Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Evening Reflections ...

It's the evening of April 7th. 
It's been 24 hours since the plane was shot down and roadblocks were erected to start the end of the decades journey to a genocide - 26 years ago.

One million+ people would be killed in 100 days. 
It was the rainy season. 
This afternoon it rained and my mind wondered just how people survived. 
How does one hide in a swamp, up a tree, in tall grasses as it's raining out? 
It would be cold, muddy, slippery, isolating, terrifying... 

A week or so ago they found another mass grave. 
They say it could contain 30,000 people. 
Just how does one wrap their mind around that? 
It continues to be all a bit hard to imagine, though I've heard so many real life stories from real people who have survived. 

Today because of COVID-19, Rwanda could not gather together to remember, unite and renew physically but we were together in spirit. 
It was a quiet day. I'm not sure I heard the birds sing today. 

My mind and heart are heavy for all those who survived. 
Those who are alone. 
Those that don't have people to encourage, bring life, and just sit with them ... 
God have mercy. 
Rwandans are resilient people but the trauma is deep. 
Only God can put His hand on ones soul and heal. 
God, continue to heal this land.






Friday, 17 January 2020

25 Years and Counting

Yesterday marked 25 years that I walked into the office of International Teams Canada and started my journey of life in full time ministry. 

To be honest, I really can't remember much about that day specifically. 

What I do remember, is knowing without a doubt that God had called me to serve through International Teams Canada as the Director of Short-term Mission. 

I knew from a young age that I was called to ministry but always thought I would be camp director or a youth pastor. Never once did I think I would a 'missionary' ... raising financial support ... and who knew I'd end up in Rwanda. Only God. 

When International Teams called me, I knew without a doubt, this was my next life 'phase'. 
From a young child, I had listened to missionary letters being read from the front of the church and their reports when they returned for home assignment but never once did I think that I would be one. 
But God called, I knew and I obeyed. 

I took God at His word when He says that he will supply all our needs. 
I remember saying to Him ... I know that you've called me, so you better show up!

I had no idea what 'showing up' would look like, but gosh it's been an incredible journey of faith and crazy blessing time and time again - always in His timing, not mine and through incredible people who have been been obedient to share what God has given them with me.

MANY times over the years I have reclaimed that same faith to get me through whatever the seeming insurmountable challenge seemed to be looming in front of me. There have been many times I've wondered when God would show up ... but he always has. 

And so in the things that I am still waiting for ... I wait - as patiently as I can. 

I still go back to read the verses I was commissioned with, from Woodside Bible Fellowship 

Psalm 20:1-5
In times of trouble, may the Lord answer your cry. May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm.
May he send you help from his sanctuary and strengthen you from Jerusalem.
May he remember all your gifts and look favourably on your burnt offerings.
May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the Lord answer all your prayers.

I have learned so much in 25 years about myself, God, people and being like Jesus. 
But today, I celebrate the start of my 26th year in full time ministry and all that God has ahead of me. 

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

White Privelege

So this morning as I scrolled through my Facebook, my eye caught a post that triggered some judgement inside of me. 

It was over calling for a truck of water. 

There have been many times that we have been out of water or have had very limited water. 
Out of water - meaning we have had to send people on a bicycle or by hand to carry 20 litre jerry cans full of water back to our house so we could wash dishes, flush a toilet, cook some food. 
Limited water - meaning we don't have any water to our upstairs, no laundry is being down and IF one must have shower it's with a bucket and applying the age old rule - 'If it's yellow, let it mellow and if it's brown, flush it down. 

Is the ability to call for a truck of water - about 60,000 rwf for 5000+ litres white privilege? 

Yes I know that I am the first to say that when one is living cross culture, you must know what your limits / breaking point is. What is too much to bear? 
And that some days it varies. 
Some days going without water is just fine and other days - well, it's going to do you in. 

But what about my neighbours who haul 20 litre jerry cans every day? 
They do not have a water line to their house or a well or a water storage tank for that matter. 
They do not have the financial resources to call the water truck 

White privilege... it is something to be reckoned with indeed. 


So accept my repentance of judgement ... maybe calling the truck was to bring life and some breathing space in their life this week. 


White privilege ... it's real.

If you're white, what do you recognize are your white privilege today?

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Using our dmFPC!

So I'm reading John Ortberg's book, 'Soul Keeping - Caring for the Most Important Part of You'... 

There is all kinds of good stuff in it (pick it up and read it if you haven't already!) but something this morning that just affirmed ... gave me a little more understanding. 

He was talking about how we are made / wired to bless others and what research has found out about our brains. One part of our brain sees and has some empathy when we see someone suffering but it does not predict selflessness / response.
IF another part of our brain is active (the dmFPC...whatever...) THEN ... 

pg. 159. 
'It turns out that we are most likely to actually help someone, not simply when we seem them suffering, but when we also consider ourselves 'attached' to them. 
Seeing suffering does not move me to act if I think of the person as 'him'. 
But when I think of that person as part of 'us', part of 'me', then I am moved to bless. Jesus may have been speaking quite literally when he said, 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' 

With all the hurt and many solvable issues going on in the world.. and people ... people who say they are followers of Jesus don't respond ... it's because they are not 'attached', not considering 'us'.... not using ALL their brain!

I know I somehow have a front row seat to this all living in a developing country BUT ... we're all made in the image of God ... and we all have brains. 
Let's get the right parts of our brain working! 
Work on connecting ... seeing people as Jesus would want us to see them... using our dmFPC!

Friday, 21 June 2019

When your 12 year old reminds you...

So this morning ... last day of school here ... Isabella is running at the last minute to gather up some donations for a school drive - clothes and shoes for a children's home here. 

I see her pass with two dresses that she has grown out of and a few pairs of shoes. 
The dresses ... beautiful, party dresses that she has worn for Christmas and multiple weddings - all shiny and sparkly and fun. 

I was about to open my mouth and say that maybe she had some other clothes that she would like to give away. That maybe those dresses could be given to some younger cousins. 

But I thank God I caught myself! Seriously!! 

She had picked the most beautiful things to give to the most vulnerable. 
Not just the nice dresses but the most beautiful ones. 

I couldn't help but smile as I thought of two young girls being able to twirl in sparkle and lace. 
I was also deeply reminded to always give the best. 

May the receivers of these dress know they are wonderfully made, loved by God and worthy. 

Isabella I love you!





Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Dreams...

This morning my FaceBook feed had a video that made me cry. 

A video of Tim Hortons bringing the only hockey team in Africa to Canada to play another team... because they had no one to play against on the African continent. 


It made me proud to be Canadian. 

It made me cry because I thought of my own son Beni. 
What he wouldn't do to play hockey. 
I'm still debating if I show him this or not as we might be moving to Kenya tomorrow! 

He's only been on skates once, and he thought he was amazing! 
(Still HUGE thanks to two teenage boys who skated / glided him endlessly around that rink one New Years Eve almost 4 years ago.) 
I've made sure we watch any hockey we can - I miss watching it ... - usually the winter Olympics when it's in 'our' time zones 
Some of his most prized possessions are his sticks... 

I think he was about 5 years and we were waiting to board the plane in Kigali to Canada and he burst out crying. The reason... he had forgot to pack his mini sticks. I assured him there were many more in Canada. 

There are no ice rinks in Rwanda so his chances of playing ice hockey are slim. 
He'll have to stick with his stick, ball and make shift goals. 

But it DOES remind me of all the things that I never dreamed possible for my kids ... they have had opportunities that I never dreamed possible 14 years ago. 

- playing in a school band 
- taking piano lessons 
- riding a horse
- being part of a Christmas musical production 
- taking swimming lessons 

All things that I am so blessed that they have been part of. 

So I guess... who knows really. 
Maybe Beni will realize his dream and play hockey someday. 




Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Liberation Day


Today is a very defining day in Rwandan history. 
24 years ago - when a line was drawn for Rwandans and the world that Rwanda would no longer be defined by colonization, segregation, and oppression.

Today we are defined by unity and a drive to have all Rwandans to be prosperous. 

Today we celebrate!