Thursday, August 5, 2010


Dear CCR Family and Friends,

It has been a long journey. We are coming home. Thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement over the last year. We do not know how we would have made it without your friendship.

We will arrive in Kigali on Thursday, 12 August on SN Brussels Flight 0465 at 6:50 p.m. I will look forward to seeing many of you face to face again. I am eager to hear the stories of God in your life of the last year.

I am in my office now organizing and packing for the journey home. I came across a document I crafted over a year ago that shows how faithful God is during our seasons of struggle. Some of you last saw Jana in late May 2009 as she was struggling with intense abdominal pain. We traveled to Nairobi with our daughter, Sophia seeking answers. After two weeks we could find no answer and Jana’s pain was increasing. I put Jana and Sophia on a plane to the US. I was so concerned that I wrote a letter giving my 17 year old daughter, Sophia legal authority to make decisions on her mom’s behalf. My worry was that Jana would be so incoherent from pain that adult responsibility would fall upon Sophia.

Jana and Sophia arrived safely in the US. However, a tumor was discovered on Jana’s colon. My son, Timothy and I returned to be with them for surgery. We assumed that we would be gone just a few weeks.

However, a few of you had dreams of a long departure. It seemed that some of you sensed by the Holy Spirit that for God’s glory we needed to be gone for a season. We are thankful that you were able to share your sense of God’s leading to us before we departed.

Jana had a successful surgery. On August 3 the tumor was removed. We celebrated as the results were non-cancerous.

However, an old familiar pain returned to my life. I had pain in the back of my shoulder that radiated down my left arm. Doctors found that I had 2 herniated discs in my neck. Fortunately, a shepherd at our home church, David Odor had a brother who is one of Oklahoma’s better spine surgeons. On September 29 Dr. James Odor, removed the 2 herniated discs and fused 3 vertebrae in my neck together. The pain departed and in its place came a little less flexibility.

Jana and I will return to you different physically than when you last saw us. We’re a bit stiff and have some God marks in our life. These are marks of grace. We all have scars whether emotional or physical and ours are just a bit more pronounced. Scars give us ample opportunity to tell of our God journey. I can run again. Jana is still a joyful host. God is our healer and guide.

Some of you cared for our children in our August absence. Those who remained in Kigali (Caleb, Ethan, and Ruth) joined us in late August. In September, our family was together in the US nurtured by our family in both Rwanda and the US.

While Jana and I healed our children began school in the US. They did well. Sophia was in drama. Ethan played sports. Caleb excelled academically. Ruth and Timothy made many friends.

During our absence, shepherds from our home church, Quail Springs Church of Christ, Tom and Sue Gooch spent several months serving with all of you. We will be eternally grateful for their flexibility and servant hearts. Also, some of you stepped into roles that Jana and I had served in the past. We are very grateful. Now as we consider our return we ponder what new seasons God will have with CCR as we have all matured and discovered.

We had hoped to return to see all of you in March shortly after I had my last doctor’s appointment. However, at that point we realized that we had lost approximately 1/3 of our financial support.

Support comes from a community. President Kagame has said, "Others can walk. We must run." Our first four years in Rwanda were spent running forward and we had spent little time renewing friendships in the US. It seemed God used our financial struggle to build our Rwanda partners in the US.

Thus for the last few months we have traveled extensively in the US to tell the stories of God’s people in Rwanda. We hope that through these months God’s honor has been shown. Though we tell our story it really is your journey and we feel honored that God has placed us together for this season of life.

Now as I sit and organize, discover old letters, and remember God’s care; I must proclaim we serve the Lord of All Creation. He is Sovereign. He guides the details of our lives and the history of nations. We can never understand His ways, but we know He is a God of eternal love.

In the next few days our CCR 40 Days of Prayer will conclude and Rwanda will have national elections. I regret that simply due to meeting those who wanted to hear of Rwanda, support discovery, and available plane tickets we won’t be with you on election day. Our absence neither reflects a lack of confidence in God nor His people in Rwanda. I trust that in future days we all shall proclaim that yes God has left marks on our life and changed us. Sometimes we limp. However, by God’s power our spirits run with hope and persistence. Our days of struggle were the greatest days in the season of eternity He gave us on His created earth. With God’s strength we will participate with Him in building our community to bless future generations. He has and will guide His people to our eternal home.

Imana ikurinde,


1 comment:

  1. I met you at the Central church in Little Rock and enjoyed visiting with you. I learned a little of your story there, but after reading this post, I feel I know a lot more about you. God bless you and the people of Rwanda. You have a good story to tell. My sons and daughter were friends of your brother Tim (I don't expect you to remember everyone you met.) They were excited to hear that I had met you. I'll be praying for you. - Kaye Johnson