A Plea

As most of you know, we have been working on building a home for ourselves over the last few months.  We felt that, after continually living in temporary housing for all of our married life (over 5 years) and really, most of our adult life, it was time for us to have a home to settle into.  And none too soon, either, for shortly after we started this venture, we discovered our family is about to grow by one, and having our own home became a little more urgent for us.  (The room we are currently renting wouldn’t really be feasible with a baby.)

We have also had some financial setbacks and extra costs  in the last few months, some of them anticipated (like the “budget” being more of an “estimate,” and having to renew our visas), and some of them not anticipated (such as the falling Canadian dollar).

We have just under two months before we head back to Canada for the birth of our first child.  Before we leave, we would really like our house to be finished so that we can move in.  (Then at least when we return to Rwanda with baby, we’ll have somewhere to go, and something might be easy.)

In terms of time, we think this is a realistic goal.  In terms of finances, we’re not sure.  We are borrowing some money in order to finance this house.  While a fairly modest sum, it is a huge amount for us considering our income.  We were hoping not to be stretched to the absolute limit by the time we are done, partly so that we can buy some furniture and a fridge, but also because we know there are other expenses coming up. (Besides our return airfare to Rwanda, it seems to me that kids cost money?)

SO, all of this to say, if you have ever considered investing in us and in the ministry that we do here in Rwanda, this is a very critical time.  This is a time where any money given will go towards supporting us over the long term in a very tangible way.  We would greatly appreciate any donations towards our home, large or small.  If you are considering this, please look at our How to Donate page, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Thanks for your consideration.

house feb 23


We’re calling it healed!

We don’t know exactly when it started, but by sometime last May, Mike was having a serious problem.  He had these small cuts on his leg that got infected, and then started growing.  And the painful infection spread to any new cuts or scrapes or bug bites he got.  On both legs.  We tried everything we could think of to keep the pain down and keep them from spreading.  We don’t have any pictures from when the infection was at its worst, but I know many of you saw them when we were in Canada.  Believe it or not, this picture is actually from after the infection was much better:P1010087

While we were in Canada, the infection got significantly better (even though it spread to me for a few weeks).  One of our friends who had worked overseas said “Yeah, I had something like that on my face.  It took 8 months to heal.”  We were hoping it would be less.

It was contained to only one leg and looked prettty good by the time we returned to Rwanda.  We wanted to avoid antibiotics if at all possible, mainly because Mike has had a lot of rounds of antibiotics.  We found, strangely enough, that applying a layer of onion to the infection not only lessened the pain, but also helped the infection heal.  So he slogged away at it, carefully cleaning and dressing the wounds each day, (smelling like onion all the time) and after a temporary setback probably caused by a lot of hours on a plane, they started healing again.  By November, we thought the wounds were going to be healed by Christmas.  They were almost closed up (which may have led to a bit of lax-ness on the daily cleaning and dressing).  Then suddenly, they started getting bigger and more painful again.  (We had learned that it was fairly easy to tell whether they were spreading or healing by how red and angry the surrounding skin looked.)  After a couple weeks of the infection getting worse again with no sign of any change, in discussion with google and one of our co-workers (who is a nurse), we bit the bullet and put him on antibiotics at last.

We were afraid that when he stopped taking the antibiotics, that it would flare up again (but there is only so long you should keep taking those pills).  But, slowly by slowly, monitored and dressed daily, it has gotten better!  This was the last spot:


The scars are going to be prominent for awhile, the to layer of skin is still peeling a little, but finally, after over 9 months, the infection is gone!

Apparently its February now?

Just a heads up before you get too far, this is not a coherent post on one subject.  I realized there were a few things I haven’t updated on – none of them long enough for their own proper post, though – so consider this a collection of updates about January.

The team from Dunham, Quebec was here with us for a little over 3 weeks.  We were a little nervous about hosting a team, because you never know what the team dynamics will be like, but this team was fantastic!  They had a great sense of working together and pitching in, and were quite willing to do whatever was in front of them.  In addition to spending 2 hours early each morning working in the garden with Mike, they shared at support groups and visited numerous homes.  There were a few setbacks, particularly that one of the team members’ passports was stolen, but they took it in stride and she was able to get a temporary replacement.  Cooking for the team was a bit overwhelming for me at times (I’m struggling a bit to cook and eat food, something I never imagined would be a difficulty for me), but Mike pitched in a lot and helped out whenever I felt like it was too much.  Overall, they were an encouragement to us and to the larger community, and it was a good experiment to see what hosting teams here might involve for us.

home visit

The team at a home visit.

sorting seeds

shelling and cleaning seeds.

I’m well into the second trimester, and except for the nausea, things seem to be going quite well.  Next week we’re scheduled to have an ultrasound, so we are looking forward to seeing what we can of our onion-sized baby!  We will be coming to Canada by May to be there for the birth (currently scheduled for early July).  We are planning to work with After the Grind/YWAM Blackfalds before and after the birth. (I’d post a cute, updated picture of my growing belly, but there’s not much to see yet).

Construction on our house is moving along.  The main structure of the walls is almost finished, and hopefully by next week the roof will be on.  (Just in time for the rains to begin again.)  Besides the fact that we know very little about building houses, the way things are done here is very different from at home.  (For example, someone can give you a quote for how much something will cost, but it is often lower than the actual cost in the end.)  However, we have a lot of confidence in the builder we have hired, and he is reasonable and easy to work with.  We were set back for a few days after the foundation was built because of a material dilemma.  We inquired before purchasing the land if we could build a house using mud bricks, as that was what our budget was for.  However, surprise, either we were decieved or things changed in the course of a few weeks, and the district made a law that all houses had to be built with (more expensive) wood-fired small bricks.  We are hoping that the house can be finished and we can move in before we leave for Canada, so that it will be all ready when we return with baby!  We are still trying to raise funds for the house, so if you are interested in helping us stay out of soul-crushing debt, please see our How to Donate page.


The front of the house


From the back

So now its February, and we have a more reasonable number of things planned this month – more about that another time soon.