Some people like to see how the family is doing.
Over the last three weeks (and through the end of this one), Krystal, Grace and I have been preparing for the fire. Again and again, our trainers and coaches tell us that it will be hard but do-able; God who has called us will equip us. Adapting our lives to the language and culture of Rwanda will be a “fiery trial.” As we shared some of our insights with some of our Rwanda team (Gary and Laurie Scheer, 35 year veteran missionaries in Rwanda), Gary reminded us, “All this training is good, but it won’t keep you from going through culture shock. No matter what, you will go through it. This training will help you know when you are going through it and that it is normal.”It is an important refining process. God is burning down our house, not to be cruel, but to help us test to see what is fireproof.
For His Sake.
In Psalm 23, we read “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want… He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” I always thought it strange that God’s motives for guiding us includes his own reputation. As I consider the refining process, I read words of Isaiah 48:10-11: “See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.” May God’s reputation, his fame, in Rwanda be increased! Even if that means our affliction.
Grace traded her pacifiers for a Build-a-Bear dragon (from How to Train Your Dragon), named Toofis (Toothless). Our close friends, Jason and Amy Mitchel gave us this idea. We put the pacies inside while it was being stuffed. Now she can feel them, but can’t suck them. The first night was terrible, but every night since has been a bit better. During our time at MTI, Grace has been in a preschool class where she has been learning parallel topics to what we have been learning. One of these shared topics was “Paradox” or a Pair-of-ducks. In it there is a nice looking rubber duck that we call the “yay duck” and an ugly dirty duck called the “yuck duck.” Becoming missionaries has many paradoxes, including feelings surrounding leaving. There are “yay ducks” or good things that we look forward to and “yuck ducks” or aspects of this life change that will be difficult, challenging and sad.
Lately Grace has been sharing that she wants to go back to her home in “Port Townsend, Washington.” She tells me that she misses her Grammie, Shamira (Grammie’s dog), and her cousin Hayden. I love that MTI has given us a tool to talk about these sad parts of moving to Rwanda. Grace and I have begun talking about these as “yuck ducks,” the parts of moving that are sad and hard. While there will be positives, too, we have been encouraged to mourn with her as she recognizes these losses. While this transition has not and will not be easy for Grace, I am grateful that we have been given good tools to walk Grace through the process. Please remember to pray for her as she experiences these “yuck ducks.”
News from Rwanda
Our field mentors, Gary and Laurie Scheer have returned to the US for emergency medical tests. They have an appointment with a top-notch surgeon on May 6 to read Laurie’s MRI and make arrangements for surgery. Pray with us for a quick healing for her.
Fortunately, Gary was able to identify a leader at New Creation Ministries whom he could trust with leadership of the Pastoral Training School: Joseph Muyombano, our pastor to the pastors. Pray for him as he takes the reins.
Please consider making a financial commitment. We are looking for about 25 more people or families or churches to commit to give regularly toward the work in Rwanda. We are grateful for all who are involved, but we cannot go until we are 100% funded. Blessings, Nick, Krystal and Grace
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.
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.
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.)
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).
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.
Nick, Krystal and Grace