Thursday 28 October 2021

Feelings and Thinking...

 So I'm plowing through my friend Jon's book on Deliverance. 

It's book you read in chunks, stop to ponder, then pick it up again. The book is pretty inclusive, has great insight, definitely theologically sound ... more like a textbook of deliverance of sorts - a must read for all interested for sure. 

Anyways... the 'chunk' of reading this morning - MESSED ME UP!!! 

Chapter 13 - The Deep Healing and the Deliverance Model pg. 172 / 173 

Jon's walking me, the reader, through the deliverance model of Charles H. Kraft - and he writes... 

'.... Kraft also holds to the fact that much of the time inner healing must go back to even before birth. This idea based on some psychological theories that the baby is affected both by the mother's feelings and thinking and also by the desire of the kingdom of darkness to attack those made in the image of God, even before birth...' 


I know that trauma impacts the development of a baby but this add a whole new layer for me - feelings and thinking. What a woman thinks or feels during her pregnancy, impacts the spiritual development of this child. 

My mind floods with SO many Rwandan women which I know, that curse the thought of being pregnant yet again. I know that words have great power ... and that is so important in life but the very feelings and thinking of a mom to the baby. SO many layers - some physical, some biological, some emotional, some spiritual... 

Gosh no wonder the kids we minister to, the teenagers, the women, the men... have some deep seeded issues. How many of them have been carrying their moms thoughts and feelings from birth - about their pending arrival into this world?

I have lived in Rwanda for 17-1/2 years. I well know there are many factors in peoples lives here that make it very difficult for them to live, believe in, hope for a whole, transformed life.... this just adds a few more layers to try to understand better and find our way through. 

God help us. 

If you're interested in the book... sold on Amazon

Thursday 5 November 2020

Until We Think Globally

So this morning I'm doing some reading in preparation for some teaching I am doing this coming weekend on Women and Leadership. The following quote jumped off the page at me. 

The context is the gospel and women  ... 

'... Until we go global, we can never be sure of our question, much less the answers we affirm.' 

Carolyn Curtis James (Half the Church) 


The group of women that will be gathered on Sunday evening are privileged Rwandans. They are middle class. They all have jobs. They believe that God has called them to lead in their companies / organizations / churches ... and they do. They are all being mentored to be more like Christ, to be leaning into His leading and be obedient in following as they grow and develop the gifts that God has given them to use in the Kingdom. 

Pretty great scenario, right!!!


What comes to my mind is how I struggle to get them to embrace the whole gospel. 

Not only that they were created by God with purpose, that He desires a full relationship with them through believing that Jesus died for all people for all sin, that through the Holy Spirit their life is in ongoing transformation and that He wants them to be part part of bringing His Kingdom here on earth... that's the easy part. 

The hard part ... that they are just as valued and have the same worth, the same standing as men in the kingdom.  

So much that is written by women for women embraces just this. It seems that women need to write / speak about their less than, their sins and redemption, about how they overcame their insecurities, being a Proverbs 31 woman with kids and a husband, write a cookbook or have the latest journal with adult colouring pages. 

Compare that to the books that men write ... theology, leadership, mission. 

Don't get me wrong ... all can be needed and most helpful, but why the division?

I was talking just the other day to a friend about the great lack of books written by women based on theology. 

Why is this? 

I think in the west we have believed a lie that God only speaks to men, that God only uses men for the most important things in life, that some how females are less than. 

Now leave the west and come to developing countries ... where women are oppressed culturally and socially - the 'less than' is on steroids. 

This is garbage ... bogus theology. A lie that women believe over and over.

I think it's time for an African woman to write about the whole gospel - about how it's global and that how the gospel doesn't change no matter where you live in the world, what social class you are, what colour your skin is. 

The gospel we believe has got to fit and be able to be embraced by everyone living in this world today. 

A gospel that reaches the depths - not just of sin, but also the deepest hardships which people live. We need to believe that is has the same transformative power no matter where one was born, what social class one fits or what gender they are. 

Is the gospel I believe as Jesus intended it or have I made up / accepted a gospel that only fits a certain demographic?

What questions are we asking to make sure the gospel we believe in, is as Jesus taught... and where are our answers coming from? 

Sunday's coming ... and I'm excited!

Friday 19 June 2020

The Day that Wasn’t

June 19

I have known for some time that this day would not be what it was to be - kids writing their last exams at school while Serge and I are up before dawn scrambling to ensure life is sorted to hit an airport about 5pm for our home assignment in Canada. 

Today is part of my grieving and loss processing. 

There will be no Canada this year as a family. It will be the first time we haven’t been back every two years. Not sure what to make of it. I am most grateful that my immediate family came out late last year. What a gift that was... and it lessens this loss for sure but... 

Letting go is hard. 

I thought I had this sorted but alas I don’t as I sit here in tears writing this. Serge and I do live life with a healthy sense of ‘no control’ and believe wholeheartedly that Gods plans are best... and that we live in a broken world... but sometimes what is asked is on the verge of seemingly too much. Sigh

Not sure I like the indefinite of not seeing family and friends... gosh that's a hard thought. Not just for us to go to Canada but for visitors / teams to come here. 

What am I letting go of... 
The longest time we would have had in Canada to date - 9 full weeks! 
Hugging the necks of all my family and having crazy fun times 
Lovely long chats with dear friends 
An epic trip to Western Canada to see friends, supporters and sights
Eating a lot of ice cream 
BBQs on decks
Long summer nights
Going for peaceful walks where people don’t stare at me
Wild flowers beside the road 
Sweet corn - we can’t eat enough of it 
Strawberries, Black Cherries, Peaches, Raspberries, plums... eat some, or a lot, for me!
CHEESE - all the kinds!! 
Driving the back roads to see all everyday life
Flipping through sale flyers 
Drive thrus
Going shopping and finding a list of stuff in ONE store - and they actually have it all! 
Time at the lake - fishing, tubing, coffee in the dock 
Making so many family memories 

Not to mention we don’t know the next time we can buy 
maple syrup
Nuts- walnuts, pecans, almonds
Advil cold and sinus (Serge and I both suffer from sinus headaches), 
underwear, clothes, shoes
Christmas / birthday presents
Those few home decor pieces from HomeSense or The Mercantile
Duct tape 
Ziplock bags 
Chocolate chips 
Cream of tartar 
Strawberry jello 
Dry mustard 
Black pepper 
Frying pans 
Staples for the staple gun
And whatever other treats for the corners of the suitcases to be rationed for the next two years. 

I know this is all stuff... and we can survive without it all (but not the Advil - ARG!). 

This is my June 19, 2020. 

I need to get myself sorted. 

Beni is about done his online class. Serge left early this morning to drive a few hours north to say goodbye to a dying uncle and Isabella went with him to visit a friend there. It will the first time she’s seeing a friend since early March. I want to see if Beni can see a friend this weekend too. And my coffee is getting cold. 

I know this... God is good, faithful, patient and gracious. I trust in all that today through my sadness and tears. 

Tomorrow is another day and Gods mercies will be new again.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Day of the African Child

June 16

On this day in 1976, nearly ten thousand black students from Soweto, South Africa, marched the streets to protest the poor quality of their education. Hundreds of these innocent students were shot by security forces. The two week protest that followed was called the Soweto Uprising and many lost their lives or were badly injured.

Since 1991, the Day of the African Child, has been celebrated on June 16 to commemorate those killed during the Soweto Uprising in South Africa and to recognize the courage of the students who marched for their right to an education.

For me … this day of the African Child is an opportunity to raise awareness for the ongoing need to improve the education of children living in Rwanda.

Children represent a large percentage of the Rwandan population, with 42.9% of the population between ages 0 and 14 and the median age of 18.8.
In addition, children make up 83.5 percent of Rwanda’s rural population, often living in very vulnerable circumstances.

Serge and I are very committed to education in Rwanda. Since 2004, we have supported education in all shapes and sizes:

Teaching street kids to hold a pencil to form letters to write their name for the first time
Building a library in the Kiziba Refugee Camp and stocking it with thousands of books and staff to support teachers, students, pastors, English classes in the camp
Giving stipends to refugee teachers to teach students in the camp.
Tutoring students
Computer classes
Paying school fees for many students along with school supplies, uniforms, transport, pocket money - primary, secondary and university levels
Mentoring high school students
Holiday programs to learn the Bible, develop character and have some fun
Sunday school learning - belonging to a community

Serge always says ... 'To BREAK cycles of poverty, we MUST educate.'

Education is knowledge.
Education brings power.
Education gives opportunities.
Education stabilizes families.
Education changes a country.

So on this day... as I reflect on all the 'educational activities' which we are involved with here in Rwanda ... I'm blessed and humbled. 
I know without a doubt that lives are being changed forever... this country is being changed forever.

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?