Finding Home and Rhythms

As always we appreciate your partnership in this ministry to Rwanda. We are well aware that we could not have gotten here without your support, and we won’t stay here without your continued involvement.

Language

In many ways we feel like we have turned a corner in language. We have been in Rwanda for 7 months and have studied Kinyarwanda for 6 months. Many missionaries don’t try because they have a different ministry philosophy, or they are short term. Others stop at 3 months or 6 months of study, and this we can understand. The needs for ministry in Rwanda are great and this could be comfortable plateau.

We are able to express basic needs and ideas. Yet we know we have so far to go. For us Kinyarwanda is easier to speak than hear and basic sentences must be simplified and repeated multiple times. Sometimes we feel like the most common things we say are, “Bisubiremo” (repeat) and “buhoro, buhoro” (slowly, slowly). The biggest growth point in language now is that we need to build our vocabulary and understanding of grammar, and of course, practice.

We believe it is such a gift that WorldVenture and our team give us this opportunity to invest in ourselves as missionaries and the people of Rwanda by learning the language well. For us it is such a blessing to speak Kinyarwanda to an unsuspecting Rwandan and have them light-up with surprise and joy that “tuzi ikinyarwanda!?!?” (We know Kinyarwanda!?!?). They are even more amazed when Grace greets them or responds to them in Kinyarwanda.

Krystal and I continue to study together and bring different strengths to learning. Because we are here for the long haul, our primary role right now is to be a learner of language and culture. Even still, pray that we would make use of opportunities to point people to Christ.

Kumbya

We enjoyed a refreshing time at Kumbya, the annual missionary family camp/conference held on Lake Kivu. Grace made some good friends and Rayna stole some hearts. For our part, we survived tent camping with two young kids in Africa. We were blessed by the ministry of a short-term team from Canada who ran a Vacation Bible School for our kids and brought a phenomenal plenary speaker who taught on the 12 apostles.

Our Home

About a week before Kumbya, our pre-move-in home repairs were completed and we finally moved in to our “permanent” home. It has been a long time since we felt truly in a home of our own. Since arriving in Rwanda, we have moved/travelled at least six times, but with this last one, we were finally able to unpack pictures and frames and put them up, organize our kitchen and office and create places of study and play. Our favorite part of the house is the outdoor area where we spend most of our language lessons, something we could have never done in the cool Pacific Northwest.

Since we are making Rwanda our home, we are so grateful to have a house that can be a home our girls grow up in.

Our Family

This past month, Rayna (now almost 10 months) began to crawl. She is a slow crawler, unless you leave a dirty shoe within ten feet of her. Then she loves to crawl over and try to chew it before you notice. And this past week she has begun to cruise. Rayna chooses the darnest times to cut teeth! Her first two were at the conference in Kenya. Her second two started while camping in at Kumbya! She is quite uncomfortable with them, still, especially at night. [Pray for good sleep!] But in the day, she continues to be our joyful, sweet girl.

Grace (4 years) recently began Pre-Kites at Kigali International Community School, and she LOVES school. Today she announced that she could count to 100 (She got up to forty-eight, forty-nine, forty-twenty, forty-twenty-one.) She participates in a kids’ choir, and has taken to singing to herself while she colors.

Please continue to pray for Grace as she still very much misses Washington and her cousin Hayden. We have seen Grace’s character grow tremendously since arriving in Rwanda and see so many beautiful aspects of her life here but it is hard to see her deeply mourn over the loss of her home and family.

Krystal had an opportunity to meet with 6 other immigrant nurses to collaborate on ways to practice nursing in Rwanda. This month she also plans to begin regularly volunteering at the Nyabisindu Clinic. This clinic is set up in a very poor area of the city and ministers to mothers and babies by providing prenatal and postnatal care to families who have little to no resources for healthcare or education.

Nick has been excited to participate in staff meetings at New Creation Ministries, and to get to know his Rwandan counterparts. God willing, these are the ones we will serve with for many years to come. They have a staff retreat September 9-11. Pray that good friendships are forged in that meeting, and pray for Krystal as she has our kids alone for a weekend. Finally, Nick is ecstatic to see that he is on the schedule to teach his first class in April of next year, one year and three months after we arrived. Fortunately, this will be in the college and taught in English.

Internet

We have been experiencing excruciatingly slow internet most of the time for the last three months. Given 8 hours of mostly focused work, we were able to update our computers. If we are slow to respond to emails, or still haven’t added you to the email updates, it is because we have a hard time managing such things well from our phones and our computers are hard to connect to the internet. Pray that a better solution becomes available, inexpensively, soon. We may change the format of our updates to account for these realities in the field.

Once again, thank you for your continued prayer and financial support that allows us to build God’s kingdom in Rwanda.

Blessings,

Nick, Krystal, Grace and Rayna

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

On the Road

Urgent Prayer RequestImageThe three-year-old daughter of one of our coworkers in Rwanda is in the hospital with brain trauma.  A heavy metal box fell on Selah’s head while their family was relocating from one house to another.  She has two skull fractures and spinal fluid leaking from her ear (which could lead to meningitis).  Since her injury, she is no longer on a ventilator, but is on pain medication.  On Sunday, she was stabilized enough to evacuate her to a specialized facility in South Africa.  Our prayer for her is that there is no long term injury to her eye and her brain, that the spinal fluid leak heals without surgery, and that apparent nerve damage to her face would heal.   Follow her story here: http://prayerwall.worldventure.com/lance-and-tiffany-ferguson/ 

Her story reminds us first, that kids get injured, no matter where in the world you live.  Second, in Rwanda, there are some resources, but we will need people praying to God on our behalf, seeking his protection.  Finally, we are thankful to have a sending organization that knows how to mobilize prayers and provides medical evacuation for emergencies.

Mileposts in lifeImageKrystal graduated from Denver Seminary.  Many of you honored us by coming to the ceremony.  Special thanks to Shari, Krystal’s mom, who came from Washington to visit. Thank you!

ImageI successfully completed the Bolder Boulder, a 10K run in Boulder, CO.  I was fighting illness the week before, but was able to run about 5.5 mph, or an 11 minute mile.  Special thanks to my running partner, Rick Herzer, who kept me training these last 5 months.  His other friend, Nick, who recently moved to Colorado Springs from Washington, also ran the race.

Image

Grace has gone from “cruising” to actually walking up to 20 steps at a time.  She is thriving on her two nap a day schedule and sleeping through the night.  She continues to be a joy to us. She points at things and says, “Oooo.”  She stares at people in public.  She loves playing chase and tickling.  And our favorite, she dances anytime music plays, especially “Elmo’s Got the Moves.”  Check out her moves at the BolderBoulder.  Grace has the moves!

Lessons on the Road

Both Krystal and I feel quite confident and competent in many ways.  She is a skilled nurse and nurse leader at her hospital.  She has been an A student at Denver Seminary.  I like to think that I do well at teaching, preaching and discipling.  I was an A- student at seminary.  And I am a great barista at Starbucks.  While life was hard at times, in many ways we were in our sweet spot in Denver; we had opportunities to practice the gifts God gave us.

Over the next three years, we are going through a “construction zone.”  First, we are leaving Denver for Port Townsend, WA.  Second, Krystal is looking for a nursing job in Labor and Delivery, a newer field of nursing for her.  Third, I’m trying to transfer to a Washington Starbucks, but don’t have anything secure yet.  Fourth, partnership development requires skills and abilities we don’t really have. Fifth, we are leaving Washington in November 2014 for Rwanda where we will spend a significant amount of our energy learning to speak and live in a new way.

All this to say, the path ahead will be really bumpy and hard at times, but it leads to the place God wants us.  Please pray for us along the way.

Going Away Party

In case you didn’t hear, we are having a get-together to say good-bye to Denver.  All are invited.  Open house format.  Meat and fixings are provided.  Bring a side to share and your own drink of choice.

Saturday, June 8 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM

The Blomberg House
7850 S Race St
 Centennial, CO 80122

If you haven’t rsvp’ed elsewhere, please reply to this email if you plan to come.

Partnership Development

We are at the 6-month mark with WorldVenture for PD and the goal is to be between 15-25%.  If you have pledged to give monthly, or you would like to join our monthly support team, please take a moment to sign up right now: https://www.worldventure.com/donate. If you want to commit, but can’t begin giving right away, select the payment option “mail a check.”  (You can adjust this later.)  If you can begin giving right away, that money goes toward our outgoing expenses.

Our many thanks to those who have given and those who continue to give: finances, prayers, help, and encouragement.  We have been blessed beyond what we expected as we shared our story and listened to each of yours.

Blessings,

Nick and Krystal

March-ing On

Ministry of Preparation

March was an interesting month for Partnership development.  We had several great appointments with friends from Sunday school and seminary.  On the other hand, we had two weeks without appointments: one for Krystal’s labor and delivery class, and one because God knew that Grace would get sick.  It is hard not to get discouraged in the weeks that nothing seems to be happening.  But this, too, is training for times of ministry in Rwanda.  Our call is to be faithful to where God has us today.

 ImageKrystal with Perinatal Nursing text

This Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Krystal will receive more specialized training in maternal and newborn nursing.  Her report on pregnancy and labor issues in Rwanda will probably come in our next post.

The last week of March had two key events.  First, we met with Waterstone Community Church’s Mission Task Force on Tuesday (www.waterstonechurch.org).  We sent out a quick prayer update for that one because we didn’t know when this post would be done.  From what we have heard, Waterstone is generous with the missionaries it chooses to support, and they understandably expect a lot from their missionaries, too: connection with the church, reaching the lost, learning the host culture, spending more time with nationals than other missionaries, etc.  These are all good principles of effective missions, and behaviors we are eager to do.  We felt we presented the ministry clearly, and our prayer was that they would partner with us.  Thanks to all who prayed.  (They recently informed us that they are unable to make a long-term commitment, but have made a gift toward our outgoing expenses and expressed an interest in receiving updates to support us in prayer.)

The second event was speaking at Elodie Emig’s Bible study on Friday.  It was an extremely fun group of people from New Song Church (http://newsongchurchandministries.org).  I brought Grace, but Krystal was working at the hospital.  They ended my sharing time by praying for us, and encouraging us.  We are blessed to have a friend like Elodie to introduce us to her friends.  This is one way that God brings people to this ministry to Rwanda.

A third important event coming up has to do with Scum of the Earth Church (www.scumoftheearth.net).  I have been asked to preach this Sunday, April 7.  Along with my sermon on the Great Commission, we will give a teaser about our ministry, then after the evening service, we will have a dessert for people at Scum who want to hear more.  It is a privilege to preach at Scum, and to share this ministry with them.  By the way, you are all invited to hear me preach and to stay for the dessert.  Please come.  And pray for me as I finish my sermon preparations.  And pray as we present.  Truly, your prayers are invaluable!

News from Rwanda

Our co-worker, Tim, reports that the fourth year students in the Pastoral Training School of New Creation Ministries are fired up to share what they have learned.  A few have begun to teach other pastors in their denominations and in their regions of Rwanda.  Another has said, “After I’m finished at NCM, my dream is to go to Congo and begin a similar program for teaching and discipling pastors.”  Their zeal for sharing the Word of God is inspiring.

Personal

Thank you all for your prayers for us to parent Grace well.  As she grows up, she is becoming more and more fun.  We love seeing her smile when we come home from work, watching her play and learn.  At nine months old, she got her first tooth, she caught a cold, and we are trying to sleep train her.  She is doing much better, but please continue to pray for her.

We have a (tentative) date set for our return journey to Port Townsend, Washington: June 22-25.  We have anticipated that day for a long time, and it is now less than three months away.  We just have 100 people left to meet with in Denver before then.  Image

As we plan for our time in Washington, there are several important things we are praying about.  Where will we work for the 17 months before we leave for Rwanda?  How can we best use the time we have with family?  How can we be a blessing to our church there?  Who is God preparing there to be on our team?  Should we use this time to pursue specialized educational opportunities?

Lots going on.  We appreciate your interest in our lives and this ministry that we share.  Please continue to pray for God to work in us and through us as we prepare for Rwanda.  Pray that God connects us with the people he wants involved.  Also, please let us know how we can pray for you.

Blessings!