God Makes the First Move

We have been using “time out” for Grace recently. Often it is for saying “no.” She sits in time out until she is ready to apologize. For a little girl, she can be very determined. I will say, “Are you ready to say, ‘Sorry, Daddy, for saying “no”’?” She will fume, and pout, and try to wiggle away, and try to joke her way out of time out. Even from an early age, she will do anything to avoid acknowledging guilt. Often, I will go to her, pick her up, and hold her with love, and ask again, “Can you say, ‘Sorry, Daddy, for saying, “No”’?” In the loving arms of her father, her pride breaks (“Sawe, Dada, taying no.”), and she is free.

20140722_102029I have become more and more convinced that God makes the first move. His kindness leads us to repentance. (Romans 2:4) How wonderful the love of God, who cuts through our pride by loving first. How can we but respond with repentance.

Praise and Prayer

Thank you to all who prayed for the service at Oak Bay Baptist Church. As I prepared the sermon, God convicted me to “love the lost with abandon.” I’m sure God convicted others, too. We shared our 5 minute version of our story, and we have been invited back to share more on Wednesday July 23. Pray that God would move people to become partners with us in ministry.

What a pleasure to preach God's word and to share about Rwanda.

What a pleasure to preach God’s word and to share about Rwanda.

In fact, we have four group presentations scheduled over the next four weeks. We still desire one-on-one appointments, too. Pray that phones would be answered and schedules opened for these “partnership development” meetings. He who parted the Red Sea before the Hebrews can also make space in people’s schedules.

Survey Results

Thank you to those who responded. For those who read the emails and blogs, the current method and content are for the most part fine. We’ll keep it up! Some of you asked questions.

“What is your timeline? When do you leave?”

This date has changed a bit since we moved to Port Townsend. We now plan to leave in June 2015. There are some key dates between now and then.

  • Pre-departure training—January 21-23, 2015: Littleton, CO
  • Renewal Conference—January 26-30, 2015: Denver, CO
  • Compass (Cross-cultural skills)—February 9-March 7 March 30-April 25, 2015: Monument, CO

We have been told to allow three months to let the lessons of Compass sink in.  All three are necessary before we depart, but we cannot attend pre-departure training or Compass unless we are officially 60% funded.

“Where are you financially?”

According to our records, we are close to 50% funded toward monthly expenses. That counts the people who have told us in person or on the phone that they will partner with us financially for so much monthly or annually. According to WorldVenture’s records, we are officially at 29%.

The discrepancy is understandable. We haven’t made a big deal about making it official, until now. If this is you, could you make it official? Go to www.worldventure.com/donate. Search for Pirolo. You can start donating today, or you can choose the “write a check” option to make a commitment, but delay giving until you are ready. If you have any questions email or call me: 303-564-7189.

Trips

We went to Kelowna, British Colombia for a vacation, and to meet with some friends. It was where Krystal went to school, where we first lived as a married couple, and where Krystal spent about a week every summer of her life. It was nostalgic, removed, and quite refreshing.

We visited a kangaroo farm in Kelowna BC.  Grace and Nick got to feed a joey!

We visited a kangaroo farm in Kelowna BC. Grace and Nick got to feed a joey!

We plan to make some more trips, specifically for partnership development, in the near future. We will be back in Colorado for our trainings, and to meet with more folks. We will also visit friends in the Seattle area and California. Again, pray that doors would open to us. We yearn to be in Rwanda.

Thank you, again for your prayers for us, and for Rwanda.

Blessings,

Nick and Krystal

God’s Great Love and Patience

Grace and God’s Love

Through my daughter, Grace, God teaches me about his steadfast love and patience for me, and my own immaturity. Recently, I cut a slice of peach for Grace. When I noticed she was eating around the skin, I cut the skin off of the next two pieces she got. I tried to take the first piece to skin it, but she got defensive. “NO! It mine!” She squeezed the peach slice tight in her little fist.  I had over half the peach left, but she didn’t see that. She saw that I was taking the peach out of her hand.

We read in Romans 8:28 and 32, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose… He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

Grace at 23 months

Grace at 23 months

Yet we do not trust him enough to offer him our peach when he asks. Do we not know that it will come back better, or if not that he has something better in store for us? He does not need our peach, per se, but wants us to give it up before we can receive a blessing.

What We Teach

As we’ve met with many of you, I’ve shared that my work will be giving these pastors “vocational training”: New Testament, Old Testament, Church History, and Theology. But there is more. In the next few months, we’ll have classes on spiritual warfare, false teaching, and Sunday school, but also raising children (especially important considering the number of Rwandan parents who were themselves genocide orphans). Check out the school calendar here.

The challenge we face is to teach the truth of the Bible applied to the context of Rwandan life. We aren’t teaching American Christianity, or American culture. But we let the truth of the Word challenge Rwandan cultural understanding and practice. Our purpose in being in Rwanda is to help the Church there function as the Body of Christ.

Latest from Rwanda

We have mentioned before that our group is building more classrooms to make room for our new Bachelor’s degree program. My friends recently posted about the progress.

“At this point, it looks like we have enough funding to finish the plumbing, electric, septic, walls, and roof. This is huge progress! What remains? We need to finish off the rooms by plastering walls, installing electrical fixtures, coating the floors, putting glass in the windows, and building a ramp for second-story wheelchair access.”

Construction site mid-April.

Construction site mid-April.  Work has continued.

If you’re interested in contributing, go to www.worldventure.com, and donate to account 6402905, Pastoral Training Center Construction.

How to help: Lots of Ways!

God continues to amaze and humble us by the specific ways he calls people to partner with us in ministry. When we meet with people, we specifically ask them to pray about being a partner through:

  1. Prayer
  2. Finances (Occasional or Monthly gifts)
  3. Referring us to others (friends, family, coworkers, pastors) who might want to hear about this ministry
  4. Hosting a dessert for a group of friends
  5. General help and encouragement.

Take a moment.  Pray over this list.  Is God leading you to partner with us in one of these areas?  If so, let us know.

Over 250 of you receive our emails.  We are blessed that this ministry that God has placed on our hearts, He has also placed on your hearts. We are blessed to have each of you.  Our prayer is that God will bless Rwanda through our work, yours and ours.

Survey: About this blog

Are we doing a good job communicating with you? I have a 3-minute survey I’d like you to fill out. Click here.

Blessings,

Nick and Krystal

PS. I will preach at Oak Bay Baptist Church in two weeks.  Pray for me as I prepare a message, and join me there on June 22, at 10:45.  Here’s the address:

1314 Oak Bay Road
Port Hadlock, WA 98339

Yahweh Yireh

Pastor Bryan Roberts enjoying a ferry ride to Seattle after our harrowing move.

Pastor Bryan Roberts enjoying a ferry ride to Seattle after our harrowing move.

God’s Provision is Great! In response to your profound and effective prayers for us, I can now tell you that God has answered our prayers in many ways.  You may have already heard in our “Quick News” email update on July 3 that our travels to Port Townsend were safe for all humans.  There is more!

Friends from Starbucks: Jeff and Dan

Friends from Starbucks: Jeff and Dan

In the past 6 weeks God has also provided us with jobs.  I was indeed able to transfer to the nearest Starbucks in Sequim, Washington, ensuring that we would continue to have health insurance.  I miss my friends from Aspen Grove and Belleview and Prince Starbucks, but I am making friends and connecting here.  Since being hired, three customers have called my manager to complement my service.  Many of you know that I work at Starbucks to make real connections with people I wouldn’t otherwise meet.  These complements indicate to me that this work of making real connections with people is not in vain.  God is blessing me in this season. Krystal, also, was able to find work as a part time night labor and delivery nurse in a nearby hospital.  Because it is a newer area of nursing for her they are giving her 12 weeks of orientation, extra training we prayed she would receive even before she interviewed.  She has made friends at work and been a blessing to her patients even during her orientation. The drawbacks with these jobs are few, but significant.  For me, I commute 40 minutes each way.  Krystal commutes 50 minutes each way, and her orientation has her working full time hours during the day for the next three months.  All this cuts into the hours that we want to dedicate toward building relationships in Port Townsend and partnership development.  Pray that our time would be multiplied.

The rocks were painfully sharp and I forgot water shoes.

Grace enjoying the water at Cougar Campground on my family campout.

Refreshing Time with Family We have enjoyed extended time with my family camping in Cougar, WA in early June.  Then, in late June we a special visit with my Grandma Grace, and Aunt Diana and Uncle Forrest.  Krystal was able to spend some special time with her cousins in Seattle the day she arrived in Washington.  Also, we have thoroughly enjoyed spending regular time with Krystal’s Mom, sister Kendra, brother-in-law Danny, and niece Hayden.  We came back to spend time with family, and God is blessing this time.  (I’ve been able to write this because Danny and Kendra are watching Grace, today.)

Kirabo means approximately: gift or grace.

Our friend, Olive, from Uganda, gave Grace a beautiful doll who she helped us name “Kirabo.”

God Reveals His Grace through My Grace
God amazes me by continually revealing his character through my daughter.  This morning, Grace was playing with some q-tips, pulling them out of their container and trying to put them back.  (She’s 14 months and loves pulling things out and putting them in.)  Her manual dexterity is not quite there.  She had difficulty putting them back.  But she tried, first one way, then another, then another.  I realized that she had little expectation of excellence in this task.  She was having fun and learning, and was perhaps too young to be frustrated by her own incompetence.  And I, too, had no expectation for perfection on her behalf, and when playtime was over, I helped her pick up the remainder. As Krystal and I stress about Partnership Development and our own incompetence, God looks on us without judgment, but joy as we learn this skill.  God is our provision, and does not have unrealistic expectations of us.  He is our helper.

God’s Provision while We Rested
These last 8 weeks have been a break from Partnership Development as we discovered a new normal in Port Townsend.  While we rested, God did not stop working.  We were extremely blessed to have four families step in and support us financially. We are officially at 8% of our monthly support.  We also have a few families that are giving without committing or who have given verbal commitments but cannot yet start giving.  Both are fine, and we trust God’s provision for the 92%.  Before we leave, WorldVenture needs us to have monthly committed support at 100%.  If you would like to commit click this link:  Donate Now! 

For their vacation we were able to camp at Kalaloch, WA for two nights.  It rained, but we had loads of fun.

For their vacation we were able to camp at Kalaloch, WA for two nights. It rained, but we had loads of fun.

Guests We were blessed with guests from Wyoming: Pastor Brian (who helped us move) and Shauna Roberts, and Heyden and Peyton.  In their week of vacationing we went camping in Kalaloch, toured the upper bunkers in Port Townsend, and even went to Seattle Aquarium and Pike Place Market.

Silas and Grace have a last play date in Denver before we left.  This was her first first birthday party, and with her best friend.

Silas and Grace have a last play date in Denver before we left. This was her first first birthday party, and with her best friend.

Also our friends from Denver, Jason and Amy Mitchell and Silas took a mid-morning away from family to visit with us in Edmonds, WA.

Grace
Grace is a competent runner and loves to climb up stairs and bedside tables.  Unfortunately, she is oblivious to proper stair descent technique.  She still loves to dance to music, and has found a best friend in Port Townsend: her cousin Hayden.  She has learned “up peez,” and loves to wave and say “bye” when people leave.

One of the benefits of the retreat is time to bond with each other away from their children.

We visited this pastor two years ago in Rwanda. He and his wife are participating in the retreat this week.

Meanwhile in Rwanda
The pastors in their fourth year of training at New Creation Ministries and their wives are participating in a marriage retreat.  It is 8 days dedicated to building a foundation of Christian family living into this pastor family.  They will then model this lifestyle to their congregation.  Pray that they would learn to take joy in each other and work together to honor God in their marriages. We approach God with gratitude, but also an awareness of our utter dependence on him for his continual provision.  Pray also for Selah Ferguson, the girl mentioned in our last post.  So many miracles accompanied her, and she is mostly fine, but she is receiving delicate surgery in Texas on August 28 to address her hearing in her left ear and to “decompress” a facial nerve that will not recover naturally.  Read more about her here: Selah Ferguson. Thanks for your involvement in this ministry, Nick and Krystal