“outreach”

We have been staffing this Discipleship Training School for the last 3 months.   The second part of the DTS is a 2 month, cross-cultural outreach.  As we have discussed leading the team, we have made a difficult decision – as the only female staff (and the 2 of us as the only staff from a Western culture), we have agreed that it is important for me to help lead the team.  However, Mike has no desire to go.

our DTS team

our DTS team

As we have prayed and planned, we have decided to take the team to 2 locations in Uganda (Soroti & Arua) and to help a friend who has begun a work in South Sudan.  We are really excited about the possibilities presented in all of these locations.  I am even more excited about seeing this team in action.

So, Mike and I have decided that I will go with the team for the entire time, and he will visit us for a week or 2 in the middle, both to encourage the team and to hang out with his wife.  This will be by far the longest we have spent apart, but we are hoping that it will be good for the team, for us individually as well as for our relationship.

(We have held off on this a bit, waiting until we have visas in hand… it is looking hopeful but it might be very last minute before we have them in hand.  Also we will be continuing to give updates/descriptions of the DTS while we are on outreach, but it may not be exactly in chronological order.)

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Giveaway Time! (contest closed)

Yes, it is time for you to have the chance to WIN something here.  We are hoping to do this a couple times throughout the year, as we have a willing volunteer to transport the prize and mail it from North America.

We are planning to give away one piece of hand-made jewelry.  Some of you may have read about Odeth and her ministry with APRECOM.  APRECOM stands for AIDS PREvention Care and Outreach Ministry.  Basically, they work with widows, orphans and families living with HIV/AIDS.  They run support groups, teach basic sanitation and nutrition, help pay for school fees, medical bills, and funerals, and help with income generating activities.  One of the income generating activities is teaching the clients to create jewelry and helping them to find a market for their creations.  The jewelry is really quite unique.  Here are a few examples:hoop earringspaper bead earrings

necklaceNow, for the giveaway part: In order to enter, please leave a comment in the comment section. (One entry per person please.)   You can say anything for the content of the comment.  International participants welcome.  On Saturday, March 23 at 7 pm ( in Rwanda), we will close the contest and randomly choose one winner (by drawing from a hat).  We will announce the winner on the blog.  The winner will be able to choose 1 item from the 3 pictures above for their prize.  [In the (unlikely) event that we have over 100 unique comments, we will draw a second winner.]

Looking forward to hearing from you!

We drew last night but the internet wasn’t working – sorry for the delay.

IMG_20130323_190618

The winner is:  Kari Lehr.  Congratulations.

Generosity (take my goat)

One of the foundational values of YWAM is “Practice Dependance on God for Finances.”  To a large degree it can still be summed up as “generosity.”  (Once, a team of us had an assignment to create a song explaining the foundational values, and one of the memorable lines, including 2 values, was “hospitality, here’s my coat, generousity, take my goat” – but I digress.)

Sometimes, I think it would be much simpler to work with an organization that raised support for us and paid us a regular wage.  However, I think the generosity that is fostered in this environment as people sandalschose to give to each other is so beautiful.  One member of a team passing through left a book for one of our students that has deeply impacted her.  A DTS in Switzerland was praying for our school and decided to send us a package – and one particular student wanted to send money to one of our students. (These people have never even met!)  Someone anonymously left me a pair of beaded sandals.  (I had been looking for a pair that was not-so-gaudy, and big enough: these are perfect.)

Some of our students have been unable to pay all of their school fees or don’t have the money to pay for the visas we need for outreach.  This morning we had a time of sharing needs and of prayerfully giving.  There was about $2000 in total needed.  (Its not a lot, but in a room full of people who have very little, its a huge amount.)  In less than an hour, that amount was cut in half!  It amazes me, humbles me, and continually reassures me that this is a community that I want to be a part of.

Post Script: I finished writing this, reviewing it with Mike, and was walking out the door for supper, when someone stopped me because they had a gift: a new dress.  Crazy and amazing.

Planning Ahead Anyway

Still no word on our visas.  It is very strange to just be here, feeling like we are in limbo, and any day we could get the word that we have a couple days to pack up, pass on our responsibilities, and go home.  But we have decided to try as best we can to live as if we will be staying. One of our goals for our time here this year is to help develop staff for this base.  In particular, we have a great staff team for this Discipleship Training School, but none of us are planning to be involved in DTS after this year.  We would like to see some new staff raised up to continue running this school.  As a DTS staff team, part of our job is to encourage students to pursue their calling after they leave the school in June.  As we have been staffing this DTS over the last few months, we have observed that we have a quality group of students, and many of them feel called to long-term missions.  Several of the students have also expressed a desire to staff with YWAM at some point. So with this in mind, we have decided to offer an internship from the end of June until December for former DTS students (particularly from this school) who are interested in staffing a DTS themselves with continued mentorship.  Moise has agreed to lead the next school, and Mike and I will be indirectly involved through mentoring the new staff. This is really exciting because it will be an active and structured step in training staff (even if some of them may not stay her in Kigali long term).  It is also exciting because it is a chance to continue training some of the students we are training now.  It is difficult in YWAM to be always starting new relationships and seeing people you care about leave, but this will be a chance to continue to encourage some of them as they step into leadership themselves. A few students have already expressed excitement at the prospect of being involved in the internship.  It helps us to keep our focus here each day when we have this to look forward to.