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.

 

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.

Good News and Bad News

Thanks for following our adventures, friends and family.  In the last six months, Krystal and I have had several significant life events we wanted to share with you.

Good News:

Krystal doing our monthly “count up” to baby!

We discovered in October that there would soon be three Pirolos living in our house.  Yes, Krystal is pregnant with a baby girl, due June 27.  We had hoped that God would bless us with a little one at this season of our lives and feel extremely fortunate that God allowed us to get pregnant.  Krystal just entered her third trimester, and we are both excited to meet our baby girl face-to-face.

We are keeping her name secret until she is born, but she does have a name.  When people insist on knowing the name, we tell them “Jezebel Delilah Pirolo.”  If you are confused, each name is that of a Bible character.  Look each up on Wikipedia.

As second item of good news, I am officially a Denver Seminary graduate!  While I was finished with my classes when I returned from Rwanda, I had not applied to graduate, so my graduation date was December 31, 2012.  The graduation ceremony is in about a month.  Anyone who cares to come is invited: Saturday, May 12, 10-11:30 AM, Southeast Christian Church, 9650 Jordan Rd., Parker, CO US 80134.  Reception to follow.  Email me if you want more information.  I’d seriously love for any and all of you to attend.

Dad and Mom at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.

In February, my parents came out to Denver to visit us for the first time ever.  I hadn’t seen them since the previous May, and our visits always seemed too short.  They were celebrating their 12th anniversary on the 29th, and I insisted that they come to visit me.  We got to show them the sights: Scum of the Earth Church, Garden of the Gods, Focus on the Family’s visitor center, the Denver Mint, and even the Denver Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and WorldVenture’s home office because Dad was feeling adventurous.  While that schedule sounds packed, mostly we sat and talked.

For Krystal and me, it was a rare chance to simply be with my parents instead of feeling continually rushed from one event to another.  The feeling was mutual, it seems, because my Dad later told my Mom that it was the most fun he had had in a very long time.

Bad News:

I received the news on Tuesday, March 13 at 5:46 AM.  I was about to bike to work when my phone rang.  Seeing it was my sister-in-law, Sara, and realizing that she was a time zone away, calling me at 4:46, I knew immediately that the news was bad.  I answered it and she announced that she had terrible news.  My father, my namesake, our recent visitor, had passed away.  He had a cold that became pneumonia.  He went down for a nap on Monday, passed into a coma, and never woke up, finally passing away on Tuesday morning.

Krystal and I rushed back to Vancouver, Washington to be with family.  The service was held that Saturday at his church.  After the pastor gave a brief sermon on salvation by grace through faith, he invited people in the congregation to come to the faith that my Dad had.  (After the service, two people talked to the pastor about salvation!)  Then each of his children gave a formal eulogy, followed by a time for people to share thoughts and stories.

What amazed me about the formal and informal eulogies was how consistent my father was.  He was a quiet man, but his actions spoke volumes.  Wherever he lived, he became deeply involved in church: attending men’s meetings and Bible studies, and praying for the church leaders and missionaries.

While my Dad was a teacher, and knew how to speak to audiences of any size, he was never one to seek the limelight.  Instead, he knew how to be steady support for the people he loved and respected.

As part of the memorial service, Darlene Bocek (my sister), Jonathan Pirolo (one of my brothers), and I created a powerpoint with pictures and music.  There was no easy way to transfer it to Youtube, but one version is here.  Also, Darlene has a guestbook related to his obituary.  We would ask all who knew him to sign it before it closes.

When my parents came out to visit in February we went to Garden of the Gods, a beautiful area with red rocks, green trees, and blue skies.  It would be a bit of a hike on paved paths, so my Dad borrowed a wheelchair from the visitor center for my Mom.  Mom walked for most of the time, but for the uphills, she welcomed the rest.  Now, my Mom isn’t heavy, but pushing her up the hills at the park was hard work!  Dad, noticing my lagging strength, put his hand on my back and added his strength to my own, making my labor light.  What a perfect metaphor for my Dad’s life of support ministry!  It is also a picture of how my Eternal Father is also my helper.

Paul Pirolo

I am going to miss Dad greatly.  I already do.  I miss his singing.  I’ll never have him to consult on childrearing.  He will never sing “My cup is full and running over” with my children.  I miss his laugh, and his eagerness to share a joke.  I miss his thoughtful Bible questions, and the discussions that followed.  I worry that the mantle of his ministry of prayer and support will fall to the ground and that I am not faithful enough to take it up.

On the practical side, Mom is living as a widow.  The logistics of life, most of which my Dad managed for them, have now fallen on my Mom’s shoulders.  My brother, David, who lives closest to her, has stepped in and taken a lion’s share of the load of helping Mom.  Pray for them both to have wisdom and grace.

Coming Soon:

We received news from WorldVenture: they accepted our applications and have invited us to interview to be Long Term Missionaries to Rwanda.  Our interview date is this Monday, April 30, 2012.  In many ways, we have a lot in our favor, and they have a lot of good reasons to invite us to be part of the team.  We each will have Masters degrees.  We have both experience and education relating to intercultural ministry, and experience in Rwanda.  Finally, the current team in Rwanda asked us to come back!

On the other hand, this is not just a “rubber stamp” process.  We are two people with strong convictions and personalities.  While we have not taken any new school loans in the last three years, we have more school debt than they like to see.  Additionally, both parties need to make sure that we truly are a good fit for both WorldVenture and Rwanda.  Are our theological differences ones we can live with?  Will both Krystal and I be able to thrive in this context with this organization?

Our hope is to return soon to Rwanda.

This is the final piece in a serious interview that will set the direction of our lives for a significant amount of time.  Because Kinyarwanda, the language of Rwanda, is so difficult to learn well, they ask that families make a ten-year commitment to the field.  While we will come home on “home assignment” once or twice in that time, they accept us, and we accept the appointment, we will be making Rwanda our home, and the country in which our children grow up.

Pray for us as we interview.  We need discernment, and they need discernment.  We wouldn’t have gone this far if we didn’t already feel like it is what God wants, but we also want to make room for him to speak if he has other plans.

As I mentioned, I walk in graduation next month.  Krystal will be finished in December of this year.  This summer is my last as a youth pastor at the Korean Church of North Denver.  After that, I will focus my ministry energy on “support discovery” through WorldVenture. We are excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel, as our time in Denver comes to an end.

Prayer Points:

  • Safe and healthy pregnancy and birth
  • Grace and wisdom as we grieve and make decisions related to Dad’s death
  • Discernment for our interview at WorldVenture
  • Perseverance to “finish well” in Denver

Thank you all for your kind words and frequent prayers.

Love,

Nick and Krystal