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Rwanda, Africa, A new Year

December 31, 2017

This has been an exciting year for us, with its conclusion here in a the most beautiful country of Rwanda, Africa! We are celebrating Christmas and New Year with many new friends, while also missing family and friends in our home communities Stateside!
The good news is we are in an amazing, tropical climate, overlooking Lake Kivu. We have all of the tropical fruit we want, most grown locally and picked fresh daily. The Mission Station has its own garden for fresh vegetables with the growing season all year around. Every Sunday morning there is a special service at the local Free Methodist Church in English which is helpful since I do not speak the language. My wife learned Kinyarwanda many years ago so also attends the service where the singing and the sermon are in that language! There is always joyful singing and we hear many sermons from visiting pastors and students from the local Bible college.

Kibogora Free Methodist Church

Kibogora Free Methodist Church

The praise team

We are continuing to settle into our roles as Station Manager/Hospitality helper!  We are connecting with many people and trying to immerse ourselves in the culture! We are able to help in overseeing projects that improve the buildings and add to the natural beauty of the mission station. One of the projects was to repair and replace some of the roof and porch on the “school building”  (lovingly known in the past by missionary kids as the “Happy Hilltop school”), now used by my wife to teach workers and other local people, English as a second language.

School House repair and repaint

School House repair

School House repaint

We have upgraded the car parking area to include plantings around the edge and gravel for the drive.  Our wonderful gardener seems to be able to stick plants anywhere and make them grow!

Upgrade of car park area

Upgrade of car park area

We had a wonderful Sunday celebration at the Buhoro Free Methodist Church which is part of the Kibogora Church District. We were invited to attend with the District Superintendent, Simeon, and Efaste, the National Director of the Child Sponsorship program here in Rwanda. The service was held in the common area of the local school which is next to the Buhoro Church. The celebration was to initiate a Child Sponsorship partnership with a Free Methodist Church in the United States. The school is under the umbrella of the church and has 546 primary age children!

Much dancing and singing praising the Lord

Singing and dancing to celebrate food gifts collected for the poor at Christmas

Many of the children that attend school here are also members of the church and we were asked to join them for a group picture.

Many of the 546 children that attend school here.

Joining the school children who attend the church.

We were blessed with a sermon by the District Superintendent and treated to a song, sung by the school children.

The Buhoro Free Methodist Church is built on top of a mountain with a panoramic view of the entire country side,


The Buhoro Free Methodist Church

The church is old and in very poor repair. They have started a project to build a new church around the old one and then tear down the old church.

The current church building used for worship each Sunday.

The foundation for the new building is in place ready to start construction!  The church members make and burn their own bricks in a nearby kiln!

A new foundation for a new church building

The finished bricks that are stored in the church until the construction begins!

Bricks made on site to build the new church

We were then given a tour of the school which has several old buildings in need of repair. The teachers will have 50 or more students per class and very few supplies to aid in their teaching.

One of three current school buildings

One of the current school rooms

The church members are in the process of building a new school building. The government of Rwanda is providing the cement, steel trusses and the metal for the roof. The local community and church are providing the sand, bricks and labor to build the building.

A new school being constructed

The kiln used to cure the bricks made
on site

All in all it was a joyous day helping to celebrate what God was doing in this remote place…just before Christmas! We marvel at the enthusiasm of the people, their dedication to the Lord and their ability to take on large projects with very little resources.  Wherever we go we see the desire of the people here in Rwanda to better their lives and their country. They are willing to share their resources and knowledge to improve their communities with a focus on improving their educational opportunities for themselves and their children.

Isaiah 43:18-19New International Version (NIV)

18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

This passage seems to define the precious people of Rwanda!


Rwanda, the First Month

November 25, 2017

It’s been one month since we arrived in Rwanda. We have experienced joy, disappointment, frustration, compassion, love, beauty, God’s blessings, home-sickness, doubt, misunderstanding and understanding. In addition to the adjustment of a 6-7 hour time change and moving from an altitude of 500 feet to one of 4,500 feet above sea level.

After saying all of that we realize this as part of any adventure in the world of a missionary. We take refuge knowing we are in God’s hands and I am always reminded of a verse in the bible that I learned, on one of my first mission trips, to Mississippi after hurricane Katrina. We were greeted by a retired pastor and his wife and their theme for the group, from our home church, was to always remember Philippians 4:13 (KJV) “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me“.

We are right next door to a large Free Methodist Church here in Kibogora, Rwanda. They have a special service in English for visitors like us and the doctors and teachers that come to work in the hospital and college next to the mission station. They sing many of the old hymns that we know and this provides a wonderful opportunity to worship with some of the local people who also enjoy the English services.

In addition we enjoy some things that many of the older missionaries could never do. For example we have internet which allows us to video conference with our children, grandchildren and friends. This also allows us to communicate with our church, pastors as well as listen to sermons from out home church. Through Facebook we are able to communicate with the many people who are praying for us daily. Missionaries forty years ago would go to a strange land for three or four years with the only communications would be an occasional letter that was four or six-weeks old when they received it. So considering all of this we do feel blessed and are able to see joy each day we serve here in Rwanda.

Enjoying fresh vegetables from the mission garden.

Finding Gods beauty all around us.

While we struggle to learn our responsibilities here at the Mission Station, we try to find joy in everything we do. For me trying to understand the culture and the language is a big struggle. As I become more aware of these it will allow me to fit in and development a more personal relationship with the people here.

The staff of the mission gathering to say farewell to the current missionaries as they head home.

My wife is teaching English as a second language to the staff and some local people, working with the kitchen and housekeeping staff while I struggle to learn accounting and the procedures used to run the mission station.

All in all we count our blessings as we rely on our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ to give us strength and understanding as go about our daily tasks.

Rwanda, 2017, Finally Here

November 8, 2017

After many prayers and many months of preparation we are finally here in Kibogora, Rwanda. We are here to fill in for some missionaries, at the mission station run by the Free Methodist Church, who are returning home after one year of service. We will be host and hostess for visiting Doctors, Teachers and Missionaries, We will be helping with the accounting, maintenance, grounds upkeep as Station Managers.

We arrived in Kigali the capital city after three flights that took a total of a 24 hours and taxied to the Good News Guest House for a couple of night of rest before resuming the long ride to Kibagora which is on the western side of the country next to Lake Kivu. The lake separates Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On our trip from the capital city of Kigali to the mission station we could enjoy the beauty of Rwanda. You can see why they call this the “Country of A Thousand Hills”. We stopped to see the water falls and were given a show by two young boys with their home-made fiddle, singing “Jesus Never Changes” in French. The house you see in the picture is our temporary house until the current missionaries leave for their home.

Country of One Thousand Hills

Our temporary mission house

We are enjoying the beautiful tropical setting while we are working with the current missionaries who are working to show us our responsibilities for the next 8-9 months while we are here in Rwanda. The mission station has many houses, apartments and single rooms for visiting doctors, nurses, missionaries and other world help organizations. As we learn the job we find the people to be pleasant friendly and patient with us which makes it a pleasure to be here. We look forward to the many blessings the Lord has in store for us as we serve here.

Beautiful views of Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu borders Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of the Congo

We give thanks to the Lord for our many blessings we are receiving through the missionaries and national people here in Rwanda.

Nepal, 2016, Going Home

October 12, 2017

Our work is done and we are starting the journey home. Since we still have a couple of days to see some of the sights of Nepal, it’s off on a bus heading east toward the center of the country. Our first stop is at the Pastor’s house to say goodby to him and his family. We were offered some tea and snacks to start our journey.

Pastor’s wife and daughter were nice enough to fix us a snack

Then it was back on the bus and through the country side where we traveled through valleys with many rice fields. Then up into some low forested hills where we stopped at the Bardia National Park. The park has a surface of 968 square kilometers and hosts many different mammal species and hundreds of different bird species.We were able to see many animals, monkeys and birds as well as a museum showing some of the old way of life in Nepal.

Endangered crocodiles being raised for re population

One of the many exhibits in the museum

Some of the old craftsmanship of the past

After a little lunch it was on down the road heading east. We traveled most of the day and stopped for the night in the town of Kohalpur near the district of Lumbini.  In the morning we were off to see the birthplace of Buddha, which is a World Heritage Site. There were many Buddhist temples build by many different countries to honor Buddha. Siddhartha Gautama, the Lord Buddha, was born in 623 B.C. in the famous gardens of Lumbini, which soon became a place of pilgrimage. Among the pilgrims was the Indian emperor, Ashoka, who erected one of his commemorative pillars there. The site is now being developed as a Buddhist pilgrimage center, where the archaeological remains associated with the birth of the Lord Buddha form a central feature.

Building covers the original ruins of Lord Buddha’s birthplace

One of the many beautiful temples in the park

From here we board an airplane back to Kathmandu for a day of sight-seeing before returning home. The next morning finds us aboard another airplane for a sightseeing tour of the Himalayan mountains including a fly by of Mt. Everest. We were flying at 16,000 feet (4877m) with the top of Mt.. Everest at 29,029 feet (8848 m). We were looking up to see not only Everest but several peaks in the mountain range.

Our next stop was at the Buddhist temple described as the holiest temple in Nepal. The welcome Nepal website describes it as: “Find peace and prayers on the little hillock of Swaymbhunath in the northwest of the Kathmandu Valley”. Also known as the “Monkey Temple” among visitors from abroad, Swayambhunath sits atop its hill, overlooking most parts of the valley. This is a good place to catch panoramic views of the city. The site itself has stood as a hallmark of faith and harmony for centuries. The glory of Kathmandu Valley is said to have started from this point.

Next we were off to visit the Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Headquarters in Katmandu. We were hosted by the District Superintendent and his family. They gave us a tour of the facility and served us a very nice lunch.

A view from the roof

The Chapel

The D.S. and his family

Next it was off to visit the largest Hindu temple in Nepal called, The Eastern gate of Pashupatinath Temple. According to Wikipedia, “The temple is described as the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu. It is not known for certain when Pashupatinath Temple was built. But according to Nepal Mahatmaya and Himvatkhanda, the deity here gained great fame as Pashupati, the Lord of all Pashus, which are living as well as non-living beings. Pashupatinath Temple’s existence dates back to 400 B.C. The richly ornamented pagoda houses the sacred linga or holy symbol of Lord Shiva.”

What a wonderful trip this has been; visiting a country that has a rich history and seeing things that were built over 2000 years ago. To see the Himalayas in the north in all of their grandeur and then the rice field in the valleys of the south was truly spectacular!  When God said in Genesis 1:31, “God looked at everything he had made, and it was very good”, I have to agree that Nepal is a wonderful example of God’s work at it’s best. I am grateful for the opportunity to have met so many friendly people and to be welcomed wherever we were in Nepal.

It is a wonderful thing to see the Christen church growing in Nepal, learning the message of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.




Nepal, 2016, Part Five

September 7, 2017

We were given a little history of the Nazarene Church in Nepal by the District Superintendent. In 1998 a missionary from the Nazarene Church in India brought the Jesus film to Nepal and as a result several churches were started. There are now 15 churches in western Nepal and a total of over 140 Nazarene churches in the entire country. Many of the churches are still “house churches”, like the one we attended but they are slowly building church buildings, like this one, as their congregations grow and more pastors become trained.

It’s Sunday but this is a work day in Nepal. We celebrated the Lord at the Dhangadhi Church of the Nazarene yesterday with all of the local congregation. Back to work we go, after breakfast and devotions at the Hotel. Our three-quarters of a mile walk, as usual, shows us many sites we are not used to seeing at home.

I don’t usually paint my cows but it seems to fit in here

We continue to help laying bricks for the church walls and the local workers bring frames for windows and doors. These had been built in advance and were ready to install.

Door and window frames are held in place with ropes to keep them plumb and level

The walls continue to grow and the local workers start to assemble the scaffolding so we can reach the top of the walls.

The walls go up

Friends come to see us daily

Some of the women come daily to help with the mortar.

As we finish our part of the project the side walls reach to where the second story will start. The balance of the walls will be finished by the local crew.

The top of the wall.

Sharing a meal with the host family and the rest of the crew.

Sharing dinner of rice and fish.

As we prepare to leave on our last day at the job site there are many fond goodbyes and a final time of prayer. Many of the local workers and some of our team gathered for a final group photo.

Fond goodbye’s

We leave the job site counting our blessings. It has been a privilege to work alongside these beautiful, spirit filled people of Nepal. In Mark 12:31 (NIV) Jesus said “…..‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” We felt this was a way of life with the people we met in Nepal.

Tomorrow we are off on an adventure to see some of the beauty of Nepal as we start the journey back home.



Rwanda, 2017, The Begining

September 4, 2017

Another adventure begins! We are off to Kibogora, Rwanda (Officially the Republic of Rwanda) in the middle of October, 2017. We have been asked to help manage a mission station for the Free Methodist Church. The mission station is part of the Central Africa Healthcare Association (C.A.H.O.). Kibagora is in the very South West corner of Rwanda. It is situated on a hillside overlooking Lake Kivu.

One of the smallest countries in Africa

The sunset over Lake Kivu

Rwanda is a landlocked East African country with a , verdant mountainous landscapes. Its renowned Volcanoes National Park is home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. The park encompasses 4,507m-tall Mt. Karisimbi and 4 other forested volcanoes. In the southwest is Nyungwe National Park, with ancient mountain rain forest that is a habitat for chimpanzees and other primates. Rwanda has a population of about 12,000,000 people. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The mission station has a Hospital, School of Nursing and Bible College, as well as the large, district Free Methodist church. Guest houses are maintained for the many guests who come for visits or to assist in the many outreaches of the national church. Part of our responsibilities will be to host visiting missionaries, doctors and guests that visit the station. We will also be helping the local residents with tasks like construction, maintenance and bookkeeping. Our hope is that we can share what abilities we might have with the local people while we partner with them, and participate in their lifestyle and traditions. We also hope to share our walk with Jesus, to be His Hands and Feet to help further His Kingdom.


Nepal, 2016, Part Four

August 4, 2017

It’s Saturday here in Nepal and this is the national “day off” for workers, so today is the day we will worship in the Dhangadhi Church of the Nazarene. Because the new church is still under construction services are held on the porch of the Pastor’s house. It is a short bus ride to the outskirts of the city where the Pastor’s home is located. On the way we are close enough to India to see the border.  Arriving we are welcomed by Pastor Rudra and Assistant Pastor Roshan.

Arriving at the Pastor’s House

Pastor Rudra and Assistant Pastor Roshan.

The team was welcomed by the congregation and given gifts of national scarves.

Like most church services this one started with singing some hymns.  As they were sung in the local language we did not understand the words but did recognize some of the hymn tunes. (Amazing Grace) We sang along with the rest of the congregation in our own language. The sermon was given by one of the team members and translated from English to the local language by one of the national Pastors. In Matthew 18:20 it says “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” This has always been true where ever I go in the world and His presence was there with us in this service as well.

After services we went to lunch at a local restaurant and then took a little tour of some local sites.

The first stop was at a Buddhist Temple near a River. We were told this river is where the church baptizes new members.


Saturday is the national day of rest for the people of Nepal so there were many people here for a day out enjoying the sights. We found we were an attraction because they do not see many Americans here! All of the young people wanted to have their picture taken with us.

A group of students posing for a picture with me.

After we returned to the city we found out we were invited to attend a showing of the Jesus film being shown at a rice farm an hour’s ride from city. We arrived for the last half of the film which was in the local language. After the film several people expressed their desire to hear more about this “Jesus”.

Watching the Jesus Film

We were then invited to dinner with the farm family where we enjoyed a meal of nicely seasoned rice and fish.

Getting ready for a delicious meal

All of the beds and bedding were set aside to make room for us to eat

A special thanks to our host and hostess for allowing the showing of the Jesus film to the community and for the hospitality shown to us with a great meal. It was an appropriate end to a wonderful day knowing that God is working in Nepal. It says in Ephesians 19-20 (NIV) ” 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”

We certainly see this in the People of Nepal.

Nepal, 2016, Part Three

April 18, 2017

Today it is back to work laying bricks for the new Church of the Nazarene in Dhangadhi, Nepal. We start off with a walk to the job site where we see many sights that are strange to us but common here in Nepal.

Local vegetables for sale

Local vegetables for sale

Each day we arrive at the job site we find new people who come to help. As we do not speak the language we communicate with a smile and a hand shake. Everyone seems to know what to do so we pitch in to help and continue to see the wall get higher as the day progresses.

The wall continues to grow

The wall continues to grow


The local workers start adding door and window frames to the wall

Nepal is a country where most people are Hindus or Buddhist, but there is a growing Christian population in the country. In or near the town of Dhangadhi in western Nepal a missionary from India came a few years ago showing the Jesus film. As a result,  and from other showings of the film there are now 15 Nazarene Churches in this region of the country. Most of the churches, like the one we are helping build,  are currently house churches.

As the walls continue to rise we are in need of scaffolding to be able to reach the top of the wall. The next day when we arrive at the site we find materials have been rented to build the scaffolding. It consists of bamboo poles and sheet metal to walk on to be tied together with rope.


Material for building Scaffolding to stand on


The Scaffolding starts to take shape


We are finishing up the week and preparing for the weekend. In Nepal, the day off from work throughout the country is Saturday. As a result, church groups meet on Saturday when people are free from work and able to attend. After the day’s work we returned to the Hotel for supper and a good night’s sleep before church tomorrow. Following supper we meet for devotions and are able to reflect on the day’s work.

We have found that the people we meet are always polite and friendly and most of all they seem happy and make us welcome. The more we get to know them we find that many of them know some English and begin to communicate with us making us feel at home here in Nepal.

Tomorrow we are looking forward to church services at the pastor’s house and some sightseeing around the city of Dhangadhi.