entered that conversation, and we talked about the problem of evil, and why an all-powerful God would allow suffering, focusing on starvation and disasters in the developing world. I gave my best answer and an interruption changed the topic. I love having deep conversations with people I care about.  Join me in praying that God would continue to work their lives.

Grace

Grace Dances-with-Frogs Pirolo

Grace Dances-with-Frogs Pirolo

A few of observations at 21 months:

  • When she wakes up in the morning, I hear in the baby monitor, “Daddy, [where] are you?”
  • She grabs my finger and says, “Walk,” to indicate she is ready for the transition.
  • She likes to use metal forks for meals, even when it is finger-food. (Must be the British in her).
  • She likes to give doggie treats to the dog and has used them to learn to throw.
  • We’ve retired all the 18 month clothes and now wear only 2T and size 6 shoes.
  • She is definitely an extrovert. She loves church and the library because she will see “friends.”
  • She loves books. Her favorite books: The Boy Who Went Ape, Llama Llama series, Bear About Town series.

Way to Partner: Financial

We recently had dinner with a family, and told them about our call to minister in Rwanda. I shared with them God’s challenge to the Church from 1 Timothy 6:18-19, “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” His response amazed us: God had already been working in his heart on the matter of finances. He confessed that after making several large purchases recently God convicted him of being materialistic and moved in his heart to invest in God’s work around the world. This happened right around the time I called him to set a date.

ImageThere are many ways “to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous.” Perhaps like our friends, God is working in your heart to use your money for God’s work in America and around the world. If so, respond to Him. We would love to have you invest financially in God’s work in Rwanda. But more than that, we want to stand together with you when our Master says, “Well done, my good and faithful servants.”

If you would like to give one time or regularly, click here.

Blessings,

Nick and Krystal Pirolo

Anticipation and Surprise

Ruth Pirolo enjoying her family.

Ruth Pirolo enjoying her family.

Would you rather have a surprise party or know about the party and wait in anticipation?  We celebrated my (Nick’s) mom’s 70th birthday this month.  We children started planning to get together.  Then, we decided to make it a surprise for my mom.  Eventually, she found out that we were taking her out to eat, but was shocked to see 25 people gathered to celebrate her.

This seemed to be a great balance: she could anticipate the party, without worrying about a big party.  Plus she gets the surprise of a room full of people come to honor her.

Italian Wedding Cake and close friends for Shari's birthday.

Italian Wedding Cake and close friends for Shari’s birthday.

For my mother-in-law’s birthday, we let her invite the friends, but the surprise was the menu: a really good cut of meat and her favorite dessert homemade from scratch topped with a candle for every year she has been alive.  She thanked us for the best birthday party she ever had.  We had good balance of anticipation and surprise.

As we anticipate, moving to Rwanda in February of 2015, we are filled with joy and longing, fear and loss.  We also anticipate surprises.  We remember the verse, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)

I (Nick) have shared with many of you about my anxiety regarding phone calls.  Yet God has surprised us with great meetings resulting from these calls.  He is good, and we see that when we trust him.

Prayers Answered

NO: Rain in Rwanda

It did rain on the building project in Rwanda.  The work started at 3AM.  The rain started at 10AM and continued long past 6:30PM when the work was done.  It was wet and muddy work, but the work was finished with a minimal impact on the integrity of the cement.  Making concrete in Rwanda  This video may not show up if you are not logged into Facebook.

YES: A Bumper Crop of Pastors

Last month, we asked you to pray for the pastors as they began study at New Creation Ministry’s Pastoral Training School.  We had a sharp group of 33 pastors arrive and learn about the True Gospel.  At the end of the class, through their written testimonies it was evident that at least 10 (and perhaps up to 20) entered into salvation for the first time during this class.  Praise God!

Ways to Partner: Host an Event

We promise our presentation to your friends will make more sense than Alice's tea party.

We promise our presentation to your friends will make more sense than Alice’s tea party.

Last month, we spoke about how people can partner with us by introducing us to their friends who might be interested in God’s work in Rwanda.  For people who have the gift of hospitality, you can let us share with a bunch of your friends at once by hosting a “tea” or “dessert.”  We can work together on the details to make our time together refreshing, encouraging, and fun.   Pray about it.  This might be the way God will use to bless Rwanda!

Blessings,

Nick and Krystal