One Year in!

ONE YEAR!  It is hard to believe, but we have been serving the Lord in Rwanda for one year, as of January 21. We are filled with such joy and gratitude that God has chosen us for this purpose, that he connected us with each of you to send us and partner with us in His work in Rwanda, that he saw us through tough times, and that we have seen signs of thriving.

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January 2016

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January 2017, 5th birthday party for Peace

Iranzi Clinic Training

Krystal is participating in staff training at the Iranzi (God knows me) Clinic for three weeks this month. This clinic aims to serve as the birthing center for the poor women in nearby Nyabasindu, where Krystal has served at pre- and post-natal clinics on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These women now have a safe place to give birth!

img_5925One story from the training: Iranzi Clinic has a policy that patients will be discharged home 8-12 hours after delivery and will have a home visit the following day. (This is part of the philosophy of midwifery.) If they haven’t paid, they will not be held captive at the clinic until they pay, a common practice at hospitals and clinics here in Rwanda where a patient can be held for weeks or months adding to a debt that they already cannot pay. As our new team discussed that we will not be holding captive moms who cannot pay, most of the Rwandans began to protest! “But if they don’t pay, they shouldn’t leave! If they don’t pay before they go, they will never pay and they will go home and tell their friends to come to this clinic because they can receive free care.” The new staff feared that they would lose their jobs because the business would fail if people were discharged without paying.

dsc_0371Something that is very different about Iranzi is the that it practices care within the context of relationship. All of the women who come to the clinic for delivery will be part of a midwifery/nurse team. They will have been seen several times prenatally at Nyabasindu’s outreach clinic before they deliver. Each midwife and nurse that is apart of their team will know them, their social situation, their birth history and will have been praying with them along the way. This is a completely revolutionary way of practicing maternal/baby care in Rwanda!

Continue to pray for Krystal as she interacts with many strong personalities all day. This has been exhausting emotionally and physically. Meanwhile, she isn’t getting as much time with our girls, or any time to study Kinyarwanda, or time to exercise, or much time for devotions. Important things and activities that feed her soul are on hold for these intense training weeks.

Pray also that we can establish a reasonable new normal after the training.

Language Helper

Philemon got another job! After working with us for 11 months, our language helper let us know that he was hired into a ministry position discipling Sunday school teachers. It is an answer to prayer for him and for us as we prayed for his future in ministry.

img_3769Now, we need another helper, part time. We have several leads, but we need wisdom choosing a new helper. Even as we begin more ministry, we need to keep studying the language or else it will slip away from us.

Matching Funds

Through our GoFundMe account along with email and Facebook campaigns to raise awareness, we received $11,400 in matching funds! Praise God for bringing in so many to partner with us, and praise God for the anonymous matching donor who shared of his abundance. This funding allows poor, rural pastors to receive training at our Pastoral Training School.  If you would like to sponsor any of them, here’s the link.

ncm-pts-2016Keep praying for these pastors.  Many struggle as we undo years of false doctrine and help them to study the Bible for truth.

Family

img_5928Girls keep growing up!

img_5841Rayna is walking on her own and has been cutting molars! She loves to drink amata (milk) out of a straw cup like her big sister. Crazy girl loves to smile, wave and blow kisses; she LOVES being tickled. Saturday, she even said, “Hi. Da.”

img_5761Grace loves school, visiting our neighbors, and coloring with Mom. One year ago, she was terrified of trampolines and swings. Now, our brave girl jumps from a chair to her swing. She’s going FAST on her balance bike. If we could find a safe, flat road, we’d start teaching her to ride a pedal bike (unfortunately for her and us this is the land of a thousand hills and driving here is chaotic to say the least).

Thank you for your continued prayers for us and for Rwanda.

Helping the People

Thanks for your prayers for my family while I was away from Rwanda. Being in Naples was exciting, educational (both for the conference and tour of Pompeii), and restful. But it was also hard to be away from my girls for seven days. Not as hard as it was on Krystal for me to be away for seven days, though.   We all made it through.20161019_170400

 

Conference

Though I studied to be a teacher, it was excellent to refresh my education in the context of theological education. I enjoyed the camaraderie and networking opportunities allowed by meeting other theological educators who work in formal (seminaries) and informal settings (non-degree or church programs). Because New Creation Ministries has programs in both realms, what I learned will be especially helpful.

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New Creation Ministries

In our undergraduate program (CLIR), we are on the last term of the second year, with classes “Teaching Jesus” and “Missions.” In January, God willing, we will start another cohort into Year 1 courses. Pray with us for the right 25-35 new students.

The first year students in our Pastor Training School (PTS) have just begun “False Teachings” and “Intro to the Bible.” Pray for all our students to be transformed by what they learn in the classroom, that they would come to know Christ better, and be better equipped to lead their flock. 20161026_145625

Matching Donations!

We have just received word of a matching donations grant. We have a pastor sponsorship program for the pastors and church leaders in PTS. From now through December, any new sponsorships (full or partial) will be matched, up to $16,000. Click here to learn more about this program. Currently, our budget is heavily dependent on missionary teachers. As we find highly skilled Rwandan teacher/ theologian/ discipler/ pastors we like to bring them onto our teaching team. These sponsorships enable us to realize the dream of Rwandans trained to teach and disciple Rwandans. Click here to see the brochure. Here to give through WorldVenture.  Here to participate through our GoFundMe page.

Drought!

After an unusually long dry season, we are having an unusually hot and dry “rainy” season. I have heard reports of dead grass and dying cattle in the eastern province. Farmers near the city watch their crops wither in the heat. Additionally, the price of staples (plantains, potatoes, beans) has been increasing in the city. In the village, families go to the market and find no food to buy. Pray with us for rain to sustain Rwandans.

Grace and Rayna

Pray for Grace. We have her on various medications to help her kick a lingering cough that might also be allergies that might also be asthma. Pray with us that she recovers completely.

Pray for Rayna. She has four full teeth, but is cutting three more. She is so sad and is having trouble sleeping.

Finances

Pray for our finances. While we left for Rwanda with commitments to cover 102% of our monthly support, some of our supporters have lost jobs and can no longer participate in this way. Pray about becoming a financial partner with us. Click here to join.

We are grateful for each of you for your prayers and sacrificial giving.

Blessings,

Nick, Krystal, Grace and Rayna

Introducing Rayna Sparrow

On November 9, 2015, at 7:21 AM, Krystal gave birth to our second daughter, coming into this world at 8lbs 8oz, and 22in long.

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The Story of Her Name

We have had many people ask us about how we chose to name her Rayna Sparrow. As a background, the past three years have not been easy and more specifically, this pregnancy has not been easy. From the time we were appointed to be missionaries to Rwanda to now, we feel like we have been on a difficult journey of transition, change of identity, and preparing to get to Rwanda. During this time, we feel like we have had many joys, answers to prayers, times of questioning, disappointments, trials of faith and learning to trust in God’s perfect timing.

One of these trials and disappointments was the time it took to actually get pregnant with Rayna. Call me (Krystal) crazy, but having grown up with a sister close to my age, I had always hoped to have my kids close together and really wanted to have our second child shortly after having Grace. This, however, did not happen. In fact, it took much longer to get pregnant than I expected and along the way there were some serious times of disappointment and heartbreak. Nearing our expected departure to Rwanda, I began to think it would be a good idea for us to wait until we arrived in Rwanda before we continued to try for baby number two. However, I was shocked when 9 months out from our expected departure date I learned I was pregnant!

While we were thrilled to learn we were expecting a new baby, this has not been an easy pregnancy. We spent the first half with concerns about a miscarriage and the last part with serious concerns about preeclampsia and preterm delivery. Additionally, because of my diagnosis with preeclampsia we had to delay our departure date and I had to stop working as a labor and delivery nurse, an occupation I love.

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Yet, God has been with us. Early on, in this pregnancy God comforted us with the verse Matthew 10:29-31:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

She is our Sparrow, and throughout our pregnancy and especially in taking her to Rwanda we must trust God to care for her.

Later, as we were looking at names, Krystal looked up the Hebrew meaning of Rayna: pure and song of the Lord. We liked the name, but we weren’t compelled by the meanings. We weren’t sure how “purity” fit the journey we have been on to being blessed with her or if it fit who we hoped she would become. The same morning I had looked up the meaning of Rayna and was praying over what we should name her, we went to church and heard a sermon that gave a whole new meaning to her name.

mark 6The sermon that day was on Mark 6:45-52 where Jesus walks on water. The sermon however, talked about how Jesus sent the disciples out on a boat into a storm and sat on the hillside watching them as they struggled against the wind all night. The main point of the sermon was that sometimes the Lord places us in the middle of storms on purpose and allows us to struggle so that we maybe purified for his glory. The pastor used the illustration of a silversmith purifying silver.

When a silversmith is purifying sliver he places the metal into a hot fire where it is melted until the impurities are separated from the pure metal. When a silversmith was asked how they knew when the silver was pure and should be pulled out of the fire, he answered, “I know it ready when I can see the reflection of my face in it.”

[It’s great sermon.  Check it out: Sent Into the Storm]

As we reflected on the journey God has brought us on thus far and the journey that we will walk once we arrive in Rwanda, we can see how there are times of trials, disappointments, suffering and hardships. However, we also know that God watches over us. In the midst of trials, we can trust him to be watching. We can know that he has put us into the crucible to be refined, that we might finally reflect his image and for that we are grateful. May our Rayna, also, reflect the image of Christ as pure silver.