Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bridge To Rwanda Blog Newsletter, Volume 14

PRAYER FOR THE BLOG: In the name of Jesus, I cover this blog and all the information and incidents in the Blood of Christ, that the projects, contents and words would be unharmed. Amen [Click on photos to view larger. Click BACK to return to blog]

December 25, 2009, KIGALI, RWANDA – Merry Christmas! I pray that God is bringing you such joy and love this time of year. It’s my third Christmas in Rwanda, away from my family and friends, but this year God and Santa gave me a most wonderful gift, a husband-to-be, to spend it with. 2010 looks to be a year of unity as God joins me to my partner for life and for this mission. I am so grateful for God’s answers to all my prayers. And I know he’s working on more.

Rwanda doesn’t really celebrate Christmas. They prefer New Years. Oh, how I miss Christmas and remembering what its all about – the birth of our Savior Christ Jesus and the fulfillment of the promise…unity and family, celebration, children and mercy.

It’s again time to recap on my time in Rwanda. I have been here since June 2007 with only one brief month home in American since then. I came here with a mission from God and have not wavered since. The environment has changed and I have changed, but the mission is still on and growing – to affect the educational climate for underprivileged children in Rwanda in order to pave way for future strong peaceful leadership. God has protected me from what could have been great disasters. He allowed me just enough strife to keep me humble and to teach me lessons about myself and about the climate in which I am working.

I came here green-eyed and innocent, with big ideas and the utmost of faith. My faith has remained and grown stronger, but my flesh is so tired. Nevertheless, my utmost for His highest is still the goal of my heart. I have worked in various ways with NGOs, individuals, churches, pastors, business people and other missionaries. I have taught children and adults Bible and other skills. I have prayed with orphans and the sick. I have explored the depths of the Rwandan people. I have heard many stories of many people who came here with millions of dollars that get stolen from trusting the wrong person. I praise God that he has withheld the funds from me while I was green, and I trust that He will release all the provisions when I am ready to handle it. I don’t know if I could bare the guilt of losing millions of dollars of donor funds like many I have heard about.

I have worked voluntarily with minimal support, having to pick up odd paying jobs to make ends meet. I have lived days on end with little in my pocket for food or transport. I have walked for miles with my equipment and guitar on my back. I have been duped and deceived, befriended and used, slandered and mocked. Yet all that under His wings and covering because I am still here and alive. Now God has given me work to start making me self-supportive so all ministry funds can go straight to ministry. However, its not a highly stable job market so please continue to pray about my job. And this year God has founded Urukundo for the Children and given us the papers to file 501c3 so we can start raising the funds to do the meat of the work. Here's a recap of my three years in Rwanda on mission for Christ.

Highlights of my past 2 years’ work:
2007 arrived in Rwanda
2007-present: consulted numerous individuals on life and business planning
2007 taught primary and secondary school at Kigali International Community School
2007 taught worship, Bible, and production at Victory Mission Church
2007 taught Bible, English and music to FESO kids at Ndera
2007 visited Nyabugogo orphanage with a church mission team for Christmas with The Christmas Story movie and gifts
2007 organized Victory Mission Church special Christmas and New Years worship

2008 organized and promoted ministry concert for Enric Sifa at Christian Life Assembly
2008 taught Bible, English, and worship music at taught at Kisugu Christian Fellowship on two trips to Uganda
2008 taught Bible at prisons in Uganda
2008 visited families of Hope Prison Ministry in Uganda
2008 taught at Kihihi villages and churches in Uganda
2008 prayed at orphanages and hospitals in Gisenyi
2008 prayed at hospitals in Congo
2008 visited animals and villages of Akagera
2008 taught guitar classes at KICS
2008 taught computers and adult English at World Relief; consulted WR on volunteer training
2008 registered and incorporated Urukundo (Love) for the Children, Inc.
2008 went on furlough for first time in November for Inspire Women Luncheon and Conference, and to visit family and friends

2009 taught English, music, and art at Ecole Belge
2009 trained teachers at EA School for orphans
2009 helped to plan medical clinic for Hope Kigali Festival (Andrew Palau evangelical festival)
2009 organized Enric Sifa’s backup team at Hope Kigali festival
2009 taught Bible and fellowshipped with orphans of Narrow Road Ministries
2009 joined Rwanda for Jesus church and worship team
2009 began recording self-composed Christian songs for a testimonial album
2009 began registration process for Urukundo for the Children, Inc.
2009 began working part-time to earn my living ¬– as Creative Director/Art Director/Studio Manager for Creaxion/Ogilvy Africa advertising agency
2009 researched the educational front, especially in the area of disabilities
2009 engaged to Burundian missionary
2009 visited family in Burundi; sang at President’s house
2009 applying for 501c3 for Urukundo for the Children

I am looking forward to seeing God work big things into the mission next year with a new husband on the way and a new organization to develop. I have confidence in His plans.

In November Jean-Paul and I took a week long trip to meet Jean-Paul’s family in Bujumbura, Burundi and take care of some passport issues. It was my first time to go to Burundi. We were crunched for time and money, but God performed miracles to get all our business completed in a miraculous seven days.

As we rode into Burundi by way of an almost 8 hour bus ride, I saw roads that were organized and paved, storefronts that made sense. The country was clean and the people were pleasant and hospitable, not only with visitors but towards each other.

It was wonderful to see where JP grew up, meet his family and friends, and hear more stories about his life in a war-torn Burundi. Burundi faced the same genocidal ethnic conflicts as Rwanda, but did not get the Hollywood fame that Rwanda received. And JP’s family suffered through a lot of persecution and life threats during that time. JP has come a long way from his mountain village upbringing. We literally went door-to door to visit his family, who were so happy for our marriage “project” (as they say here).

In town, the streets of Bujumbura are nicely paved and lined with mango-selling ladies. The mangos, the national export, are deliciously sweet, just like the people. Burundians are serious relationship people. They enjoy visiting friends old and new, helping each other, praying for each other and congratulating each other for life successes. I find them quite genuine as they each came one by one to visit Jean-Paul and meet me, his fiancé. They were all so happy for him.

Walking through the main marketplace, JP is greeted warmly by many vendors who are his distant relative or childhood village neighbor. I was truly in awe of all the people who stepped up to help JP get a copy of his birth certificate and renew his passport to prepare for wedding travel.

We also visited the church of JPs dear friend and international worship leader Apollinaire. Apollinaire leads the church and the worship team alongside his wife.

Nkurunziza: Burundi’s Renaissance
It was quite an honor to witness and hear the testimony of Burundi’s new renaissance. Just a few years ago Burundi was still under rebel conflicts. The people were taken out of their homes and placed in refugee camps.

The current President Pierre Nkurunziza is outwardly Christian and a testimony of a godly leader. He is a leader of the people, working from the grassroots to know their needs. Next to the Burundian presidential office is a tent where people wait to meet with the President to personally share their concerns or just greet him. They say he is a man of the people, being the only President who literally gets his hands dirty and does manual work with the people of his country. He is more than a political machine, but truly in touch with the people. He is a model of humility and integrity. And he gives all the credit to God. Every Sunday evening he holds a private worship service in his home, inviting staff, foreign dignitaries and guest pastors. He supports his choir made up of soldiers who fought alongside him during conflicting times. They all love him so much. It was humbling and awesome to hear of such a leader.

Jean-Paul’s favor in Burundi
It was a treat to discover that my fiancé is quite special in Burundi and well-known amongst local people and the political front. The president is quite the worship music connoisseur so Jean-Paul is favored in Burundi. We went to Tanganyika Studio for JP to record lead guitar for a special compilation CD for the President. JP’s second family is the presidential soldiers’ choir. He is frequently summoned form Rwanda to play for the president.

Dinner at the Burundian President’s Residence
We were invited for Sunday dinner and service at the President’s private residence, a weekly event. The President was not present because he was at the Vatican in Rome receiving a Peace Prize. However, I was asked to sing a Kinyarwanda translation of Chris Tomlin’s We Fall Down to the First Lady and special guests as Jean-Paul accompanied me on guitar. We had a wonderful meal that included sweet potatoes personally planted by the President in his personal garden. JP showed me that the stray children wondering around the premises included several orphans that the President had adopted into his family. It was an honorable night to remember. I took a few photos but it was dark and I had to be very discreet in front of VIPs.

We visited the village where Jean-Paul had grown up and where his family still resides. JP has climbed far from the small quaint and simple village where he was raised. He showed me that he actually used to live up the mountain where he walked for miles to get to school and back. The village was much like the villages in Cyangugu where I first came into Rwanda to evangelize. Who would have ever thought I’d be marrying someone from such a village?

We literally went door-to-door visiting his uncles and aunts who are like his parents because his father had passed away (possibly form poisoning, a common thing in Africa). His immediate family consists of his brothers and sisters and their families and his mother. All the family was so happy about our engagement. They see it as a blessing.

Meeting the family showed me the strong roots that still reside in Jean-Paul. He is truly a man faithful to God and family. Jean-Paul has a beautiful family who are honest and sincere. They are strong Christians who survived death threats and refugee camps during wartime. They know God’s grace saved them. His older brother Odifax is an Evangelist Pastor of the Evangelical Restoration Church in Bujumbura and his younger brother Jackson is a worship leader. Odifax is married and has beautiful children. Jean-Paul also has a little brother Samuel and a younger sister Pascasie. His mother is a widower.

The date is set. Jean-Paul Bigirindavyi and I are set to wed at The Chapel of Houston’s First Baptist Church on March 27, 2010 at 4pm. We are praying for all the funds needed to fly to Houston and return to Rwanda to finish out the mission. I am truly planning the wedding from around the globe on a dime. But God is good and has taken care of a lot of expenses through in-kind gifts. However, we are still praying for airplane tickets, more wedding expenses, and traveling expenses. Please pray for us. Nevertheless, I am so excited and blessed to go home to marry in my home church and with my close family and friends. I know God will come through and finish what He started.

God continues to have favor on me even in my strife. JP and I started looking for a place where we may start our lives together after the wedding. We were limited in funds and an inflating real estate market in Kigali (comparable to living in Houston). Nevertheless, the Lord came through miraculously. Housing here is outrageous. Landlords ask for 6 months advances, don’t comply with contracts, and pry into your life. At first finding an affordable house was looking impossible, but God found us a wonderful place near JP’s church/job and not too far from town. The landlord is a sweet man who allowed us a 1 month advance with 1 month deposit. It was a miracle. Even that stretched us to live on nothing for the month of December, but we were happy to have the funds to secure the house. And the house is safe and near the main road, local stores, and the market. It’s a nice large compound that he newly renovated so it should be leak free. I am paying a little more than my current place, but not much more. Praise God!

In all the struggles of the flesh and spirit, I’ve learned what it means to love God with my utmost and press on. All these things that I struggle with are of my mortal flesh. All in all God keeps me well and safe. He keeps His promises. And when I cry out because I’m at my wit’s end, God answers swiftly. And He even gives me overflow in the love of Jean-Paul. I’ve learned to hold onto a steadfast love for God. Trust Him above all. And don’t dwell on the hardships because they are like passing ships in the night. The flame of God is eternal and prosperous.

So, as I move on to a new season and a new chapter of my life, it all connects and God is making sense out of my life, day by day…or step by step (as JP likes to say). JP belongs to a strong church family at Evangelical Restoration Church as a “son” and I will be joining that family and partaking of the vision to spread the Gospel far and wide. The church has already welcomed me with open arms. Apostle Masasu and his wife Mama Lydia are humble overseers of the church. My wedding is truly going to be a miracle in a thousand ways.

I pray that you have been blessed just for reading about my mission in Rwanda. All my life is a testimony of God’s glory and more glory to come. I may not be a big church or NGO with huge funds, people may be watching and wondering what I am doing, but God knows what He sent me here for and that I am still obedient to His calling. The same skeptical eyes followed Noah’s ark, Moses’ mission, Nehemiah’s wall of Jerusalem, David/Solomon’s temple and Paul’s mission…they were all thought of as crazy unfocused fantasizers…and they all had specific vision and mission from God…and they all pressed on, despite lack of funds and moral support…and in the end all the pieces came together just as God promised, and is now documented eternally in the Holy Bible. This is what I hang on to. I am not as great as any of these messengers of God, but my mission is just as important….Christ Is Our Hope School Community Rwanda is about what is in the heart of Jesus, his school…planting it in impoverished children…and watching His seeds grow into a new nation of godly leaders. Urukundo for the Children is about planting more seeds like Christ Is Our Hope School in various areas of the world. It’s also about taking ordinary people like the ones on our Board and having them plant extraordinary programs that make a difference for God in the world.

In this bittersweet time when I am missing home so much, I thank God for your health and welfare. Those who have blessed me with friendship, emails of encouragement, and support funds. I know God is blessing you abundantly for your kindness. Isn’t He a good and extravagant God! I pray that this is the true launching year for the mission of Urukundo (Love) for the Children, Inc. I pray you will continue on with me to read about the mission in these blogs and pray for us. It’s all about God’s glory. In my heart I see the condition of the world and I see God’s love and compassion that envisions a new generation of leaders who know Him and love each other. I love you all so much. Big kisses and hugs from me and Jean-Paul. I can’t wait to see you guys at my wedding in March. I will keep you posted as it comes near. May God be with you and bless you. I want to wish you the best Christmas yet and a Happy New Year 2010.

Love in Christ Jesus,
• affordable housing with nice landlord
• God’s protection
• My fiancé Jean-Paul and his improved health
• My family
• All the people who have come along to help me in all these years and particularly now with the wedding. God bless you all!

• speedy 501c3 approval for Urukundo for the Children, Inc.
• Wedding preparations & provisions for roundtrip tickets and all wedding/honeymoon expenses
• Jean-Paul’s continued health
• Our job and financial stability in Rwanda
• Continued peace and safety, especially in the new house
• The actual wedding March 27, 2010
• that all my family and friends are able to make it to the wedding
For those who have asked how they may bless us with a gift for our marriage or wedding, I have signed up with a cash registry at that works through paypal. Since we are returning to Rwanda after the wedding, we cannot bring large gifts with us so we prefer cash gifts to support the wedding expenses and to purchase things in Rwanda to start off our marriage. God bless you!

Cash Gift Wedding Registry
You may use your credit card or bank transfer (through paypal) to contribute a cash gift at our registry at
SEARCH: Linda Huang or Jean-Paul Bigirindavyi
password: blessing

Wedding Basket (at reception)
You may also choose to drop a check (payable to Linda Huang) in the gift basket at the wedding. Thank you so much for your blessing.

I need your help to raise funds to build what God has called me here to build for Him. Gather friends to sponsor lunches, bike rides, run/walks, picnics, bake sales, lemonade stands or concerts for the cause of God’s ministry in Rwanda, to build Christ Is Our Hope School Community Rwanda, a center of hope and God’s blessings, to raise new leaders. There are children who need your help. There’s a nation that needs hope. Help me to raise funds to develop a better education system for them and a future hope in Christ. 501c3 is pending very soon.

Urukundo for the Children
4020 Blue Bonnet Blvd., Unit G
Houston, Texas 77025
Attn: Beth Richards

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE: If you have not already done so, please subscribe to “Bridge To Rwanda Blog Newsletter” by entering your email address in the subscription field to the right. FeedBurner will send you a CONFIRMATION EMAIL that you must REPLY TO CONFIRM in order to activate your subscription. Please, pass the subscription and blog site on to others to share the testimony and raise support for the mission. God bless you!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bridge To Rwanda Blog Newsletter Vol. 13

[Click on photos to view larger. Click BACK to return to blog] Lord God, I cover this blog in the Blood of Christ, that the projects, contents and words would be protected and unharmed in Jesus’ name. Amen
October 29, 2009, KIGALI, RWANDA – A LOVE STORY…
When God called me to Rwanda, I was (and still am) so completely sold-out for Christ. I told God that I was complete and I live only to serve the purpose of Christ (To Live is Christ, To die is gain). I told God that I didn’t need a husband and family to complete me. I just want to serve Him all my life and then join Him in Heaven. I heard God’s voice in my heart say, “Child, don’t sell me short. Don’t you think I can give you what you want? If it’s the desire of your heart, then it shall be done. Believe me!” So, I told God, “Yes, it’s the desire of my heart to have a husband and child.” God said, “Then so it shall be. Trust me.” So, I surrendered it all to God and told Him He would have to bring the right one to me and point him out because I was not good at choosing the right man.

As I prepared for my mission in Rwanda, I knew my chances of finding a husband in the youth-oriented mission field of Rwanda was slim and the cultural differences made it seem more improbable. But I always knew God could do anything. So, I came to Rwanda not expecting anything, not looking for anything…just to serve God. I focused on my mission and served people of all ages and ethnicities.

It’s been 2-1/2 years now and its been tough serving in a foreign country all alone where it’s not common for women to be independent and single. I’ve been taken advantage of and deceived by those thinking that a single “white” female must be wealthy. Most women here live with their parents until they are married, even if they’re beyond their 30’s. And they marry early because they are not expected to be able to take care of themselves. People have played on my missionary compassion and trust, using the cause of God to get favors from me. My heart has been duped and twisted. I came here pretty much on my own, with little organizational support. My heart has been disappointed. It’s been a long journey to persevere and a lot of daily eye-opening experiences. Every day is a prayer of re-affirming that I should stay. I came here by the calling of God to fulfill His vision. Many people don’t understand why I am here, including my family. In fact, my family is starting to think I have abandoned them for a life in Rwanda, not understanding that life here is not something I choose for myself, but for God. I press on for one purpose – Christ. Nevertheless, God keeps me holding on strong. He keeps providing in some way and affirming my stay here. Still, the more and more I was here in Rwanda, it felt less safe to be alone.

After many disappointments and dwindling donations (down to about 5 small donors on and off), I didn’t want to run home just because things are difficult. I believe in God’s provision for my mission needs. So, I began to pray that if God truly wanted me to remain in Rwanda, He would bring me three things: cultural and financial stability and the protection of the husband he had planned for me all my life. I asked that my husband would be a mission partner as God is my life mission. Someone who would be faithful to Him and to me as my husband. I asked God for someone who loves family so we could raise children that I would carry on the mission and serve Him beyond my time and better. I asked to be like Hannah. And I waited patiently, with the strength of God holding me each day.

Well, God is ever faithful with His promises and the time has come…where I least expected…and so naturally. First, I have a few part-time jobs that allow me to “tentmake” and earn some funds for a modest living. Secondly, now I have a very special person in my life and WE ARE ENGAGED. His name is Jean-Paul and he is from Burundi, but has been living in Rwanda for about 8 years now, serving as a musician in the church. We’ve been friends for almost 2 years now, but this year we got deeper in the relationship and God started to point him out to me. I see God’s hands upon his life. JP loves me more than any man I’ve known on earth. Its like he was perfectly molded for me. He loves the things that are essentially me. We are so connected. He can’t bear to see me unhappy. He feels my every pains and joys. However, God has taught me well. I am not with JP because I need him. I am with him because he is my blessing. I am happier when I am with him. This is yet another answer to prayer and blessing from God. Please pray with us as we explore a future together. We need many many prayers to carry this miracle wedding through, as it is not an easy task for a missionary to afford all the logistics of marriage. My parents are retired so this wedding is on my own.

Jean-Paul is a tremendously gifted guitarist and a four-years staff player in the large church family of Evangelical Restoration Church in Remera. He works diligently for the church alongside his brother who plays bass guitar. JP was born in Bujumbura, Burundi (south of Rwanda) to a family of means, but the plight of war (the same ethnic tribal conflicts as Rwanda) forced his family into poverty. His father took ill and died while he was in primary school. After his father’s death, his mother went into depression and abandoned the family, leaving JP, his older brother, 2 younger brothers and a baby sister to take care of themselves. JP quit secondary school and left Burundi to find work to support the family. JP journeyed to Rwanda alone, where he faced many challenges. However, God was watching over him and used the gift of music to help JP. He was eventually offered a job at Restoration church, a rare opportunity as most churches here do not have a paid staff, especially for music.

JP has told me stories of the war in Burundi that would touch your heart. God has separated JP, having saved him from death by a firing squad, then in surviving Rwanda streets, and finally in placing him with me (another one He has separated). I can only think that God is creating something bigger in uniting us.

JP’s talent on the guitar is truly a gift from God. I’ve known a lot of musicians in my days, but I have seen few guitarists pick up styles as fast and naturally as JP. He plays many styles, but we both are drawn to blues and jazz, which is his strongest. We are hoping to make a demo and get him a record contract one day with a record company in the USA to help support our family and ministry and to share this gift with the world.

I met Jean-Paul February 2008 when I hired him for a concert that I was organizing and promoting for a local artist. He says I stood out in his heart immediately. Since then, he has been a good friend who comes to my house for dinners, movies, and music theory lessons. I didn’t know it, but something inside me wanted to be around JP. I invited him to minister with me at times to children and he was always willing and able. I didn’t know that he was already in love with me. As time went on, we talked more and more about family and marriage and finally he told me how he felt and the rest is history.

At first, the thought of marrying, and a foreigner at that, terrified me because I had been wrong many times before. How do I know this guy won’t turn around and stab me in the back, like I had experienced many times before? However, God has taught me two important things in this last year…first, you don’t choose who you love, but you can choose who you spend your life with. Making lists of the perfect man or woman is pointless. When it happens, it happens. Our hearts can love the wrong person, but when it’s the right one, everything will feel just right. You can choose who is the right one to spend your life with. Secondly, God has taught me that it’s not easy to trust anyone so you must ultimately trust Him, knowing that he knows when you are going to make a mistake and he makes all things work out in the end for your good. So, I laid everything at the altar with God and He told me to just be honest with JP and let him stand the test. So, I laid every fear and concern on the table and we discussed them all….and JP still loves me. He is not after anything except my love. He says “it’s true love” and “we are one.” And he means it. I have put him through a lot to get him to understand my complicated life in this mission field and even at home. He never lets me walk away if he senses things are not well. He has true concern for me. I can only believe that this is the man that God has picked out for me all my life. He’s not perfect, but he’s perfectly made for me.

As the modest yet beautiful diamond ring sits on my finger, it reminds me not only of our promise to marry each other but also of God’s fulfilled promise to me. We are so much in love and eager to begin our lives together. My dream wedding is to go home to Houston to marry amongst my friends and family. We are hoping to marry in US early 2010 and afterwards return to Rwanda for 2-3 years to finish the mission. We have thought long and hard about this because my family and friends are in the US and JP’s family and friends are in Rwanda/Burundi. Since we are returning here to live for a few years it would be nice for my family and friends to witness this important rite of passage in my life. Plus, it would be a dream-come-true for me to have my family and friends witness the miraculous testimony of my life and rekindle the fire for the mission of Urukundo for the Children, Inc..

I continue to work my multiple jobs to keep up with living expenses.
I have a part-time job back in advertising. I spend half time Creative Directing and Studio Managing at Creaxion, an Ogilvy Worldwide affiliate. So, my mornings are spent coaching the creative team and meeting with clients to fulfill major advertising campaigns for print, billboards, TV, radio, etc. I am learning about how business works in Rwanda and how the consumer market thinks.

Meanwhile, God is working on consolidating the work to even combine ministry with full time paid employment. Keep praying about this. I also try to find time to also share Christ with the youth by developing a children’s Bible Study program and training volunteer teachers. I also have some groups of young people that I visit with to worship, teach and fellowship in Christ. Funds are low so the means to travel out for ministry is limited right now, but I have faith this will change. Things in Rwanda stay very unpredictable. I just go day by day and pray for protection and grace.

I am also juggling a distance learning class for my Dallas Theological Seminary Master Degree through a scholarship from Inspire Women. Right now I am studying church administrative leadership. Pray for me to finish my readings and papers.

I just praise God for always hearing my cries and tending to my needs. I praise God for his wonderful rewards. This is a love story about God’s love for me. His love is so sufficient and abundant, but He loves me so much more that He even gives me the overflowing love of Jean-Paul in my life. God wants me to even be happy on earth, and then supremely happy with Him in Heaven. I have done nothing to deserve this. And I trust that He will bring all the provisions to make this marriage happen and finish the mission. And I trust that JP is not only my husband, but the next step in this mission on earth. Thank you, Lord!

On April 7, 2004 The New York Times reported, "When 800,000 of their countrymen were killed in massacres that began 10 years ago this week, many Rwandans lost faith not only in their government but in their religion as well. Today, in what is still a predominantly Catholic country, Islam is the fastest growing religion. Roman Catholicism has been the dominant faith in Rwanda for more than a century. But many people, disgusted by the role that some priests and nuns played in the killing frenzy, have shunned organized religion altogether, and many more have turned to Islam...The Muslim community now boasts so many converts that it has had to embark on a crash campaign to build new mosques to accommodate all of the faithful. About 500 mosques are scattered throughout Rwanda, about double the number that existed a decade ago. Although no accurate census has been done, Muslims leaders in Rwanda estimate that they have about a million followers, or about 15 percent of the population. That, too, would represent a doubling of their numbers in the past 10 years."

My fellow Christian friends, with all the missionaries here in this country, how can this be? I have to ask my self this. Is it true? Well, from what I see, it very well could be true. There are many more well developed and united mosques and Muslim schools around. I hear the chanting prayers from these mosques constantly. I hear many stories of Christian organizations dividing rather than uniting. Is it that we have less passion or power for our King than Islam has for theirs? From what I see, Christians are working separately, while Islam is united. Please share this and urge people to help me build the Kingdom of Christ by supporting Urukundo for the Children to build new Christian leaders in the children of Rwanda. I know my God is most powerful and there are Christians in the world with the utmost passion for spreading the Kingdom of Christ. Let’s wake up from our daily life comforts or challenges. Let’s get serious, just as Christ was serious for us on the cross.

I thank God for all your love and support over the years even before I came to Rwanda. My life has been quite a testimony to God’s complete Grace. I pray for you that you too are embracing all that God wants for you. Please continue to pray for this mission and for this marriage. I hope to see you all at the wedding. I will announce when it will be as soon as we have funds and arrangements made. God be with you and shine his face upon you.

Love in Christ Jesus,
* For answered prayer
* For His provisions in “tentmaking”
* For Jean-Paul and his health
* Provisions to marry in the US

* All my USA supporters
* Stability and peace in my housing and all situations in Rwanda
* Protection for me and Jean-Paul and our families/friends
* Jean-Paul’s health and healing from diabetes
* 501c3 for Urukundo for the Children
* Board Meeting for Urukundo for the Children
* my family in US
* Job/Tentmaking stability
* Provisions and arrangements to marry in the US soon
* Jean-Paul’s visa

I need your help to raise funds to build what God has called me here to build for Him. Gather friends to sponsor lunches, bike rides, run/walks, picnics, bake sales, lemonade stands or concerts for the cause of God’s ministry in Rwanda, to build Christ Is Our Hope School Community Rwanda, a center of hope and God’s blessings, to raise new leaders. There are children who need your help. There’s a nation that needs hope. Help me to stay so I can develop a better education system for them and a future hope in Christ.

Urukundo for the Children (501c3 pending)
4020 Blue Bonnet Blvd., Unit G
Houston, Texas 77025
Attn: Beth Richards
PLEASE SUBSCRIBE: If you have not already done so, please subscribe to “Bridge To Rwanda Blog Newsletter” by entering your email address in the subscription field to the right. FeedBurner will send you a CONFIRMATION EMAIL that you must REPLY TO CONFIRM in order to activate your subscription. Please, pass the subscription and blog site on to others to share the testimony and raise support for the mission. God bless you!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bridge To Rwanda Blog Newsletter, Vol.12

[Click on photos to view larger. Click BACK to return to blog]
August 29, 2009, KIGALI, RWANDA – Let me please first cover this blog entry in the Blood of Christ. My dear friends and family. I have missed you all so much. I pray for you and send you the Grace and Peace in my heart, looking forward to sharing all my adventures in Christ with you. Please forgive me for the length of time between blogs. God keeps me moving and busy.

I've been busy on my knees and on my feet praying and serving.
But the privilege and joy of serving a most powerful and loving God never dims. All I do is for His Glory. And along the way, my beautiful God shines His face upon me and grants me an affirming divine smile and reward to comfort me and keep me pressing on. The challenges are ever-present, but God (Jehovah Tsebaioth) is the captain of the Heavenly army that surrounds me and charges ahead of my battles to victory. I am ever-humbled by His presence and His provisions. I know my God loves me so much as I review daily the testimony of my salvation in Christ Jesus and the miraculous way He rebuilt my life to call me out to mission for Him in Rwanda. Seven years ago I was deep in the pits of depression, today I am entrusted by God with precious souls. He took a weak meek nothing person and made her a soldier in His Kingdom army. He empowered me and He sustains me. He makes me valid in a world of obseleteness. And in all this He shows me the beauty of His works in precious creatures that bless me with their presence in my life. Thank you, God!!!! No words can express my love for you. I can only give you all my life in servitude.

What can I say? So much to tell and yet so little space and time. It has been a long and hard few months, as par for the course here in mission field Rwanda. So much has changed and progressed. I finally have a moment to reflect back and share them with you.
OK. What have I been up to? As I am here, part of my mission is just to be a beacon of light (of Jesus) to those who are here to serve, to share knowledge and counsel to local and non-local servants of God, to bless people with my blessings. I have been here for 2-1/2 years now and my prayers have longed for financial stability, security, strength and direction from God.

CHANGING OF SEASONS: Tentmaking Season
As the US Presidential Office changed, so has my season here in Rwanda. The economic downswing, my lengthened stay in Rwanda, and changing of the mission guards has caused donor funds to dwindle. God has now called me, like Apostle Paul, to support myself as a “tentmaker,” working in the mission field to earn my own living funds.

As donor funds diminished, I prayed for God’s will and provisions. Do I stay and serve here in Rwanda? Do I go home? Is the mission over? But there is still so much ministering to do. As I prayed over solutions for my inability to pay expenses, God immediately answered by bringing me to the next step of stability in Rwanda. He opened doors to several part-time jobs that allow me to earn some funds while still ministering during off-hours. This was an amazing strategy of provision. Doors just opened up for me to use both my teaching and advertising skills and experiences to support myself and also bless the country as both a teacher of professionalism and an undercover evangelist in the marketplace/workforce. It’s not been easy juggling between jobs and ministry, but still God provides. By day I work in a local ad firm as a Creative Director/Studio Manager. By afternoon I either work on projects, research or assist in ministry areas, or take on private tutoring. By evening I teach Adult English to business professionals. 2009 is the year that Rwanda switched their national language from French to English so many are in desperate need to learn English to save their jobs and companies.

At the advertising company my job is not only to manage but to coach and counsel on business ethics, management, administration, organization, professionalism, etc. This country much practical training and resources beyond theory strategies. I do what I can with the experiences and knowledge God has given me in my life. I do this in secular and Christian settings.

It was tough balancing different jobs in the beginning, but I’ve gotten the hang of it now. However, I am still in need of funds for living and ministry work. Mostly, God has answered my cries regarding support funds. I still need donations, but now I can supplement with part-time employment. The rest of the time I serve and partner with the church and various ministries as well as research areas of need in educational development for the purpose of proposing a program to train teachers in regular and special education and even inclusive education. Please pray about this proposal. I am hoping to also initiate more concrete programs as soon as my 501c3 gets approved and funds are raised.

Since January I had been corresponding via email with the Luis Palau Organization ( to offer some help with their evangelism festival coming to Rwanda. Knowing the challenges of the churches and different cultural perspectives on volunteerism, I knew it was not going to be easy to unite the city of Kigali, but all things are possible in Christ. Since then I was recruited for two main coordinating points, to help Palau’s partner Compassion Connect with a Season of Service Project – two medical clinics around and during the festival, and managing the Enric Sifa band for the festival.

Enric Sifa, the former street boy turned evangelist musician from Africa New Life Ministries, has been living and going to school in America. For the Palau Festival, he was invited to return home to Rwanda to represent his country and share his music and the Gospel to his people. I was honored to assist Enric in coordinating a local band, backup singers, needed equipment and rehearsal space and times. It was a joy to reunite the old Rwandan band about 2 years later for a spectacular event such as Palau festival. The result was very successful and Enric was able to reach many hometown people with his testimony of salvation and life change.

MEDICAL CLINIC: Reaching Mind, Bodies, and Souls for Jesus
It was a long awaited festival with little planning time, but God had His way with it. Beyond all the challenges and moving around, the clinic successfully cared for 1,700 patients in 4 days between two locations. These people where not only cared for physically, but spiritually. I saw the most compassionate medical doctors I ever met share the gospel with even more passion. I was so moved!

And even before the doctors reached Kigali, they were already saving the life of a friend my dear friend Jean-Paul who was diagnosed with diabetes and was withering away. As soon as I told Gary Tribbett, President of Compassion Direct, ( he hooked me up with Dr. Pamela. She emailed me lab tests to get and examined him from email and then later in-person when she arrived. Diabetes is a very common and survivable condition in the world, but in third world areas such as Rwanda, the knowledge and ability to manage it is tough. There is no government health aid and JP’s insurance was not covering lab tests or medication. Pamela helped me to pay for the lab tests and brought some sample medication to keep JP going while we tried to find some kind of medical aid. Good news! She assured me this was Type 2 diabetes not Type 1. I don’t know how he would have gotten daily insulin injections if he needed it. All these medical expenses on his modest church employee salary. If Pam and I had not intervened, I believe my friend who lost 20 lbs in one week would have been dying in the hospital. It just makes you think about how lucky we are in the United States to have federal medical aid for the needy. I think most people in Rwanda with diabetes don’t get help and just die. Changing diet in a starchy carb-infested dietary culture is tough. There are not many choices besides rice, beans, plantains and potatoes. Its tough to watch people die of something that is manageable on another side of the world. JP and I still struggle to get him stable and manageable, but thanks to Pam’s help he’s looking better and starting to gain weight. Praise God for His connections and His Grace abounding!!! Thanks Dr. Pam from the bottom of our hearts.

What Gary Tribbett says about Dr. Pam Pyle: “Pam has a heart of pure gold. Although obviously a skilled physician, her humble attitude and compassionate care led her to prayer over all her patients. Not only was she inspiring to work with, she caught a vision from God that is inspiring a greater work in Kigali . God has his hand on this precious saint.”

I have been praying for full recovery for JP and today we went to check his blood sugar levels and its miraculously reduced from a dangerous peak of 386 to 160 which is almost normal (116). Its truly a miracle. Praise God!!!! Please continue to pray for his full-recovery, that perhaps he would not need medication anymore. God is able!!!

“Among the highlights of the trip was our amazing team. God made us one. I could not be more proud of this group of people. I would gladly go anywhere in the world with them. They shined the love of Jesus through everything they did on this long mission. The work was hard, the hours long and the personal price was high, yet freely and generously they labored. This is truly the Spirit of God at work. We had a team of people ready to give themselves to Christ and the Kingdom of God. I want to just offer some words of praise to God for each one…Linda came through in a fantastic way. It was her dedication that landed many volunteer Doctors at the Stadium as well as translators. This was no easy task. There were hurdles throughout. She met each one in prayer and faith. She has a servant’s heart and is committed to serving Christ long-term in Kigali. We are in debt to her…The interpreters: There were over twenty-five volunteers that we worked with closely that have taken a piece of our hearts. We long for heaven all the more so we can serve the Lord in His sanctuary together. For a short week, there really was no color, only the most beautiful people you can imagine. I miss them…The Rwandan Volunteer Doctors: This has to be a highlight of our mission’s success. As one doctor told me, “This is my dream.” Here is what Rwanda, and the world need, the church to minister the gospel of Jesus to the people who need it so desperately. These men and women who came to serve their people were the most humble, gentle loving people you could ever ask for. It is our great privilege to serve alongside such beautiful people…God is present with the poor. From my perspective, I doubt it would it be possible for God to speak more clearly by words than He has through this demonstration of faith. God has chosen the poor, in the eyes of the world, to be rich in faith. Here was visible evidence that faith is greater than gold. What we could not buy—God freely gives. Isn’t this the message of the gospel? What we could not earn, or purchase, through all our good works and wealth, God gave through Jesus. We are richest when we are broken, broke and helpless; we are best when all we have is our faith in God.” (Gary Tribbett, Compassion Connect President)

A TOUCHING STORY FROM GARY “…Douglas works in this field. If anyone would be calloused, it would be Douglas . He’s Rwandan. He lives in Kigali . He sees the hurt every day…He points to a lady in a yellow blouse. “You see that lady . . . she has traveled over four and a half hours to get here.” “She said she didn’t come for pills. She needs a miracle.” She had thought there was going to be a faith healer at the stadium. What she got was us. Her daughter was nine years old. The previous year the little girl was second in her class in school. She was bright and alive. Now she was loosing her ability to hear or speak. She could barely walk—often falling down. Her memory was almost gone completely. She had been to several doctors; their diagnosis was her brain is atrophied. There is nothing they can do. Douglas turned away to avoid crying in front of me. The poverty and hurt was made very personal and individual. It was brought to our doorstep and left with us to address. It was not a plight of the masses. I could she her face and hear her cry. I could almost feel her hope fall to the floor and shatter. It was clearly impacting the heart of this precious servant, Douglas. There was nothing we could do. All week I had been going to the pharmacy to purchase medicine for one thing or another, no pharmacy in the world stocks miracles. We cannot spend our money and reverse this family’s pain. We are powerless to help. We have no resource except our faith in Christ. Could we be granted a miracle? Inside I was pleading with God. Grant us this one miracle. We can turn to none but you. Show yourself to this hurting family, Jesus. Heal the sick. Please! We asked Douglas if we could pray for her. Douglas asked her. Her mom and I led her to Dr. Bailey’s exam room. On the way I took her hand to help her walk. She fell a couple of times. As I helped her get her feet under her and regain her balance, she would look up and grin. I wondered where she got all this joy. We gathered to pray. Up walked Pastor Peter from Uganda. He took charge of the prayer and prayed like a faithful Pentecostal could. He commanded Satan to leave. He spoke healing and called on the name of Jesus. Others prayed. At the end of the prayer, this little girl turned her smiling face to Peter and spoke in very clear Kenya-Rwandan. “Good job Pastor. That was a good prayer.” You’ll recall that it was reported that she couldn’t speak, and hadn’t until that moment. Douglas interpreted for us. Then she moved her arm in a sweeping motion catching our eyes and smiling from ear to ear. “Thank you for praying. Keep praying for me. I trust God that I will be okay.” This was from a hurting nine-year-old.”

According to Palau, there were approximately 7,000 people at the two-day festival. Backstage, I saw all nations and churches come together to love Jesus. The American performers included Nicole C. Mullins and Building 429. I saw these celebrity performers walk with such grace, wanting to just serve Christ through the people of Rwanda. They reflected such humility and eagerness to love on people. I am praying to re-connect with them to do further work in Rwanda in the future. Thanks Nicole and Building 429. Please keep in touch.

Volunteerism in Rwanda is not what we think of in America. The NGOs have made volunteerism about getting compensation for time and transportation. So, from the beginning I foresaw problems. But God came through as I knew He would. Many of my friends volunteered from their hearts (however, I still gave them some transport and lunch funds because they spent all day and night volunteering for 5 days). And they told friends and so on. We were not in lack of Rwandan translators and helpful hearts. For me, to see the collaboration of locals and westerners really made my whole 2-1/2 years mean something. It was a miracle. This even was truly a first time historical event for Rwanda. The churches had never come together in such a way. It wasn’t perfect. Many didn’t come through as promised, but others did. It was tough to explain to the churches what we were trying to do. They only know the single church organized crusades, seminars, concerts, and revivals that are weekly and monthly events here in Rwanda. In fact, most go for music and spontaneous physical healings. To explain to them that western doctors and famous musicians are coming voluntarily to give love and service (not money) and just celebrate in a block party…was beyond them. They didn’t know what we were asking them to do when we asked for them to be a part of it.

All in all, Jesus had His way with everyone, with the entire event. People got to see love without color or money. I was blessed and Rwanda was blessed. I hope Palau comes back to Rwanda some day. I know now the churches will be ready to volunteer this time. Or maybe some of the connections I made from the festival will birth similar efforts.

PRAY FOR 501c3
I am still in the process of filing 501c3. I have turned in plans and budget to an organization that specializes in registering nonprofits, whom I have hired and paid in full to handle the legal filing of the organization and to consult me on setup. However, it has taken them quite some time. I spent every last dime I had in the world on this from selling off whatever I owned in the US. Please help me pray that they get everything together and file with the IRS and get approval by the end of 2009. The trend in dealings with organizations since my mission began is one of lack of communication and response to my emails and requests. Its truly so difficult for me to be living in Rwanda and still have to turn things around in the US. I have prayed so much in depth about this (whether to go back to US to live and raise funds or to stay) and I feel that God has me living here 24/7 year-round for a purpose. I have become a part of the meat of this country. There are struggles, but I am immersed in every day of movement and development. People see me as local people and they trust me to tell me the insider truths. God has given me such favor with the people. He has allowed me the privilege of hearing their minds, hearts, and voices speak about each other, about foreigners, about everything. Of course, it’s been a challenge sorting out the lies from the truths, but nevertheless, God is with me. Many people are still suffering without help while others are profiting from corruption. I see this and I pray about what I can do and how I can be different. I pray about how to share the truths without slandering…. please, pray with me about this as well. For the most part, I need 501c3 so I can start raising money through donations and grants to initiate programs where I see much need. My major project is to build the Christ Is Our Hope School Community Rwanda (Jesus’ school to raise new leaders). I will be here to manage and train, to see where the money goes.

I also thank God for Inspire Women in Houston who have been with me since the beginning of this all and continue to support me in various ways. Thank you IW for the scholarship to take a DTS (Dallas Theological Seminary) correspondence CD course from Rwanda this Fall so that I may continue to grow with the Word of God and develop my ministry skills. I am working on my Masters in Biblical Studies. This Fall I am taking a course in Church Leadership and Administration. I will be studying how to run, develop, and maintain an organization according to practical and Biblical teachings. All this as I work with churches and build my own organization. I pray that God will reveal to me how to establish His vision and how to advise church leaders here in Rwanda. Thanks, Inspire Women! You are my family. I love you so much.

The pastor of my former church Rwanda Victory Mission got married this month in Rwanda. She and her husband, my good dear friend, are residing in USA as she completes her studies at Victory Bible Institute in Oklahoma. I thank God that they have found each other and pray for their marriage and ministry union. I was privileged to attend the "Gusaba" ("The Introduction" - part 1 of the Rwandan customary wedding) here in Rwanda. Thye will be finalizing their wedding the the USA. I wish I could be there physically, but spiritually my thoughts and prayers are with them. I am so happy for them. Congratulations and many many blessings, Josephine and Fred.

I am attempting to start an English Bible Study class during the English service at Rwanda For Jesus, my church. Please pray for this. God showed me that it was such a waste for the children to sit idle and restless during service. They should be learning the Word and growing into little Bible Leaders. Please pray for the organizing and coordinating of this. Getting things to follow-thru here is not easy.

For all my readers and supporters, I love you sooo much. As you can see, there is so much stirring. Your prayers have been felt so much over here in Rwanda over the years as I surpassed the challenges. My family and friends, your belief in me and God humbles and sustains me. It pains me that I miss out on your lives in the US. I even miss out on the precious growing moments of my precious beloved nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters...having missed the births of two more beautiful babies in the family (all my love to Ella and Beckett). I pray for funds to be able to return soon to see these loved ones, to further organize Urukundo for the Children, and to see you all. I pray for all this and bless you all in the name of Jesus.

Let me please just end this blog with the SERENITY PRAYER that has kept me going since the day I found Jesus in 2002.

God grant me the SERENITY
accept the things I cannot change;
COURAGE to change the things I can

and WISDOM to know the difference.

LIVING one day at a time;

ENJOYING one moment at a time;

ACCEPTING hardships as the pathway to peace;
TAKING, as He did, this sinful world

As it is, not as I would have it;

TRUSTING that He will make all things right

if I surrender to His Will;

That I may be reasonably happy in this life

and supremely Happy with Him forever in the next.


"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion -- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor." (Isaiah 61:1-3, NIV)

Please continue to pray for me. There are more and more things stirring and changing. I see that God is concocting something tremendous soon. I will continue to keep you posted as you are a vital part of the mission. God bless you all truly!!!!!

Love in Christ Jesus,

* For a great festival
* For His provisions in “tentmaking”
* For His answers
* For his undying abundant love
* For the special love He has brought to my life
* For the jobs and stability that is developing
* For the Inspire Women scholarship to take a DTS Masters course by correspondence

* All my USA supporters
* 501c3 for Urukundo for the Children
* For my new season in Rwanda
* For health and safety
* For provision and direction
* For my jobs to work out well
* For a special new relationship in my life
* For funds to return to US to see family and friends and to develop Urukundo for the Children
* For finishing the recording of the Bridge To Rwanda CD album to benefit Urukundo for the Children
* For the DTS class I am taking from Rwanda by CD correspondence
* For discernment about my life and ministry
* For protection from deceit

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE: If you have not already done so, please subscribe to “Bridge To Rwanda Blog Newsletter” by entering your email address in the subscription field to the right. FeedBurner will send you a CONFIRMATION EMAIL that you must REPLY TO CONFIRM in order to activate your subscription. Please, pass the subscription and blog site on to others to share the testimony and raise support for the mission. God bless you!
PLEASE ADVOCATE FOR THE CHRIST & FOR THE CHILDREN I need your help to raise funds to build what God has called me here to build for Him. Gather friends to sponsor lunches, bike rides, run/walks, picnics, bake sales, lemonade stands or concerts for the cause of God’s ministry in Rwanda, to build Christ Is Our Hope School Community Rwanda, a center of hope and God’s blessings, to raise new leaders. There are children who need your help. There’s a nation that needs hope. Help me to stay so I can develop a better education system for them and a future hope in Christ.

Urukundo for the Children (501c3 pending)
4020 Blue Bonnet Blvd., Unit G
Houston, Texas 77025
Attn: Beth Richards

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bridge To Rwanda Blog Newsletter, Vol. 11

[Click on photos to view larger. Click Back to return to block]
March 29, 2009, KIGALI, RWANDAWhew! I serve a powerful God who is able to do all things…and He is allowing me to be a conduit for His goodness. How blessed I am! I thank God every day for using me so fully that I am so busy. Truly, I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. My friends and family, I thank you for your patience in awaiting my blog updates. I pray for your welfare and your growth in Christ. I pray that He opens your eyes, your mind, and your heart to join me in worshiping such an awesome God. I speak peace and love into your lives.

Each day I face challenges of this world coming at me from both US and Rwanda. Its difficult to serve from one side of the world, but get your support from the other side of the world. People forget you and get caught up with their own lives. This is quite a trip God has me tackling. I can’t even describe for you all the ways the enemy tries to stop me. Each day I face the limitations and persecutions of the world as well as my own flesh and I pray for God’s forgiveness and mercy. Each day He grants me the utmost forgiveness, fuels me for the journey ahead, and carries me through each obstacle. And with that I am rewarded greater faith in my Lord. I wish I had the Kinyarwanda language fully in my grasp so that I may directly share with the people of Rwanda the full passion I have for Jesus and the full love He has placed in my heart for the people of Rwanda. How He has truly rescued me from a life of darkness and continues to rescue me daily from the crevices of life. As I share with you the updated status of my mission in Rwanda, I hope it is not just news, but that you see Jesus moving throughout my life, loving me, growing me, blessing me, strengthening me. Daily I face accusations of faith, flesh, opinions, contradictory advice, discouragements, challenges of survival funds, and just time restraints…but I always fall back on the Truth of Jesus who saved me…who took on painful human flesh to crucify my sins and my pains on the cross. So, daily I press on knowing that my challenges, my pains, my struggles are nothing compared to what He took on for me and have already been won on the cross by my Lord Jesus.
God continues to do a work in transitioning me to the next steps of the mission here in Rwanda. I am transitioning from World Relief project to many other projects as God directs me...

As I transition from World Relief and process the startup of my own organization, God has graciously allowed me to serve briefly at another NGO as Education Program Director at a small school for needy children and to assess and grow the education program, train teachers, and help develop resources. I believe this is another learning and transitional step to building Urukundo for the Children.

My first challenge was finding a new English speaking teacher for the primary school. I have been immersed in interviewing multitudes of candidates of questionable qualifications to train and trust with the future of the children. The primary school is currently P1-4 with about 200 students of whom many are HIV and orphans. Their education has been spotty so their knowledge and performance is also spotty. Some are illiterate, others are confused. This experience has been quite eye-awakening. This year the government abruptly changed the national language to English (from French and Kinyarwanda) so all subjects must now be taught in English. This is a challenge as even the teachers do not know English well, but now must teach all subjects in English. Finding a Rwandaise teacher who speaks correct English and can teach it on limited funds is a true challenge. Many people think they speak English, but they have learned spotty English laced with bad grammar taught by teachers who also have limited English capacity. I cannot allow the children to learn anything but correct English so it’s a task. Posting jobs here is not the same as the US. We went church to church asking them to announce the need and the word of a job opening spread like wildfire. And I have been getting all sorts of strange calls from people Please pray for good teachers

Praise God! We were finally blessed with a new headmaster so I am excited about having someone to help me train and manage the staff and children. Please pray for our work together to be blessed for the sake of the children.

We are also hoping to start English classes to support the community in the national transition to English which will effect many people's job qualifications.

Please pray for us as we end the first of three terms and start our teacher training week. Pray for willingness in the current teachers. Also pray as I assess 200 students and re-plan a more effective system for their academic growth.

God has blessed me with a precious friend, Ezra, who is Ugandan/Rwandaise married to a Canadian nurse, Mona. They have a ministry of former mayibobo street boys (homeless children) that they took off the streets and support in a communal house. These boys have testimonies of living hungry on the streets, being beaten up, stealing and being put in jails or enslaved in child labor. I have befriended and been visiting these eight boys weekly and helping to fellowship in Christ-likeness and teach Bible. I have taken them on outings to play B-ball and shown them movies. On our B-ball outing we worshiped under a straw canopy and the neighborhood kids joined us. We played and shared cookies. There must have been about 20 kids in addition to the 8.

These boys are hungry for Jesus and precious as can be. They range from about age 10-17. Just a few weeks ago they ran out of food while Ezra was out of town, so I took your donated funds and bought them a few days worth of food. They had been praying for it because they were just on their last meal. These boys are in my heart and sealed in Christ. They are precious. Please help me to help them more. I want to purchase them English Bibles and teach them English through Bible Studies. I hope to visit them weekly and be a light of Jesus in their lives. As I get to know them more, we share testimonies and they ask me questions about life, the Bible, and God. They are hungry. Pray for Ezra and Mona as they strive to raise funds to continue to support these and other boys who would otherwise perish on the streets. God has a plan for their future.

Last week I went to worship with them and teach Bible, along with my friend Christian from church who graciously volunteers his time with me (and is the most awesome keyboardist in town). I opened the forum for questions and they were so attentive. They had a lot of questions. I shared my testimony with them and planted some seeds. Sometimes I show movies like Facing the Giants and Billy Graham’s Something to Sing About which blesses them with Christian lessons. These kids are now impressed in my heart.

I met Ezra and Pastor P (the guy in blue leading worship on Bball day) when they produced my songs at Ezra’s studio. I have recorded two songs that God gave me and I am hoping to raise more funds to record four more songs for an album to benefit my organization Urukundo for the Children, spread hope and awareness, and help local vulnerable children. Please check on my facebook PAGE to hear the songs “Bridge to Rwanda” and “Urukundo for the Children.” Pastor P even asked me to sing Urukundo for the Children at his concert, which got alot of response to the song subject. The songs may be downloaded through SnoCap for 99cents which goes to my living support to serve in Rwanda and to support and develop other projects to support the children. Both these songs were given to me from God. “Bridge to Rwanda” is God’s vision of hope in Rwanda and my original call to return to serve indefinitely here in Rwanda. “Urukundo for the Children” is the namesake of my organization and the song is about the “mayibobo” street boys. But the song is for all the kids in the world who have no parents or home. God remembers you and loves you. God inspired me to record this in Rwanda as they are birthed in Rwanda and about hope for Rwanda. Anyone interested in contributing funds or in-kind donations, please send checks to Urukundo for the Children at 4020 Blue Bonnet, Unit G, Houston, TX 77025, Attn: Beth Richards

My organization Urukundo for the Children (501c3 pending) is finally incorporated in Houston, Texas. Praise God! Now, please pray for the final step of making the Budget and submitting to the IRS for 501c3 status. God led me to start this organization to fulfill the original calling and vision from God. The organization will initiate specific projects to help children around the world, starting in Rwanda. There are still many children who are discarded and thrown away by the world system, who have fallen through the cracks of rescue efforts. This includes countless homeless children and children with disabilities from all economic backgrounds that are hidden in hopeless closets. God has called me to work directly with the people to find these hidden children and provide some hope in survival and a future. We will also support the education and efforts of existing and future leaders of churches and ministries to develop more capable resources to help train communities to care for their children, to walk in Jesus’ footsteps. The goal is to build knowledge and Christian integrity to take on responsibility. “Urukundo” means “love” in Kinyarwanda, the native language of Rwanda. Urukundo for the Children is God’s love for the precious children. They are the hope of the future. We must take care of their mind, body and spirit to nurture and develop the future leaders of peace. Please join me in starting this grassroots effort.

In my time here I have seen so much mismanagement of funds and visions gone unknowingly astray due to culture disconnects and lack of accountability. I praise God that He has given me favor with the people of Rwanda who share with me their perceptions of the state of affairs in Rwanda and share their hearts with me. Our goal is to always work directly with the people within the culture and always train for accountability and to multiply the effort. We strive not to get lost in the shuffle of corporate growth and bureaucracy. I will always personally follow the funds directly to the children. Our main project goal is to eventually build schools for Christ (owned and run by Christ, credited to Christ) to raise up his orphaned children His Way, the Christ Is Our Hope School Community Rwanda. This is the vision and answer that He gave me in 2006 in Cyangugu when I asked Him what He wants me to do. He said “build my schools.” I will write more later as the organization develops. Please join us and pray for us. Thank you! Pray for the 501c3 to clear quickly.

I have taken on a side project of helping to consult with the Palau festival which is coming to Rwanda in July. I am assisting with Compassion Connect who heads the Season of Service project for Palau. We are organizing a four day free clinic of volunteer doctors and nurses from US and Rwanda to care for local sick people. We are also uniting leaders and volunteers from all the local churches to help organize this. Pray for this extraordinary task. Churches here do not usually work together except for musical purposes so it’s a challenge. People also don't volunteer without monetary compensation. Also pray for organization amidst a very laid back culture. I am helping Palau and Compassion Connect be an American liaison here in Rwanda to consult on cultural differences and to check on logistical accountability of the project. Please pray for the success of the community volunteer projects and the festival at Amahoro stadium in July. Their goal of unity will truly bless the country and bless God, so I am fully on board to contribute what I can to even an inch of their success.

I have joined a new church and I am just loving it so much. Rwanda For Jesus is headed by Pastor Steven Gashumba. He is a truly anointed pastor who teaches the people to change their attitude and ways, to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. And I have seen how extraordinary the people are. I am honored to serve them and help Pastor Gashumba develop the church administration.

I have been welcomed so graciously by the worship team. In fact, we just finished their first CD release concert. The album is called “Sinzibagirana” which means “I will never be forgotten.” I helped to design the album cover and I am designing the church website. I also teach English worship songs to the team and sometimes I lead a few songs in the English service. God has called me way out of my comfort zone, but He always gets me through.

I have joined the international (English speaking) G12 cell group. This means Government of 12. Most of the people in my group are Kenyan missionaries or pastors. Its awesome. I have found so many new friends. Sometimes I host the meetings at my house.

Please help me to help this pastor grow. I am seeking opportunities to scholarship and train him in short leadership programs like those at College of Biblical Studies in the US. I am also looking for opportunities and host accommodations in Houston for my Rwandan pastor to meet with my US pastor and other pastors and churches to learn about growing church communities. Pastor Gashumba has a unique and sincere vision to build a church of servant leaders for Christ in Rwanda. He thinks big and pro-actively. He wants to raise Rwandan missionaries for the world to glorify Christ. Anyone interested in hosting accommodations and transportation for my Pastor Gashumba and showing him around in August 2009 (OR better yet funding my air ticket to accompany him so I can host him and transport him around), please contact me at

I continue to be invited to lead worship or teach Bible at churches and conferences. When I appear I represent an international perspective of Christ. Campus Crusades International has asked me to lead worship at their Leadership Conferences and Bethsaida Ministries (local unity of young leaders trained in Christ) invites me to teach.

Friends, in order to remain in Rwanda to continue to serve God and model Christ, I need to be able to pay rent, bills, food, and my guard’s salary, not to mention gasoline, car insurance and maintenance. Right now I am stretching dwindling funds. Please advocate for me and the kids. It pains me when children need thinkgs and I cannot pull out funds to help because I don't have funds to even live. Please help me to have a pocket full of grace for the kids.

Make a check payable to “Urukundo for the Children” and send to:
Urukundo for the Children
4020 Blue Bonnet Blvd., Unit G
Houston, TX 77025

Please be my advocate of prayer and fundraising. I need your help. Gather friends to sponsor bike rides, run/walks, picnics, bake sales, or concerts for the cause of Esther’s Aid and all the ministry God has brought to me in Rwanda. There are children who need your help. There’s a nation that needs hope. Help me to stay so I can develop a better education system for them and a future hope in Christ.

Pray the Word Ministries has graciously offered to organize prayer periodical prayer support meetings. Please contact them if you want to join the Prayer Warrior Group for my mission Rwanda. Visit or contact Jerrel Altic at Houston's First Baptist Church.

* For new Headmaster
* For reduced visa fee
* Sustaining me through trials and challenges
* For my local and intl friends and family
* For my church Rwanda for Jesus

* Fundraising for my support
* All my USA supporters
* Budget and 501c3 for Urukundo for the Children
* Teacher training week and working with new headmaster
* Communication and work relations
* Ezra's boys and the entire Narrow Road Ministries
* Organization of my support funds
* Rwanda For Jesus church and development
* All Palau festival oraganization and relationships
* Relationships new and old
* Means to financial stability so I can stay indefinitely to serve
* Renewal of my visa
* Funds to finish the Bridge to Rwanda album
* Funds to travel to Burundi and to return to Uganda to minister
* Spiritual and physical strength to persevere the challenges
* Time management, budgeting & safety

All in all, I am really blessed to serve. God takes care of everything. I have a few small jobs to make some ends meet. I teach after school programs at the Belgian School, and tutor a few kids. So, between full-time volunteer ministering, I also hop from job to job. It stretches me, but God makes me able. God is also building a diverse pool of friends and family in the Rwandans to stabilize my environment. He truly will not forsake me. I pray for further stabilization so that I may stay indefinitely to make a difference here for His Kingdom. As funds dwindle, I asked God if its time to go home, and as you see He has not packed my bags. There is so much ministry yet to do. There is a hunger to know God and His way of life. Many are deceitful out of hunger for the material because they don’t know any other way. I believe that everything I do here is God’s work, just shining of Jesus in all I do, modeling sincerity and integrity in Christ. People are perplexed and don’t really know why and how I serve as a volunteer. Some don’t believe me and think I have a pot of gold sustaining me somewhere. My pot of gold is in the Kingdom of Heaven. Right now I count on God’s grace to sustain me, and people like you who God inspires to invest in this mission to shine for Jesus in Rwanda. His vision of hope in Rwanda is true. He has not forsaken me or His Word. I believe in God with all my heart. Many will judge me or second guess me, but I stand by what my Lord has told and shown me. This is all my life, to belong to Jesus, to serve Him, to bring His brilliant light of Hope to others. This was a quick synopsis of what is in the works. Sorry, I am kept so busy that I hadn’t had time to sit and write and put photos together. Pray for time to blog. I am on facebook too if you want to get quick one line updates and prayer requests. I welcome emails or postcards just to say hello. It truly encourages me to hear from people. I love you all and miss you. Please find me on facebook and join my CAUSE to raise funds and spread awareness. God bless you all so much. I love you all. PRAY FOR ME & THE KIDS, PLEASE! Imana arabakunda (God loves you)! Ndagukunda cyane (I love you very much)!

Love in Christ Jesus,

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE: If you have not already done so, please subscribe to “Bridge To Rwanda Blog Newsletter” by entering your email address in the subscription field to the right. FeedBurner will send you a CONFIRMATION EMAIL that you must REPLY TO CONFIRM in order to activate your subscription. Please, pass the subscription and blog site on to others to share the testimony and raise support for the mission. God bless you!