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.

 

Thankful

With Thanksgiving around the corner, we wanted to share with you our Top 5 List of things we’re thankful for these days. (Not necessarily in order of our gratitude.)

#5. Family!

The big news is we are pregnant!

 

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We are expecting a baby boy in late March.  From the 20 week ultrasound, mom and baby look healthy.

Grace and Rayna continue to bring joy to our lives.  Our family traveled to Cape Town in late September to attend a WorldVenture conference. While it interrupted school for Grace and Nick, it became a refreshing break from the hundred little things that had been wearing on each of us. After the conference, we stayed a few more days to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. Both of us grew up on the beach (San Diego and Port Townsend), so it filled us up, seeing our daughters play in the sand and waves.

Finally, our parents are visiting! We are excited to host Krystal’s mom in December, and Nick’s mom in March.

#4. Church!

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Grace and Rayna in Sunday School

In October, we were invited by several friends to attend a young Kinyarwanda church called Gospel Community Church. This church understands the Gospel, has sound theology, and is excited for outreach, evangelism, and missions. Krystal has begun attending a cell group on Tuesday nights (while Nick keeps an eye on the girls). This is a church where we feel fed, and we believe this church will play a strategic role in the future of discipleship in Rwanda. It is a joy to be part of a healthy church!

#3. Ministry!

We are so thankful for the meaningful work God has us in and the people we serve.

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CLIR Students

I (Nick) successfully finished a term teaching Systematic Theology, and then a term teaching Teaching and Educational Ministries at New Creation Ministries. Some of my students have far reaching influence in Rwanda, and are now better equipped to teach the truth of God’s word.

Krystal has a new title at Iranzi: Mentor to Midwives. She continues her work at the prenatal outreach clinic, and has taken a more intentional step toward observing and coaching the Rwandan staff.

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Krystal teaching a group of midwives about labor support

#2. Matching Grant!

Our hearts fill with gratitude knowing that, for the second year in a row, a donor has offered to match all new sponsorships of pastors in our Pastoral Training School (PTS) made by December 31! After the pastors pay their $80 annual school tuition, there remains about $1800 per student to fund their education and discipleship. While that is only $150 per month, with 35 pastors expected to begin in January, that is more than we can bear alone.   This matching grant makes it easier for new sponsors to give.

If you are interested in more information, a brochure is linked below. And the sponsorship link below that. Every dollar helps! Krystal and I are so excited about this, we have already committed to sponsor a portion of a pastor’s training.

Pastoral Sponsorship Information

Pastoral Sponsorship Donation

#1. YOU!

We’ve often quoted Philippians 1:3-5 to you: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”   And it is true. We are thankful for each of you who has given your time, prayers, and finances, to see the gospel, the Good News of the Kingdom of God, spread throughout Rwanda. You are PARTNERS with us, we are yoked together. We rise or fall together, but by God’s grace, we are rising, and we hearing God’s name glorified in the nations. Krystal and I are so thankful for you and we couldn’t be here or do what we do without you.img_5189

There you have it, our top 5 things we are thankful for this year. What are you thankful for? Let us know in the comments below.

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

Season of Goodbyes

Thank you, all, for your prayers on our behalf.

They say with raising children, “The days are long but the years are short.” We are feeling that as we raise our beautiful girls in the midst of orienting ourselves to culture in Rwanda and spending a sizeable portion of each day on language learning.

East Africa Spiritual Life Conference

IMG_1607For a week in early April, our team joined other World Venture missionaries from Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya for this conference in Mombasa, Kenya. We had a great time of prayer and spiritual rejuvenation with a preaching team from Denver Community Church, and the 3-12 year olds had a special team come out from Peoria to run a Vacation Bible School.

One highlight for us adults was the “first termer’s” debrief. We connected with about 8 other families who were in their first term as missionaries in Africa. We rejoiced that others understood our struggles from personal experience, and we heard stories of rejection, disappointment, fear and loss as well as joy, friendship, and “baby step” successes that illustrate the path that is before us in this first term.

Building Relationships in a Climate of Distrust

In a conversation with an embassy employee, he said, “I’ve lived in 7 different countries and always make it a point to hang out with nationals. And I’ve made life long friendships in every country…except Rwanda.” An Asian professional who has lived in 9 countries said, “More than any other country, I am amazed at how little trust there is in Rwanda between people.” A missionary veteran, “Even the Rwandans know that this systemic distrust of others, even in marriage, is a stronghold; it is a harmful aspect of their culture.” We have heard this confirmed by several Rwandans.

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Playing soccer at the Pastoral Training School: pastors, teachers, missionaries and their kids.

It can be daunting to think of this climate of so much distrust and think about building relationships and doing ministry. As we serve in this context, pray that we meet the right people, leaders able to be change agents who point Rwandans to Christ and the power of his resurrection.

 Season of Good-byes

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Janzens

This month we say goodbye to two teammate families. The Janzens are “visiting” the US for a year of “home assignment.” We are thankful it will only be a year without them, a much bigger sting for us is that on July 5th we will say goodbye to another family from our team, the Scheers. This family, who put Rwanda on our radar 6 years ago and hosted us in this country 5 years ago, has served in Rwanda since 1979. They were instrumental in starting New Creation Ministries. And now they are moving back to the US and retiring from full-time missionary service. Many in Rwanda will mourn the loss of the Scheers, their understanding of the culture and language, their experience as teachers and missionaries, their friendship and proximity. We will miss them as neighbors, mentors, and friends. In the classroom, Gary has left big shoes to fill.

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Scheers

Four Months

We have been here for four months! Other long termers have noted that the 4-6 months is usually the most difficult. These last 6 weeks have indeed been hard:

Returning from Mombasa, Grace developed full body hives, which recurred 3 days later, worse, while on antihistamines.

After 6 doctor visits and a blood draw allergy test, we still conjecture Grace has and allergy to some form of mango and/or pineapple products.

We determined that we will need to do a skin allergy test in either Kenya or South Africa to determine the true cause.

Also, we caught “the Africa Cold,” as a family and as a team. Several team mates’ kids were sick, Grace got sick, passed it to me and Rayna, and then Krystal. Grace got the worst of it, in bed for four days with a fever and body aches. Rayna, thankfully, was only mildly feverish for two days. Even three weeks later, we all have the signature lingering cough.

Noella and Shadow

Since our last update we have added a second dogs to our household. We are quite pleased with our dogs. Noella has turned out to be a good mouser, killing two rats and a mole/shrew in the last three months.  And two mice in the kitchen this week.

IMG_1659We got a second dog, initially named Lovey, but we renamed her Shadow. Shadow isn’t a barker, but she does bark at things that climb over the wall!  Shadow is a great name for her, because she is always underfoot. Another curiosity, in Kinyarwanda, Shadow is igicucu (iggy-chewchew); but igicucu (iggy-choochoo) means idiot.

Special Week/end

This week we were blessed to host our friend from Colorado and fellow East Africa missionary, Melissa. She has been serving at a Christian school in Gulu, Uganda, for several years, the last two as its director. Since she is one of the few missionaries to be “sent” by Scum of the Earth Church, our church in Denver, we decided to call this reunion our East Africa Scum Missionary Conference.

IMG_4403This weekend, while Melissa climbs an active volcano, our family gets to travel to the south west corner of Rwanda to visit the home of our language helper, Philemon. We are excited to take this step in friendship with him, see places special to him, meet and stay with his family, and to preach at his brother’s church. I will preach in English, and Philemon will preach in Kinyarwanda. Pray that the message of the Gospel will reach and transform lives. Pray also that our children will stay healthy and enjoy visiting, “Philemon’s world.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 8.52.44 PMStay tuned, as Krystal soon shares about several opportunities she has had to practice nursing here.

Thank you for your continued prayer and financial support!

Here!

Thank you all for your prayers, and keep praying.

We arrived safely on Thursday January 21, with most of our bags. Five bags, including our desktop computer, did not make our crazy 35 minute plane transfer in Doha. Gate A9 to Gate E25 (the exact opposite end of the airport!)

Doha

Doha airport is so beautiful, and bigger than this map lets on.

Fortunately they arrived on the next flight, the next day, intact.

Upon our arrival, while I was waiting to fill out missing baggage papers, Krystal and Grace peaked around the corner and saw our entire team waiting for us. The kids had all skipped the end of school to meet us (especially Grace).  What a great team! (Pictures to follow.)

Sleep

Krystal and I were exhausted and settled ourselves into our new normal sleep pattern: 9PM-5AM. Grace, however, had slept on the plane and wanted to nap 10PM-1AM and then be awake. She’s had a tough sleep adjustment.  Rayna adjusted pretty quickly, but Sunday night was the first night she slept through the night; given, we did stay up until crazy late: 10:30 PM.  As of Monday, Grace has slept through the night, alone, in her own bed for three nights! Hallelujah!

The joke here is that 8PM is “missionary midnight,” but after a day of negotiating a new culture in unfamiliar weather, terrain, driving, language, etc., going to bed early just makes sense. Also, there is no TV to speak of, and streaming videos is both too expensive (paying for data by the megabyte) and too unreliable (our router says 4G LTE, but drops its signal frequently).  I’ve tried to upload this letter for about three days!

Home

We were able to ship many of our household items from the US to Rwanda, and they are set to arrive about March 20. Until then, we are living in a borrowed house with borrowed furniture. Praise God that we did bring our toothbrushes, pillows, computers and clothes on the plane.  We can make it work, but each of us wants to “nest” in our own way, and we can’t do that until we have our own place.  After living with Krystal’s mom for two years (a blessing in so many ways), we are READY for our own place. (Pictures to follow.)

On the other hand, every time we come back to the US on home assignment we’ll feel like we’re in borrowed space.  This is just another in a long list of little things that remind us that this world is not our home.

Over the last few days we’ve been learning to drive, find our way around the city, scoping out places to buy daily food (bananas, milk), our core fruits and veggies, the odd prepared items, and cheap Chinese (BPA/Lead included) products.

Also, we were able to go to a 4 hour service in Kinyarwanda!  Three sermons were hard, but the music was great.  They did praise choruses; by the thirteenth time through, we were able to sing along!

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This was the offertory.  Those baskets are traditional “gift boxes.”  How cool that they are used for gifts to God!

The Pastors

Our team leader, Tim Brubaker, gives this report from our Pastoral Training School:

“We have 20 new pastors studying in our Pastoral Training School. We are two-thirds done with their first term, studying “The True Gospel” (with me) and “The Christian Life” (with Joseph). These courses require a major realignment of perspective and previous understanding. Pray for these guys!! Consider some of the men that we have been teaching these weeks:

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  • One has been utilizing strange spiritual powers to heal sicknesses. These powers were given to him before he became a Christian and have continued with random visitations from a spirit. He is praying that the Lord will release him from these things if they are not from him. (We are too!)
  • One is a 27-year-old widower. His wife died two years ago, possibly from poison. He leads his local congregation while caring for his 
three-year-old son. His eyes well up with tears when he talks about his wife.
  • One is becoming more aware throughout these courses that his adult son has possibly 
joined a cult. This morning we were praying together; his eyes were full of tears.
  • One is realizing for the first time in his life that being the son of a pastor is insufficient to 
save him. When I asked him to share his testimony, he said he only has his father’s
  • One is a newer Christian, having been saved out of Islam. Although he has given his life to 
Christ, he is becoming increasingly burdened for his son who is still in Islam. He is planning 
to visit his son shortly after this term to share the Gospel with him.
  • One is an older man who came out of paganism many years ago. Although he clearly loves the Lord, he is very nervous about studying. He only finished two years of primary school 
and his wife is illiterate. He is not sure how he will make it through our program.

These are the men who will be catalysts for change in their local churches. As you pray for these men, pray also for the provision of additional financial sponsors to help underwrite their studies. (If you are interested, let us know, and we will send information.)”

Update: At a group prayer time, five pastors stood up to confess Christ as their savior for the first time.  After an interview with each, Tim discerned that two of them just had issues with sin in their life, but three of these pastors received salvation this week.  Amazing!  Click here for more information via Tim’s update.

Our First Work

On Tuesday, Grace started Preschool and on Wednesday, Krystal and I began with our first work: language learning. We start together with our language tutor, Philemon. We are excited to have words. We are extremely discontent with our limited vocabulary and know that these next few weeks will be hard but very good and rewarding. Pray that Krystal and I will get into a workable pattern of life to study, learn together, and practice while caring for Grace and Rayna.

Again, thank you so much for praying for us.  We’ve been blessed and amazed at God’s hand on us in this transition to Rwanda.  We are FINALLY HERE!  Now to work!

Plane Ticket!

travelafricaBig News: We have plane tickets for Rwanda!

A friend offered to use his airline miles to buy our tickets. (Thanks, Josh!) On September 23, we leave Seattle and travel for 40 hours to Rwanda, that is about 25 hours in the air and one evening layover in Philadelphia. We are feeling blessed that we have tickets, and that we get to fly “business class” with fully reclining seats, which will be an extra blessing for Super Pregnant Krystal. God gave us something more than we could have ever asked for. (Eph 3:20 speaks of “Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”)

HOWEVER : 13% LEFT!

While we have tickets, we can’t board the plane without being fully supported. As of last Monday, we are officially over 80%, which means that we are entering the third and final phase of Partnership Development. This is the phase when we finalize travel itineraries, ship what we need to Rwanda, and say our final good-byes. We currently have commitments to cover 87% of our monthly expenses. This is great news! While we hoped to be at 90% by July 5 for a departure in late July, several wise counselors noted that we will need at least 8 weeks to take care of the last logistics, not to mention taking time to “fill our tanks” before embarking. (Pray for the logistics, and the refreshment, and trusting God and his timing.)

  • If you have committed to give and haven’t started, now would be a good time.
  • If you are considering regular giving, let us know.
  • If you want to hear more, you are running out of time! We leave in 8 weeks! Let’s get together.
  • Now would be the time we need folks to introduce us to their pastor, to their family, to their home group.

Help us get on that plane on September 23!

Not to be confused with Strawberry Shortcake.

Not to be confused with Strawberry Shortcake.

It’s a Girl!!! In case you didn’t hear, #2 will be a girl! Grace wanted to name her Grace, but we convinced her that that would be confusing. She settled on “Strawberry Baby Cakes.”  We haven’t decided on a name yet, but this baby might just be stuck with a nickname…

Posing with the local wildlife.

Posing with the local wildlife.

Thanks for Prayers Thanks for your prayers for us in this past month. We were blessed to celebrate Grace’s 3rd birthday and Nick’s family reunion.  We have also experienced God’s grace on us as we prepared and presented to folks over the last month.

Travel

Around August 8-18

Around August 8-18

Our trip to California will take place in mid-August. If you are from California, would you pray about this? So far, we know we are visiting Los Altos, Stockton, and Santa Rosa.  Would you like to visit with us, or host a group at your house, or even let us stay the night? We are praying that God brings in this final 13% using friends like you! (I’m looking at you, Bethany Alumni and San Diego First Assembly folks!)

In Rwanda

Please keep our colleagues in prayer. This summer three of the six families on our team are in the US, two for normal Home Assignments and one for a medical emergency. (Check here to learn more about how you can pray for Laurie Sheer.) Of the three remaining families, two are still in their first term. The bulk of the administrative and teaching burden has fallen to our new team leader, Tim Brubaker. Please hold him up in prayer as he negotiates so much, not to mention being a husband and father of four! As always, thank you for your prayers. If you got an email, send a quick reply telling us how you are doing and how we can pray for you. If you didn’t get an email, subscribe here so you can keep up with us.

God’s Timing and Big News

We have some wonderful news to share: We are pregnant! We knew from the start that Grace would not be an only child, and she has confirmed it so many times by being such a social kid. We are excited to meet Baby Pirolo #2 around November 11. Scan 15Krystal and the baby are healthy. At seventeen weeks pregnant, Krystal’s main symptom is fatigue, especially difficult for a night nurse who never gets a normal night’s sleep. She is very pleased to be mostly over the morning sickness. We say this is God’s timing because we were hoping a pregnancy wouldn’t complicate our travel plans. Now we have several more areas to consider. Do we deliver in Rwanda or the US? Would it be easier to travel with a newborn and 3 year-old, or pregnant with a 3 year-old? When does Krystal quit her nursing job? When will the last bit of financial support come in to allow us to leave? Pray for wisdom!

Party Time! calendar.jpgIn this next phase of partnership development, we are asking people to host an “event” for us. Choose a time and place where you can invite a few friends over to hear about Rwanda. So far this month, we have two barbeques, one snack-time, and one dessert and cheese party, and about sixteen new families who will hear about the work in Rwanda. Pray with us for these events.  Pray with us for more hosts, more events, and more new partners so we can get to Rwanda this summer. Maybe you are the answer to that prayer.

Going Places On June 17, we travel to Portland, leave Grace with family, and fly to Denver for a whirlwind trip. Denver friends, if you haven’t heard our story about why us, why Rwanda, this might be your last chance for years. In early July, we go to Bend, Oregon for the Pirolo Family Reunion. Finally, we still have dear friends in California who haven’t heard our story. Depending on finances and work schedule, we may still get a chance to visit them before we leave for Rwanda.

Meanwhile in Rwanda IMG_2375Our Bachelor’s level program in Christian Leadership (CLIR) finished their first quarter. The students were motivated and returned for the next quarter of courses, May 25-June 17. They will study Christian Family Life, Introduction to the Old Testament, and Greek. IMG_2377In the Pastoral Training School (June 1-19), our fourth year students will study New Testament 4, Missions, and Counseling. I feel excited, knowing that I will be present for their graduation in December! Pray with us for these pastors and church leaders to be transformed by God as they study His word and how it informs the way we live and operate as the Body of Christ.

Iowa, Here We Come!

We’ve had several bits of good news recently.

This biggest news for us this month is our trip to Iowa, October 22-November 4. We will share with several Bible study groups, churches, and individuals. We also have open time slots for individual meetings, and we have “open meetings” planned, too.

Our trip from Bettendorf back to Des Moines via Marion on Oct 30.

Our trip from Bettendorf back to Des Moines via Marion on Oct 30.

Here is where you can help. If you know folks who live near Des Moines or the Quad Cities, let us know and let them know. If they have any interest at all in missions or Africa, maybe they can make it to one of our meetings. I promise great dessert options will be available. If they would rather, we love meeting one on one with people, too.

A lot of people worry about being pressured to give. Let them know that we only ask people to pray about how God wants them to partner with us. We really are low pressure. So, don’t be afraid to refer your friends!  We love sharing the story of what God is doing!

  • Come to the Village Inn in Bettendorf (on State St.) on Monday October 27 at 6:30 PM.
  • Come to the Strutzenberg home Sunday November 2 or Monday November 3.  The exact time to be determined.  Call or text me for up to the minute updates on this.
  • Or call or text me for a one on one appointment: 303-564-7189.

Partnering with Canada

Our Fellowship International profile

Our Fellowship International profile

Another bit of good news came in the form of international cooperation. Our organization, WorldVenture, has partnered with a Canadian organization, Fellowship International. This partnership allows Canadians to make tax-deductible donations to our ministry. If this is you, we have a link on the right (Donate, eh?).

Finances

We are officially at 45% and unofficially at 62%. Krystal and I rejoice to see how far God has brought us, but we also realize that we have about 1/3 of the way yet to go! We are praying that God opens doors for appointments, and that we get a stellar group of folks partnering with us in amazing ways.

Grace News

Grace is 2 years and 3 months old.  Loving the long locks, but praying every day for inner beauty to blossom.

Grace is 2 years and 3 months old. Loving the long locks, but praying every day for inner beauty to blossom.

Our little Grace continues to grow. We are actively potty training, and we have more dry diapers and princess underwear than wet ones when we go to the potty! She enjoys books, play-doh and coloring. She has fallen in love with jigsaw puzzles, and can do 24-piece puzzles all by herself. She has an excellent memory, and is our little parrot. She enjoys dancing and hopping. This week, she caught a frog all by herself for the first time. Even more, she has started praying for people. We are both so blessed to have her.

Pray for the Pastors

Shepherds of the flock of God must watch out for the wolves.

Shepherds of the flock of God must watch out for the wolves.

Over these next few weeks, the first year pastors are learning “Church 2” and about false teaching. Pray for both teachers and students.

Thank you all for your prayers.

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

We Are Appointed!

Appointed: (adj.) selected or designated to fill an office or a position

After a two hour interview on Monday, April 30, 2012, the World Venture appointment committee invited us to join with them in the work they do world wide to transform lives.  We are officially appointed with World Venture!

Now we anticipate what the next few years will look like.  We know that God wants us in Rwanda, but not quite yet.  Krystal has a few more classes to take to complete her Masters.  We are 35 weeks pregnant.  And we need to reconnect with our friends and families, to show some of the unpublished pictures from Rwanda, to tell some of the personal stories, and to share our vision for how God has prepared us for the opportunities in Rwanda.

After Shipwreck Falls at Elitch Gardens on Sunday May 20.

Meanwhile, God has us doing some pretty cool things in Denver.  Through the summer, I’m continuing my work with the Korean Church of North Denver.  Krystal is taking a summer course and will be on maternity leave with our new baby girl (due June 27)!  We have Krystal’s family visiting right around the time that Baby comes, and my mom right after.  In October, we plan to visit Port Townsend, WA to visit our home church and Krystal’s family, and in November, we’ll be with my family for Thanksgiving.

We appreciate your love and prayers in this time.